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By Tom Blake
Whenever I write about senior men dating much younger women, the majority of responses come from women. Many women think the guys who try to do so are delusional.
And yet, some women don’t have a problem with those guys, as long as women dating younger men is acknowledged. In this column, six Southern California women share their opinions.
Maurya, San Clemente, said, “It’s important to look at the other side of the coin, or the reverse situation, which is less common but noteworthy. I know a number of women over 50 (who are divorced or widowed) who are quite happily dating or married to younger men.
“As in any relationship, finances may play some role: younger men may be attracted to the economic security that many older professional women have achieved.
“In this day and age of changing social roles, revised identities and greater self-awareness, the pre-existing barriers of gender stereotypes and behaviors are beginning to change, thank goodness.”
Stella, Newport Beach, wrote, “Regarding dating and aging, I’ve heard … that the ideal age gap should be five to seven years either way (men or women dating younger). Beyond that, you have to start to question the motives…”
Diane, Laguna Woods, emailed, “How about older women dating younger men? It is very liberating, no stress to marry, guys are respectful, the women love it (I know I do). Commitment issues seem to be not so important.
“And please, don’t call us ‘cougars.’ It’s disrespectful. I am 73, and he is 58. We’ve been seeing each other two to three times a month for four years. (We) met on Senior Date, and he contacted me. I was very hesitant for the first five or six dates, but we have the highest respect for and expectations of each other.
“Expectations were outlined as soon as we met: No marriage, can continue to date others if the other wants to. Keep open, trusting, respecting each other as adults. I would never lie to him, or accept a lie from him. Respect is our biggest asset!”
Joanie, of Torrance, said, “I had a relationship with a man 14 years younger. He was a bit immature (although a very nice person) and eventually we had little to share—it almost felt like mommy and son. Both of us needed a relationship with someone closer to our age.
“Music and events related to particular decades are fun to discuss and share, but when the partner is over a decade younger, he might not have been born at the time so he cannot share ‘memories.’ Maybe a five- to seven-year age difference would work.”
Janice, of Anaheim, said, “All of us hope our relationships will withstand the test of time. However, the ones with less baggage—such as not having a big age difference—will most definitely have a greater chance of doing so.”
Shelly, of San Diego, said, “I am 68, a widow of two years and a retired school teacher and have been seeing a man five years younger for six months. His online profile said he likes to walk, swim, travel, dance and that he is ‘playful,’ likes to sing and play the guitar and piano.
“But, we have managed to take only a few short walks together. He usually says he can’t walk more because he suddenly feels overheated. We went on four half-hour bike rides and then he said his hip hurt so he can’t ride a bike anymore. He takes a long nap every day. Sleeps nine to 10 hours a night! I never nap and sleep only 5-6 hours a night. He watches a lot more TV than I do.
“We have yet to travel anywhere together because I refuse to go on a trip with him unless and until we can spend more than three consecutive nights together. He lives an hour from me and usually comes over on Saturday and spends three nights at my home then we start to get on one another’s nerves and so he leaves. Why do I keep seeing him?
“He tells me he admires my intelligence and asks my opinion on many things. We are on the same page as far as politics, music and humor go. He is very playful and funny. We laugh a lot together. He always says he misses me when we are not together. And, I miss him as well and wish we could spend more time together.”
Tom’s comment: I endorse older women dating younger men. If compatibility is present, a reasonable age difference (10 years or less) doesn’t matter much. It is good that the preexisting barriers, as Maurya pointed out, are beginning to change.
Maurya is also right about the financial part of it. That often plays a role in relationships where there is a significant age gap.
What can we call women who date younger men? Perfectly normal human beings, of course.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites at www.findingloveafter50.com; www.vicsta.com and www.travelafter55.com. Email: email@example.com.