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JoNightshade
02-11-2008, 09:07 AM
Okay, I know there was a thread a few weeks back about how much older a guy had to be than a girl to make things "icky."

Well, I've got the opposite situation. In this case, the woman is older than the man. The man is 34. I'm aiming for a couple of things here:

1) I want it to be obvious to others that the woman is older, not ambiguous.
2) I want to elicit slight discomfort from the reader when they find out how big the gap is.

Right now, I'm kind of hovering between eight to twelve years, so like 34/45.

Then I got to thinking, my husband's parents are in exactly this situation. He's 50, she's 60. Honestly, I can barely even tell. She looks a bit older but I'd never guess a decade.

Anyone else have any experience here? Real-world anecdotes? Suggestions?

Sean D. Schaffer
02-11-2008, 09:20 AM
Okay, I know there was a thread a few weeks back about how much older a guy had to be than a girl to make things "icky."

Well, I've got the opposite situation. In this case, the woman is older than the man. The man is 34. I'm aiming for a couple of things here:

1) I want it to be obvious to others that the woman is older, not ambiguous.
2) I want to elicit slight discomfort from the reader when they find out how big the gap is.

Right now, I'm kind of hovering between eight to twelve years, so like 34/45.

Then I got to thinking, my husband's parents are in exactly this situation. He's 50, she's 60. Honestly, I can barely even tell. She looks a bit older but I'd never guess a decade.

Anyone else have any experience here? Real-world anecdotes? Suggestions?


I used to go out, about two years ago, with someone 7 years older than me, then later on I went with a woman who was almost twenty years older than me. Nobody looked at us like we were strange, in either case.

If it were me, I would have a problem with a 34 year old man going out with someone with lots and lots of gray hair, such as a woman in her late fifties to early sixties, but anything below that age difference is really not something I consider weird.

Matera the Mad
02-11-2008, 09:20 AM
My grandmother was eight years older than my grandfather. So? In my salad days I fooled around with some much younger fellows. You aren't going to elicit discomfort from me (except by using words like "icky" in a certain context). Pick a demographic that thinks x number of years is OMFG awful, and aim at it, I guess. Can't shock 'em all ;)

JoNightshade
02-11-2008, 09:22 AM
Well, she does have grey hair. :)

NicoleMD
02-11-2008, 09:22 AM
I think once everyone is over 30ish, it'd be really hard to make me blink. Certainly 45 wouldn't do it. 50 would raise a little flag in the back of my mind. 55 might get me to curl a lip. 60, I'd say ick, but if the characters were engaging enough, I'd still believe it.

Nicole

Birol
02-11-2008, 09:23 AM
Moving to the Experts forum.

JoNightshade
02-11-2008, 09:27 AM
Moving to the Experts forum.

Oh, sorry. Thanks! :)

JoNightshade
02-11-2008, 09:28 AM
Wow, you guys are tough cookies. Where are all the prejudicial, judgmental people when you need them?

Judg
02-11-2008, 09:45 AM
If she's old enough to be his mother, then it's icky. I've got friends who have a 9-year spread and no one could ever tell. Not even when he was 19 and she was 28...

Lots and lots of grey hair doesn't mean anything, most women over 40 dye their hair anyway. I don't, and it causes me problems (http://the-walrus-said.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-have-got-to-dye-my-hair.html).

P.H.Delarran
02-11-2008, 09:47 AM
one of my closest friends is 11 years older than her husband. they've been together about 22 years-she's 55 now, so he was only 22. the story is that he was pretty proud to walk around with a hot older woman when they met. and she has remained very attractive-I didn't notice the age difference at all when I met them a few years ago. now that they're divorcing though ( :( ) she's not really attracted to men her own age and encountering just a little hesitation from younger men-I think it's the number 55 though-because she is still eye-catchingly attractive.
But as for it being shocking to others-I do admit to a little nose wrinkling over Demi Moore and Aston Kucher.

Mandy-Jane
02-11-2008, 09:53 AM
I tend to agree with everyone. I'm 7 years older than my husband and no-one's got any idea. It's not obvious, but it's not weird either. Even 12 years difference isn't weird. I'd raise my eyebrows if there was like a 30 year gap, but less than that these days is really no big deal.

I'd extend the age difference if you want shock value.

Gray Rose
02-11-2008, 09:55 AM
My friend is 34, his wife is 43. Very nice couple, very loving. They have a daughter. He is desperate for more children, she cannot give birth anymore - there's friction and a lot of bitterness on his side because of this.

ona
02-11-2008, 10:04 AM
How old was Mrs. Robinson ? Would that still shock ?

The age difference that might shock would seem to vary with different combinations at different stages of life. Settle on the age you want the woman to be first, then the man.

Smiling Ted
02-11-2008, 11:09 AM
I'd say that the real "ick" factor comes when the maturity difference - not the age difference - is so great that it's hard to believe there's anything non-sexual, non-kinky about the relationship.

Sonneillon
02-11-2008, 12:00 PM
My parents have a twelve year age difference. Every once in a long while, I think about that and get squicky, but for the most part, I don't bother. I agree with Smiling Ted; I think it's the maturity difference that counts for most. But a lot of people vastly underestimate how important it is. Think Angel x Buffy... I'm only 23 and I'm put-off by her teenager-ness, so I find it very difficult to believe that even an emotionally challenged 241-year-old would find her attractive. Along the same lines, but not quite so extreme, teacher x student relationships squick me a LOT in fiction (and in reality, but we're talking fiction here). Unless the student in question has had a harsh enough life to grow up REALLY fast, in which case they are likely to be carrying a whole lot of baggage, and the teacher in question is stunted, I just don't see the attraction.

Cassiopeia
02-11-2008, 12:12 PM
Okay, I know there was a thread a few weeks back about how much older a guy had to be than a girl to make things "icky."

Well, I've got the opposite situation. In this case, the woman is older than the man. The man is 34. I'm aiming for a couple of things here:

1) I want it to be obvious to others that the woman is older, not ambiguous.
2) I want to elicit slight discomfort from the reader when they find out how big the gap is.

Right now, I'm kind of hovering between eight to twelve years, so like 34/45.

Then I got to thinking, my husband's parents are in exactly this situation. He's 50, she's 60. Honestly, I can barely even tell. She looks a bit older but I'd never guess a decade.

