Challenges of dating an older man
At the insistence of my husband — who is called Carol, named by his Europhile parents after King Carol of Romania — it had to be the largest in the village, and the garden grandly led down to the banks of the river.He revelled in the praise his friends piled on him for enjoying the perfect lifestyle — a stunning house and, of course, the icing on the cake, a nubile young wife. I watched with morbid fascination as my husband — sporting a pair of comfortable loose-fitting trousers, calf-length brown socks and his favourite Velcro-strapped sandals — strutted about our terrace like a bantam cockerel.Carol revelled in reminiscing about his formative years, talking about a life he enjoyed before I was born.Listening to him on a daily basis became boring and predictable. Maybe he was threatened by my ‘rebellion’, my growing independence and the slimmer, less- manageable me. Or maybe — probably — he was as unhappy in our age-gap marriage as I was.From the outside it was an idyllic scene — one I can still conjure up to this day.
In 1995, when I was 38 and Carol 60, he was admitted to hospital for open-heart surgery.After Carol’s stroke, the few pleasures I used to enjoy were further curtailed — my daily run along the lanes in our French neighbourhood, for example.Even so, I put up with being Carol’s geriatric nurse, and I could just about cope with the weight gain and demise of my personal appearance — not to mention the stress of working full-time and running our large home.I overlooked the fact that Carol could barely stand at the ceremony.Afterwards, instead of a night of newly wedded bliss, I put him to bed at 5pm, having given him his medication and changed his dressings.
I really enjoyed his company: he was sophisticated, well travelled and interesting, and I was smitten within weeks.