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Dealing with Societal Pressures When Dating an Older Man

The term “May-December romance” has been around for many years. The term refers to a romantic relationship in which one individual is significantly older than the other one (as in ten years or more). Often seasons of the year are used to describe the seasons of a person’s life and that is what this is making reference to. The concept of using the two different months of the year is that one individual in the relationship is younger and therefore is believed to be in the spring season of their life (May is a spring month) while the other person is in a later period of life and so is thought to be in the winter season of their life (December was the month that was chosen for this purpose).

Throughout history May-December relationships have often been fraught with controversy. Women throughout history are generally the younger member of the pairing and have often fallen victim to being called derogatory terms such as gold digger while men who are the younger one in more recent times, have been called boy toys. It was common for British royalty to marry individuals much older or younger than themselves historically.

In modern times, society is changing and so are the views in regards to relationships. Calling a relationship that involves an older person and a younger person a “May-December” relationship has a negative connation and therefore it is more politically correct to use the term “age-gap relationship.” Today pairings like 42-year-old Demi Moore and 27-year-old Ashton Kutcher are becoming more and more commonplace. No longer do women feel that they have to hide their younger boyfriends from their families, friends and other members of society. The stigma is not the same as it once was.

Sometimes however the situation is reversed in that a woman will face ridicule for dating an older man. The younger she is and the older he is the more chance there will be that people in the woman’s life will pass judgment and be critical of her decision. If a woman is 24 or 25 and her boyfriend is 30 then there might be some ridicule but it will be minimal compared to what will happen if a 22-year-old woman for example starts dating a 38 or 40-year-old man.

If ridicule comes your way because of your relationship with an older man let your loved ones and friends know that you are hurt by their criticism and scorn. Tell them that you love them and want to keep the lines of communication open. Let your family air their concerns with you about what they consider to be a precarious dating situation. Keep in mind that your family and friends love you and have your best interests at heart. Be willing to listen to others and consider the validity of the points your loved ones have to make. Your parent may be concerned about the possibility for you to have a child with a man who is much older and they may worry that the man sees you as a form of “eye candy” or “arm candy” and nothing more.

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