Anyone else have any experience here? Real-world anecdotes? Suggestions?

I was 46 and he was 25 on our wedding day. Different enough? (It was annulled 11 months later)

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-11-2008, 03:07 PM
I think by the time the man is 34 it would no longer matter. What is off-putting is when the younger party is little more than a child--be it the male or female. Seventeen and forty I would not like; however, 34 and 57--which is the same difference in numbers--doesn't sound bad. I think it's because of the maturity factor, as mentioned by others. When one partner is very, very young, it would seem the older partner is taking advantage. IMO

L M Ashton
02-11-2008, 03:58 PM
My sister is six years older than her husband. One of my best friends is eight or nine years older than her husband (married at 21 and 29 or 30). My brother dated a woman ten years his senior. No one could tell and no one cares when they find out. Eight or ten years is nothing.

If you want it to be slightly icky, go with at least 20 years difference.

HeronW
02-11-2008, 04:42 PM
My brother is 11 years younger than his wife. Many years ago my nephew married a woman 16 yrs older than him--they split--from various other problems, but stayed friends until she passed away.

May December matches don't raise eyebrows as much.

anyone with Aston Kuchtner makes me think...iccccckkkk

ona
02-11-2008, 04:48 PM
When a woman gets to 45, menopause is impending.

This will affect the relationship greatly, and the younger (or "younger" ?) the man, the more so, I think.

At the turn of the century, women expired at age 50 or so. Obsolete. Now we live much longer, in general, and this complicates everything.

Maryn
02-11-2008, 06:37 PM
If the younger person is in his mid-30s, I don't think I'll be uncomfortable until the woman is of a completely different generation, that of his parents, and looks it. Say a minimum of 20 years' difference.

A well-tended 54 (or more) still seems a lot older than a 34, you know? They may share many values and a sense of humor, and enjoy the same activities, but their cultural touchstones will not mesh. To me, those are important.

Maryn, whose husband didn't have TV until he was 8

Sarita
02-11-2008, 07:03 PM
In this Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher world, it's a bit harder to shock with age difference. I know my husbands parents were surprised that I was a year and a half older than him. That was 10 years ago, they're from small town America, none of our friends flinched. It was nothing. 15 years ago, my sister married a guy who was 8 years older than her and all her friends were a little shocked. She was 22 at the time. Now, it's nothing.

*shrug* I think it has to be pretty drastic to work. Could you make the guy a little younger and have the gap be somewhere around 25 years?

Don Allen
02-11-2008, 07:10 PM
Hey Jo, I think you know that I'm a bunch older than my wife, but in this situation I think the only weirdness would be on the part of the older woman. Because I think she may feel some self doubts as to whether she was attractive or sexy enough to keep a younger guy, would she wonder if he would be constantly looking at younger girls, that sort of thing...

Roger J Carlson
02-11-2008, 07:24 PM
My wife is nine years older. In thirty years of marriage, it has never caused a problem. No one in either of our conservative families raised an eyebrow.

The only funny part comes when we talk about how we met. The first time I met my wife was at church, and she was my youth group leader. I was in 8th grade, and she was just out of college. Of course, we didn't become romantically involved until 6 years later.

Fifteen and twenty-three would be icky. Twenty-one and thirty is no big deal. Only time will tell if it will be an issue when I'm seventy-five and she's eighty-four.

C.bronco
02-11-2008, 07:36 PM
Well, Roger, there won't be an issue until she's 108 and you're 99, but at that point, you won't remember what the issue was and go back to your game of shuffleboard.

Cassiopeia
02-11-2008, 09:16 PM
When a woman gets to 45, menopause is impending.

This will affect the relationship greatly, and the younger (or "younger" ?) the man, the more so, I think.

At the turn of the century, women expired at age 50 or so. Obsolete. Now we live much longer, in general, and this complicates everything.

I tend to resent the stereotypical 45 menopause is coming. I'm 49 and it's nowhere in sight. Every woman is different. And which turn of what century?

The fact of the matter is when I was married to my husband of half my age, you put us side by side and no one could say who was the older and I am more active then he'll ever dream of. It didn't work because of mental issues he hid for the two years prior to our marriage and six months into he let loose. He became a danger to me and my kids.

I've been told people with this disorder hide it well.

So, for those of you who have objection to this kind of marriage, think about the old standard that it's okay for an older man to marry a much younger woman (the lucky old sod because he's a stud) but an older woman does it and it's just wrong. Things change.

Uncarved
02-11-2008, 09:20 PM
I'm 7.5 years older than my husband, we married when he was 18. It doesn't even cause a giggle anymore.

Kenny
02-11-2008, 10:04 PM
I had a mate who married his friend's mother. He was the same age as his friend. A bit of a shock, but I didn't think much of it. As long as they're happy (and at last check they were!).

JoNightshade
02-11-2008, 10:17 PM
Thanks everyone, for your input!!! I think Ted hit the nail on the head here:

I'd say that the real "ick" factor comes when the maturity difference - not the age difference - is so great that it's hard to believe there's anything non-sexual, non-kinky about the relationship.

I realized from this thread that perhaps people are not really bothered by the numbers themselves - but by people's personalities and percieved maturity. I'm not really willing to go with 20 years' age difference (as some had suggested it would need to be to feel "icky"), but I will concentrate more on making him seem "young" and her seem "mature."

sassandgroove
02-11-2008, 10:21 PM
I don't remember who, but my mom told me about a tribe that had a marriage custom where the older poeple would marry the young people and sort of train them up. When the older spouse died, the younger one would then be the older one marry a young person and complete the cycle. I hope this post makes sense.

RedScylla
02-11-2008, 10:28 PM
I agree, once a person hits 35, it would have to be a pretty dramatic gap for me to even blink. At least 55, probably 60, and still I wouldn't see it as "icky."

I think once everyone is over 30ish, it'd be really hard to make me blink. Certainly 45 wouldn't do it. 50 would raise a little flag in the back of my mind. 55 might get me to curl a lip. 60, I'd say ick, but if the characters were engaging enough, I'd still believe it.

Nicole

Jenan Mac
02-11-2008, 10:29 PM
I'd say that the real "ick" factor comes when the maturity difference - not the age difference - is so great that it's hard to believe there's anything non-sexual, non-kinky about the relationship.


