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David Eddie's Damage Control

My older hubby's interest in young women creeps me out Add to ...

The question

I'm 54 and in a relationship with a 61-year-old Warren Beatty kind of guy who finally hung up his spurs a few years ago. We have a great relationship and I feel that I have it all. But his interest in younger women disturbs me. He doesn't understand how creeped out I get when I hear him (and some of his buddies) make jokes about their friends' daughters. I don't think he understands how jealous I feel since, although I look fine for my age, I'm no longer young and beautiful. When we were first together I felt like I was constantly telling him to tone down his remarks, and to his credit he has largely done that (with only the occasional slip-up). And he's gone to great lengths to assure me that I'm the one for him and that he's glad he's stopped chasing younger women because the age gap made it so hard to relate. All my older gal friends tell me it's completely normal for older men to lust after young, sexy chicks and it makes them feel young again. I know he loves me, and I love him, but will I ever get over feeling angry and jealous for all of this?

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The answer

Normal it may be for an older man to lust after a younger woman (God, I've been doing this advice thing too long, I'm starting to sound like Yoda), but what's irksome in this circumstance, I feel, is that he does it so openly in front of you, his significant other.

Now, it may be that I'm a little tetchy on this topic, and too draconian. But I understand your irritation with this kind of overt display. Me, I object to all discussion of the hotness/charm of other men, even Hollywood stars, in my presence.

My wife, Pam, is used to it by now. But her friends are always so surprised when I throw a hissy-fit-a-licious snit if they start to discuss the scrumptiousness of the latest Hollywood man-crumpet while I'm within earshot.

Pam's friend, sipping chardonnay: "Ooh, by the way, Pam, did you see George Clooney give that speech at Habitat for Humanity? He's so dreamy: I would like to take the band of his underwear between my teeth and …"

Me: "Pardon me for interrupting, madam, but are you aware that I, a man, am sitting right here in the room?"

Pam, rolling her eyes about me to her friend, explains: "Dave doesn't like anyone discussing other men in front of him."

Pam's friend: "Ah, lighten up, Dave. It's not like it's someone you know! We're talking about George Clooney here, and let's face it, he …"

Me: "Pardon me for interrupting once again, madam, but first of all George Clooney is a douchey commitment-phobic, modelizing, wheelie-popping man-boy - everything I thought you women claimed to despise. Believe me, if you ever dated him it would end in tears -for you. And secondly I know it's goofy, but I don't like other men praised in my presence, as if I were some kind of neutered eunuch. I feel it's rude."

It might not be exactly rational. But as long as I'm alive and still have some junk jiggling around in my jockeys, it's going to bother me. Even when I'm a doddering old codger hobbling along with a walker, my ear-hairs blowing in the breeze, I want Pam and all her friends to pretend the hunkiness of all other men is secondary to mine.

I return the favour by refraining from praising other women in her presence. I could drone on, for example, about how Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame (my tastes aren't subtle) causes steam to issue from all my cranial orifices, as well as my collar and cuffs. But I keep these thoughts to myself, and praise only Pam.

You have the right to the same treatment. Particularly when it comes to friends' daughters. Eww! The image of a bunch of hairy, hoary sexagenarians sitting in their Speedos in a row of lawn chairs at a cottage, say, going all silent and snickery, muttering and bobbing their eyebrows up and down as one of their friends' daughters sashays past in her bikini is so barf-tastic it almost triggers my gag reflex just thinking about it.

Of course, we all have our secret thoughts, fantasies and desires; but some things you keep stuffed deep inside your Stetson.

I urge you to confront him, madam, and say as much. Tell him you understand it's natural to have stray thoughts, but that the only decent thing is to keep them to himself.

To conclude your comments, ask him the question my wife has on (rare and increasingly rarer) occasion asked me, and which always cuts me like a knife: "You want to be thought of as a gentleman, don't you?"

Of course I do, darling! I hate even being asked that. And he should, too.

But maybe he's not interested in being a gentleman. Maybe he would prefer to drool over his friends' daughters until he's drooling into his morning mush in the corner of an old folks' home.

In which case I would say: Don't waste any more time on him. Life's too short.

If he won't change his ways, move on. Find a man who will treat you like you're the only woman in the world. Do you deserve any less?

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. Damage Control, the book, was released in March.

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I've made a huge mistake Have you created any damage that needs controlling? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com, and include your hometown and a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

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