I believe I am not the only one who shares such sentiments. Many men and women alike base their “to date” or “not to date” decisions on the age of the prospective other… riding on the familiar misconceptions about age difference and dating, fearing what people might say about it; some even think its unnatural or nontraditional. I made the decision not to date my +8 years woman because I thought conflicts may arise based on the age difference because of her level of maturity and my lack of it. At the same time, I was afraid that being older, she might try to control me – be the one with the balls in the relationship.
Such are among the many misconceptions people have over big age differences in relationships. And when people come across a couple who is ‘mismatched’ in terms of age, conclusions are made; with the main one being: The relationship wont last. Some of these misconceptions have some basis because I have a friend who is married to a man 13 years her senior and they have been having problems because of – lemme call it – generational gap. Their interests are not in sync at all. Wonder how they got to the “lets get married” stage. The thing is, the man is super insecure when she goes out with her girls. He even wants her to dress the way women from his ‘era’ do.
Today, we see younger men genuinely interested in older women. Today, we see younger women dating not just father figures; even grandfather figures (men in their 80s plus) for love; not financial stability or buying time till he kicks the bucket to inherit his estate. And today, we see these relationships actually working. Just because a man or woman is considerably younger than the spouse doesn’t mean he or she has a financial agenda or has been lured into the relationship with gifts; neither does it mean that the couple has some kind of psychological problem. Is it so hard to admit that they may be compatible without the usual name calling: gold digger, dirty ol’ man, cradle snatcher?
Most people believe these relationships are doomed to fail because of the sexual aspect of it; that the young will always run to the young for more vibrant sexual encounters. We forget one thing: Physical attraction has never guaranteed mind blowing sex. Looking at Hugh Jackman and his wife Debora-Lee Furness (13 years his senior), they have managed to stay married for a whole sixteen years. According to an article on Romanceopedia:
“Young men sometimes find older women more interesting than those who are younger. All too often, a young men perceive women their age to be too engrossed in themselves. By contrast, a maturer woman of experience understands this, and knows how to make a man feel satisfied and at home with himself. She mingles the maternal instinct with her knowledge of human nature, and flavors it all with that touch of flattery so agreeable to the masculine taste. The mature woman … studies his weaknesses and avoids aggravating them. …the older woman does it in a manner so tactful and natural. He loves it.”
The point is: Many such relationships have come to flourish into happy marriages. In an article, Love: What’s Age Got to Do with It? on Oprah.com, Dianne, 46, who is married to Mike, 32, admits she worries a lot about her looks now more than ever before and she has had to redefine beauty. She says: “When you’re with a younger person, you have to think, ‘What’s going to happen in five years? Ten? Is he going to leave me?’ Your answer could be, ‘I’m going to get a facelift.’ My answer is, ‘I’m going to be such a beautiful person inside that it’s going to shine through to the outside.” And when Diane asked Mike whether she should get botox, he refused saying: “One thing that makes our relationship strong is the fact that we were friends for so long beforehand. So when it comes to physical beauty, yeah, you get older, you get wrinkles, you get gray hair, but it’s not that big a deal.”
Yes, there are those relationships that are based on some form of mutual agreement: “Be my hot trophy wife or husband and live lavishly and have financial security.” But if it works for both of them, who are we to butt in?
We live in the modern times and its high time we got rid of these misconceptions and prejudices. If you are in a relationship with someone much younger or much older, the more you scrutinize your relationship along the lines of how far off it is from the norm, the more you will see those differences between the two of you. There are challenges and decisions like whether to have kids or not to be made. Some spouses have had to make that sacrifice just to be with the one they love. The balance of personalities which is vital for relationships to prosper has got nothing to do with age. Younger people actually do fall madly in love with those who are considerably older. Judging those who date and marry spouses who are not within the ‘usual’ 5 year old gap is wrong!
The thing is, we all have pictured our perfect mates. But when it comes to who you fall in love with, finding yourself with a man old enough to be your grandfather isn’t that impossible. If it feels right, do it! If you love him, do it! Nothing else really matters. Don’t listen to what people say or take to these misconceptions. So long as both of you are happy and comfortable with one another, nothing else should matter.
I think its high time I picked up my phone and call that woman I refused to date once upon a time… give her a fair chance if she is still single and if she’ll forgive me for being such a douchebag!