I'm with Ted on this one. Does he have to be 34? Maybe if he were 24, and she were, say, 50-something. Then you might have people wondering about her bank account.

Cassiopeia
02-11-2008, 11:40 PM
I don't remember who, but my mom told me about a tribe that had a marriage custom where the older poeple would marry the young people and sort of train them up. When the older spouse died, the younger one would then be the older one marry a young person and complete the cycle. I hope this post makes sense.
In my cultural/social anthropology class we saw a video on the Matriarchal system of the Amazon tribes. The women have more than one husband and it was common to see them ranging from older to younger than her.

I was amazed...wouldn't want to do that..but amazed.

She_wulf
02-12-2008, 01:44 AM
My friend is 34, his wife is 43. Very nice couple, very loving. They have a daughter. He is desperate for more children, she cannot give birth anymore - there's friction and a lot of bitterness on his side because of this.
I just "dumped" (I did it nicely) my "younger" man because he wants more children. No way! not going down that road again. I have a 17 yr old and a 14 yr old. They are almost out of the house and my life will be MINE again. MINE! I tell you!!! LOL

There's no way I want another eighteen-plus sentence no matter how nice the guy is. I want him happy enough I'm willing to hurt him now so he gets what he wants. (a big family)

I'm 42, he's 34. (Which was an "ick" for me once I found out. Then I got over it.) There is an age/generation gap when the difference in years is that much. Or maybe it is maturity. For me, the breakup was logical. For him, it was the end of the world. He's got so many more years ahead of him than I do and yet it's ok for him to act like that?!!! At least I kept my cool and ignored it, let him calm down so I could tell him that this was the only option. I didn't want him giving up on his dream to fit mine. That's not fair, and it's not love.

Maybe when I was 34, things might have been more desperate if someone had done that to me...so yes, there is a maturity difference.

I tend to resent the stereotypical 45 menopause is coming. I'm 49 and it's nowhere in sight. Every woman is different....

42, and in pre-menopause - which is another reason I don't want to get someone's hopes up for kids. Lucky you!

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 01:50 AM
I just "dumped" (I did it nicely) my "younger" man because he wants more children. No way! not going down that road again. I have a 17 yr old and a 14 yr old. They are almost out of the house and my life will be MINE again. MINE! I tell you!!! LOL

There's no way I want another eighteen-plus sentence no matter how nice the guy is. I want him happy enough I'm willing to hurt him now so he gets what he wants. (a big family)

I'm 42, he's 34. (Which was an "ick" for me once I found out. Then I got over it.) There is an age/generation gap when the difference in years is that much. Or maybe it is maturity. For me, the breakup was logical. For him, it was the end of the world. He's got so many more years ahead of him than I do and yet it's ok for him to act like that?!!! At least I kept my cool and ignored it, let him calm down so I could tell him that this was the only option. I didn't want him giving up on his dream to fit mine. That's not fair, and it's not love.

Maybe when I was 34, things might have been more desperate if someone had done that to me...so yes, there is a maturity difference.



42, and in pre-menopause - which is another reason I don't want to get someone's hopes up for kids. Lucky you!
I was also surprised when my ex who is 21 years younger took it very hard when I ended it. I would have thought he would be free to pursue someone more in keeping with his age. We had a lot in common for a long time, till he moved here with me from South Africa. Then bam, he went back to being his age, and not a good age. Very insecure, clingy, demanding and very secretive. He would spy on me through the our home network and look for signs of me cheating on him.

I was like with who, you are a stud muffin who am I gonna find better?

Well it wasn't that I found someone better. I couldn't take all that went with him that he kept from me for two years.

I don't know if it's lucky me. It's just what it is for me. I get a bit frustrated though when every complaint I have physically someone goes...Oh you are pre-menopausal or going through menopause. I had it checked out. Nope not even close. *shrug* maybe I will be like my aunt who slide into and through it a very short time without much fuss.

L M Ashton
02-12-2008, 06:46 AM
I tend to resent the stereotypical 45 menopause is coming. I'm 49 and it's nowhere in sight. Every woman is different.
Mine started at 36 (not that any doctor actually believed me). I know of women who hit menopause in their teens and twenties. 45 is nothing more than an average with all sorts of wild variations. :)

Judg
02-12-2008, 08:03 AM
The average is actually 51 1/2 in North America, for what it's worth. That's for the onset of confirmed menopause.

mscelina
02-12-2008, 08:23 AM
Well, Jo--this year my husband will be 34 and I will be 42. Our friends (the ones that we met since we got married) are usually genuinely stunned when they find out the age difference. *pats self on back* Not a single person has ever thought it was icky. It might get icky if one of my teenaged daughters turned up pregnant. Grandpa at 34 would be almost as icky as Celina at 42 trying to think of ONE RATIONAL REASON NOT TO KILL THE DAUGHTER WHO ASSIGNS ME A GRANDMA LABEL BEFORE MY TIME.

But that's just me. I will tell you this: there is a couple that comes into the bar, married, and very much in love. She is 67; he is my age. Although I initially thought she was his mother, when they locked lips at the bar at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night I must confess to a very brief *Are you kidding me? That's just---ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!* moment. Then I shrugged it off and didn't think about it again.

Cranky
02-12-2008, 08:24 AM
Late to the party, but I'll throw in my two cents. My parents (mom and stepfather) were 33 and 23 respectively when they got married. Not squicky at all, even though he was quite young. He was the eldest of six kids, a very old soul.

They've been married for twenty years this year. :D He was/ is an awesome stepdad, just for the record. Gave my youngest his name (as a middle name).

ETA: He's only 11 years older than me, and I suppose that might freak some people out. Doesn't bother me in the slightest.

ona
02-12-2008, 08:39 AM
I was really thinking that a younger man might be wary of getting involved with a woman of that age, knowing she would inevitably reach menopause within a fairly short time (assuming she had not already).

I have become aware of a sector of the male population who seek out much much younger women to marry (usually the man's 2nd marriage) for precisely this reason. There seems to be a growing male subscription to a sort of popularized Evolutionary Psychology. (Also a backlash against feminism, I believe.) There are many books and websites telling men how they can get a much younger "mate" ( :) ), usually from a developing country. There are certainly plenty of men this appeals to.

