Monday, May 18, 2009

Inter-generational Relationships -- or Daddy and Son

How do you feel about inter-generational relationships in the gay community, I mean where one partner is old enough to be the other one's father? Can these work? Big Daddy.

Relationships where there is a very big difference in age, be they gay or straight, can work, but -- as with mixed marriages -- it all depends on what you mean by "working."

Generally mixed age relationships are all about meeting specific needs. The older person wants a young, attractive lover, or at the very least a companion. The younger person is generally -- let's be honest here -- looking for some kind of financial stability, or at least free rent. Often the younger person is an artist (or at least an aspiring artist) who has a very low income, or zero income. The older "patron" is a godsend. There are older men who are so lonely and/or desperate for someone to share their lives with that they will even take in and take care of a younger person with whom they don't even have sex.

The older person generally loves the younger one a lot more than the younger one loves the older one, although the younger one can -- in his or her own way -- come to care deeply about the older person, and become quite attached to them (or at least to what they can do for them).

Relationships like this can last for years and in that sense be very successful. But in the long run it's all about using each other. And there are unhealthy aspects to these relationships. Often the older person will fail to encourage the younger one to get out there and deal with life, get a job, etc. because they're afraid that if the younger one becomes independent and/or has an income. they will no longer need the older person. And some younger people in these situations become awfully good at playing the emotions of, and manipulating, the older person.

And what happens when the younger person is middle-aged and the older person is elderly? The older person may have himself a caregiver (which is sometimes the motivation for old men to take younger lovers) -- or he may not. The younger person may make a very good caregiver, but it's tough having an elderly lover with all of those age issues when you have your own middle-aged problems to deal with. Sometimes the younger person can't handle it and just takes off -- while the older person, who spend years caring for and being devoted to the younger one -- is left all alone.

Frankly, I think the best and healthiest relationships are those where the age difference isn't too great, where one partner is not old enough to be their lover's father or mother. Middle-aged and elderly men should look around at guys in their own age range for partners -- after all, many of them are single or "widowed." Such relationships can not only be very successful, but they aren't dependent on financial need, and the two men can certainly relate to each other much better, as they are dealing with similar issues.

Then again, love is where you find it.


Gay Rights said...

Thanks for this article, though I would like to interject that some younger men actually have a sexual interest in older men in general. They like the idea of a daddy or a bear... we could argue ad nauseum whether or not there is some psychological basis for this taste, but it's still there. Sometimes when a younger man likes older men in general and vice versa, the needs can be met sexually and emotionally as well as financially.

Bill Samuels said...

A very good point! I am well aware that there are younger men who are into older guys for reasons that are not necessarily financial. [Although I'm always taken back a bit when somebody snuggling me calls me a "daddy bear" -- why I'm much too young, LOL!]

While I generally prefer guys in my own age range, I appreciate the fact that there are younger men who appreciate older men!

Thanks for your comment.

Pablo said...

I think this is actually really poorly written. I'm a 40 yr old man who has relationships with guys in their 20's and to say that the guy just wants financial stability or couldn't like the man as much as the man likes the boy is so utterly off the mark.

Many young men come out of homophobic households or households where their queerest blocks anynrealmintimacy. They seek it in older gay men. The older man very often is satisfying unmet paternal needs and they can develop deep intimacy and it can be a very valuable relationship for both parties. My relationships are NEVER about money. They are mutually desired and elope and support that flows is deeply fulfilling.

Just sayin...

Bill Samuels said...

"Pablo," did you read the comments just above yours? I completely acknowledge that there are guys who dig older men for other than financial reasons; I've met plenty of them myself. [I've even met younger men who are supporting their older lovers!] And I also acknowledged in the original post that relationships with age differences can last. But come on -- you mean to tell me you've never seen these couples where the age difference is quite pronounced and where the younger one just doesn't happen to have a job? I've seen it happen again and again. Sheesh -- where have you been -- the moon? I think you doth protest too much. Just because you've never encountered younger men who want to use you -- so far -- doesn't mean they don't exist.

I admit I should have made it clearer -- obviously -- that I was writing about a certain type of mixed age relationship, not necessarily the Daddy-bear sexually-oriented kind [although I've no doubt some daddy bears are taking financial care of their bear cubs, whether we like it or not].

This reminds me that it's time for a post about daddies and cubs.

Anyway, thanks for your points and your comments. But I have to say that just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean that it's "poorly written." I think I made my points with clarity in any case, whether you agree with them or not.

Best, Bill

Anonymous said...

Hi I am 23 and am attracted to older men. I have also been in loving relationships with older men. You are right there are MANY younger guys who are just after money etc. Then there are MANY MANY MANY older men just looking for a young lay. What I have found is that even with a 20 year difference in age after awhile you just become people to each other. I mean of course conflicts arise with different generational values and world perspectives but that happens in any relationship.

Bill Samuels said...

Very valid points. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I am 51 and became curious, then close with a 25 year old who manages a house next to mine. We have intensity when we have been together physically. We were becoming to close and he has backed off, and has told me he has had encounters with others recently. He loves me but is not in love with me. I am a bit heart broken. We do not have a lot of common interests or friends. Why am I having trouble getting over him?? Bill,can you advise? I welcome any comments from other people.

Bill Samuels said...

You need to get out and meet new people, and that will make it a lot easier to get over him. He probably moved on because of the age difference and the fact that, as you say, you have little in common. Be happy that you had for a brief time this intense physical relationship and now look for someone new who can give you the whole nine yards -- a full relationship. Good luck!