When I was 19, I met a man who lied to me about his age.
He said was he was 38, but he was actually 41.
Some of you may be shocked by the 38 bit, let alone the over 40 bit. But I was cool with it. My own father had recently left our home for another woman, so I was looking for a father figure, not a young boy.
I’m now the age he was when we started dating, and my step son is the age I was. And I can see now, so very clearly, what a power imbalance that was.
The lie about his age was the first red flag I should have heeded; but I was 19 and in control of my decisions, right? I was a ‘consenting adult’. No laws were being broken.
I should take responsibility, and I can’t blame him…
So why do I now think of our relationship – which happened during my first decade as an adult – and feel a bit ripped off that he didn’t think more of what it all meant for me?
Because, whilst I didn’t realise it at the time, I made too many decisions based on his age. I started living his life stage – with his children, school uniforms, parent-teacher interviews, early nights and early mornings, school holidays…and tied to the city we lived in – not mine.
I didn’t know what I was giving up, because it didn’t feel like a sacrifice at the time. But at 21 years older than me, had he thought a little more about me, and less about how great it was to have a young chick who was devoted and loved shagging, I might feel a little bit more fondly of our years together.