When you date an older person, and in particular, when you’re a woman dating an man of let’s say, 15 to 20 years older, you can face a generation gap kind of problem, but also a kind of paternalist pattern for your relationship. Some men don’t necessarily act as a father for the woman they’re dating, but with the age gap, the temptation to father their partner is likely to be high.
Having a father figure for partner leaves you with some inconvenients. If you’re not the type of women who accept easily guidance for what you do, this can lead to some clashes. It depends on your character: if you’re a leader, a paternalist partner might get on your nerves. If you’re a follower, he can be the guiding light of your life. By choosing that kind of partner, you expose yourself to punishments if you don’t behave like he wanted.
I always thought that an independent and strong woman could never fall in love with a paternalist man and stay with him on the long run. But one of my friends, who clearly falls into that category of independent women, proved me wrong. She has always managed to run her career on her own, and never relies on anyone. Yet, she loves a man who’s very protective and always gives her advices on what she does. And she follows those. She told me that it took her some times to accept his advices though, because so far, she has never accepted to be guided. “But you cannot imagine how good it is to rely on someone like him, who knows what he wants and who’s confident in life. It’s not like if I have completely given up my personality, I’m still responsible for my own act. But I know I can ask him about his opinions, and these are really precious for me. He seems to know what’s right for me. I do admit we can have some arguments from time to time, because we both have strong charachters” she says.
Of course, you have to accept to let it go and remove your brakes in such a relationship, otherwise it will never work. And there’s a balance to find. If he decides for everything in your life, it’s not a good and healthy relationship. Remember that he’s older than you, and has a good chance to die before you. If he took charge of everything in your life, you’ll be left completely disoriented when he’s gone. When I was a banker, I had plenty of examples of that type. I remember this woman who was completely lost when her husband, who was 23 years older than her, passed away. She had to learn how to deal with her bank accounts, how to pay her bills, … on her own, at 41.
So, would you accept a father figure for partner? And for the men reading this, do you accept when a woman takes the lead in a relationship?