So, hey, kids. Good for you, you’ve figured out something that most gays take decades to realize: experience is sexy, and smart older guys can teach you things you never knew you never knew. (That’s a quote from Pocahontas. It’s a movie. It came out the year you were born.)
1. Be honest
What are your intentions? What do you want out of this relationship? Be up-front and honest at the start of the relationship. That way you can both make sure you’re on the same page. Maybe one of you is looking for a fling while the other wants to settle down — well, you’d better make sure that’s clear before things get too far. Intergenerational relationships are particularly prone to mismatched expectations, so you’re better off clearing the air at the start. (And remember: expectations can change over time, so a periodic checkin is advisable.)
2. No more games
Older guys have learned the value of being direct and honoring their word. They’re far less likely than your flakey young friends to play mind games or manipulate, and they’ll respect you if you follow through on your commitments. Being considerate is key.
“So if you say you want to hang out on Saturday night, then make a reservation, plan ahead and for God’s sake, be on time,” says Daddyhunt CEO Carl Sandler. “Don’t ignore Daddy’s calls and drunk text him at 11 p.m., expecting him to be excited you reached out. Follow through is the key to Daddy’s love.”
3. Think like a daddy
If you’re looking for a daddy, go where daddies go. Look for hangouts like Twin Peaks in San Francisco, where mature gentlemen congregate. Or join organizations that cater to met of all ages, like Frontrunners or Gay for Good. Deliberately go outside of your usual comfort zone. You’ll never find a daddy if you only hang out at 18+ nights.
4. He deserves your respect
Being young doesn’t make you special, so don’t think that your pretty soft skin makes you more important than he is. A successful intergenerational couple enjoys mutual respect, even if he can’t figure out how to program his DVR. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that he needs you more than you need him. And don’t think that just because he’s more financially successful than you are, you’re entitled to his cash. Let him decide whether he’s going to treat you to dinner. Acknowledge it when he does something nice. And if you can’t match him, dollar-for-dollar, you can still do nice things for him that don’t cost any money.
5. It’s OK to be you
Being the younger guy can sometimes feel a little marginalizing. His advanced knowledge, success, and poise might discourage you, or make you feel stupid and small. But hey, you have nothing to apologize for. It’s OK that you’re still young. Remember, your daddy was once just like you. So don’t think of your youth and inexperience as a liability. Don’t deprive yourself of doing young-person things, watching young-person shows, and hanging out with your young friends. Remember, those are the very things that attracted him to you in the first place. If he wants to cut you off from your life and isolate you, run.
And if people gossip about your age difference, just ignore them. You’re not in a relationship to please them.
“One of the central tenets of the gay rights movement is that it doesn’t matter who you love, but how you love them,” Sandler says. “I think that applies to anyone who goes against the grain, including people brave enough to enter into intergenerational relationships.”
5. Let him surprise you
You might have a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what a daddy is. And to be fair, a lot of those stereotypes are true: older guys are often more genteel, more worldly, and more in-control. But they’re also full of surprises, and you might discover that your daddy can be as silly and playful as your 20-year-old friends. He might even — gasp — be a bottom. Don’t assume anything. Ask him what he likes.
6. Don’t let him take advantage
Sometimes, it’s hard to define the boundary between a fun powerplay and an unhealthy relationship. If your daddy is asking too much of you, taking more control over your life than you want him to, or being condescending, let him know. Remember, you should be in a relationship because it makes you both happy — not just to make him happy.