Hello. My name is Shari and I’m marrying a younger man.
I never thought I’d get married, let alone to someone over a decade younger. According to my mother, I had a better chance of being struck by lightning than ever getting married in my mid-forties.
I longed for a real partner and I did not want to settle. And once I got to the other side of forty, hope faded.
When I hit 44, I actually surrendered. I gave up the struggle and embraced life as a freelancer with a dog and an apartment I couldn’t afford in Manhattan. That was that. I made my peace with this decision.
I accepted that my “picker” was broken. I dated bad men. A lot of them. Some hotter than others, but the one thing they all had in common: none wanted to marry me. I became self-reliant — in my life, I was the roach killer, morning coffee maker and solo whole-pizza eater.
Still, with all this acceptance and the occasional lover, I couldn’t kill the desire for a committed partnership. Trying to turn it off was like trying to turn off an open fire hydrant cooling a block of small, sweaty children during mid-summer.
And then I met Craig. He was everything I wanted — hot, talented, wise-beyond-his-years — but in the package of a 30-year-old man. Who was I kidding? I had records older than him. Did he even know what Toto was? Or if it ever ended up raining in Africa?
I thought it was just sex… And entertainment for my friends. They scoured the internet and inundated me with gifs of Samantha and Smith from “Sex in the City,” snaps of Susan Sarandon and her ping-pong guy and, of course, cougar memes.
But he persisted. At every turn, he showed me he meant every sunflower he gave me, every time he reached for my hand and every cup of coffee he got me with the exact right amount of sugar. He convinced me that my life was not set. My life was about to be changed forever and in the best way possible.
I racked my brain — how could this 30-year-old be OK with dating someone close to menopause? After all, I am 13 years and seven months older than he is and was concerned that he’d want kids. He doesn’t. I thought he would be too young to want a committed partnership. He’s not. I thought he hadn’t lived enough to know what he does, or does not, want. Not true.
I had finally met a man, who at 13 years and seven months younger than I, had more chutzpah, self-possession and emotional maturity than any man I’d ever been with who was “age appropriate.”
What’s amazing is what people will actually say to you on the topic, out loud:
- “He’ll leave you for a younger woman when you start losing your looks.”
- “He’s not going to stick around if you get sick.”
- “He’s going to change his mind and want a family.”
There are also those who think I’m nothing short of a goddess for making this connection, cheering me on with affirmations like, “You go girl,” “I bet you have all the sex,” and “You’re my hero.”
The truth is, I am none of these things. I’m just a woman, who let go of what I thought my life should look like, and met a boy, who knew what he wanted — me. Not 46-year-old me, not 13 years and seven months older me, simply me.
Me, who wakes up with bad breath and bed head. Me, who owns no property, is in credit card debt and who complains about her career and her ass in varying degrees of annoyance. Me, who feels no age difference anymore unless we’re talking about ’70s TV shows, then maybe a little. Me, who loves him so much I can’t ever imagine being without him.
And in September, me becomes we, in front of our family and closest friends in New York City.