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Does age matter in a relationship?

Find out how getting intimate can improve your well-being

By Advice from Allan

Older women who pursue younger men are called cougars. Older men who pursue younger women are often referred to as perverts or men suffering from mid-life crisis. Younger men pursuing older women are seen as looking for the sexual experience or just the thrill of being with someone more mature. Recently, 65-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Woods married 34-year-old Sallie Humphries and 86-year-old Playboy founder Hugh Hefner married 26-year-old Crystal Harris one of his former Playmates. These events had some of my friends debating the effects of the age differences in a relationship which prompted me to write this article.

What you desire in a relationship is entirely up to you and if you find it in someone with a significant age difference should it matter? How much of an age difference is considered significant? Surely, that interpretation will not be the same for everyone. Is it a difference of more than five, ten, 20, 30 or 60 years?

Whatever your take on age differences in a relationship, if you have decided to date someone older or younger there are certainly some issues worth considering.

Sexual considerations: Before the advent of Viagra and other drugs dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED), it was widely thought that older men were unable to keep up or perform satisfactorily in bed. If the man is younger, the feeling is that he would perform like a stud capable of going all night and thrilling the older woman. Does either situation matter to you?

Time: What happens as the older person gets older? If the man is older, do you want to have kids, does he? Will he live long enough help you raise the child? If you are older, what happens as you get older? Will you be paranoid or insecure if a younger woman looks his way or he does?

Acceptance/approval of friends and family: If you were to date someone with a significant age difference what will your friends and family have to say? Will they approve? Would you be comfortable with them meeting him? Would you be concerned about the comments some will make?

Public perception: Can you deal with the stares and the whispers of people in public? Some will see you as father/ daughter or mother/son instead of a couple. If he is younger you may be viewed as an oddity, a woman trying to hang on to her youth by dating a younger man. If he is older, some might consider you a gold-digger, not even knowing the man's financial status. If you are not easily affected or offended then it is probably not an issue for you.

Obviously, these are some considerations before you date someone much older or younger. Because of the age gap an older man might appear to be acting more like your father than your man. He might think that because he's older he's wiser and knows better. Likewise, if you are older you have to be careful not to be viewed as acting like a mother rather than his woman. Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder but differences in age is a reality. Can you deal with that reality?

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