Of course everyone's different. But have no doubt; menopause can affect women & relationships profoundly.

My earlier comments may have been directed by a little bitterness :).

Anyway, here are some interesting numbers to contemplate :

The table below shows the life expectancy for men (M) and women (W) from selective years in the U.S. It also includes those for blacks (B) and whites (W).

Year All W (B) Men Women WM(BM) WW(BW)
1900 47.3 47.6 (33) 46.3 48.3 46.6(32.5) 48.7(33.5)
1950 68.2 69.1 (-) 65.6 71.1 66.3(58.9) 72(62.7)
1975 72.6 73.4(66.8) 68.8 76.6 69.5(62.4) 77.3(71.3)
1998 76.7 77.3(71.3) 73.8 79.5 74.5(67.8) 80(74.8)

(Sorry the table's a bit messy, but it's not too hard to get the picture, I think.)

It's quite extradordinary, really.

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 09:32 AM
If that man doesn't want children he may not mind a woman going through menopause. It doesn't mean she has to wither up and die you know.

frimble3
02-12-2008, 09:38 AM
I think once everyone is over 30ish, it'd be really hard to make me blink. Certainly 45 wouldn't do it. 50 would raise a little flag in the back of my mind. 55 might get me to curl a lip. 60, I'd say ick, but if the characters were engaging enough, I'd still believe it.

Nicole I'm thinking that if he's 35/she's 55, the person with the 'ick' response would be her adult children. Especially any that were 35 themselves. Other than that, once the youngest member of the pair is out of their '20's, I don't think it matters that much.

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 09:43 AM
My daughter was 20 when I married my 25 year old husband. She didn't say ick. She said, look at you guys, you match.

I don't think we can make sweeping generalizations here. I haven't dated a man my age since 1982. They have always been younger. It's not that I do it on purpose. It just is what it is.

Pat~
02-12-2008, 09:43 AM
I think the older the couple is, the less numbers matter. (People age at different rates, anyway.)

ona
02-12-2008, 10:47 AM
It doesn't mean she has to wither up and die you know.

Not die, but quite a bit of withering is involved :). But I agree, some men would be prepared to accept the changes menopause brings.

Relationships do break up because of menopause, though. Women can become depressed, and lose interest in sex and life in general.

aruna
02-12-2008, 11:12 AM
I just "dumped" (I did it nicely) my "younger" man because he wants more children. No way! not going down that road again. I have a 17 yr old and a 14 yr old. They are almost out of the house and my life will be MINE again. MINE! I tell you!!! LOL



I think you were right to do so, even if it was painful for him. He'll get over it, and thank you one day when he holds his first child in his arms.
I had it the other way around, once--I had a boyfriend who was ten years older than I was, I was about 28, no kids yet, and really wanted them. He already had a daughter and definitely did not want any more. So the breakup was mutual.

The fact that men can still have children way into their 60's and 70's, and women can't, is probably the main reason why we as humans are more accepting of the older man/younger woman scenario, than the other way around. If there are no reproductive desires involved, though, it should not mean a thing. You are as old as you feel.



Relationships do break up because of menopause, though. Women can become depressed, and lose interest in sex and life in general.

A woman losing interest in sex at menopause could be a huge issue for a younger man... it does happen, quite frequently; it happened to me.
It doesn't mean, though, that you lose interest in life, in my case, quite the opposite. My interest in life, my creativity as well as my energy have simply exploded since menopause, and I feel freed the horrible partner-seeking obsessions of my youth. It's like a burden that has fallen away.

Unfortunately, I do not have the physical freedom to take advantage of that new lease on life.... I really, really miss that from my youth; the not having possessions, mortgages, furniture, old and ailing people to care for. It's really a paradox: I have the mental lightness to live the life I used to live, but am bound by all kinds of responsibilities. But with that comes also an almost relaxed acceptance of things as they are. In my younger days I would have been railing and ranting against life, given my situation now. And I can't imagine a younger man wanting to be tied down in this way.

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 11:13 AM
Not die, but quite a bit of withering is involved :). But I agree, some men would be prepared to accept the changes menopause brings.

Relationships do break up because of menopause, though. Women can become depressed, and lose interest in sex and life in general.

UH....now hang on, a minute. I turn 50 next August and I far from withering. I have an aunt who is 75 and hardly withered. It's more than just hormonal. I have friends who are now 60 and they are more interested in sex than ever and very active in their life and definitely NOT depressed.

So let's say that your example might be accurate for some but don't get carried away saying it in a way that indicates ALL women.

Many things come into play that have nothing to do with menopause. Does one smoke? Drink alcohol? Get any exercise? Drink water and sleep regularly. Perhaps a woman goes through a lot at the time of menopause because her kids are leaving the nest and it's nothing to do with menopause. It's a complicated subject at best.

aruna
02-12-2008, 11:20 AM
UH....now hang on, a minute. I turn 50 next August and I far from withering. I have an aunt who is 75 and hardly withered. It's more than just hormonal. I have friends who are now 60 and they are more interested in sex than ever and very active in their life and definitely NOT depressed.



We posted together!!:)
The renewed interest/total lack of interest in sex is, I believe, part of exactly the same phenomenon. For me, it is simple renewed energy that comes after menopause. It can be sexual, but doesn't have to be; but I think in the West we tend to see sexuality as the qualifier of energy and youth, the lack of which makes you withered and dried up. I don't experience this at all.
(I am going on 57 and really look forward to my 60's and 70's; it can only get better!)

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 11:32 AM
We posted together!!:)
The renewed interest/total lack of interest in sex is, I believe, part if exactly the same phenomenon. For me, it is simple renewed energy that comes after menopause. It can be sexual, but doesn't have to be; but I think in the West we tend to see sexuality as the qualifier of energy and youth, the lack of which makes you withered and dried up. I don't experience this at all.
(I am going on 57 and really look forward to my 60's and 70's; it can only get better!)

We seem to do this a lot don't we? Particularly on this subject which is combined with my indignance that people refer to an ICK factor with May to December relationship when it's a woman who's older.


I don't know if anyone realizes it but the way you (not you aruna but rather them) talk about this, it's rather insulting to some of us when you say the "ick factor" because obviously I would be the one causing the ICK in that. Have a look at my profile pic. Think about this before you are so blunt and demeaning when you say something like that.

