My Definition of Love: The 31 Year Age Gap

Love: supposedly intangible and complicated. I’m in love with a man: tangible and simple.

We all question; What is love? Why is it difficult? Where does it go when it ends? I want to tell you a little something I learnt in answer to these questions after I met an older man who defined it; and gifted me a book called ‘Love Stories.’ You’re probably preparing your cheek bones to wince, but read on anyway because cringe-worthy things can all liquify into the shape of tears, the deeper you dig.

WHO’S THE MAN I LOVE?

Simon Andrews. That name means absolutely nothing to you (depending on who you are) because, who the heck is Simon Andrews? But, exactly like two fictional characters in a love story putting you in awe, let me narrate our little love story.

Time doesn’t equal value. The first touch, one stranger to another, instantly told me it was love. Here’s some brief backstory. I had been wanting to learn to surf for three years of living in Port Macquarie. I’d been rambling to my colleague about my desperation to be apart of the local surfing and van-life culture.

One day, at the café- which I still work at- there was a random customer who was friends with this colleague and she outright asked him if he’d teach me to surf. I soon learned he was local and a hardcore surfer & van-lifer.

Because life is too short for waiting but, also moves too fast, we met up at Town Beach that afternoon. I won’t lie: I had sneaky fears of being kidnapped- he was significantly older (more on that later). However, his energy was so soft, I trusted him. I trusted my intuition.

I exaggerated my fears of the ocean and lack of knowledge about currents because I was a sucker, petrified of being swept out to sea. I made sure he knew my life depended on him. No pressure. Long story short: after hours and hours of chatting and exchanging similar values and histories, and further meeting family and friends, etc. we became inseparable.

It’s entertaining when I look back: I let a complete stranger mount me to help me steer through the rolling waves! That’s what they all do in surf school, right? A year and a half later, I’m still letting him mount me. HAHA.

He opened my blind eyes to this ‘dream life’ I had always been imagining. He understood me. We travelled to local beaches; and through time with photographs and stories. Over the span of the year and a half, he has motivated me to be fit, helped me conquer my social anxiety, and brought clarity to my disparate personality.

We’ve levelled out our daily habits and hobbies; like when you spend too much time with someone and start to become them, you know? We’ve become a union. Throughout the process, it’s seemed as if life has moved obstacles off our road, while impeccably timing everything.

Love is: encouraging self-improvements.

MAKING LOVE LONG-LASTING

Step one: Love yourself

Step two: Love the person

Step three: These tips below

Here is a detailed list of the tips I learnt that keeps my relationship strong, productive, healthy and ever-lasting. This applies to friendships and well, any interaction where there is an exchange of care/ love/ dignity.

Why credit my apparent ‘inexperience’?

My simple answer: I’m content, I’m grateful, I feel loved, friends and strangers tell me I’m glowing, and I read a book called ‘Love Stories’ which corroborated all these points 🙂 Once again, more below.

And, if you watch Married At First Sight, why not have a little belief in me?

Okay, the list!

Communication

From the beginning, our relationship has felt like one long and enduring explanation of self. Simon and me have covered every topic about our; current values & beliefs; personal needs; expectations; and upbringings, for hours that stretch into the early morning.

Even now, we are frequently expressing our true feelings for absolutely everything; dislikes for the way one acts or approaches a situation; if something is bothering us; what our gestures mean; all of that.

Just damn communicate with each other! That’s literally the only way to exchange feelings and thoughts as humans to other humans. Actually, to any organism on the planet. Stop assuming they can mysteriously understand your feelings and actions- even when you think it’s obvious. It’s not. Don’t assume.

It can be difficult when you don’t want to hurt them or cause a roadblock on the relationship. Be kindly honest anyway- true love will be strong enough.

Love is: talking through the hurt.

Selflessness

I hate loving him when I’m mad at him. It’s one of the most humorous traits I have. However, it’s easy to tuck my anti-Simon attitude back into my box of ego when I consider if I’d never met him- everything I would have never experienced or appreciated. Or worse, if he died.

How would you change your feelings if you were angry with a loved one, holding a grudge or whatever, then find out they died, unknowingly, only hours ago? It would be a solid kick in the guts; it would be sad. You have to put your ego back into that box sometimes to avoid any regretful feelings. I suppose, this depends on the situation and what he did in relation to why you’re mad.

