The 49-year-old father and the au pair

From an au pair host family group…

40-year-old mother of three: “Just wanted to give an update/get some advice on my ex-sleeping-with-the-now-former-au-pair saga. She left the US at the end of her travel month around Labor Day. It has come to my attention that the two of them are still in a relationship (he’s 49 and she is 20. Gross). Exhibit A below (try to ignore the fact it’s like it was written by an eighth grader), plus witnesses have put her back in our town as recently as 10 days ago.

Insert photo of handwritten (beautifully) letter: “… I love being with you … I never thought this year would turn out like this … I really hope & wish we have an amazing future ahead of us together. … I’m really going to miss your snuggles.”

[Inquiring minds want to know: how many American eighth graders can write legibly in a foreign language? And what exactly is “gross”? The 20-year-old woman’s body is “gross”? She looks okay in a linked-to Facebook profile (if you don’t mind the tall slender well-proportioned Northern European blonde look). Or the 49-year-old man’s body is “gross”? (If so, why was the 40-year-old mother sharing a bed with this “gross” body?)]

The other au pair host moms pile in with advice:

now going after him in the divorce with this as proof I would totally do. Send to your lawyer and start a file

Agree about divorce files

It’s got to be the saddest midlife crisis ever. Sleezy guys the world over fall for someone new… but look at how this girl writes. [maybe the non-native speaker would be able to spell “sleazy” correctly, though?] What kind of emotional connection could a middle aged man have with her? Can’t even have a mildly stimulating conversation over a glass of wine. She’s too stupid regardless of her age.

He’s a disgusting pig and she’s a horrible person. … I would inform future APs about his gross and inappropriate behavior.

[Nobody questions the inferiority of the 20-year-old’s emotions! But isn’t it more likely that older people are the ones with inferior emotions? Older people are more likely to be thinking about how to get the dishwasher or boiler fixed than about how to phrase a heartfelt poem.]

A (woke) male:

Taking as many of the ex-hubby’s assets along with being alone to think about how he ruined a great family situation for a fling is perhaps the start of just punishment.

[But the 49-year-old is apparently not alone, thus the dust-up.]

The females continue responding…

Take all of his money and don’t lose stamina!

… falling for the babysitter? It’s cliche and pathetic.

… No question. This is disgusting.

That’s double gross.

What a disgusting pig he is and what a poor excuse for a woman she is.

[But the 40-year-old previously tapped into this high-income guy, presumably using her youth to out-compete women who are now 49 and older. If the 20-year-old out-competing the 40-year-old is “disgusting” and “gross” why was it not gross for the 40-year-old to out-compete the 49-year-olds?]

A fellow mom thinking ahead:

She’ll get burned too bc this is all about him. Hopefully before she gets knocked up so [mama’s] kids don’t have to share their child support.

The above shows how little Americans understand about their own family law system. The mom concerned about child support revenue is correct that a European who has sex in the U.S. can cash checks over in Europe (see “Child Support Litigation without a Marriage”). But generally the first plaintiff to sue is invulnerable to attacks from successor plaintiffs, i.e., a court order in favor of a first plaintiff won’t be reduced because a second plaintiff comes along. New York has one of the simplest systems:

As with other states, children of the same parent will have different cash values depending on the sequence in which that parent has been sued for child support. The co-parent of the first child is entitled to 17 percent of the defendant’s income. The co-parent of the second child is entitled to only 17 percent of the remaining 83 percent. The co-parent of the third child is entitled to only 17 percent of the remaining 69 percent.


Sorry you’re going through this, mama. A total nightmare for sure.

[The word “mama” becomes a title for one adult woman to address another by.]

Readers: Why the outrage over the au pair’s age? The folks in this discussion don’t seem to question the merits of a no-fault divorce system. The au pair was over the age of consent in every state. Either partner in a U.S. marriage is free to abandon the union if a preferred sex partner is identified and/or on payment of cash. Why does the situation become “gross” and “disgusting” and merit larger cash payments if a new partner happens to be 20 years old?


