Younger wives, older husbands, no babies

My husband was 15 years older than I was. My partner at work is married to a man 14 years older. She is also childless. Both of our husbands were married before, and each had three children with their first wives. They were not interested in having any more.

Show of hands. How many readers are women married to older men or men married to considerably younger women?

I thought so.

Wikipedia shows a relatively low percentage of couples with 10 years or more difference, but I suspect that percentage is higher among those of us who are childless by marriage.

When I was growing up way back in the 50s and 60s, I was told that it was good for husbands to be a few years older and therefore that much wiser. Girls mature sooner, and there’s always that ticking fertility clock. My dad had five years on my mom, those years spent fighting in World War II. My first husband, a Vietnam vet, was 3 ½ years older. Not a problem, right?

The first go-round, most of us marry people about our own age. Often, we meet at school, so our partners are likely to be less than four years older or younger. And that works. We grew up in the same culture, with the same music, the same TV shows, and the same history. We may or may not agree on having children, but biology is on our side.

But then we get divorced–or maybe we missed the first round–and now we’re hooking up with people who have been married before. Maybe they had children and are looking forward to the empty nest, but we haven’t even laid our eggs yet. We have a problem much bigger than the fact that he liked Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt and a popular singer/actress back in the 50s) and you liked the Beatles. Or Aerosmith and Imagine Dragons. Whatever.

Older men marry younger women all the time. Some do want to have children (speaking of George Clooney), but others are done. Sorry, they took that ride before, and they’re not going to do it again. So why marry a geezer? Because the good guys your own age are already married. Because they are more mature, more established in their careers and offer the security you felt (or didn’t feel) with your father. Because you’ve been hurt before and he feels safe. Because you love who you love.

If you’re the younger woman, you might be accused of being a gold digger, wanting the older man for his money and prestige. Sometimes that’s true. I loved Fred with all my heart and I honestly didn’t realize he was that much older when we started dating. But I was not unaware that he offered security, a house with lots of great things, and a chance to travel all over the world. I didn’t marry him for that, but it was there. And we had his kids. Sometimes it felt like a family when they were young. So maybe I didn’t need children of my own? Big sigh.

There are other possible issues. You’ll be at different places in your careers, and he’ll want to retire when you’re far from ready. You may end up nursing him and watching him die. But for the years that it’s good, it can be totally worth it. It was for me. And again, good mates are hard to find. Should we let the calendar dictate whom we should love?

Check out these articles. I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on the subject of young-old partnerships.

“Famous Women Who Married Much Older Men”

“So I Married a Much Older Man”

“Things to Consider before Marrying a Much Older Man”. I disagree with some of these, but some of them are all too true.

So, what do you think? Please comment.

4 thoughts on “Younger wives, older husbands, no babies

  1. Song and verse….second marriage for both, he was six years older with custody of a 13-year-old son. Decided a couple years into the marriage that he was done. Raise mine, none for you.


    • Interesting. I’m in a similar position. Second marriage for both. He is 50, I’m 43. He has three kids from a previous marriage (12, 17, 20), I’m childless NOT by choice. First husband didn’t want them. Made damn sure I would never get pregnant. It was awful.

      Fast forward 15 years and now I’m remarried. He’s a wonderful man. Initially, he did not want kids, and told me so while dating. At that time, I was still brainwashed into thinking I would be a terrible Mom anyway (and I was 38) so I didn’t think twice when he asked me to marry him. Turns out I’m a great Momma, even better than Bio Mom (say the 12- and 17-year-olds, plus Dad). The 20-year-old hates me because Mom has made up all kinds of lies to cover her mistakes. BioMom cheated on Dad, many times. Dad had enough and filed for divorce. She didn’t want the kids to find out so brainwashed them into crazy stories, INCLUDING telling them I caused their divorce even though I wasn’t in their life until years later. She was so convincing it took the youngest until this year to realize the timelines didn’t add up. Not joking. Two weeks ago, she told us that of all her friends with divorced parents, she has the most awesome stepmom, and a Dad that is still around and loves them. She said her mom is the problem. She sees, and doesn’t like what she sees. Eldest still believes the mom, and is pretty mean to the younger two if they don’t fall in line with her lies.

      Anyway, my desire to have children kicked into overdrive once I realized I didn’t suck and got closer with the children. DH conceded. We went to a lecture for older adults and fertility. Spoke with a doctor for 15 minutes who told us IVF was the only way. Possibly donor eggs/sperm. That scared him and now he doesn’t want kids anymore. He’s worried about my health as I’m older, and worried he’ll have a nervous breakdown dealing with his ex, current kids and a new baby. Especially a baby that isn’t his and can’t guarantee if they’ll be healthy because the genetics are not ours. At one point, he told me he loved me so much that he thought we should get divorced so that I could go have a baby on my own, or with a younger man. I lost it.

