'I was dating a pilot 20 years older in Hong Kong and would do it all over again'

An illustration
An illustration
  • *Miranda Mayor is a W24 reader who dated a man two decades her senior despite the stigma attached to it.
  • She was concerned the most about what her father would say, but he was dating someone 20 years his junior at the time too.
  • Miranda says the relationship with her pilot beau was the healthiest she's been in.

Here's Miranda 's story:

I was in a relationship with a man 20 years my senior when I was living in Hong Kong. I know there’s a stigma around a big age gap in a relationship, but I also knew that my divorced dad (if he found out about it) couldn’t say anything about it - because he was dating someone 20 years his junior at the time. My mum, I knew would say something, which is why I only told her about it at a later stage. Now I was actually more concerned about my dad because it was one of his colleagues at work. They are both pilots. Now that the messy part it out of the way.

READ MORE: 27-year-old businesswoman dating man who's 54 earns R72 000 a week counselling other age-gap couples 

This was probably one of the healthiest relationships I’ve had before because we kept it open and honest between us. I was working in Hong Kong, and he was flying in and out maybe once or twice a month for a couple of days at a time. Also, I know how pilots are so I didn’t expect to be the only female on his horizons. I also didn’t mind one bit, because I could do whatever I liked, and see whoever I liked all the rest of the time. He knew that I was a good-looking girl with a great personality to boot, living in a city with literally millions of guys who’d jump at the chance to have a date with me (at the chance of soundly cocky here - Hong Kong is a city full of expats who are there for a good time, not a long time, and it’s incredibly easy to swipe right on any one person and get yourself a date). So we were somewhat on equal footing.

This relationship was great for me because I could openly talk about things with my pilot beau in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to with any normal steady monogamous relationship. There was no pressure for anything else than what we had at the time. He was supportive, he gave me useful insight into family problems and work problems and life decisions that I could really use because he was older and more experienced. I was also treated whenever he was around because he’d be on down time whenever he came to visit. We’d go out to nice restaurants, he’d go gin bar hunting with me, we’d go for couples massages and explore various outlying islands on day trips. 

READ MORE: Meet the couple with a 46-year age-gap: the 23-year-old businesswoman and care worker says it was love at first swipe

It was perfect and I also knew it was no strings attached because we weren’t planning anything long term, as we both knew we wouldn’t really work long term. We were both in a place in our lives where we could enjoy each other’s company and value each other’s input in our lives. 

As I knew it would, my Hong Kong chapter came to a close, as did my physical relationship with my pilot beau. This was also due to the fact that I was moving to a country that airline didn’t fly to. However, we’ve still kept in contact, albeit totally platonic and infrequent. He’s in a relationship with a beautiful, kind, age-appropriate woman who’s got kids from a previous marriage (so he’s now taking on a dad-role that he’s never had to play before!), and I’m in the happiest, healthiest and most stable relationship I’ve ever had. My partner does know about my pilot beau and what he stood for. I always have been, and always will be a big advocate for total honesty in a relationship - otherwise things have a nasty way of catching up with you if you’re not open about them and don’t address your past. 

I’ll always appreciate the relationship I had with my older pilot beau. It taught me a great deal and made me feel safe and supported in an unstable time of my life. 

* Name changed to protect identity

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