I guess that was the biggest impact on the relationship — I let him mold me into the girl he wanted instead of being who I really was. I don't think they expected it to last because I had never been in a relationship before.

What did/do you friends and family think of your relationship? A couple of my friends have similar stories about dating older men: they chose the person and not the age group. Woman C: My friends were much calmer than I thought they would be — a couple said they always thought I would end up with an older man.

Woman B: Twenty-seven and he recently turned 42 (we're still together). We discovered we had a lot of interests in common and became good friends. Most of the men I dated more casually at the time were in their 30s. It also made me feel special — this man seemed so much more worldly than the men my age, and the fact that he was interested in me seemed too good to be true. Woman D: Originally I think I was flattered that somebody who had experienced so much of life was interested in me.

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Woman D: The impact on the sex was definitely negative.

At 18, I was just beginning to explore my sexuality and he was already comfortable in his.

I think it felt good for him that an 18-year-old was choosing to spend time with him.

Because he had a reluctance to grow up, he wanted to stay young in as many ways as possible.

How did/does the age gap impact your relationship once you were in it?

Woman A: Like most 18-year-olds, I did not have much relationship experience, so it was easier for him to get away with things I would not have tolerated had I had a better sense of what a healthy relationship should feel like. We began dating when I was on winter break during my freshman year in college.

Did/does it impact sex at all, for better or for worse? This was one of the many ways the relationship was emotionally abusive — sex was always ostensibly on the table, but no matter how much I threw myself at him, I was always rejected. The fact that this man didn't want to have sex with me in spite of claiming to love me, in spite of the fact that men allegedly always want sex, in spite of the fact that they allegedly especially want sex with much younger women — all of this made the continual rejection especially painful. We have different tastes sexually — I'm more adventurous — but that has nothing to do with age.

If anything, his emotional maturity has allowed us to have those tough conversations about sex.

The next time we ran into each other was when I went to interview for a job in the ski resort's lift department, which he happened to be in charge of. I think he can't really find a woman to keep up with him, even in his own age group. The man I dated was essentially an 18-year-old himself when it came to maturity.