celery_soda (celery_soda) wrote in vaginapagina,

Dealing with unsavory responses to age difference in relationship?

My boyfriend is ten years older than I am (I am twenty). We're disgustingly happy. His parents are pleased, his closest friend and his wife are supportive, my friends are supportive. We see the same therapist (him for a few years longer than I), and she thinks it is a positive thing for both of us.

However, we get a lot of bullshit about the age difference. My partner and I have discussed it at length, and the only big pattern we've noticed is this:

Whoever is insulting me, it's always about my morality (I'm skanky/slutty), and it is only directed at me. In other words, no one insults him. Mostly it comes from a few staff members of an organization I used to work for and he used to be on the board of. Anytime they've said something inappropriate to me on "work time" (like when a mid-ranking staffer called me to ask me to volunteer then said it looked bad to date a board member if I used to work there, and she thinks we should fill out paperwork to prevent nepotism), I've reported it to their superior.

We also already have a "rule" in place where, at larger functions, I text him if someone has said something inappropriate and we leave together (per the advice of our therapist).

How do I deal with it when they are not working, though? We both already don't return calls from the few "offenders" if they don't leave an organization-related voicemail, since one woman in particular likes to send barbs over the phone. I avoid the offenders at events, and I limit their access to my Facebook profile.

I am hesitant to respond with insults of my own; thus far my response is either to report it to their superior, or point out the flaw in the argument. (When someone implies I am a gold-digger, I joke about the debt my recently graduated partner accrued to earn a professional degree. Now that he actually has a lucrative gig, this won't work anymore but oh well.) When I discussed it with their superior first, I pointed out the issues that arise when the staff of a progressive organization starts slut-shaming women. If it helps you to know, their superior is receptive and concerned about the behavior.

Any other suggestions? 
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