I will note, there is a fine line between negotiating when you’re acting silly, and when you’re neglecting yourself. This is where having a sense of self-awareness comes handy. I don’t want any of you guys accepting their rude behaviour or not allowing yourself to have emotions because you want this love act to play out.

Love is: putting yourself aside.

Patience

My favourite trait of Simon’s is his absolute patience with me. We have an age difference of thirty-one years, *gasp!* I know, (more on this, below). He’s had to try and understand me from a pre-twenties point of view: leaving home and going out into the adult world. I’ve had to read the dictionary to try and understand him sometimes.

I’m giggling because it’s very true- I don’t know as many words.

Anyhow, the knot of our misunderstandings disentangle with patience and time. During meltdowns about what I’m doing in life and who my friends are (typical of 18/19 year olds), he’s held me and wiped my tears for hours. He’s been exhausted and drained yet, kisses my wet cheeks and squeezes me tightly when I need him. He can listen, and listen, and listen until my non-sense starts to make sense to me.

I’m quite lucky he’s so much older that he can mentor and guide me through my question marks. He’s complimentary to my needs.

Love is: listening, and listening, and listening.

Acceptance

Despite all his interests that are of my least interest, despite his wacky personality, the age gap, and bald head, I f*cking love him. We have some gravitational pull where our differences are yin and yang. Judgement and comparison are forms of conditional loving and a love under those conditions will die. It will always die. Accept what your spouse person likes, loves & obsesses about.

I’m grateful for his distaste for eggplant, because I love roasted eggplant- and no, I’m not talking about the emoji.

Recently, a quote randomly popped into my head and invigorated me- the way something does when your passions are tickled or you become enlightened.

You don’t have to be interested in the topic to care when someone talks about it.

me while running

The quote reminded me of Married At First Sight (let’s just call it MAFS). On the show, a woman in one of the couples emphasised how she wasn’t attracted to her partner because they had no commonalities. I thought she was very rude and that it wasn’t an excuse to not care about him.

From my relationship, I learned that you don’t really need any common interests to get along and love. You need common values/ past/ family/ traits, which some of these are mere chance. So, you should care when someone speaks of things they like because you’re caring about them, not the footy team they support.

I will quickly elaborate: sometimes your differences can diverse and put you on two separate pathways- it happens. Understand each other well before you start tying knots.

Love is: caring about things that don’t interest you.

Negotiation

Unfortunately, as two entities, follows two separate careers, interests and possibilities of opportunities that could split us. No two people are exactly the same, otherwise we’d just be one person. There’s going to have to be negotiation, for housing, work, time, commitments, marriage, and children, in accordance with what you both want from life.

You have to be on the same page and keep looking down the same alleyway of life. This reminds me of when Simon bought a damn fridge magnet from some hippie store a few weeks into our relationship, with the quote:

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other but looking out together in the same direction.”

Fridge magnet

Love is: the fridge magnet, reminding us of our future together.

I READ A BOOK ABOUT LOVE

Simon gifted me this book called: ‘Love Stories’ by Trent Dalton. Over the few sloth months I took to read it, I became inspired to write this blog post- to share with you my observations of real life and contrast them to the stories in that book.

This isn’t a book review and I’m not being paid to advertise his book- I’m simply inspired. In the book, Trent sits on the main street in Brisbane and listens to strangers’ love stories. The doses of compassion and raw emotions from this tear jerking composition of reiterated human stories, had me stumbling like a heroin addict, tripping in looooooooooove.

All my experiences and ideas of love could be corroborated with this book.

Funnily enough, I was stalking Trent’s Instagram page, fan-girling at eleven O’clock at night and found a post that he was going to be at a nearby writer’s festival the following weekend, to discuss the damn book! Of course, I bought tickets despite how I’m trying to save for my Fiji holiday next month.

Love is: impulsive buying.

LASTLY, ONLY FOR THE MVP’S STILL READING AND NOT CRINGING

My partner is thirty-one years older than me. 31. He lives life young at heart and I live life attaining wisdom. He’s not a creep, I’m not mentally ill.

Love knows no restrictions. Love is whatever you want it to be. Love will bring out our best and worst and have us forever in doubt of the truth. Luckily, despite our questions and insecurities, there are no answers to anything- and yet love persists anyway.

That’s what love is:

Love just is.

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Poet and yogi. Evoking the heart's truths from my observations and journey of self-discovery to inspire people.

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