Older Man, Younger Woman: A Doomed Relationship?

By Tom Blake

"Why is it that middle-aged geezers want to date 20-year-olds?" asked Maria Gonzalez, a 50-year-old divorcee from Southern California. "There are many attractive, sexually active women in their 50s and beyond who would make great mates."

Older men date younger women for many reasons. But one thing's for certain: Most of these relationships won't last. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Fantasy love fades, usually within a year. At first, the geezer is in love with her looks and youthful spirit. Eventually, he realizes all they have in common is a roof over their heads, and he'll be off to look for a relationship with substance.

2. Geezers may feel younger, but dating younger women won't make them younger. No matter how hard geezers try to make the wrinkles disappear, the darn things keep showing up in the mirror.

3. Older men and younger women use each other, similar to a business arrangement. He's got money, assets, power or security; she's got youth and beauty. If the money runs out, or someone richer comes along, she'll break the lease, leaving him with an empty wallet and his arms around a tree.

4. OK, maybe she's not using him. Perhaps she loves him because he's more patient, laid back, mature, gentle and understanding than men her age. Still, she's likely considered his bucks at some point. You don't see younger women with destitute older men.

5. Different energy levels. At 10 p.m., he's wearing pajamas and falling asleep with a book in his hands and glasses on his nose. She's got on her dancing duds and is heading for the clubs. If he doesn't keep up, she might seek someone younger who is able to meet her needs.

6. Different maturity levels. He's got maturity and knowledge that come only from living through years and experience. Bob Russell, a retiree in Phoenix, Ariz., said, "I took a younger woman to a movie. When I mentioned that the actor looked like Humphrey Bogart, she looked at me sweetly and said, 'Who is Humphrey Bogart?' After that, I dated women my own age."

7. Common goals and interests. He wants a golf cart to drive around the retirement community. She wants a Corvette with chrome wheels, and she's opening a flower shop with her girlfriend that requires working 60 hours a week.

8. Lifestyles differ. Take children, for example. "I have two men friends in their late 50s who not only married younger women, but have conceived new babies. Imagine her, years from now, buying 'Depends' for him, and 'Pampers' for the babies. Not to mention the antidepressants for herself attempting to manage the two," said Ivory Dorsey, 54, of Mableton, Ga.

9. Stand by your man? Younger women may not stand by their older guys through the inevitable hard times that accompany growing old. And while pursuing younger women, guys miss out on meeting someone older who would have been there for them.

10. Health issues. Two women reported they had enjoyed wonderful relationships with their husbands who were 15 years older. But both women were widowed in their 50s. Either party can get sick, but the chances of a younger woman becoming a widow are considerably greater than an older man becoming a widower.

There are exceptions, of course, and couples with an age gap can have wonderful relationships. It's how closely they think together that matters. Connie Presley-Athchley, of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., is married to a man 20 years younger. "We have a wonderful relationship and a passion for each other," she said.

Amie McCulloch, of Ennis, Texas, said, "Not all younger women are the same. I'm 25 and dating a 40-year-old man. I'm involved with him for love, not his money or what he can provide for me."

There will always be older men who want to date younger women. Most will discover that those relationships don't last. And a few will come to their senses and seek women closer to their own age who share common goals, interests and energy levels. But they'll have to learn for themselves.

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