Q: It’s been almost four years since my divorce and I’ve been doing OK as a single mom. They would tell you that “age ain’t nothing but a number.” In fact, women dating and marrying younger men is a growing trend. Census Bureau figures from 2000 indicate that 12 percent of all marriages were between older women and younger men.
But now I’ve met a really great guy and I think it may develop into something more than just dating. An AARP study in 2003 found that 34 percent of women over 40 had dated younger men; in a recent online survey, that figure rose to 67 percent. This phenomenon is increasing as career-oriented women become more financially secure, powerful and self-confident.
Such May-December couplings are no longer seen as relationship outliers — or indicative of deep-seated mommy issues.
“When you’re an ambitious woman, it’s very difficult — you either have to subsume what you wanna do for somebody else, or live with the struggle to fight your partner on top of business survival, and it’s a very unhealthy relationship,” says Nicole Wipp, a 45-year-old attorney and entrepreneur, who found a perfect match in her husband, Marcus Sutherland, a 33-year-old paramedic.
“Dating somebody younger than myself, there’s an acceptance of ambitious women — it’s more normalized.” They met at the University of Hawaii in November 2002, when she was a law student and he was a sophomore undergraduate.
Where it was once unimaginable for women to ask men out, or declare sexual interest in them first, they are now being encouraged to get their game on.
To some extent, the ice-cold Nigerian attitude towards women dating younger men has begun to thaw, but there still seems to be a long way before the idea flows into all cultures and becomes truly mainstream.
Another potential difficulty may come from your family, or his, if they are not supportive of the relationship.