16 thoughts on “The 49-year-old father and the au pair

  1. This is just a bitchy judgy soon to be ex-wife and her friends condemning this man for leaving his wife for a younger woman. Yes, it’s cliche. The law is the law on the child support. He needs to take care of his kids from all women he impregnates. If I were a judge (and it’s probably good that I’m not), I would consider the father and the mother’s relationship to the kids (who feeds, clothes, teaches, and raises them) and which parent provides the best support (and I don’t necessarily mean Financial here) for the kids emotionally and in time
    and attention would win. Children don’t deserve to be raised by an angry bitch just because she’s the mother. They deserve to be raised by loving caring people who are more interested in the children’s needs than their own. I would award kids to Amish parents or gay foster parents if it means they are loved and supported.

  2. Told to me by a 20-something nanny: “there are only 2 kinds of men who have a young nanny working in their home: those who are banging the nanny, and those who are thinking about banging the nanny”.

  3. Nah, a lot of men don’t care about that. I had and still have young, sometimes very attractive nannies and babysitters for my children and my husband doesn’t care. A couple quit to marry nice men close to their own ages, and we always try to have a backup or two for cold season. He’s not blind, but a lot of men don’t care if youth is the main/only appeal and the cost is blowing up the family. This one guy is not “a lot of men”. I wish people would stop thinking so poorly of men, they do have their preferences and not all nannies meet them just by being young.

    • Very brave, but it’s not your husband you need to worry about. Women like men, but you know what they more than men? Other women’s men. Those “sometimes very attractive nannies” are all thinking about what it would take be to on the other side of the wife/nanny equation.

      And it’s not just about young attractive nannies, eg: the bastard son fathered by Arnold Schwarzenegger with his middle-age 5/10 (at best) maid. Boys will be boys!

  4. Philg: “And what exactly is “gross”? The 20-year-old woman’s body is “gross”?…If the 20-year-old out-competing the 40-year-old is “disgusting” and “gross” why was it not gross for the 40-year-old to out-compete the 49-year-olds?”


    More than likely, what is being considered “gross” is that the au-pair is an age of a daughter he could have had at 29. The situation might be more like a teacher-student relationship.

    It’s odd that you think it could be the au-pair body.

    In any case, it’s fairly common that there’s some difference between the ages of spouses. If you think being 8-9 years is “gross” competition, what about a 1-year difference.

    Philg: “Readers: Why the outrage over the au pair’s age?”.

    It’s odd you think the only issue is the age difference.

    • Dave: You’re saying that it is a mistake to consider the “age difference” as a source of grossness. Then you say that “More than likely, what is being considered ‘gross’ is that the au-pair is an age of a daughter he could have had at 29.” Isn’t that just a restated “age difference”?

    • Philg: You’re saying that it is a mistake to consider the “age difference” as a source of grossness.
      No, I didn’t say that (not sure where you got that).

      Philg: “And what exactly is “gross”? The 20-year-old woman’s body is “gross”? She looks okay in a linked-to Facebook profile ”

      You notion that what people have a problem with is the au-pair’s body being “gross” is bizarre.

      Your equating a 20 year difference with a person around the age his daughter would be (if he had a daughter) with a 8-9 difference is also bizarre (since it is suggesting that people should have a problem with any age difference).

  5. Isn’t the notion that alimony and child support aren’t “fair” just another example of capitalist hypocrisy? Capitalism revolves around the idea that people’s income shouldn’t be limited in any way, and that income disparity is natural, just, and right. In fact, it’s the key to a prosperous society. You’re advocating limits for child support and alimony to something which is inevitably arbitrarily reasonable, while nothing else in a capitalist society is bound by such limits. Isn’t the legal system treating lower earning spouses as their wealthier counterparts demand to be treated by society in terms of not judging what amounts of income or wealth are “reasonable?” I suppose being wealthy has drawbacks after all. The simple solution seems to be to do what the commoners do, and find a partner of similar status.

