When it comes to dating, how old is too old? Many younger women find themselves in a conundrum, asked out by men not older, but "old" by some. Not by men one to five years older; this cannot be considered “older” by traditional standards. Many women find men commonly approach them that are 10, 20 and even 25 or more years their senior.
One must ask, “How old is too old to be dating someone?”
It may depend on the person you ask. If you ask many senior women, women that are struggling to attract men in their age group, you may hear that younger women should not date men that are 15, 20 and even 30 years their senior. Some consider it ridiculous that a man in his 60s would find anything in common with a woman in her 20s or 30s.
So what is the attraction? The simple answer for some is sex. But is this the right answer?
Younger women claim that “older” or for some, “old” men are more mature. That leaves one to ask, “Are there men within a woman’s own age group that have the same level of maturity? Does a woman have daddy issues, or simply issues?”
Perhaps the men themselves have issues, such that they cannot find women within their own age group to date? Perhaps the men seeking women 20 and 30 years their junior seek validation from much younger women.
Some women claim that women past 40 years are washed up and no longer attractive whereas society has built up a standard that men into their 70s are seen as virile and quite attractive according to modern standards. Is this the case? Are women washed up while men put up on a pedestal? Has society come to worship these “Tarzan” type images? What do you think?
Is it merely a question of sex or is there something more behind these relationships? Could love be the answer?
Perhaps there are no “issues” at all, rather these “May-December” relationships are something that have been taking place throughout history, and society is only now coming to recognize them as something normal and acceptable.
Celebrity May-December Relationships
When it comes to exploring the root of May-December relationships, one must probe no further than Hollywood, where May-December flings are perhaps not more commonplace, but certainly more out in the open.
Here many celebrities are engaged or have been engaged in relationships where the age discrepancy between couples has been highly publicized. Some examples include:
- James Woods (66) and Kristen Bauguess (20)
- Rupert Murdoch (82) and Wendi Deng (44)
- Marc Anthony (44) and Chloe Green (21)
- Doug Hutchinson (52) and Courtney Stodden (16)
- Hugh Heffner (86) and Crystal Harris (26)
- Dick Van Dyke (86) and Arlene Silver (40)
- Al Pacino (70) and Lucia Sola (40)
- Alec Baldwin (53) and Hilaria Thomas (28)
- Ellen Barkin (57) and Sam Levinson (31)
What does it mean? Perhaps nothing. Since the dawn of time huge age gaps have existed among couples, and many have fared very well. This is true not just in Hollywood, but among ordinary couples as well.
It may be the couples with large age gaps actually struggle more to remain and seem more normal. Perhaps they have more in common. One of the more famous Hollywood couples was Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, who shared a 25-year age gap. The two stayed together for years, until Bogart’s passing. While Bacall had several intermittent crushes, the two enjoyed a passionate marriage and stayed together, growing together and trusting in each other.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from May-December relationships. In the good book, it was common for older men to take on younger wives, not considering them trophy, but instead honoring and cherishing them for years to come. Perhaps there is a lesson modern couples can learn from this.
The University of Denver is currently conducting a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The purpose is to investigate romantic relationships over several years, discovering how they form and change.
Unmarried individuals are being recruited nationally.
To find out more, contact: STUDY
Relationship Development Study, Center for Marital and Family Studies
Department of Psychology
University of Denver
2155 South Race Street
Denver, CO 80208