I read this twice because at first I thought Spot & Patch were long-term involved and Dot (age 24) was a new partner, but it actually sounds like Dot & Patch are the established relationship and Spot has only started dating Patch recently.
Yes, I was confused at first, as well!
In that case, it seems perfectly reasonable for Spot to decide that things with Patch won't work for them (Spot) and to end it sooner rather than later. I personally wouldn't want to be mistaken for the mom of my metamour. Seems awkward and would make me feel unnecessarily old. Although I would solve that by just doing my usual parallel poly instead of kitchen table poly everyone hanging out together.
Of course. There is no need to go about town as a threesome. If you wanted to do KTP you could literally do it in the kitchen and not risk the fear of being seen by judgmental people out in the world.
But, if I meet a new person who is about my age and they have a much younger partner, that might indeed give me pause. If the new person doesn't think a 20-year age-gap is significant enough to remark on right away, that might also seem odd to me. If the age-gap relationship seems to be a serious long-term life partnership (rather than just some hot sex with a fun and consensual power dynamic), that might give me further pause. At least, I would have a lot of questions and would certainly be hesitant to become life partners in a situation where I'd have a lifelong metamour almost 30 years younger then me.
The thing about age-gaps in poly is that a) the partners might be fine with the gap, but the metamour(s) have no choice about it, and b) even a reasonable age-gap between partners could result in an awkward age-gap between the metamours.
I am 5 years older than my partner. He is dating a new partner 5 years younger than him. No big deal, totally reasonable age-gaps...
...Except I do have some issues about my metamour being 10 years younger than me. Like, my own issues to figure out and deal with. Mostly centered around the fact that I've recently started to feel middle-aged, health-wise and looks-wise. Found my first gray hair. Feel like my face looks older than it used to. Missing my 24-year-old body. Feeling like I'm not where I thought I'd be, career-wise and financially, at this age. Normal stuff for turning 42.
Normal, but having a 32-year-old metamour is going to shine a light right on it, yeah? (And nothing to do with her in reality; she seems awesome!)
I guess this is normal for some? However, many people (women) seem to get more self-confident in their 40s. You're still relatively young and fit, active, energetic. (Try being over 60 haha) There is no need to compare your looks to any woman 20 years younger than you, not if you're aging like a fine wine, taking good care of yourself, etc. Remember, your younger meta might feel intimidated by your experience, higher earning bracket, better wardrobe, etc., etc.!
Personally, I didn't think I'd be such a hot commodity at 53 when I got divorced and put myself on the market on OK Cupid 14 years ago. I had men of all ages hitting on me, from 21-70. My age meant nothing to them, apparently, or it made me even more attractive, to those that liked the looks, experience and attitude of a confident mature woman.
I dated people of all ages. I actually hooked up with my present female partner almost right away. She is 22 years my junior and we have a ton in common. Our age difference is actually a benefit in many ways. (She handles the tech stuff I struggle with, to name one thing.) Yes, she is sometimes mistaken for my daughter by people not in the know. We don't give a shit. We just think it's funny.
My current bf is even younger than Pixi and we've been together 18 months and going strong. I guess I'm kinda young at heart? Interested and involved in life. And I'm geeky and date geeky people. I never avoided dating people more my age, but I was often disappointed by their stodginess.
I really appreciate my younger bf's strong muscles, high energy and, tbh, strong libido.
What if she were 22 or 24? Would that play on my insecurities even more? Probably. Except my partner wouldn't be comfortable dating someone that much younger than him (so I can understand why Spot had concerns about Patch). Although, I have less of an issue with casual / short-term age-gap relationships.
The most fun I ever had in my life was absolutely a casual sexual relationship I had with a 42-year-old guy when I was 24. The sex was hot. The guy was not a terrible human, especially compared to my college ex-boyfriends (although I could definitely see why women his own age didn't have much patience for him). I learned a lot and remember it fondly. So I don't fault other people for large age-gaps, per se.
But also. When I was 21, my boyfriend was 7 years older than me. The age gap didn't bother me at the time (in retrospect, it should have). His other partner was 8 years older than him, which didn't bother him. But I found it super intimidating to have a 36-year-old metamour in my first poly relationship. Both of them turned out to be emotionally abusive, too, and the power dynamics became very weird. They definitely both took advantage of my inexperience to pull some strange poly shit.
I see a difference with a very young person, say under 30, dating someone 20 years older than themselves. You do worry about exploitation. But once you've been out in the world for a decade +, in my opinion, it doesn't have to matter that much.
I once read Ivana Trump (Donald's first wife) to say she'd rather be a babysitter than a nurse. Ha!
So, I think Spot's choice makes sense.
Although I wonder if there are also gender dynamics missing in the gender-neutral version as related above. On first reading, I assumed Spot and Dot are both women, and Patch is male. But their genders are actually not mentioned at all. Would knowing their genders change anything, I wonder?
I think it could. Since we live in a patriarchy, an older man dating a much younger woman has extra advantages: gender, experience, and possibly wealth. But an older woman dating a younger man, or another woman, has less privilege.