Dating someone 15 years younger than you

I've always tended to get along better with people a decade or so younger than me—peg it to my being single with no kids as well as a attitude that led me to spend my own 20s and 30s bouncing from guy to state to job. I knew that the guests at the party were going to be younger than me; I work as an occupational therapist at a hospital and most of the coworkers I'm closest with are the ones in their 20s and early 30s.

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Even his mother approves of us, saying that Mike has always been one to follow his heart. My dad has no idea how old Mike is, and while my mom knows he's younger, she's never asked for details. Although he says having children isn't important to him and that he'd still feel fulfilled without kids, I don't believe him.

But they've seen how skittish I am about romance, so I think they're just happy that I'm happy. That's actually one of our biggest fights—and where the age-difference thing comes out in full force.

In general, he's good at making things workin a way that always surprises me.

He wants to try new recipes, fix the backsplash in the kitchen, and invite friends over to make cocktails from the contents of the liquor cabinet.

It was as if by getting to know me on my terms and proving he wanted me in his life as a friend, I'd finally felt comfortable enough to open up in a way I didn't with men I met in typical dating situations.

A few more conversations like that and Mike and I became a couple. It took almost six months before I got used to calling him my boyfriend, even as I was surprised by how little people cared. I occasionally get a side-eye from a bartender when we're both asked for ID.

He obliged, and as we clinked glasses, I guessed he was in his early 30s. That's so weird." The word rattled around in my head, even after he changed the subject to his upcoming marathon training. The banter that had come so easily seemed stilted in the bar. I said yes, but as soon as I got to the meet-up spot, I wanted to drive away. It wasn't what they were wearing—I was wearing an athletic tank top and hiking pants, same as the other women—but they all seemed so carefree.

Meanwhile, I wanted to slide under the table and disappear. At the party, I flirted with the handsome man making a rum and coke in the kitchen, asking if he could whip one up for me, too. A week later, he invited me to join him and his friends for a hike, followed by a party.

I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life alone, and I'd made my peace with that.

I'd gone on enough dates that didn't lead anywhere—often with much more age-appropriate matches than Mike­—and I just didn't see the point in pretending we were something we weren't.

It's about appreciating the moment, not taking a cozy night in for granted, and not letting the time we do have pass us by.

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