As for me, i will simply leave this discussion now.

ona
02-12-2008, 11:36 AM
So let's say that your example might be accurate for some but don't get carried away saying it in a way that indicates ALL women.

I didn't. I said "can".

I do agree it's complicated.

Aruna, I think your experience is not uncommon.

I have also been thinking how much depends on the culture you live in; both as it applies to how you might view others' relationships, and what happens in your own. (I guess the OP is writing for an audience with a roughly similar lifestyle to her own ?)

Most women around the world do not have access to all the medical and psychological aid we have. Those of us posting here are the priveleged. In many cultures, once a woman begins to age, the husband will take a lover. Just standard practice. The woman is then an "old lady" and takes on other roles in her life. In some cultures, a man marrying a significantly older woman is simply inconceivable ( :) ).

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 11:39 AM
.

I didn't. I said "can".

I do agree it's complicated.

Aruna, I think your experience is not uncommon.

I have also been thinking how much depends on the culture you live in; both as it applies to how you might view others' relationships, and what happens in your own. (I guess the OP is writing for an audience with a roughly similar lifestyle to her own ?)

Most women around the world do not have access to all the medical and psychological aid we have. Those of us posting here are the priveleged. In many cultures, once a woman begins to age, the husband will take a lover. Just standard practice. The woman is then an "old lady" and takes on other roles in her life. In some cultures, a man marrying a significantly older woman is simply inconceivable ( :) ).Where do you get these ideas? Have a study? Documentation of this? You are saying some pretty strong things here.

ona
02-12-2008, 11:43 AM
A decade living in different parts of Asia. Decades prior to that teaching refugees from many countries.

I guess I could find research if you really want that.

Cassiopeia
02-12-2008, 11:51 AM
Just a few of beautiful ladies


Stephanie Powers (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2714146816/nm0694619) born in 1942

Sally Fields (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm963615488/nm0000398) born in 1946

Diane Keaton (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4000291072/nm0000473) born in 1946

And before anyone says, yeah but they've had surgery, my aunt I mention alot, never has as she looks to be in her 50's at 75. So again alot comes into play. I know a lot of men who find older women attractive just like some younger women find older men attractive.


Ona, I have lived in South Africa and traveled quite a bit, I just think you are painting with two wide of a brush here.

ona
02-12-2008, 12:18 PM
The greatest problem with HIV infection in the country where I am living occurs with married women. Why ? Husbands with lovers or using prostitutes. Considered normal.

We all know about the vast numbers of people dying of hunger and preventable diseases (e.g. something as treatable as malaria)
all over the world. It's not difficult to know the women in these places have more to worry about than menopause; not that any help is available.

That's what I mean when I say "most women" around the world.

Even in more "developed" parts of Asia, the only hormonal help prescribed/available is Premarin. I think we all know about the cruelty involved in its production, and that taking estrogen without progesterone is no longer considered advisable in any way. But it seems doctors here don't know that, and there's nothing but Premarin available. (I think the drug companies have dumped the Premarin here, and it's not in their interests to make anything else available just now, and there's not the money or the cultural support to "waste" money on such luxuries).

Anyone on this forum is priveleged, by definition. The responses to the guestion about age difference might even be unrepresentative
of the general population "there" because writers/artists may tend to be unconventional.

Maybe asking that question on a writer forum was not very helpful to the OP :).

But I am enjoying the discussion on menopause.

aruna
02-12-2008, 05:17 PM
One of my closest friends is 64. She was divorced for many years, her kids were grown up, she was working as a social worker in Germany (she's Australian). A very balanced and rounded woman. Then she met "him". He was 10 years younger, and lived at the other end of Germany... n the north, she was in the south. For a few years they had a long distance relationship, often she would drive up to see him at the weekend. When she retired she went to live with him. I went to visit them recently. They have a lovely, snug little house with a huge garden are just devoted to each other. She is so happy, and they are just delighted in each other. It is beautiful to see such a relationship.

Near the start of their relationship, she was already several years into menopause and had some bleeding. Anxious, thinking it was cancer, she went to the doctor, Everything was OK. He asked, hows your sex life? And she said, Great! And he said, there's your explanation! It was a period... her body thought she young again!

Nothing dried up about that lady!
My own mother is 90 and going strong. A close friend of mine is 99 and also going strong. Ladies, we can ROCK! Especially after 50!

0

ona
02-12-2008, 05:24 PM
Aruna, that's a beautiful story.

But while I love to hear such stories, there are physical realities faced by menopausal/post-menopausal women that should not be ignored.

Shwebb
02-12-2008, 06:56 PM
My best friend is almost 49, and she loves being in menopause. Loves not having to deal with the monthly "visit from Aunt Flo." She doesn't care for the hot flashes and chills that sometimes accompany it, but she knows that this is another stage in her life, and she has embraced it the way she has every other change. Because what choice does she have, anyway?

What is cringe-worthy a bit, for me is when I see obviously older, grandmotherly-type women with a man who is old enough to be her son--and there's a mother/kid dynamic at work. Like the guy can't tie his own shoes; the wife/mom treats him as a kid. It might be that (one couple in particular I knew) that their relationship was different in private. She was at least twenty years older than he, and they'd been married for almost twenty years. Perhaps she felt like she'd raised him! But who am I to judge? I'm not. Just commenting that their relationship seemed a bit odd to those of us who knew them.

And the older the two of them are, the more of an age difference one would need, I think, to shock people.

Pat~
02-12-2008, 07:41 PM
Not die, but quite a bit of withering is involved :). But I agree, some men would be prepared to accept the changes menopause brings.

This just made me chortle. :D Menopause is not like cutting the flower from the stem. If the woman is 'withered' it's due to the aging process, which is genetically determined and varies widely from woman to woman. Menopause is just one aspect of that aging process.

Relationships do break up because of menopause, though. Women can become depressed, and lose interest in sex and life in general.
Women can become depressed and lose interest in sex and life in general prior to menopause as well. It's just something women are more prone to, statistically. And what about the fact that menopause frees one up from having to worry about birth control? And the fact that there are many studies out there that show women often reach their "prime" in their forties--for some women, there is actually an increase in interest.

