Unexpected Connections Bridging a 33-Year Age Gap with My Partner

Age is just a number Exploring the surprising commonalities in a relationship with a partner 33 years older than me.

The author, Zane Landin, on the left, and his partner Howard on the right.

Courtesy of the author

  • I met my partner on a dating app.
  • He’s 33 years older than me, but we connected the second we met.
  • At first, my family didn’t approve of our relationship, but they now see why we work so well.

In 2018, I was a lost 20-year-old college student, swimming in a sea of uncertainty. Little did I know, amidst the chaos, the fashion gods had a surprise for me – the entrance of my soul mate, twin flame, or as I like to call him, my cosmic lover (because really, our nomenclature is always changing). It was a magical summer when Howard, like a shooting star, streaked into my life.

Our paths first crossed in early June. We had matched on a few dating apps, and Howard, being the charming gentleman that he is, messaged me first. I responded cautiously, not fully ready to dive into anything serious. After all, I had recently experienced the emotional turmoil of being ghosted by someone I trusted. My heart was guarded, and I was not about to let just anyone waltz in.

But fate had other plans for us.

A few weeks later, as if the fashion gods sent me a sign, I discovered Howard on a dating app exclusively for chubbier men. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot and keep talking to him. He seemed genuine and respectful, qualities as rare as finding a pair of Manolo Blahniks on sale. And boy, did we start to feel a spark!

Then, the moment of truth arrived – he invited me to dinner. Now, I hesitated, not because of what he looked like or what he wore (he was the epitome of elegance), but because Howard had a whopping 33 years of life experience on me. I had never been on a proper date or even locked lips with someone before. My romantic encounters were limited to being ghosted or mistreated. But deep down, I longed for a connection that transcended the norm, one that required taking that daring first step.

So, with a heart aflutter like a butterfly on a catwalk, I agreed to the dinner date. And oh my couture! That night at BJ’s, something magical happened. It was as if our souls had sashayed together in a past life and recognized each other in an instant. From that moment on, we were inseparable, going on dates where time would waltz by, leaving us entwined in conversation for nine hours straight.

The author (left) and his partner, sitting on the edge of a fountain at night.

Courtesy of the author

Now, as much as I wish our story was a fairy tale with everyone’s blessings, it wasn’t all Gucci and roses from the start. It took some time for my family to warm up to our relationship. You see, I come from a lineage of overprotective parents and an older sister who raised eyebrows at the age difference. But love knows no boundaries, not even the concerns of well-meaning family members.

Initially, I kept our love affair under wraps, fearing that my family wouldn’t understand our unique connection. However, hiding this deep connection we shared soon became unbearable. One fateful day, after three blissful months together, I mustered the courage to spill the high-fashion beans and reveal my truth. Sure enough, my family had their reservations, considering Howard’s silver fox status to be a potential red flag.

But who needs society’s seal of approval when you’ve got Louis Vuitton-level love? We stood strong as a united front, determined to follow our hearts despite the naysayers’ cacophony. It was one of the most challenging periods of my life, feeling a disconnect with my loved ones, especially my mother – my ultimate confidante. However, in the darkest of times, Howard was my beacon of support, illuminating my path with unwavering love. Without him, I’m not sure if I could have braved the storm.

Months passed, and even though my family still wore doubtful expressions like last season’s fashion no-no, they began to understand our bond. They witnessed the magic that unfolded when Howard and I were together, slowly accepting our love as a work of art, with layers and depths their eyes couldn’t fully comprehend.

Finally, the time came when my family agreed to meet Howard. It was a monumental moment, an odyssey of acceptance. My sister, bless her fashion-forward soul, suggested this gathering, recognizing that after two years of devotion, it was time for my loved ones to witness our powerful connection in action.

Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor

Oh, how their hearts melted like candle wax under the heat of a fiery romance. As they observed Howard’s gentle gestures and the way he cherished me, their arms embraced him as if welcoming a long-lost member of the haute couture family. My mother, oh how she loved him! They formed an unbreakable bond, uniting like perfectly stitched seams until her passing in January 2021. I am eternally grateful that my mother embraced and accepted our love, leaving behind a legacy of love and cherishing the unconventional.

Now, you might be wondering, how does this unlikely pairing work? A multiracial Gen Z member from suburban California and a Black baby boomer from rural West Virginia? It’s like mixing streetwear with couture, a fashion fusion waiting to happen. Our social identities may seem worlds apart, like a designer gown and a thrift store find, but we’ve learned to appreciate and understand each other’s uniqueness.

Sure, there are moments when Howard looks at me as if I’m speaking a foreign fashion language, referencing cultural phenomena from my 2000s upbringing. And yes, there are times when I’m perplexed by tales of his teenage years working on a farm in the ’70s. But we embrace our differences, discussing, and exploring each other’s worlds as if they were hidden compartments in an overflowing walk-in closet.

But here’s the true beauty – we don’t just celebrate our differences; we revel in our shared passions. We bond over our love for angel numbers, harmonizing soundscapes, and getting adventurous in the kitchen, whipping up delectable dishes that might make Gordon Ramsay blush. It is the powerful blend of embracing our uniqueness while cherishing our shared interests that adds the magic to our extraordinary love story.

Yet, let’s not overlook the obstacles we face as an “intergenerational couple.” Not only do we challenge the norms of age difference, but love knows no sexual orientation or color palette. We’re a same-sex, interracial couple strutting down the runway of love, and like fashion pioneers Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor, or the trailblazing Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer, we yearn for more representation of diverse love stories in the media. The world needs to witness what love like ours looks like, encouraging others to embrace and celebrate their connections openly.

Yes, dear reader, our journey hasn’t been without its challenges. We’ve faced scrutiny and judgment, forcing us to hide our affection like a rare vintage find. The public display of our love has been limited, as if we’re fashionistas prowling the runway but unable to hold hands. But beneath the shadows, we stand tall, our hearts intertwined in an unbreakable bond, refusing to let societal expectations dictate our love story.

So, what lies ahead for Zane and Howard, you may wonder? Well, buckle up, darling, because every day with Howard is a new adventure, like exploring a designer boutique without a shopping limit. Life may throw curves at us, but we met for a reason, and together, we’re unstoppable.