Fashion

My partner is 33 years older than me and I’m fed up with people judging our relationship

Of course, I understand why people assume the worst, there are plenty of experiences of women, femmes, and AFABs (people assigned female at birth) being abused and unduly influenced by older men. Unfair power dynamics are known to many of us, myself included. 

Perhaps that’s why I took greater issue with being treated like a child – and by a stranger no less – because they disregarded my previous experiences and shrank me down to a child-like figure. They took away my life lessons, those ones that left scars I’ll never forget, in order to make a point that age gap relationships never work.

Amy, a writer who is also in a happy age gap relationship, and who experienced an abusive age-gap relationship when she was younger, shared her feelings with me:

“I had a relationship that started when I was 19 and the guy was 34. That relationship was abusive in a bunch of ways, and I do think the age gap played into how that turned out. So I think there’s a valid conversation to be had around middle-aged men who go after teenagers, even teenagers who are technically legal adults.”

However, Amy adds, “A person in their mid/late 20s or even older, with an older partner, is… not a child or teenager. I find it absurd that, at 31 years old, people still somehow think I am incapable of making an informed choice just because my partner happens to be older.”

To speak with someone who understood my frustration because it’s so akin to hers was powerful. Though, as with many shared experiences, it’s bittersweet. As much as I like not being alone, it’s awful to know that someone else faces the same insults as I do. And it is an insult. Not just to my character, but to my partner’s as well.

Thankfully, I’ve not been treated with prejudice by the people closest to me, with the majority of my loved ones accepting my relationship for what it is: a bond between two consenting adults. Yes, they check-in, but not in a way that undermines or belittles me.