And that's all I'm gonna say. ;)

Cranky
02-12-2008, 07:46 PM
If that man doesn't want children he may not mind a woman going through menopause. It doesn't mean she has to wither up and die you know.

True enough. My mother couldn't have more children for other reasons (a tubal she couldn't reverse), and it bothered him for a little while, but not enough to put an end to the relationship/marriage.

He's a fantastic grandpa. :D

joyce
02-12-2008, 07:50 PM
I have a friend who is 63 and her husband is 50 and they have been together for 27 years. Menopause.....I think my friend went sex crazy when she hit menopause and still is. She tells me that she's been telling her man for years "play me or trade me". :)

sassandgroove
02-12-2008, 09:46 PM
Ona, I think you are painting with too broad a brush. Also, you can't make a post sound less harsh with just a smilie.

I know i can't speak for JoeNightShade, but i suspect she is writing for an american audience and so wants that perspective, not a whole world view. So citing third world countries practices isn't relevant to the discussion, whether you can back it up with research or not. For that matter, you can't lump every woman together into experience. Other women have posted on menopause, so I will leave that.


---
I didn't mention this yesterday but in one of my novels (the one that is 'breathing') I have a couple that meet when she is 16 and he is 9. He is her adopted brother's best friend and she picks them up from school and such. When he is a teen he even goes to her for dating advice(which he uses on her when he is in his twenties ;)). For her the struggle is that she has to change her view of him. She has to stop looking at him as the little boy she used to take care of and see him as the adult he has become. Once she does that, then everything is peachy.

Roger J Carlson
02-12-2008, 10:22 PM
I stopped following this thread when it turned into a menopause discussion. I'm not embarrassed by it. It's just a subject (like PMS) for which I have no right to an opinion. However, since the discussion has turned to men and how they feel, I think I can contribute.

As I said up-thread, my wife is 9 years older, and will be 60 this year. She has been through menopause for about 10 years. There is nothing withered about her. She's in great shape (better than me) and not just for her age. She still wears her wedding dress every year for Halloween (she teaches first grade). She's as sexy today as the day I married her.

As for men? Personally, any man who would abandon a woman because she got older is not a man at all. He's a selfish little boy.

sassandgroove
02-12-2008, 11:02 PM
Roger, you mentioned earlier that your wife was your youth group leader. If I may ask, when did the relationship switch from kid/leader to two adults? (see my post above for why I am asking. :))

johnrobison
02-12-2008, 11:04 PM
My own mate is 4 years older than me, and I never saw anything wrong with that difference. I've always connected to older people, since I was a small child.

Roger J Carlson
02-13-2008, 12:00 AM
Roger, you mentioned earlier that your wife was your youth group leader. If I may ask, when did the relationship switch from kid/leader to two adults? (see my post above for why I am asking. :))She was only a youth group leader for a short time. She was a volunteer, and we had a professional youth pastor. I knew who she was, and she was around church, but I never really had much contact with her until about six years later when we were both in a bible study together.

It was a "College/Career" study group for people who were too old for the youth program and still single. She was in the upper end of the age range. I was in the lower. It wasn't until then that I had any real romantic feelings for her. The reverse was also true, so I'm not sure how much help I would be. She wasn't really the same person to me, if you know what I mean.

I will say this, however, someone mentioned a Mother/Son relationship, and I have to admit we had something like that. I wasn't awfully mature. I was only 20 when we were married. So in many ways, she provided a lot of the maturity in our early marriage. But as I matured, our relationship grew into a true partnership of equals. Perhaps this is why we never -- and I mean never -- fight.

Cassiopeia
02-13-2008, 01:01 AM
I stopped following this thread when it turned into a menopause discussion. I'm not embarrassed by it. It's just a subject (like PMS) for which I have no right to an opinion. However, since the discussion has turned to men and how they feel, I think I can contribute.

As I said up-thread, my wife is 9 years older, and will be 60 this year. She has been through menopause for about 10 years. There is nothing withered about her. She's in great shape (better than me) and not just for her age. She still wears her wedding dress every year for Halloween (she teaches first grade). She's as sexy today as the day I married her.

As for men? Personally, any man who would abandon a woman because she got older is not a man at all. He's a selfish little boy.

Ahh Roger you made me smile :) *hugs* good for you. What a lucky woman you have there.

I wish more than anything my second marriage hadn't failed. There were so many good things about it. But when coupled with his diabetes and him being diagnosed with BPD Borderline Personality Disorder that came out of the blue and threats of violence, it didn't matter how much I loved him or him me. Though 21 years apart in age, our intimacy and love was the most tender and beautiful I had experienced. You don't always get that.

So younger man or younger woman, I think it's up to the individual personalities involved.

IceCreamEmpress
02-13-2008, 02:17 AM
I think that, in general, people are a bit surprised/put off when someone partners with someone who's old enough to be their parent or young enough to be their child.

As for ona's anecdata, people and cultures do lots of questionable things and justify them with an appeal to biology. When you look at the actual biology, it's usually pretty orthogonal to the justifications.

sassandgroove
02-13-2008, 02:29 AM
orthogonal
Now I have to go to Dictionary.com :D

ETA:

or·thog·o·nal (ôr-thŏg'ə-nəl) Pronunciation Key
adj.
Relating to or composed of right angles.
Mathematics
Of or relating to a matrix whose transpose equals its inverse.
Of or relating to a linear transformation that preserves the length of vectors.


still don't get it.

She_wulf
02-13-2008, 02:32 AM
...But when coupled with his diabetes and him being diagnosed with BPD Borderline Personality Disorder that came out of the blue and threats of violence, it didn't matter how much I loved him or him me. ...
I think my first question if I were a doctor would be, is/was he managing his diabetes well? I come from a family of volatile German diabetics. One minute they are laughing, almost too happy, the next...angry as a stirred up nest of hornets. All because the blood sugar levels swing too much to be managed. Add sweet tooths and some alcohol and BAM! instant mad-Kraut.

Then you have the "skinny" ones of the family. (like me...) The ones with hypoglycemia...who don't have the option of taking insulin or such and MUST watch what they eat like a hawk lest they be just as crazy as their 4 by 3 cousins. Give me a glass or two of beer and I'm bouncing off the wall. Add tequila/whiskey in quantities over a single drink, or on an empty stomach and I'm a royal Beeyotch.

