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August 11, 2021

The 17 Year Itch

I didn’t think about our age differences at all.

There’s a lot of stigma around the older wife/younger husband so we don’t get many invites socially.

Kristen Buckley
51, Married

When did you meet your current husband?

I met my husband when he was 20, I think. Although I didn’t start dating him until he was a bit older. I think we’ve been together for 10 years and married for 8 or so (I’m bad with dates).

How old is he exactly?  

He's 34.

Did you think twice about the age difference?  

He had been a family friend. After I separated from my first husband, I’d see him from time to time. And eventually, we started dating. I didn’t think about our age differences at all. Not at first. We got along so well and he was easy to be with. He was always super supportive of my career and my goals. I always felt when I was with men my age (or older) that they were being sort of condescending to me. Also, I’m a writer, so I can be aloof and I’m in my head alot. He always seemed very at ease with that. I never felt like I had to change. He often says that he liked that I was so absorbed with work and kids because it took the focus off him. I wasn’t needy. Though he always did have a very protective streak when it came to me - and I sort of liked that about him as well….   So I suppose that’s why I wasn’t bothered about the age difference. But the more serious we got the more I would think about it - only in terms of saying - holy cow - when I’m 60 he’ll be 43. But it was always an idle thought - and then I’d forget about it because I had too many other things to worry about. Now I sort of think I’m going to outlive him - and he agrees because I don’t seem to age. But we don’t look ill-matched. I look younger and he looks older. Most people don’t have a clue.

What do/did your kids think?  

When they were little they didn’t think much of it. My middle son still doesn’t. But my eldest daughter is almost 21 and she's started to get weird about it in the last few years. It didn’t help that when she went to high school her gay guy friends would come over and be like ‘your stepdad is hot’. Although I can see her having a kind of push/pull with it. She’s very progressive in many ways. On the other hand she has a stepfather - who helped raise her since she was 9 or 10 - who isn’t old enough to actually be her parent. So she will sometimes needle me. Asking how I could have dated someone so young, etc.  On the other hand, she has a baby brother (our son who I had at 45) who she adores. And without this relationship she wouldn’t have him. So it’s something that can’t be easily answered. It doesn’t fit into a neat box. And I’m comfortable with that and most of the time she is too. We’re a family of artists. We live outside the box.

What’s the best part about being with a younger man?

Hmm. Best part. I suppose it’s that he has no flab. (lol)  

What’s the worst?

There’s a lot of stigma around the older wife/younger husband so we don’t get many invites socially. And that extends in both directions - people his age and my age all have a variety of issues. I find younger women don’t want to hang out with me (though they should - I’m full of wisdom and brilliant parenting and career advice!). And he finds that men my age don’t enjoy him (mostly because he has no flab). But I will sometimes tag along with his guy friends and him. And he’ll go out with my older sister and me - that kind of thing.  And we always have fun. So I suppose even with the worst part - we manage to make the best of it.  

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