Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm in a May-December Marriage?

I always envisioned a May-December marriage as one in which the man is significantly older than the woman - a 40-ish man and a 20-ish woman. He's a little pervy and she's a little greedy for cash. My husband is not pervy (well, not terribly so!) and I'm not greedy - and we aren't in our 40s or 20s any longer, but I've just realized that I'm in a May-December marriage.

My husband is nearly 19 years older than me. He graduated high school before I was born. He was already in college when I was born. He had just started dating his first wife when I was less than 2 months old. And, what can I say? I don't really care about the dates on our birth certificates because I love my husband with all my heart. He is my true love and I am so happy that we found each other. He dated plenty of women. Some were more attractive than me, some were more educated than me, some were more successful than me. Some days I can't believe that he picked me. I count myself as the most fortunate person on the planet because he chose me to be his wife.

We don't know any other couples who are in a May-December marriage. Our friends are 50-something aged people who are having grandchildren or 30-something aged people who are having children. Prior to the birth of our son, we had a lot of fun with our older friends who were similarly untethered by the demands of parenthood. Since the birth of our son, we spend a lot more time with our younger friends who also have little ones at home.

The age difference has, surprisingly, never really been a problem for us. I guess I'm much older than my years or he's much younger than his. Like most things, it's probably a little of both. The only time it may have been a little weird is when we went to our high school reunions: my 10th and his 30th. He was the oldest person at my reunion and I was the youngest at his.

We don't always get along perfectly, but who does? Two people from two different families get along perfectly 100% of the time only if one person is constantly capitulating. I'm glad that we can both be who we are while still feeling mutual love and respect for each other. I don't even think that our differences necessarily come from our age gap. I think Neil Simon is overrated; he thinks that opinion is nuts. I think space exploration is lame; he thinks space is neat. I think that the exterior of the new Camaro looks terrible; he thinks it looks pretty cool.

We share similar taste in music, movies, and television shows. We're both sci-fi nerds. We generally see eye-to-eye politically. We read several of the same magazines: National Review, Car & Driver, Playboy, Popular Science. And we have similar views on how to raise children.

So what's the problem if neither of us has a problem with the age difference? Society has a problem with our age difference. My husband's ex-wife had a problem with it when she heard he was dating me - surprise, surprise, right? Waitstaff have called me my husband's daughter many, many times. Strangers have asked my husband about his "grandson" on more than one occasion. Though my husband is not rich (whatever that means!), I've been called a gold-digger and worse in the anonymous world of internet message boards and chat rooms.

Why do people make assumptions? It is no longer socially acceptable to make assumptions about a couple based on race. Why is it acceptable to make assumptions based on age? And, perhaps most importantly, why is it called a May-December marriage and not something else? Seriously, that was the best description they, whoever they are, could come up with?

So I'm in a May-December marriage. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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