Lovely family reunions...no alcohol at em anymore.

Amy

Cassiopeia
02-13-2008, 02:49 AM
I think my first question if I were a doctor would be, is/was he managing his diabetes well? I come from a family of volatile German diabetics. One minute they are laughing, almost too happy, the next...angry as a stirred up nest of hornets. All because the blood sugar levels swing too much to be managed. Add sweet tooths and some alcohol and BAM! instant mad-Kraut.

Then you have the "skinny" ones of the family. (like me...) The ones with hypoglycemia...who don't have the option of taking insulin or such and MUST watch what they eat like a hawk lest they be just as crazy as their 4 by 3 cousins. Give me a glass or two of beer and I'm bouncing off the wall. Add tequila/whiskey in quantities over a single drink, or on an empty stomach and I'm a royal Beeyotch.

Lovely family reunions...no alcohol at em anymore.

AmyHe's skinny as a rail. He has type I diabetes. Part of the problem was that he wouldn't watch his meds and sugar levels. I have rescued him from a diabetic coma three times. One time he punched me in the stomach before losing consciousness. But that wasn't it all. He's from South AFrican and has very strong racial prejudices that he didn't talk that openly about.

It's basically like this..to make a very long and complicated story short: A person with Borderline Personality Disorder can hide it for a long time. They "behave". He also was diagnosed after our marriage as OCD and having Tourette's. No he didn't swear involuntarily, he had twitches and ticks and sounds and jerking movements. All of which they can control for a time but then they have a worse episode than ever.

What was the last straw was when he took out after my daughter's boyfriend with a knife for no good reason. (As if there is a good reason) It was like, as my close friend says, we got married after two years of courtship and six months later, "the real Sheldon showed up". With BPD, they are always contrite after an episode. Typically over clingy and beg for forgiveness and behave till the next time.

At one point, for no apparent reason, he admits this to me to this day, he threatened to take a board and hit my kids over the head and kill them. Nothing was going on. He just was suddenly moody, his sugar was fine but he just lost it. He also spied on me through our network.

WHOA this is way off topic. But ironically he was more possessive and insecure over me as the younger person in the relationship. You'd think i was worried he'd want someone younger but he wouldn't let me go to the hair dressers alone.

It's a complicated thing at the best of times in relationships.

IceCreamEmpress
02-13-2008, 07:10 AM
Now I have to go to Dictionary.com :D

ETA:

or·thog·o·nal (ôr-thŏg'ə-nəl) Pronunciation Key
adj.
Relating to or composed of right angles.
Mathematics
Of or relating to a matrix whose transpose equals its inverse.
Of or relating to a linear transformation that preserves the length of vectors.


still don't get it.

Metaphorically, it's at right angles to the thing it's theoretically supposed to intersect with. In this case, the supposedly biological explanations don't really intersect with the cultural prejudices they're supposed to explain.

My husband says this all the time, and I've picked it up from him. I think it's a computer scientists' idiom. "Such-and-such is orthogonal to such-and-such" generally is used to mean "such-and-such doesn't jibe with such-and-such" or "such-and-such isn't really connected to such-and-such."

Cassiopeia
02-13-2008, 07:50 AM
Metaphorically, it's at right angles to the thing it's theoretically supposed to intersect with. In this case, the supposedly biological explanations don't really intersect with the cultural prejudices they're supposed to explain.

My husband says this all the time, and I've picked it up from him. I think it's a computer scientists' idiom. "Such-and-such is orthogonal to such-and-such" generally is used to mean "such-and-such doesn't jibe with such-and-such" or "such-and-such isn't really connected to such-and-such."

I about said the same thing as Sassy. LOL. Thanks for explaining!

sassandgroove
02-13-2008, 08:25 PM
Thanks! now I get it. :)

Fern
02-13-2008, 10:58 PM
We have two couples (acquaintances) who have a noticeable age difference. Probably a minimum 10 yr. age difference in both couples.

The woman is the younger in one instance - left a husband of her own age group to marry a man old enough to be her father. She began to frost her hair which aged her considerably in looks. Several people commented on it so I know it was noticeable to others.

With the other couple, the man is youngest (enough to have been mistaken for her son on numerous occasions). As she has begun to age, she hasn't seemed to attempt any techniques to keep herself younger looking, her hair is graying normally, etc. Actually, like the woman in the first couple, he is the one where the difference shows. . . slowed movement, commenting on aches and pains like you'd expect out of someone much older, etc.

I've always wondered if these are subconsious actions, or just the thing about taking on the characteristics of persons you live with day in and day out.

Both couples seem perfectly happy, by the way.

Kathie Freeman
02-14-2008, 10:00 PM
First, you can't always tell who is older, even with a signifcant age difference. My Dad was 9 years older than my Mom but he had thinning hair and a few deep wrinkles, whereas she had totally grey hair and tons of small wrinkles. Everyone tought she was older, which ticked her off to no end.

Second, women did NOT die at fifty before the 1900's. That's a statistical fallacy. The reason for the short average life span for both sexes was because a high pecentage of children died in infancy or early childhood due to diseases we now routinely vaccinate for, and from infections now easily cured by atibiotics. Also, many young women died from hemoraging or infection in their first childbirth. If you made it past those two hurdles you were golden. Many women made it to 90 and beyond. Queen Victoria is a good example, and not at all unique

sassandgroove
02-14-2008, 10:05 PM
Kathie, your second is very helpful. I hadn't thought about that.

VeggieChick
02-14-2008, 11:30 PM
I think anybody interested in this topic should stop by www.agelesslove.com (especially the forums) - You'll be surprised at the age difference of some of the couples there (You'll also get an insight into the kind of issues people with age differences have to deal with). For the record, I'm 32 and my boyfriend of almost 2 years is 21 (we met a month after his 20th birthday). When he asked me out, none of us knew how big the difference was. We never asked. When we eventually found out (about two months into the relationship) we were both speechless. FOR ABOUT 10 SECONDS. And then we both forgot about it. We have more things in common (including goals, ways of thinking, etc.) than any guy my age I ever dated. And I can tell you it's really hard to tell that we have a difference (I look younger, he looks older) so it would take much more than a decade to truly make people stop and stare.

wheresmycoffee
02-23-2008, 06:46 PM
I am the older woman in our relationship. My spouse is seven years my junior and we have been together for seven years now. The only issue we have is this, I have three kids from a previous marriage and he has none. He always said he didn't want to have children of his own. Okay, I was fine with that, now he is in his early thirties and I am 40. Every now and again he talks about having just one of his own. I gave him the option 5 years ago and told him to make up his mind because I was not going to have more kids when I turned forty.

