My 11-Year Age Gap Relationship :: Does It Matter?

When I met my husband, I was just 21 years old. He was 32. We’re approaching our tenth wedding anniversary and have three fantastic kids, but looking back, that seems nuts. When I was 21, most of my friends were going out to clubs or bars and working on college degrees. But I had been working a full-time job for over three years and was completely financially independent from my parents. So I guess it makes sense that I would be attracted to someone who was living the same lifestyle.

We met at work, and I quickly moved into his house (like, within weeks). Yup, it sounds crazy. We decided to sell his house in Massachusetts and move to North Carolina and build a house together. Yes, that’s right, I moved halfway down the coast with my then boyfriend, who was a divorcee, whom I had only known for eight months. (If my daughter pulls something like this, I will probably have a heart attack.) Why, oh why, would I do that? I’ve certainly made plenty of mistakes in my life, however, this man was NOT one of them. I knew he treated me like gold, and I knew I could barely relate to my girlfriends at 21, let alone a guy my age.  

But now, 12 years since we started dating, I can’t help but wonder… is our age difference something other people notice? After all, only 5 percent of U.S. couples are in marriages where the husband is more than 10 years older than the wife. I hardly ever think of our age difference of 11 years. It usually only comes up when there is a pop culture reference, and we laugh about it. But seriously, does our age-gap relationship define us? No, I don’t think it does — now. However, it absolutely was on my mind constantly when we first met — especially when I met his friends and his family. I also know it was definitely a concern for my parents, who wanted to make sure their daughter was not being taken advantage of.  

I remember thinking at the beginning of our relationship (when my mom was freaking out), “Everyone needs to chill. I know who I picked to be with and why. It’s just Jeff, and he is amazing.” I am so grateful I listened to my 21-year-old heart and gut and started dating the “old guy.” It was the absolutely the best decision of my life.

I know there may be a time down the line when our decade-plus age gap could lead to heartache for me. However, we have a whole wonderful life to live together now, and I refuse to spend a minute of my time on the pointless emotion of worry. He is truly my soulmate — who cares if he is old?

 

Leah was raised in Greater Boston, where she met her husband in 2006. They moved to North Carolina for a few years before deciding their hearts were still in Massachusetts. Leah is a stay-at-home mom and has three children — boy, girl, boy — born in 2011, 2014, and 2017. Her oldest son in autistic. Children with disabilities — and the families raising them — have a special place in Leah's heart. She loves "The Office," date nights, tacos, U.S. history, and the beach. She enjoys sharing her experiences of motherhood, the good and the difficult, to encourage other moms that they are not alone. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, pollen, and vacuuming up Cheerios every half hour.