Vicky was 42, a human services specialist for the government, when she discovered Ian, 29, a bank officer. They were both divorced and they both owned homes in the suburbs, practically across the street from each other. Vicky was trying to start her lawnmower one day when Ian jogged into her life. Ever the good neighbor, he stopped to help her out.
“He was suntanned, 6-feet-1, 180 pounds, gorgeous.”
Vicky had been divorced for four years at this point and was in a nice “calm” time in her life. Her job was exciting, it involved lots of travel, and she was content. But Ian put on a full-court press and she finally gave in.
“He was so ardent and he told me over and over that our age difference meant nothing to him.”
They went from a dinner date to a “storybook romance.” They saw each other every night and stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning talking. He introduced her to his parents, she introduced him to her father. Vicky was in love and she found herself giving up everything and devoting herself entirely to Ian. And then after two months, she could feel him pull away.
He was seeing several other women ranging from 24 to 47. “No wonder our age difference meant nothing to him. It was all a game.” She would watch out her window and see the parade of girlfriends come and go.
“It made me crazy. It was pure torture. I wanted to sell my house and get out of that neighborhood, but I couldn’t afford to take a loss.”
Vicky signed up for an online dating service. “I had to break Ian’s hold on me.” And that’s how she met Chris. On their first date, she told him all about Ian. He commiserated with her. He had his own unhappy tale. After five years of marriage, his wife suddenly wanted out. She commiserated with him. Sharing their pain brought them together. But then, something else took over.
“While I can’t say I’m in love, I know I’m in heavy like. He makes me feel so very good in a gentle kind of way. He likes me for what I am. Ian is so golden, so high-powered that I’m sure he’ll marry Miss America, but Chris likes me for what I am, an aging Ms. America.”
But Vicky isn’t completely over Ian. “I’ll watch his life and career from a distance. But I have a warning for women my age who get swept away by younger men — they talk nice, but they have so little to lose. You have so much more at stake and they just don’t seem to understand what you know so well. Time is not unlimited and today’s choices preclude tomorrow’s possibilities.
“In some ways I feel sorry for Ian. Today everything is possible for him, everything is going so well that he can’t foresee the day when the job becomes routine, the promotions stop, the pretty faces start looking the same and it’s hard to get motivated to do anything. I’ve seen it happen. The ‘golden’ boys wind up searching desperately for anyone or even anything that can make them feel the very things they ran so hard from in their heyday.”
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