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The May-December romance

SheKnows.com love/sex columnist Margeaux Baulch Klein is a freelance writer and lives in New York's East Village. She believes all is fair in love and sample sale shopping.

Minding the gap

If the pairings of Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher and Michael Douglas/Catherine Zeta-Jones are any proof, it demonstrates that May-December relationships do work and can lead to happy, successful marriages. However, when it comes to dating someone who is significantly older or younger than you, there are a few issues to consider before taking that next step.

May December Romance

Dealing With Gossip Mongers

You can't escape the fact that people like to gossip and it may be hard for them to understand why you are together. They may assume that it's just a fling or that one person is using the other. If you are dating an older man, expect to hear the label "gold-digger" brandied about, or "cradle robber" if he's younger.

What you can do:

Ignore the naysayers and establish common ground. Whether its similar values or a shared love of Thai food, by focusing on what you do have in common, you can deflect people from obsessing about the age difference. Also, like in any relationship, it's important to try new activities as well. You may just discover a new passion together!

Introducing Your Families

If there is over or near a 20-year age difference, you may find yourself in the position of having stepchildren that are older than you. Or if you are the older one in the scenario, you might be near the same age as his parents. Such situations should be handled gently; it may take some time for family members to adjust to the idea.

What you can do:

To avoid putting additional stress on your relationship, try using light-hearted humor as a tactic to acknowledge the generational differences rather than avoid them. Whatever you do, don't lie about your age(s.) Eventually one of you will slip up or someone will catch a glimpse of your driver's license and blow your cover.

Thinking Ahead

One of the most important issues to discuss in a May-December relationship is children. Do you want any? And, if so, when? If you are older, you may be ready now, only to realize that your boyfriend isn't. Or, if you are younger, he might already have kids and feels finished with parenting.
Even if you are both on board with a timeline, it's important to consider how old you will be during different stages of the child's life and what you would expect from each other at that point. It may not seem like a big issue now, but down the road, if you are working full-time and are the primary caregiver while your retired husband is putting around the golf course, it may cause tension in your relationship.

What you can do:

Be open with each other and discuss your anxieties about the future. Although not every minute detail of the future needs to be negotiated, if you are having trouble coming to an agreement on fundamental issues now, it's going to be exacerbated in the future if you wait.

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