Oh and by the way, everyone thinks he is the older one, I certainly do not look my age and he looks 10 years older than he should. LOL And yes, I have a few grey hairs sprouting on my head, I blame the kids, but do not cover them with hair dye. Why cover up my glorious badge of honor. After all, I earned each slender strand of silver on my head.

StephanieFox
03-07-2008, 05:37 AM
I am nine years older than my husband and everyone thinks it's normal. I think that the ick factor comes in the younger the couple is. If they are 50/60 like your folks, that's ok. If they are 17/27, that's just weird.

TerzaRima
03-07-2008, 07:26 AM
It's difficult for me to contemplate an ick factor, whatever the age difference between spouses. My husband is 18 years my senior, and if any of our friends think it's weird, they don't let on.

If there is anything that's awkward in a marriage with a significant age difference, I'd say it's being close in age to the children of your spouse's first marriage. I have very little in common with my adult stepkids, even though they're nice people, and I became a stepgrandparent at 34. It's not a widely held experience, and so there are no generally agreed upon mores for such a situation.

Layla Nahar
03-07-2008, 08:24 AM
... her body thought she was young again!



That's a great story

Kurlumbenus
03-08-2008, 12:45 AM
If it hasn't already been mentioned, the movie Harold and Maude is an extreme on this theme.

Robert Toy
03-08-2008, 01:43 AM
I am nine years older than my husband and everyone thinks it's normal. I think that the ick factor comes in the younger the couple is. If they are 50/60 like your folks, that's ok. If they are 17/27, that's just weird.
(my bold)
In 33 years they will be 50/60...;)

padnar
03-08-2008, 12:22 PM
HI,
In India a husband has to be older than awife
My husband is working in a bank . His colleague got
cheated and married . She was elder to him by three yrs He divorced her
and remarried .
Of course it is a different story for VIP Sachin Tendulkar wife is elder to him by six years
padma

PurpleStar
03-09-2008, 08:59 AM
Depends on the person if it's icky or not. you own comfort of your reality.

I'm 32 and my fiance is 67. We also opposite races (white and black) and size (bbw and thin man). Actually to our surprise haven't had really any negatives other than when we first met where some people asked if I was after money (though stopped when they found I was the one with the money)

agelesslove seems to have a lot of people on there that talk about age gap situations. plus there are new dating sites coming up that are age gap like maydecember.net

PurpleStar
03-09-2008, 09:01 AM
if you did a book on someone, lets say that just became 18 or 21, and meets someone who is 80 but still active. then see how that would work. maybe the 18 or 21 year old hasnt been with anyone before so they take whoever is interested?

peachy
03-10-2008, 12:36 AM
I was directed to this thread/site by a member of an agegap forum I belong to. It never ceases to amaze me that men have been going out with much younger women for as long as anyone can remember and people hardly raise an eyebrow.

Now that women are going out with younger men, it's a BIG issue. Well, mostly it's an issue with the older men! And to make it more pallitable to them they decide that we are "cougars" and hunt and prey on the younger men. What a crock! For the record, most of us older women who are with younger men have a hard time wrapping our heads around the concept in the beginning and it's the younger men who pursue us.

While it is true that some young guys just want to experiment and really aren't into older women, usually that is not the case. It's not a matter of age at all really. It's a matter of connection. A lot of them meet online playing games and really get into each other before they know there is an agegap of such magnitude. By that time, they feel they really want to get to know each other. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

My boyfriend was 26 and I was 51 when we first start seeing each other. We did not meet in a game and knew exactly how old each other was from the beginning. I felt he was too young for me. He didn't. We have been together now for 5 years -- he is now 31 and I am 56. We have never had any of the issues that some couples have, e.g. no one EVER thinks he's my son; we don't get strange looks when we go out; his friends/family thinks it's perfectly normal and welcomed me with open arms; my friends said, "You go Girl!"

I think people are finally evolving to understand that age is just a relative number. There are people out there who are 35 in a 70 yo mindset and there are those who are 60 in a 30 yo mindset. For a man and woman to connect there must be chemistry and a connection. Age has absolutely nothing to do with that.

As long as both parties involved are adults (neither one a minor) then they should have the right to explore whatever relationships they choose. That being said, I do believe at some point in the beginning of that relationship they should discuss what their goals and expectations are.

But the relationship itself is just like any other relationship in that they are partners and facing the same issues that anyone else faces.

To the OP: If you are trying to write for shock value, shame on you! Instead of exploiting the situation and trying to shock, why not write an honest piece exploring the very real and positive aspects of the age-gap relationship?

aruna
03-10-2008, 12:48 AM
As long as both parties involved are adults (neither one a minor) then they should have the right to explore whatever relationships they choose. That being said, I do believe at some point in the beginning of that relationship they should discuss what their goals and expectations are.

But the relationship itself is just like any other relationship in that they are partners and facing the same issues that anyone else faces.

?

welcome, congratulations, and good luck! As for those goals and expectations, like I said upstream could be the subject of children; he wants them, she doesn't/can't. Or sex; she's lost interest, and he's in his prime.

Skyraven
03-10-2008, 05:02 AM
(17/27) - In NYC, a 17 year old is jail bait. ;)P

One thing I found interesting was the mother/son dynamic. You don't have to be with a younger guy to have that happen. Unfortunately, my son's father brings that out in me and we're the same age (30). My sister recently broke up with her much younger boyfriend (he's a year younger then I am). I think it's all relative. What also makes a difference is how we take care of ourselves over time - eating well, exercising, managing illness and stress. That's all part of it. I have to say that my sister 13 years my senior, looks fabulous!

rhymegirl
03-10-2008, 09:16 AM
If that man doesn't want children he may not mind a woman going through menopause. It doesn't mean she has to wither up and die you know.

Absolutely agree! Menopause gets a very bad rep. I'm older than my husband and have more energy than he does.