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Stop being ageist!

02 June 2014, 21:45

I have been with my, now husband, for more than five years. I am 16 years older than him. We adore each other. We talk constantly, share many of the same interests and there are some people have a problem with this. It is called ageism.

There is no place for it in our society which is governed by a constitution. I, and he, are sick to death of some people asking if I am his mother/sister or he my son/brother. Firstly this would be an impossibility and secondly, because I am aware of the age difference I have spent vast amounts of money on botox, creams, I am in shape - so what is the problem? Why the assumptions?

Is it that difficult for people to see that age is not relevant when you love someone? Older men, younger women - no problem. But for myself and my husband, the assumption is that I am with him  for the sex and he with me for the money - I’ve been around longer and earn more. But that is not it. What this is - well, it’s love. Pretty much unconditional.

Not everyone assumes that is our relationship - mother and son - but enough do for it to be massively hurtful. Why can’t two people just be in love? Our body language is hardly that of parent and child. 

Many women consider dating a younger man, but are afraid of getting their hearts broken, being humiliated and ultimately dumped for a younger woman. I was. Sometimes in the small hours of the morning it still frightens me but is an unfounded fear.  Our society’s discomfort with something different to the younger woman-older man dynamic might come from a evolutionary instinct driving women to choose the older, wiser, and possibly more powerful man over a younger one. Or, it could be caused by something as shallow and immediate as a woman not wanting anyone to mistake her date for her younger brother or, even worse, her son. And this has been my biggest problem. I have never been with someone younger than me before. I am not a cougar. This is not a serial thing that I have done throughout my life.

A study study published in the journal, Psychology of Women Quarterly, found women who are ten or more years older than their partner report more satisfaction and relationship commitment compared to women who are the same age or younger than their partner. Hah! Go figure.

“We don’t know for sure, but it may be because when the woman is older, it shifts the traditional heterosexual power dynamic toward greater equality. We know from a lot of research that greater equality tends to make couples happier,” writes study author Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University in his blog, the Psychology of Human Sexuality.

Men are attracted to confident women regardless of their age. Younger women tend to have more insecurities as they are still figuring out their place in the world and are more likely to play games with the men that they date. On the other hand, older women are already established, are more comfortable in our skin and are done with all the absurd games they played when they were younger. This is a big reason why younger men find older women so attractive. Not that I am interested in any other men than the one I am with now. I do not drool over every long haired young guy. In fact, brains are more important than age, looks etc. Oh - and a sense of humour is vital for me.

At this point in my life, I have been divorced, I have children. So I know that a man isn’t going to make or break me. This takes a great deal of pressure off the younger man too. And our relationship. Some women are afraid a relationship with a younger man won’t be viable, although this could be said of any relationship. You never know what you’re getting into until you’re in it.

As long as both people keep an open line of communication and respect each other, there is no reason a relationship between an older woman and younger man can’t work out. It may work out forever, or for a while, but nothing lasts forever - not even our lives. I am over my fears and whatever will be will be. Yet I have never been happier with someone in my life as I am now.

Society is becoming more accepting of seeing older women with younger men, but there will still be some folk who say things that are hurtful or eyebrows that will be raised. As long as the couple is happy and strong, it won’t matter what others think. Our family members had issues in the beginning, but over time they too saw that we make each other happy and ultimately have accepted the relationship.

Enjoy learning about each other’s music preferences, hobbies and experiences. These differences will keep the relationship fresh and exciting. It certainly has in ours.

When women date in their twenties, it’s all about finding someone to love them, complete them and make them happy. When older women date it’s more about giving love and making the other person happy. Another thing that comes with experience is knowing when a man’s heart just isn’t in it any more.

When you began the relationship, you were already established and matured. He was still growing and coming into his own. Sometimes this means that you grow closer together, and sometimes you grow apart. Neither my man, or I, want this to happen and we have only grown closer over the past five years. Who knows what the future holds? Not me.

It takes a courageous woman to go against the norm, face scrutiny and possible rejection to be with a younger man. In the long run, as long as you are both happy and enjoying each other’s company, the difference in age shouldn’t be an issue. Dating a younger man is no different than dating a man closer to your age as long as you are a good fit for each other.

I hope this helps people out their who make assumptions to stop. Never assume what a relationship is about, and if you do - keep your mouth shut. I may be secure, as my man is, but it doesn’t make it less obnoxious and hurtful.

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