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All Relationships Are U-Shaped

Hi, Loren.

Thank you for your article on age discrepancy in gay relationships. I am in my mid-forties, and until recently I had a partner who is twenty years younger. For most of our relationship, the age difference was never an issue; we accepted each other and were bound by love. Some of our friends and family commented on and questioned our relationship, but eventually they felt the love. Unfortunately, our relationship ended. He asked me to let him go so that he could take charge of his life. We still care for each other and will support each other, but being in a relationship now is not going to happen. I am seeing a therapist, meditating, eating well, exercising, throwing myself into my work, and leaning on my friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All relationships are U-shaped and go through difficult times. I believe that fidelity is based on trust and loyalty rather than sex, so I would ask, If loyalty and trust are still there, can other things be done to save it? Don’t let go of it too soon.

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Age Differences in Gay Couples

I’m a twenty-five-year-old openly gay man, and I’ve always liked older men. Many of my gay friends who are close to my age are critical of me and suspicious of my motives. My gay friends don’t understand it, but I don’t understand it myself, so I can’t explain it to them. I feel like I’m the only one who has this problem. I’d like to understand this better. Can you refer me to anything I might read about this?

A young man once said to me, “If I see a handsome gay man my age, he might as well have a vagina. I feel nothing.” Another said, “I don’t get aroused if I see some hot young man, but if he’s with his grandpa, I get excited.” This phenomenon is more common than most people realize, but it is rarely talked about and almost never researched. You are not alone. Continue reading

Why Am I Attracted Only to Older Men?

Hello, Dr. Olson!

I am in my early thirties, and I came out about a year ago after years of casually dating women while having discreet sexual encounters with men much, much older than me. Since coming out, I have tried to date guys closer to my own age but have found that the sexual attraction just isn’t there for me.

I am grappling with the fact that my desires are what they are and trying to reconcile them with expectations for where I want to be in my own life, how I present myself to others, and my fear of judgment from friends and family.

Why don’t I feel the same attraction to guys closer to my own age than I do to guys 20–30+ years older than me? How could a 65-year-old man and I possibly live every day together? I feel that I should be seeking a more “practical” lifelong partner. We are so vastly different in terms of schedule and lifestyle. These are the questions I ask myself.

This is an important question and one I am asked about frequently. First, loving another person is never practical. Our attraction to another is not a rational process but happens due to forces outside of our consciousness and control.

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