Long-lost commenter NMH showed up at my recent post about a married woman unloading on me, flattering me and then musing on the elephant in the room of the couple in question’s wide age difference.
I loved the way you milked her for information. This is the Badger at his best.
8 year difference between her 33 and his 25 is usually not much in terms of looks. Wait until she hits 50 and he is 42. Disaster.
I didn’t think of it as consciously milking her for information, but NMH is right – the information flowed very easily and I played into that. One of the things I’ve found about people, and I suppose you could call this a cognitive bias, is that when someone is upset and is emotionally venting, they’ll tell you almost anything as long as you can ask for it in a smooth, non-demanding way. (This is closely related to the fact that when someone is upset, they won’t listen to logical reason nor display much empathy.) They are in an autonomous spiral where they feel comforted revealing information, whether they are compensating for guilt, loneliness or whatever. And if you’ve put yourself in a position to be the person that gives them that comfort, you have a very powerful gravitas in that person’s life.
My thinking is that her husband’s emotional energy was tied up in his own family issues, leaving her to seek someone else to comfort her. It’s not that he’s trying to ignore her, he just can’t service her emotional needs at that time, and the imperatives of marriage implore us to occasionally put our own needs on the shelf for a little while in the event that our partner really does have it worse than us for a time. Some people do this better than others, and some people just coincidentally fall into a situation where someone (ahem, me) all but volunteers to be the sink for their release.
Maybe Athol Kay will stop by and give us his opinion.
As for the age difference, that’s obviously a proxy for a bunch of sex-rank issues like declining fertility, energy difference, lifestyle compatibility and social-status dynamics. I don’t think there is any doubt they were reaching a point where she was starting to pass out of young adulthood entirely, and this was a major anxiety for her – she even said as much to me, not in so many words.
That being said, she looked excellent for a 33-year old in that environment. She was in very good shape and her skin glowed, it hadn’t been ruined by tanning, excessive drinking or stupid duckface photo poses (she also had the most precisely tailored dress pants I had ever seen, they alone hugging her thighs were a sight to behold).
This all got me thinking about why she at 30 got together with a guy who was 22 – what motivated each of them to choose the other? The manosphere is rife with the meme of late-20’s women getting anxious to lock down their beta provider before they hit “the wall,” but a 22-year old man doesn’t have a lot in the name of accumulated status or money. Especially if he’s college educated and just starting out in the real world.
This last sentence got me thinking that maybe he didn’t go to college. That would have given him opportunity cost to spend on early entrepreneurship, or working at a friend’s or family member’s small business, and come into his 20’s much wiser than your average Benjamin Braddock.
If what she told me is true and she fell in love with him during a job interview, it’s highly likely he had ample stores of good looks and natural charisma (i.e. game), attraction factors that are readily apparent on a moment’s meeting. That plus even a bit of apparent ambition can compensate for the lack of tangible paper value of a very young man. She also referenced his maturity; if he put off a fatherly vibe, that can be a very attractive alpha characteristic to the right woman, one who is seeking that kind of stability and leadership.
Now as to the guy’s choice of mate – I didn’t meet him so I really can only speculate from what she said. Clearly she chose him in some way, and so part of his choice was responding to her interest. We can’t discount the fact that (hat tip to reader Mike C) for a young guy, consistent sexual access to a woman is a big motivator in staying with her. If he’s not that interested in having kids then her fertility isn’t going to be a big concern for him. If he is the daddy type she says, he was probably more receptive than your average 22-year old to a relationship with an older woman. And let me tell you from personal experience, a young guy who is really looking for a rewarding relationship with long-term potential gets easily frustrated with women his own age.
And we might also have to think that both these people, in their own ways, were motivated (possibly too strongly) to lock it down, to secure the future before thinking hard about what it was actually going to be. She certainly gave off the airs that the whole thing wasn’t quite was she expected.