      THAT, on top of the grief and insane depression I’ve had over not being a mother just crushed me. I went from being really sad to really sad and angry. I know a lot of it is tied to my first husband and the mind games he used to pull on this subject. I’ve been in therapy and started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. I was a healthy, thriving, happy single person until coming into this life. I fell in love with someone who does love me, and wants to take care of me for the long haul…but who comes with all this baggage (much of which I’m not sharing here). A lot of this came out after we got married, and if I say anything to anyone, their first comment is, “You should have known.” Ummm, I’m not able to predict the future, so how would I have known? I’ve never married a guy with kids before. Waited a year into our relationship before meeting the kids because I wanted to be sure it was for real. They were very pleasant, until we got engaged. Once the ex found out we were serious, she got to work trying to wreck our relationship, and ruin me. At that time, we had moved in together, were building a house and planning to get married. OMG! Never had to deal with a high-conflict ex, never moved somewhere because someone else made the decision and we just had to follow. Lots of “nevers,” and it’s been really hard. He promised me it would get better, and we have made progress, but I think all the bad stuff, and the hormones, and the depression/anxiety have just broken me. I’ve lost myself, feel completely mental, and am so far away from friends and family. I’m alone. There is no one to give me a hug if I’m sad (my husband travels a lot). Now, I feel like I’m giving up my chance to have children.

      These kids will never have a mother/child relationship with me. They are grateful I’ve taught them so many things their mother hasn’t (well, the younger two) but they’ll always be terrified to show their appreciation because of how mom will behave if she finds out. Eldest is a tattletale, Mom’s spy. She should be in college, elsewhere, but dropped out. Things were getting so much better, and now are reverting because she moved back home. I’m the evil step-mom again because eldest says so, so my depression is getting worse. My anger is getting worse. I feel like I don’t have any control over my own life. I can’t even control my professional life, because we live in the sticks (not by choice…because Mom ran off with the kids and he followed) so there are no jobs in my field. Thankfully, I was able to obtain a work-from-home position, but it’s entry level and I’m an executive. I have always made things work, my entire life. Adjusted to whatever situation I was in to make it work. This is the first time I feel like I’m constantly fighting to make it work, and it’s not.

      In short, I don’t know if LOVE is enough. He is a strong, caring, kind, funny, provider. I love him dearly. He tells me they consider me family, and everyone really does care about me. I do not love dealing with the baggage and how he has chosen not to stand up to his ex’s dumb decisions. My MIL told me he never would AFTER we got married, and said “good luck dealing with that evil B****” and laughed. If I ever complained about not having kids or what I had to deal with, she would just say, “You knew, and is nothing ever good enough for you? Can’t you just be happy with my grandkids?” What? Has a childless women EVER received that comment from their MIL before?

      I wish I knew how crazy the ex was before we were married. I wish I knew my MIL wasn’t really the funny, kind, person she portrayed. I wish I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough to deal with it all, and how it would change me.

      Now, I feel broken. My anger towards dealing with all of this pain has turned me into a very unhappy, negative person. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I don’t even know how to look at my days in a positive light. It’s just all gray and cloudy. I didn’t know trying to be a decent stepparent would mean I would get treated like crap for years. I feel lied to and taken advantage of, and now cash-strapped because I’ve paid for so much in this household it’s not even funny. No, we don’t share financial accounts. We’ve dealt with too many court/money situations, and I don’t want his ex knowing what I do, how much I make, and how much I have saved. It’s none of her business. She’s constantly having the kids ask me how much I make. Awesome, huh?

      Guess I should have done my research. Now I feel really ignorant. The honeymoon has worn off and we’ve only been together five years, married for three. I’ve heard it takes seven to work out most of the kinks. I don’t know if I can make it to seven years at this rate. But then, I’ll feel like a failure. Divorced again because I made a bad decision and didn’t know what this life would be like.

      Does anyone have any advice? Is this what it is like? Does it get better? How do you stay sane when you don’t have a support network near you?

      Please help.

      Thank you, and terribly sorry for the long note. I happened to stumble across this and felt connected in some way, I guess.


  2. I’m in a similar, but not exactly the same, boat. He has his kids, now adults. When I turned up pregnant, he was not happy at all. Slowly he warmed up to the idea. Then I miscarried. It was barely a blip on his radar. He went on with life as normal while I tried to process with little support.


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