Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries – Dating A Younger Man
Here, a sixty-something woman wants to know if her relationship with a younger man is doomed to fail because of their age difference.
Q I’m a 64-year-old woman dating a man who is 48. Most of my friends and family members are raising their eyebrows at this and suggest the relationship is destined to fail because of our age difference. The thing is, we’re really falling for each other – in every way. Are we crazy? Are my friends and family right?
— Katherine, Toronto
A They’re not right and you’re not crazy. It can definitely work. “Age is not the defining factor in any relationship,” insists Dr. Robin Milhausen, a researcher at the University of Guelph whose expertise is sexuality and human relationships. “Shared values, shared interests, strong communication skills and caring – those are what determine if a relationship is going to be fulfilling.”
According to Dr. Milhausen, there’s also ample evidence to suggest your age differences can work in your favour – especially in the you-know-what department. “Men and women become more similar in the sexual cycle as they age,” she explains. “As men get older, there’s a slowing down of the sexual response cycle. They become less focused on the standard penetration and more interested in exploring other aspects of sex – which is what women have been waiting for for decades.”
Women in later life, who are healthy and involved in a good partnership, tend to know themselves better and have let go of the unrealistic body images from their 20s and 30s perpetrated by the media, says Dr. Milhausen. “Among younger people, large age differences between partners in a relationship can be more problematic,” she points out, “but later on in life, these differences become less significant.”
Dr. Milhausen’s biggest piece of advice: “Try not to let the naysayers taint the relationship because it’s very easy to take negative comments from people you care about and begin to internalize them as your own. If the relationship is meeting your emotional and physical needs and making you feel good about yourself then stay strong. You’ll show them in the end by the longevity of your relationship that it’s real.”