Future Husband is Significantly Older
I will be getting married in December. My FH is 52, and I’m 30. FH is a divorcee which brings a whole other part to the marriage. He’s been divorced 12 years.
I have a lot of questions and ones I want to ask FH but don’t want to bring up bad memories. i.e.
– is ED a thing now that he’s over 50?
– will I be compared to the ex?
– does he still have a high sex drive? I’m a virgin in every meaning of the word…but my desire is through the roof!
– how do I not think about the ex and him?
– do I ask now what he likes and doesn’t like?
– what does he expect of me?
– what if he has trouble on our wedding night?(only been with ex which was 12+yrs ago)
– and alllll the “what if’s”
Any advice and wisdom would be appreciated! 🙂
Those are all great questions.
My DW & I have 11 yrs between us. We married after I turned 50 and I’d been divorced 13 yrs before remarrying. We talked a lot before marrying and I had some of the same fears and questions before marriage. Our relationship was built on trust, honesty and deep communication from the beginning so difficult conversations were a regular part of our relationship which has helped in marriage.. (DW was previously married to a man who actually was more than 21 yrs her senior.) Both of us have kids from our previous marriage. We had professional pre-engagement counseling before we made the decision to marry and our whole dating process included questions from pre-marital counseling, let alone going through it after the engagement. (We read many books on marriage, relationships, sex, THE SMART STEPFAMILY by Ron Deal, did the full PREPARE/ENRICH test with professional pre-engagement counseling and debrief, and Parrotts’ SAVING YOUR SECOND MARRIAGE BEFORE IT STARTS book, DVD & workbook.)
Most people spend more time planning for their wedding rather than preparing for their marriage. Don’t be most people. You’re making a lifetime decision that’ll seem easy now but will get a lot harder in 15-25 yrs depending on physical and mental health.
Because of your significant age difference (let alone the divorce), it is critical to take steps to address those kinds of issues before you marry. Trained & quality preengagement (too late) and certain professional Christian engagement counseling (More than just a pastor) long before you exchange rings and vows are tools to utilize so that people can help you address issues you’ll avoid or glass over because of your rose-colored glasses. You should have answers to those questions and the two of you should be able to communicate respectfully and well because there will be significant changes coming in the years to follow as he ages. Your age difference is not as noticeable now but as he moves into retirement and then the dying process, the stress and the physical & emotional demands will be significant and show your age difference.
Also, there is a unique parent/child dynamic that can occur because of your age difference. If you don’t communicate well, it can takeover the relationship now (father/daughter/parent/child) and later as he ages and you have to care for him. If you were my daughter, I would have significant questions. Why do you want to marry him? Is he taking advantage of you? Is he trying to live vicariously through you? Which brings me to another questions you should’ve answered before engagement and if you haven’t, need to address before marriage:
- – what is the plan for his care as he physically or mentally deteriorates?
- – does he have kids your age and what are the family dynamics? (I’ve seen some weird stuff when the kids are the same as the new spouse) If yes, do they respect you? Trust you?
- – what will happen when he retires? (Will you continue to work till your 60-65 while your husband is 82-87?)
- – what is your (combined) estate plan? How will you pay for your retirement & aging till death?
- -will HE have good long-term care insurance to protect you financially if he has significant issues?
- – will both of you have accumulated enough to last until your death, statistically speaking 35+ yrs later?
- – if he has kids and money, does it all pass to you or will you need to share with the kids? Has or will that be communicated to them?
- – are you prepared to deal with his physical or mental demise for up 20 yrs if he faces Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or major stroke, etc? Again, what about financially to pay for the care, especially if you need to work?
- – are you wanting kids between the two of you or have you decided not to have kids? (Again, goes to physical and financial support and inheritance issues)
futuremrsp, if you have not discussed, come to agreements, AND know beyond a shadow of a doubt the answers to these questions (and probably some others that are slipping my mind), I’d encourage you to put the wedding on hold until you have co-created a rock solid plan for end of life and family dynamics. If you cannot communicate and work through difficult topics like this now, what makes you think it’ll change after your vows are exchanged? (HINT: it doesn’t get easier just because you got married if you haven’t been able to before). If this seems strong or gloomy, please know that I want and wish the best for you. You can have a great marriage but you will have significant issues that other couples do not face due to such a significant age difference.
