November 18, 2010 | 1:57 pm
Posted by Merissa Nathan Gerson
I am caught in a love triangle.
Boy number 1 is actually not a boy. He is a 54 year old man and I am a 29 year old divorce’. I have been seeing this guy for about 2 years and we’ve been through a lot together–health, crises, business closing… We have always been the support system for each other, but as he ages, I feel like I am, to put it bluntly, riding on a sinking ship. He is perfect in all other ways—he massages my feet (and likes it), he always brings me flowers, he takes me to the spa for dates, cleans my house, loves my dog, loves my family, is funny, sensitive, fabulous in bed, writes me poetry every day (sometimes twice)….but he has serious old man syndrome and I wanna party with the good years I have left.
Boy number 2: Think John Travolta in Grease with tattoos and hair died in the pattern of a skunk’s tail. This is the only man in this town my ex-husband threatened to kill if he touched me. A true ladies’ man [plural possessive intended]. But, at the same time, a dedicated father, a sweetheart with a devil’s tongue, and the sincerity of Honest Abe.
I know there is no chance of a real relationship with the greaser, but nevertheless, I don’t feel I can devote any more of my life to a kind of crotchety old man.
What should I do?
Caught In a Love Triangle
My guess is that the problem is less this “old man’s” aging, and moreso your own. I have to say it bothers me that you call your man of two years “crotchety” when you and I both know that he isn’t. If he were so ancient, you would not have enjoyed all he could do for you for so long.
What is important here is why you chose a man fifteen years your senior, why suddenly that doesn’t float your boat anymore, and what this new homeboy represents. What I imagine is a big piece of the allure of a much older man from the get-go is how youthful, alive, fresh and gorgeous you feel. As he ages, you get to be the specimen of virility, something and someone that makes him feel ageless which in turn makes you feel ravishing.
But those feelings don’t last. In the end as flawed as we are as human, we are also whole, and my guess is that you desire a more balanced love. It is not so much a matter of his years, as much a matter of the incompatibility. Another thing about an older man is that there is something safe, some Daddy-esque element that keeps you from worrying about being hurt (again). If you found him post-divorce, then he was probably a rebound man to help sew your heart back together.
Now, as you start wanting other men, different men, and yes, younger men, it is your heart’s way of saying it is ready for a deeper love, one that is less about being supported and more about mutually enjoying one-another. I caution you against calling this man names, his age was null and void when he was tending to your needs, so don’t be cruel by suddenly using it as a reason to ditch out.
I say the greaser and your ex are both people you can now live without. They are sirens, directing you forward. One taught you how to be loved, another taught you what kind of passion and youth you desire, and now you can move forward and seek a partner who is really your match, sharing your stage in life so you can pass through the next twenty years in cahoots.
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