I won’t sugarcoat the reality of dating a much older partner. I’ve been with a man 15 years older than me for over five years now. And it’s difficult when we step out of our home.
We’re whispered about when we hold hands at the movies. We’ve been pointed at and stared at far too long at restaurants and airports.
When I post pictures of us on social media, I still get comments from strangers about why we’re together in the first place (usually something about sugar daddies and money).
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We genuinely don’t care what anyone assumes about us because we’re in love and happy, but that doesn’t mean the comments and assumptions aren’t exhausting.
We know the world will never understand, but we’re an ordinary couple — two consenting adults who just happen to have a lot in common despite the age difference, although age is not our defining relationship quality.
But when we’re out in public, age is all anyone sees.
The most uncomfortable part of the assumptions people make about us are the "dad/daughter" remarks we hear, which until my appearance catches up with my age, I predict will continue to happen.
I’ve been asked on several occasions if I was my boyfriend’s daughter, to which I always reply, "No, girlfriend."
We’ve learned to roll with the punches and laugh accordingly because truthfully, without humour to get us through these awkward interactions, we would’ve broken up years ago.
The last time a stranger openly assumed my boyfriend and I were a father and daughter duo was just a few weeks ago.
We walked into one of his favourite shops and greeted the sales associates before walking over to the shoe section.
"I’m looking for a black sneaker," my boyfriend said to me. I laughed. "What’s wrong with the three pairs of black sneakers you have at home?" He shakes his head. "I need something different."
He’s a shopaholic at heart, and I find it charming. I’ve never dated someone before him who liked to shop way more than me. While I love to join him on these trips, I usually sit back and let him have his fun.