In regards to your sex questions, that is really based on your husband and his physical and emotional health. I was 50 and “performed” fine on my honeymoon. While there are times when an O can be elusive on occasion, my DW loves me and Mr Happy well. She’s never questioned a lack of an O on occasion as having problems. If he’s smart, he’ll never compare you to his ex. We did ask certain questions about our previous sexual (or lack of) relationships because they shaped us. (Again, that was part of our engagement process.) Having conversations before hand about your fears and what you both will do if something happens is important to building the communication abilities in your relationship now and beyond. If he has “problems” on your wedding night/honeymoon, he can love on you and you can keep showing his Mr Happy your love and affection. Just laugh and have fun together. Setting sexpectations prior to your wedding for your honeymoon and marriage is something you should be able to communicate and work through together.
I agree that you need to talk to him. Including about his sexual expectations – in your marriage bed generally and of himself toward you. I would recommend you talk about if porn has been a problem in his life in the past or since he was single again.
And ask about his sexual drive. Especially since you say yours is through the roof. Your sexual drive should be a welcomed blessing to the person you marry. Not challenge. (It is a different thing to grow old together and experience those challenges)
Also, you have “saved yourself” (you say you are a virgin in every way) so it would make sense that you would like to both 1) give yourself to someone who can fully enjoy that and 2) you receive the full pleasure of your treasured sexuality.
As I read your OP and set of questions, the first thing that came to mind to ask is, ‘Are you doing couples marriage counseling with a pastor (trained and experienced)?’ Then I saw your post indicating that are doing so. In my experience, it’s essential to cover all areas of married life with a skilled practitioner. Your age difference, the fact of your FH being a divorced man with children, and you entering marriage as a virgin (hurray for you!) are extremely important reasons to throughly counsel. In particular, your questions about sexual intimacy, expectations, ability perform etc. MUST be discussed. Awkward perhaps, yet very important.
Twenty two years is pretty significant difference. Right now, it might work ok, but in another 10 or 15 years, maybe not so much. Health issues do become a factor for a lot of people by age 70ish or 75. I have friends almost the same age difference as you and FH. She is 65 and he is 87. They haven’t had sex in several years, his health is not good and she feels trapped now. But, they did have 20 or so really good years, traveled and had a good life.
My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were 22 years apart. They got married the day after her 21st birthday, and he was 42, a month shy of 43. He doted on her and spoiled her. She was also widowed in her mid-40’s.
It sounds like you have prayed about this, and you know that you know that this is what God is leading you to do, right? No matter who you marry and when, you’ll have ups and downs, and you’ll have to grow together. I can’t imagine that things will be any worse than a couple of ill-equipped young college students (19/20) getting married. Hopefully you both have already done a lot of growing and learning healthy ways to communicate and work through conflict, and you start out way ahead than many of us did.
Just don’t be afraid to communicate openly and honestly, that will be critical for a strong foundation.
My parents were apprehensive in the beginning but all 4 of us have sat down and had the tough conversations. We had these conversations before getting engaged. My parents now are fully supportive of our relationship. We’ve even sat down with his parents who are in their mid 80’s who were supportive and happy…and then together walked through their deaths. He’s had colonoscopies and I took him even before we were engaged. I’ve had minor procedures and he’s been there for me. We both have had friends talk to us individually and as a couple; it was the inquisition for awhile until everyone saw our relationship is God ordained.
I asked the divorce questions on our first date. I wanted to know straight up what had happened because there are two sides to every story and people are sinful. I also wanted to know the reason for divorce and she did commit adultery but, he fought for his marriage and he did not want the divorce. Also been confirmed by outside friends that witnessed that time in his life. He is honorable. After the divorce question, we talked about marriage because I did not want to pursue a relationship if that wasn’t even an option. I also know he’s only had sex with his ex and that was only when they were married.
I know our relationship is unconventional but we are trying to go in with eyes wide open. It’s the detailed questions about his past sex life that I need to ask now.
