Once upon a time, I was involved with this guy who wanted to date me. The only problem was, he was younger! I admit I considered dating him (he seemed like quite the catch at the time). But after thinking more about it, I decided it would not work. Although I found his fresh energy and eagerness attractive, I felt too jaded for him. I wonder how much of the Nigerian factor was involved in my decision, and how different it might have been if I had let it happen.
My husband is eight years older than I am. Ironically, he finds older women attractive, particularly because of their maturity and experience, and their confident carriage and approach to life. Despite this, he is not so sure he would have ended up in a marriage with an older woman either, proving that prevalent stereotypes tend to affect our choices, regardless of our personal attitudes to these issues.
Until recently, the prevalent attitude to romantic relationships or marriages was a preference for older men being paired with younger women. It was taken for granted that women were usually younger than the men. This was sometimes by as much as 20 or more years! Think about celebrity couples like Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They had a whooping 25-year age difference between them. Or Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart with 22 years between them. The idea was even romanticised.
This preference has been so entrenched over so many centuries that, between patriarchy and normalised paedophilia, underaged girls were regularly married off to men old enough to be their grandfathers. This practice still obtains in many parts of the world today. Exceptions to the rule that had older women with younger men were so few and far between, they were openly opposed and mocked.
Those exceptions did exist then, though, and they exist today. Major public figures like the English Princes William and Harry marrying slightly older women. And the French President Emmanuel Macron marrying a woman 24 years older. The practice is slowly gaining wider acceptance these days.
Is this about submission?
Many people who oppose relationships between older women and younger men regularly express two major fears. The reduced possibility of fertility and childbirth for older women, and the reduced likelihood of respect and submission to the authority of younger men. Concerning fertility and childbirth, in-vitro technology, surrogacy, and adoption, are accessible. Although expensive, they are solutions used by even much younger women with fertility issues.
Concerning respect and submission, both partners ought to respect each other ideally. No healthy relationship should be so obsessed with control and authority.
Age Is Just A Number
Regardless of individual preferences, happy and enduring marriages have been built on both sides of the divide. When it comes to these things, age is truly nothing but a number. However, everyone is entitled to their own choices. As long as both partners are happy and healthy, not much else matters.
So, I ask again: Would you date or marry a younger man? Please let us know in the comments section.