Why I Think a Girl In Her 20s Should Never Date a Much Older Man

One thing I could always count on from my boyfriend Sam, who was 22 years older than me, was extreme jeal­ousy. Early on in the rela­tion­ship it was flat­ter­ing, but as the years went by, the feel­ing of being flat­tered quickly turned into feel­ing sti­fled and suffocated.

Sam had an expression—“shining on”—which meant that if my gaze lin­gered on another man for too long, I was “shin­ing on” to this new guy, at least accord­ing to Sam. I quickly learned to keep my eyes to myself, espe­cially when a hand­some young male came any­where near me. Sam was get­ting older, but I was blos­som­ing at work and had a thriv­ing social life. He was quite aware of this, and was des­per­ately try­ing to hold onto me.

Because of Sam’s pos­ses­sive­ness, I actu­ally snubbed my neighbor—who hap­pened to be a young man—when he showed up at the same restau­rant where Sam and I were hav­ing lunch. My neigh­bor kept try­ing to get my atten­tion, and when I finally had to acknowl­edge him, I acted like I barely knew him. I was wor­ried that Sam would accuse me of “shin­ing on” to him if I acted too friendly. Sam seemed to have eyes in the back of his head when it came to me; so of course, he imme­di­ately noticed when I did finally acknowl­edge my neigh­bor. I had to intro­duce them to each other, and explain to Sam exactly how I knew this other man. Obvi­ously, Sam would later accuse me of sleep­ing with the neigh­bor behind his back.

I remem­ber another occa­sion that Sam’s pos­ses­sive­ness became an issue. This time, his behav­ior was so bad that it was almost enough for me to walk away from him for­ever. It was at an office Christ­mas party at a house nearby. I was in my mid-20s, and loved a good party.  This one had a lot of employ­ees from out of town that were in the city for a national-wide com­pany meet­ing. I had the chance to meet a lot of peo­ple with whom I pre­vi­ously only had phone con­ver­sa­tions. I was chat­ting with a man­ager from one of the other state offices, and he asked me to dance. Since Sam was occu­pied in a con­ver­sa­tion at the other end of the bar, I fig­ured it would be okay, so we went out on the dance floor.

After the dance, we walked back to the bar, and con­tin­ued our con­ver­sa­tion. I looked away for a sec­ond, only to see Sam charg­ing toward us, with a look of anger and deter­mi­na­tion on his face. He butted into our con­ver­sa­tion, loudly intro­duced him­self, and made it very clear that I was his “lady.” I had always enjoyed when he intro­duced me with that title, but this was one of the first times that it made me feel uncomfortable.

I couldn’t help but think about what this upper-level manager—with whom I was just shar­ing my career aspirations—was think­ing about me now. He was prob­a­bly con­fused about what was hap­pen­ing. He was prob­a­bly also won­der­ing whether or not Sam was going to haul him out and punch him. I was absolutely mor­ti­fied and felt like a child that had just been scolded in public.

Later in the car, Sam asked me if I would have rather stayed at the party and gone back to the man’s hotel room. Need­less to say, the rest of the night was disastrous.

Some part of me wished that I had slept with all of the men he thought I had been with—my 20s would have prob­a­bly been so much more excit­ing. The truth was, I was just afraid to sleep with any­body else. Sam’s tem­per was so volatile; I didn’t know what he would do to the other guy, or even me, if he ever found out.

  • stimpy77

    If a boyfriend, and I saw no men­tion of mar­riage, he was com­pletely inap­pro­pri­ate. If mar­ried, though, or intent to marry, he was com­pletely in the right! In which case, how­ever, I think a bet­ter con­cern or pos­si­ble cause for resent­ment was his choice to marry a beau­ti­ful, “shiny” woman that would off­set his ridicu­lous inse­cu­ri­ties in a shal­low man­ner. Tro­phy wives and see­ing them that way are dif­fi­cult to main­tain on both sides.

    • http://www.myspace.com/belindashort belin­dashort

      He’s never in the right if he is jeal­ous for no rea­son. Some peo­ple are inse­cure and its not a good trait.

  • Jen­nifer Silver-Hudnall

    I liked older more estab­lished men who were very suc­cess­ful when I was in my 20’s but I found being objec­ti­fied didn’t suit me. I had a brain and dreams of my own. I def­i­nitely didn’t marry one of those guys. As an almost 40 ther­a­pist, I find the biggest rea­son to avoid such a rela­tion­ship move is that at that age you really don’t know who you are, and that learn­ing time is impor­tant. It is the time a woman should be spread­ing her wings to fly, not to set­tle for the safety of a cage and free meals.

  • http://www.myspace.com/belindashort belin­dashort

    This is all about self-esteem. If some­one has good self-esteem, they won’t be jeal­ous like this no mat­ter what their age is. Secu­rity in your­self is the trait that shines above all else. In this sit­u­a­tion it seems like he con­sid­ered you lit­tle more than a pos­ses­sion than a part­ner, which has ZERO to do with age and every­thing to do with per­cep­tion. I have had men my age and younger treat me the same way. Assumed I looked at other men and accused me of sleep­ing around. In the end, its all about the char­ac­ter of the person.

    Not sure why you were drawn into these sit­u­a­tions but these men are not a good exam­ple of all ‘older’ men.

  • John Diz­zle

    Eh…I wouldnt say age was a fac­tor. Some men are just inse­cure. Hel.. Some women are just inse­cure. Regard­less of age. You cant gen­er­al­ize and say this is the dynamic of all “older/younger” relationships.

  • Hap­less­Com­mie .

    She’s try­ing to have her cake and eat it too. Women start out with all of their beauty when they are younger, and that is when they need to attract a man who will stand by them as they age. This is also when they should have a baby while their body is healthy and able to bounce back. Or they can squan­der these years get­ting drunk and bang­ing ran­dos and get­ting self-righteous about the patri­archy and then wind up 40 and alone and giv­ing bad advice to the next generation.

    • Blah

      Wow, how incred­i­bly sex­ist of you.

      • Hap­less­Com­mie .

        Yeah and it’s true…sorry fi you don’t like the cold hard light of day

  • Sky Ha

    lol watt

  • Brigadon

    rofl. girls in their 20’s should be dat­ing men in their 50’s. They are fer­tile, rich, and right about the time you get tired of them they die.
    Then you can screw the pool boy while you destroy your kid’s lives. The amer­i­can dream!
    The prob­lem is, girls today are skip­ping the ‘marry the rich older guy’ part, and mov­ing right into screw­ing the pool­boy and destroy­ing their kids. Trailer park tragedy.