Was It Wrong for Me to Marry a Much Younger Woman?

The bottom line is that we are happy and love each other very much

Jason Weiland
9 min readJul 3, 2022


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Let’s get this out of the way: my wife is 18 years younger than me. I am 53 and she is 35. When I met her, I was 42 and she was 24. I guess I am a bit defensive because the last time I wrote about this subject, I got a lot of hate comments from women.

I am not some kind of misogynistic weirdo who likes young women. My wife and I just so happen to have a big age gap, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.

I guess I should go back to the beginning and explain how we met.

In February of 2011, I was horribly lonely. I had been separated from my first wife for a few years and because of my mental illness, I had not tried to meet anyone. During this time, I had a lot of self-hate, and my psychosis was terrible, which caused me to self-harm because I couldn’t figure out another way to deal with the pain.

For a few months, things had been better for me. I was able to stop cutting but this caused me to eat more and more, and fast food was easy to get. I was fat and messed up in the head and didn’t feel like I was much of a catch.

So, I went online to find love, because I figured that would be easier to find someone who was okay with both my weight and my illness. I spend a lot of time on dating websites for mentally ill people (yes, these are a thing) and met a few really great people. But I hate to say it, but you can only imagine the drama that went on between the people with mental health problems. It seemed when I felt good, they felt terrible and vice versa. We would set times to meet (most of these people were far away) and then ghost each other.

One day the loneliness got to me, and I saw an ad. It was for an Asian dating site and as desperate as I was, I thought maybe it would be nice to have a long-distance relationship with someone that had a different set of experiences than the women I had been talking to in the USA.

I found one site called Cherry Blossoms that was free to try, so I figured I would make a profile and see what happened.

In my profile, I made sure to put my age and posted pictures showing just how heavy I was. I didn’t want to lie to anybody about who I was. As far as the mental illness part, I figured I could let them know if I started talking to someone, so they could make the decision themselves if they wanted anything to do with me.

Remember, I was honest, so I wasn’t expecting much response.

The next day I woke up and checked my account and must have had 200 responses. I was shocked! As I went through the responses, I dumped most of them because they seemed scammy. I knew the horror stories of guys getting involved with women from other countries and getting scammed because it happened to me with a “woman” from London. Turns out it was a Nigerian call center guy trying to get money from me, but the joke was on him because I didn’t have any.

Of the rest, I dumped a few more because they were way too young, like 18 years young. In my defense, I had put that I was looking for women over 35, but I still got much younger women responding. I sent messages to the few that were left and had a few conversations, but nothing spectacular.

The next day I had a message from a woman named Flora from the Philippines and almost deleted it because she was only 24, but I opened it instead and gave her profile a look. She had a lot of pictures and I loved what she wrote about herself. One picture, in particular, was striking, and I couldn’t stop staring. She was sitting on the floor smiling into the camera, and just the pure joy in her face set me back.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as love a first sight, but I was definitely having feelings. But I had a bit of a problem with her age, mostly because I was worried about what others would say. Instead, I swallowed my fear and sent her a message.

It took a couple of days for us, but eventually, we exchanged messages and I agreed to video chat with her on the application for the dating site. I remember the video feed was only about the size of a postage stamp, but the audio was good.

That first night, I was so unused to talking to anyone that I doubt if I was good company, but we still talked for hours, late into the night. Then we talked every night from then on and after a few weeks, I found myself falling hard for her.

She knew my age. She knew my weight. She knew I had problems with my mental health (although I wasn’t sure she understood just how much I was mentally ill). I was honest with her and told her everything about my life. She told me about hers.

It turns out, she was in a bad situation and needed me just as much as I needed her. We became close. We exchanged “I love you’s” but what we were was more infatuated with each other. I had no doubts she saw me as a way out of her bad situation and I saw her as someone who might be able to help me change my terrible life.

She knew I didn’t have any money. She didn’t care. She didn’t want that from me, she just wanted someone to love. I wanted the same.

It only took a few months, but I asked her to marry me in one of our chats in an offhand way, and she said she would. As you can imagine, we had our share of issues over those months of courting online, both because of the language barrier and because our cultures were so different, but we stuck together.

After a lot of talking, I decided I needed a change from my life in America. I felt like if I could change from one side of the world to the other, everything would be better for me. I was naive. I didn’t find out until much later that changing my address would never change my life. I had to change what was inside.

