Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas Into Discoveries – Dating An Older Woman
Why is it acceptable for an older man to be with a younger woman but not the reverse?
Q. I am a 40-something man who cares very much for a woman 14 years my senior. I won’t say we’re in a relationship or even dating, but I need your help to overcome the barriers. Even though I’ve known her for seven years, only recently were we able to even talk about how we felt or what we thought. I don’t make it a habit of seeking older women but I’ve fallen for her. She thinks it’s inappropriate. I think that, while it is uncommon, such relationships exist. I equate being against them to being against the mini skirt or gay rights – merely ideas society was slow to accept. I’m also the victim of a double standard. Why is it more acceptable for an older man to be with a younger woman but not the reverse? Coincidentally, her previous husband was 20-plus years her senior, so I’m very confused about her apprehension. Your advice?
—Jack, Mississauga, Ont.
The bottom line is you need to get answers – in a gentle, non-confrontational way, according to Dr. Kristen Mark, a sex and relationship researcher and professor at the University of Kentucky (who got two of her three degrees in Canada).
“The word ‘inappropriate’ is so vague,” she says. “The best way to approach this is to be completely honest and say something like, ‘As you know, I want to be more than friends and I really want to talk about what the barriers are to moving forward. Regardless of the outcome, I need to know what your thoughts are’.”
And a final word about a younger man-older woman relationship from self-described Love Coach, Sydney-based Carolin Dahlman: “Success has nothing to do with age. It’s about how you create your relationship. If it’s built on love, respect and communication, you’re on to a winning formula, no matter how old you are. If you’re in love and happy, who cares? Don’t let society tell you it won’t work. Brave people follow their heart. Others follow other people’s opinions.”