Although large age gaps in relationships can correspond to conflicts in values, priorities and lifestyles, “May-December” relationships can also have advantages for both the man and the woman. When both parties are able to communicate their needs and reconcile differences in perspective, while dealing with the potential social stigma, such relationships can be as long-lasting and healthy as any other romantic partnerships. Indeed, studies by the Max Plank Institute of Germany have even found that such age-disparity relationships can lead to older men living longer.
Building a Family
For older men who spent their younger years building their careers or who spent time with partners who did not want children, younger women can provide the opportunity to start families. Although older men might find the challenge of parenthood more physically straining than younger men, an older father can offer his children and partner maturity and wisdom.
Older men who enjoy sports and other active recreational activities may have difficulty finding same-aged partners who share their interests. In such situations, a younger woman may be more capable of sharing in these active hobbies. Indeed, the University of California at Santa Barbara found that older men who date younger women tend to live longer and maintain healthier lifestyles than their counterparts who date older women.
Commitment and Maturity
Because older men are generally more ready to settle down and establish a home than young men, this can be a benefit if both partners are looking for a quick and steady commitment. Although differences in maturity may prove difficult for some couples, particularly those where the female is in her early 20s and lacks significant life experience, such relationships may be a good fit for others couples -- a woman in her 30s with an established career and a man in his 50s, for example.
Perspective and Excitement
Both older men and younger women may enjoy the different perspective that their partners offer. While an older man may be invigorated by a younger woman’s youthful vitality, a younger woman may appreciate her partner's seasoned perspective. Moreover, mutual attraction can lead to a dynamic and fulfilling relationship for both partners, both physically and intellectually.
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Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.
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