I was completely content, working a relatively new job, plugged in at church and then BAM! I met FH one day and heard him pray, and he took my breath away. My heart stopped for a split second and I thought “Who is that guy because that’s who I want to lead me spiritually for the rest of my life.” So it’s been God putting us together from day 1. I wasn’t looking and FH wasn’t looking, we both were content with our singleness and searching ways to serve God as a single person.
Communication is very strong. We have married friends that say they don’t talk as much as we do. It’s just the detailed sexual questions that we need to hash out. FH is honorable and chivalrous to a fault almost, it took until we were almost engaged before we hung out at his home without a chaperone. I think I need to find a neutral ground, a park or somewhat secluded public space to discuss sexual questions. There is no problem making out, but he is very protective of the purity in our relationship. And it also sets an example for his son who is 18.
I know we could only have 20 or 30 years, but I’d rather have those years than nothing at all. I love him so much that it feels like my heart is breaking because it can’t hold that much…does that make sense? LOL I feel like I’m crazy sometimes.
I don’t remember who asked about how we handle conflict. We’ve had fights, some petty and some major. But when we’re irritated with the other we make the time to stop and ask, “What’s going on? We need to air this out now…not later.” We really do, because he made a point that his ex never wanted to do that. We’re learning how to fight fair and how to fight well. I know if he’s not being completely honest and he can tell when I’m holding back.
You ask whether erectile dysfunction will be a problem due to his age. Only he can answer that – generally testosterone decreases with age leading to a reduction in sexual desire and erectile ability, so he probably won’t have the same sex drive that you have. However, he is likely to be perfectly capable of getting an erection and having sex, just not as often as when he was 30. Erectile dysfunction is more likely in older men, but it’s neither inevitable or exclusive – it can affect younger men too, especially if they are overweight, smokers, heavy drinkers or have certain health conditions.
As to whether you’ll be compared to his first wife, I suspect you will be. That’s human nature – when we get a new job, we compare it with the previous one, same with a new home, car, church, or any of the myriad things in life that mark a significant change. Comparison needn’t be a bad thing – sometimes having had a bad experience in the past makes us appreciate the good we’ve got now.
I can not address the issue of age difference but I can offer you my story, of one man and one woman. I have been married for less than a year to a man who lost his wife 18 years ago. I was a recent widow so I was worried I would compare him to my first husband. That has not been the case because our marriage bed is very, very different. He was worried about performing after so many years but it all came back, of course, like riding a bike. Plus no two people are the same. He experiences all new sensations with me and I experience all new sensations with him. It’s glorious!!!
I agree with others about counseling and books. We did several including Saving Your Second Marriage.
We are in our late 50’s and we ML as often as we possibly can! Every morning, every night and whenever we can sneak away in the afternoon without raising suspicion in my teen and young adult children. Recently we have occasionally been skipping evenings in favor of more sleep and he had some health concerns that meant we had to skip a few sessions. We can see things are waning a bit but that seems normal. BTW, I was NOT a HD spouse in my first marriage, but he was. This HD stuff is new to me!
He struggles with maintaining an erection if he’s tired but with additional encouragement he usually gets hard again. The best part (for me) is that it takes a lot of stimulation for him to climax so I get tons of Os during our sessions! I never Od during PIV in my first marriage but this time it occurs regularly because he can go forever. Because he doesn’t O every time we ML he is eager to go again later. Great for me but a challenge for him. He Os about every other day on average. (about 1 in 3 sessions). We don’t know how much this is related to age and how much is his past porn use before we got together since he trained his brain to visual stimulus and to his own hand. It takes time to retrain but he does not struggle as much because we have created more and more memories and experiences together that he can envision instead of old porn pictures.
I just wanted to share this with you because everyone is SO different! Every marriage is SO different, even if it involves the same partner. We are not the same person we were years ago and we behave differently with a new partner. Definitely have the conversations (with counselors as needed) and then vow to work on your marriage to create something that will bring glory to God! It can be amazing with two people who are loving, kind, patient, and all those other 1 Cor 13 adjectives!!!