So that September 2011, I was going to fly to the other side of the world and start over. I left everyone I ever knew because I couldn’t live the same way I had been living any longer. I could no longer live as an afterthought and needed a change of environment.

It was hard to leave my kids and my parents, but I felt like it was the only thing I could do. If I kept going the way I was going I would have been dead soon. I had already tried to kill myself a few times.

So, I saved and bought a ticket. I sold, threw away, or donated everything I owned until all I had left was a suitcase and a laptop. All the stuff that had defined me as a person for so long I was leaving behind.

In the end, I felt it was okay to leave my kids because I knew I would be back with my new bride. I would spend a few years in the Philippines and come back and live with her in America. Again, I was naive, because I didn’t know just how hard that would be.

After I arrived in the Philippines, we got to know each other and married a month after I arrived. I couldn’t afford a big wedding, so we were married by a judge.

The next few years saw us trying to come to terms with marrying someone who was a virtual stranger. We fought a lot, and I was often so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed. She had a hard time with my mental illness because she had never experienced anything like it before.

We had a child, and I spent the time going back and forth between the Philippines and the States, always going by myself chasing dreams and businesses, never truly giving the Philippines a chance. Sure, I lived there, but I never gave up thinking we would always move back to America.

For her part, she tried hard to understand me and my illness. She tried her best to help me, but I know a lot of times she felt like I wasn’t trying very hard. I wanted everything to be like it was in the States. What I didn’t realize is that I couldn’t keep doing the same things over and over hoping for a different result. I was operating under the same mindset that had destroyed my first marriage and the lives of my children.

In May of 2015, I tried to kill myself again. I almost succeeded. I ruined my kidneys for a while, but I lived, and I am so glad I did because as strange as it seems, my suicide attempt was the kick in the pants I needed to truly start changing my life.

It was difficult, but with the help of my wife, Flora, I started changing everything. I quit smoking and kicked my addiction to benzos (the doctor kept prescribing them even though I was a junkie). I started implementing ways to help myself and my family deal with my illness.

Things slowly got better.

I started writing again. At first, I used it as therapy, but after a while, I started earning a bit of money to help supplement my social security disability. I was working as much as I could, mostly writing on my blogs.

In 2018 I started publishing on Medium and it changed my life. No, I didn’t make a million dollars, but I improved as a writer. I connected with my small audience, and it helped me work through many of the issues I had.

All this time, even though we fought like wildcats, my wife and I stuck together. She had her own issues, mostly from the PTSD she developed because of my suicide attempt. Her anxiety and panic continued to get worse, but we helped each other.

We may not have loved each other in the beginning. We may only have gotten together because we needed someone, but we learned how much we did indeed have love in our hearts for each other. We have drawn closer together as the times got tougher.

She has been there through thick and thin. Recently, she was my rock when I had a heart attack. We have been there for each other when the cards were down.

I tell this whole story because we have been married for 11 years. Age has never been an issue for us. Many people over the years have voiced their displeasure at me for marrying a younger woman. They said I am a dirty old man, and I took liberties with someone in a bad situation. They said I took advantage of her because she was poor and looking for a way out. They say a lot of things that make me look like a bad person for falling in love.

Flora knew my issues when she met me, and she was the one who told me she preferred an older man. She accepted me even though she is quite small and I am a big man. She has never made an issue of my weight even though we look quite mismatched at times.

Even though many other women said I was terrible for marrying someone much younger, my wife has never had an issue with it. It didn’t make her love me any more or any less. She never had a problem with me not having any money. We have always worked together to feed our family.

She didn’t marry me for a payday or a green card. All these years we have remained in the Philippines. We have a house and are not planning on ever going back to America.

I don’t know why certain people have such an issue with me marrying a younger woman. We are happy and love each other very much. She isn’t my slave, and my care isn’t on her shoulders despite my ill health.

We are a team who work together for the good of our family. We have two children now and I am an active parent despite my age. I am a main caregiver to my kids and my wife and I support us with the work we do.

The bottom line, we are happy. We love each other and no age gap will ever make a difference.

Flora and I in 2022. Image by author.

So, I guess some people will have to find something else to be outraged about.



Jason Weiland

Mental Health, Tech, and personal essays from a guy who never tires of writing about his life - jasonweiland.substack.com