The Greeks have several different words for love, which is something I learned when I was studying for my Religion degree. I won't list them all, as this post is not academic but practical. I think that one of our problems is that we only have one and we misuse it, very often. That has definitely been the case for me. I can look back and see where I have made mistakes with applying love, and those mistakes became the basis for problems, later.
In my last marriage, she was 9 years younger than me. I said and believed that it would have no impact on how I would treat her, and she said and believed the same for me. However, problems arose that both of us made and accepted that proved that to be a problem. However, I will say that it isn't necessarily our fault, as I think that society's past has led to this problem, as well.
For thousands of years, daughters were given in marriage that is arranged by parents. In many parts of the world, it is still done. However, even our Church tradition maintained as part of the procedure of getting married that the FATHER would hand over the DAUGHTER to the next man in her life, who would take over many of the roles of the father to protect, provide, defend, and such as listed in the wedding vows. So, it's no wonder that so many women seek the men that can best replace those roles from their dad, and it's no wonder that so many men feel working and doing these things are the best way to love a wife. But, that leads to the problems I mentioned, above... and not just for those with an age gap, though I believe that gap can reinforce the problem.
In my case, it was also caused by my confusing another version of love.... charity. Again, society has long integrated and reinforced this problem with chivalry. I am not saying that chivalry isn't good. It is. I joined a frat that was based on it, because I always look out for the weak and needy. But... that's not a ROMANTIC quality. So, when my ex was in a situation of being in need when we were dating, I of course provided solutions. I felt good about doing good things for someone that I liked, and she liked having someone.... provide, defend, etc. Mine was out of compassion, and hers was out of missing a long dead father. But, NEITHER was based in a romantic connection, no matter how much we tried to pretty it up to appear so.
As years passed, I would continue to feel that the way for me to show care for her was to do things for her in her need. However, she didn't see this as an act of love but that someone was expecting something back from her for the acts... much like a teen child in the house of a parent that wants independence. That would not have been the case if she had ACTUAL feelings of care for me, but it was instead feelings of appreciation for what she had received. Likewise, if I had listened and adjusted more how I expressed love, it would have lasted longer, but I was fixed on what I had given.... our of charity.. and what she had given in charity or acts in return.
There are a lot of dating apps out there, and I think I have used almost all of them... both this time and the time between wives. I think that many of them fail for another confusion of love words... friendship. Indeed, you will see a lot of them that say outright, "I'm just looking for a friend, right now." That is indeed a great thing to have, and there should be a market for apps specifically for that. Indeed, Bumble has that for same sex friends, which might explain its popularity, as it isn't very good for actual romantic connections. Meanwhile, Tinder has been condemned for being shallow.. only based on looks. But, think back to the romantic connections that you HAVE had in the past that were not based in an app. Did you ask them a million questions and say, "Your personality is a great fit for me, so I am so hot for you right now." It doesn't work that way, which is why so many of us can relate to romantic mistakes we made based on hormones. I noted in another blog post how we were created with those hormones by God. Romance has little to do with what our mind things and more how we feel with our heart, and it's no wonder that that heart is a perfect shape of a butt bent over..just sayin as a man.
But, that's another thing... being a man is not very accepted these days. It is known and mocked that how men and women act with their hormones are different, and it is routinely condemned for a man to be aroused by sight. But... it IS a way that MEN are aroused. Victoria Secret and other brands have made a fortune by understanding that. Is it good that a man learn how a woman is aroused and do those things... yes. But, for women to reject the primary means of arousal of a man and then be upset about the man not being aroused is self inflected injury. If they KNOW how a man is attracted, they should do THAT if they want their attention.... because regardless of what we say, we ALL know that ROMANCE has little to do with agreement or matching and MORE to do with what turns us on.