    • “You’re advocating limits for child support and alimony” does not advocate for any particular law. The situation cited in the original post shows the value of knowing the differences in family law from state to state. In Texas, for example, the 40-year-old would get paid a maximum of about $20,000/year for a single child and would receive no alimony. In Connecticut, on the other hand, she might get close to 100 percent of the former husband’s spending power after suing him.

      For women with jobs, living in a state that offers alimony exposes them to the risk of paying their former husband to have sex with new/younger women. See for how my mid-50s female MIT classmates had been sued when men were offered the opportunity to get paid to have sex with a new partner.

      Your perspective that capitalism is the correct way to analyze and compensate sex acts and the production of children is shared by many U.S. states and, since Americans voted for it, many Americans. But it produces a lot of litigation, which is damaging to children. Even if you don’t care about children except as an economic resource, this is not a capitalist optimum because, statistically, children of “single parents” are, on average, paid less and therefore this shrinks the GDP and tax base. See for a look at some of the other economic losses (mostly from adults not working because family court puts them into an effectively super high tax bracket (if they earn more they get paid less from divorce or out-of-wedlock child support litigation)).

      A system in which people get paid without working and in which they get paid less if they do work is not an obviously “capitalist” one. “You can make unlimited money by investing in a successful pharma company because capitalism” does not imply “You can make unlimited money by having sex with a high-income partner because capitalism”. Consider the alternative life paths offered by the U.S. welfare system. We have “You can get a Manhattan or San Francisco apartment by studying and working hard” and also “You can get a Manhattan or San Francisco apartment from the public housing ministry on condition that you not work at all”. The latter is not an example of pure capitalism.

      [Your idea that choosing an equal-income sex partner (remember that most family court lawsuits are not about children of a marriage) protects a person from family court litigation is not supported by our interviews with attorneys or a casual reading of the law. Some of America’s most eager plaintiffs are themselves quite wealthy. Look at Angelina Jolie, for example, trying to add to her $275 million stash with child support profits ( and for example). When two equal-earning litigants show up in a winner-take-all state’s family court, the winner parent will end up being on track for substantially higher long-term wealth (if the kids’ time is split 35/65 or 40/60, for example, the two parents’ costs will be nearly identical while one parent enjoys a 35 percent increase in after-tax income while the loser parent suffers a 35 percent reduction; then compound this income difference over 18-23 years (depending on state)).]

      Circling back to the original post, I think it shows the life-changing importance of knowing family law. Under many European systems and in some U.S. states, for example, the 40-year-old woman here would have to reconcile with the cheating 49-year-old in order to keep spending his income. Imagine if she had agreed to move to a capped child support/no alimony state before bringing a 20-year-old competitor into the home. Her options for the remaining 50ish years of life would be completely different.

  6. It must be crushing for a woman to have to face the biological fact that men prefer young and attractive women over most anything and will trade a marriage and lots of money for a young, good looking au pair. Consider why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets so much PR — she is young and way better looking than say Nancy Pelosi or Hillary or Warren. So notwithstanding that she is a dim bulb, that her most significant previous accomplishment was as a waitress, and that now she is one among 400+ representatives, she has her photo in the press every day — even if all she does is dance. Imagine how that must gall Pelosi or Hill or Warren?

    • A lot of the PR that AOC is getting is because the Right fears young progressive leaders like her. So get out in front and call her a “dim bulb” now to frame a narrative.

      “She graduated cum laude from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics” – wow what a dummy!

  7. What’s gross is that he didn’t trade in the 40-year-old for two 20-year-olds!… like in documentary with David and Jackie Siegel (Queen of Versailles)

  8. A younger me, something like 10 years ago, noticed that American women divide things is ‘cute’ and ‘gross’, the two most used words to express approval and disapproval. I see some things are still the same.

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