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Dating younger men

You’re only as old as the man you’re with, although if a woman has a toy boy on her arm, does she look younger or merely older by comparison?

Nowadays women who go out with younger men are described as “cougars” and younger women who go out with yet younger men are called “pumas”. It seems women can’t do much without being likened to some kind of predatory animal. So should you get together with a hot, young guy and just make the most of it?

There are plenty of examples of celebrity women with toy boys. In the fictional world of TV soaps, dumb but beefy builder Jason squired older yet sexy Stella, landlady of The Rovers Return in Coronation Street. Cougar Town is Courteney Cox’s new show, moving on from domestic perfectionist Monica in her after life from Friends. Here Courteney’s character juggles sassy middle age with dating younger men. In the “real” life world of fame and fortune,  the likes of Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Demi Moore and Joan Collins have all hooked up with men much younger than themselves. It’s a Hollywood cliche that powerful older men attract sexy younger women. Sex and money equals power. When a woman is attractive,  financially independent and possibly even famous, why shouldn’t a younger man grab a little of the action for himself?

Rising numbers

Between the late 1960s and the year 2012, the proportion of women in England and Wales who married younger men rose from 15 percent to 25 percent.

Throughout Europe on average men marry women about three years younger than themselves. A 2003 study from the Office for National Statistics revealed that there was a higher divorce rate in couples of disparate ages when the woman was older than when the man was older, although around a quarter of marriages in the U.K. are between couples where the woman is older than the man.

After a 2010 study on dating and differing ages,  Dr. Michael Dunn of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff concluded there was a “consistent cross-cultural preference by women for at least same-age or significantly older men.” Though could this be due to personal preference or societal preference? Perhaps it has something to do with the biological “ticking clock,” where women are more fertile up to their early forties and men can continue to procreate for as long as they can “perform” in bed.

Could this be true love?

So you’ve been called a cougar or possibly a puma. There is even an official dating website called Cougar for men looking for older women and women looking for younger men. In their introduction they state: “Cougar Life is the premier online dating service that pairs women in their prime with younger men and ends the double standard!” So you may seek sex with a younger specimen, you may want to make a political statement and strike a blow for feminism or you may just fall in love with a younger man: is there any validity in the notion that a relationship between a younger man and an older woman is doomed to fail after a fairly short period? Or even that the woman is deluded and should feel ashamed of herself? Joan Collins (aged 79) and Percy Gibson (aged 47) have been together for 11 years. This was her fifth marriage and the one that has been a lasting love bond, despite the age gap.

How has dating changed over the years? >>

Having children

If you are in a long-term relationship with a younger man, do either of you want children? You may have children already and not want more. You may be post-menopausal and no longer fertile. If neither of you wants to have children together then you can concentrate on each other but, if your man wants to be a father, this could cause negative complications. Try to establish from the start of the relationship if you are both looking for the same things. Also it may be tempting to “mother” your partner if you are older than him, especially if you are accustomed to looking after your own kids. This may be a cause of tension between you, though some men will be happy for you to do so. Just keep communicating and, if it is right, then hopefully you will have a successful and lasting relationship.

Tell us

Are you in a relationship with a large age gap? Share with us about your situation in the comments below.

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