Last August I went to Greece with a bunch of friends. To my amazement, a waiter at our local taverna made it clear he fancied me. The thing is he’s 27, while I’m 51. On the last night things escalated and we ended up having amazing sex.
Ever since, we’ve been texting and he’s been begging me to come back. My friends say he just wants to fleece me for money.
I know how hackneyed my story appears, but he’s the first man I’ve liked since my divorce and we have a connection. Am I being foolish beyond belief?
This first appeared in the Daily Mail.
This letter is full of excitement and hyperbole and the first two lines sound as though they are written by an 18 year old. So here we are on holiday with friends, having sex with a waiter. It’s not difficult to picture the scene – rowdy, approachable women keen to enjoy themselves. Then you point out the age gap and later you allude to a divorce that was apparently so painful that nobody has seemed attractive since.
It feels as though there are at least three aspects of you in this letter; a young girl having slightly manic fun, a sad older lady wondering how to deal with life after divorce and then your ego, which is struggling with the other two to force you to face reality. The fun girl says ‘bunch of friends,’ ‘fancied me’, ‘amazing sex’, ‘texting’, ‘begging’. The sadder, older lady hopes there is a ‘connection’, is ashamed of the ‘hackneyed’ story and says he’s the first man you’ve liked since you got divorced. Then there is the ego function, blazing through to point out the facts. ‘He is 27’, ‘he just wants to fleece me for money,’ ‘foolish beyond belief.’
Part of you knows very well the answer to the question you ask. Part of you desperately hopes you are wrong. The fact that he is the first man you have liked since getting divorced may have a great deal to do with the age gap and the seeming impossibility of a real relationship. As the older, and presumably richer, party you are in control. I wonder whether you and your friends were being predatory on holiday? Perhaps taking out some unconscious aggression towards men by being sexually dominant? He showed interest in you first and he is ‘begging’ you for further contact. This all serves to make you feel less vulnerable after what I imagine was a painful experience – your divorce. You have been hurt and now real intimacy with an equal feels dangerous. You felt less inhibited on holiday and very little was required of you. All of this must have seemed very liberating and rejuvenating. It may well be that you have a genuine connection with this man, though, if so, you describe him in quite a denigrating way – you mention his job, his age and one night of sex, but in a way that makes him sound almost formulaic, not like a real person.
It seems to me that you felt youthful and powerful with this man who, as you are aware, is young enough to be your son. You don’t mention whether or not you do, in fact, have children. I suspect that you are at a difficult stage in your life, no longer married and having to come to terms with ageing and building a new kind of life as an older woman who has been through a lot. Of course there is a fantasy of returning to youth and having another go and it is tempting to believe in the romance of a new life far away from your domestic problems with someone who cannot judge you within known cultural perameters. I imagine (my own fantasy) that you felt annihilated by your divorce, as though death was just around the corner now. This terrified you and your affair is a pretty classic defence against annihilation (fun though it may well have been). This boy is part of your crisis.
But you have asked the question and you have answered it yourself. You do not sound deluded – there is enough understanding in your letter to show that a large part of you is grounded in reality. You are not foolish – you are wistful, nostalgic for youth, hopeful for change and frightened both of death and of the real future. A future without a very dependent young man whose allure lies in the very fact of his being a fantasy figure for you.
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