I Am Responsible and My Younger Boyfriend Doesn’t Have His Act Together

First off I am a gay male. I am 37 and my boyfriend is 21. We have been together for 2 years. I have always been in the horrible position of being both a father and boyfriend to him. When we are boyfriends it is amazing and he is my best friend.

But he has not held up anything on his end about going to school or working. I have 100% taken care of him. To make a long story short the day finally came that I had to kick him out. Not because I didn’t love him or no longer wanted to be with him, but because he was just wasting his life away. I felt like the parent who finally kicks his kid out of the house so they can learn how to make it on their own.

It’s been 3 months and we both are still in love with each other. He has finally gotten his life together but can’t understand why I did what I did. This was pretty much our last issue in a long string of problems. Now how do I get him to see what I did was for him. And now that he has pulled himself together we can finally go forward as partners? –Chris


You sound sweet, so forgive me when I don’t sound as sweet back.

“I have always been in the horrible position of being both a father and boyfriend to him.”

Um, and who put you in that horrible position?

You did. It’s not HIS fault he’s only 21. It’s YOUR fault that you chose to date a kid who was born in the goddamn 1990’s. Seriously, man, I have ties older than your boyfriend!

So for you to complain that you’re his father figure when you chose a kid 16 years younger than you would be like me complaining that the pay at McDonald’s is crap.

Perhaps if I didn’t take the job, I wouldn’t be dissatisfied with it.

Perhaps if you considered what 21-year-olds are actually capable of, you would have considered whether he was mature enough to date a man like you.

Perhaps if you considered what 21-year-olds are actually capable of, you would have considered whether he was mature enough to date a man like you.

Next, you’ve been dating for 3 months and you’re not only “in love” with him, but are “kicking him out” of your house?

When exactly did he move IN to your house, Chris? Week 1? Month 1?

Whatever your answer, it’s pretty clear to me that this relationship is based on the excitement and blindness of chemistry – not on the principles that allow people to build successful long-term relationships.

This doesn’t mean that you DON’T love your boyfriend or that you CAN’T have a relationship with him. It simply means that you were driving 95 mph and are shocked to see that you missed your exit.

Slow down to 65 and you may see things a little bit more clearly.

As for whether you can have a successful relationship with him?

I guess it depends on your level of tolerance for being a father.

Because you’ve got SIXTEEN YEARS of adult life experience over him. He has no wisdom about love. He has no wisdom about work. He has nothing to offer you except for his body and his blank-slate mind.

I’ve written this before and I’ll repeat it because it’s relevant:

If you look back five years, I can almost promise you’ll wonder what you knew at that age.

I knew INFINITELY more at 24 than 19.

As for whether you can have a successful relationship with him?
I guess it depends on your level of tolerance for being a father.

I knew INFINITELY more at 29 than 24.
I knew INFINITELY more at 34 than 29.
I knew INFINITELY more at 39 than 34.

Okay, so maybe you shouldn’t take the word INFINITELY all that literally. But the point is that there’s no substitute for life experience. A 21-year-old kid is all raw potential – just as you were, just as I was. But my 21-year-old self doesn’t hold a candle to the man I am today.

When I was 21, I had the same curious mind and a better body, but I hadn’t failed in Hollywood, I hadn’t been fired from jobs, I hadn’t lost my father, I hadn’t taken care of my mother and sister, I hadn’t tried online dating, I hadn’t loved and lost and loved again, I hadn’t learned how to be an entrepreneur, I hadn’t done self-help, I hadn’t learned to be happy, I hadn’t learned to find my own humility and accept the world as it is, I hadn’t been married, I hadn’t bought a house, I hadn’t had a child, I hadn’t realized all of my dreams.

I don’t know where you’re at in life – and whether a nice kid with a warm heart and a high sex drive is enough for you.

But presuming that it’s not, you should probably find a man who is your equal and brings something more to the table, instead of complaining that your young buck hasn’t yet figured out how to be an adult.

Because any further issues between you two are as predictable as a failure to support a family after a year of toiling at Mickey D’s.

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  1. 31

    No comments on the misstep on the timeline, Evan?

    They were dating for 2 years, which means 37 year old picked up his boyfriend when he was 19. 19! A year out of high school, when he was 35! That’s just crazy precisely for the reasons mentioned in the post — what does anyone know at 19? I know that I refused to date anyone under 20 by the time I was 23 simply because they all had that fresh-out-of-HS mindset.  

  2. 32

    It isn’t age difference it’s age as Evan discusses.  Although I disagree with Evan.  I think that after 10 years a clever person can reach their peak of emotional maturity whereas an idiot stays an idiot, however long the learning curve.  Perhaps Evan is describing normal people.

    Russian women seeking husbands is so 1998.  Russia has the world’s third fastest growing economy.  It’s a lot better place to find work than North America, EU or Japan.  That means not only work for women but work for their potential husbands too.  The Russian marriage rate is second only to the US in the industrialized world.  The divorce rate is very low by Anglo-European standards (about 15% now, historically in 2001 it reached 100% in reaction to the 1998 crisis) and the birth rate is at an historical high.  Average age of first marriage has moved up from 21 (still at college in Russia) to 24 (just finished college).  Abortions are plummeting.  Husbands with secure jobs, high marriage rates at an early age and lots of babies before settling down to a career (compared to greedy idiots faced with having a baby mid career and blaming the patriachy for the situation) is rather against the Anglo-American zeitgeist of my money & my control.  I would argue that Russian women are happier (Russia is shooting up the happiness indices as fast as alcohol consumption is dropping).  Russia is not the place to look for an economically vulnerable woman.

    Nevertheless, my really quite beautiful 36 year old girlfriend of 2+ years (but we’ve known each other for 6), a lawyer turned realator, who, due to speculative investment in property, is now richer than me and knows it, continues to give me her time and affection.  She does have a teenage son but she keeps talking babies.  I’m 60.  She should hurry.  She refuses to move from Russia.  However, I speak fluent Russian and I have a business there so I am not exactly a mail order bride buyer.  It is also true that I may have my best years (money, status) in front of me yet.

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