“Why is it that when men date a younger woman, it is not considered to be as negative as when a woman dates a younger man?” asked my friend Veronica.
Society may criticise ‘sugar daddies’. However, many people look upon them as having achieved something – by having a younger woman. In the case of ‘sugar mummies’, they are judged far more harshly and often portrayed as being desperate and lonely.
I know many men that are dating or married to women that are five, ten or even fifteen years younger than them and it is accepted. However, very few women would even consider dating or marrying a man who is one or two years younger than them. This is because it is still a taboo in many countries.
Forty-year-old Maria dates 28-year-old Michael whom she met while travelling abroad. Aside from a few close confidantes, no one really knows about this matter. The first person she told was her sister Lydia, who was horrified at the whole situation. Lydia told her that having a fling with a ‘toy boy’ was sign of mid-life crisis and would be over soon.
So far, they have proved Lydia wrong. They are approaching their third year anniversary and still going g despite the many problems they are facing. Maria tells me that they wish to marry, but they know their families will never accept this. So, they are silently continuing on with the relationship, until they make plans to reveal it to their loved ones.
If they go against them, they plan to get married and move to South Africa so as to escape the backlash. The couple also feel that in a land of strangers, their age difference will not be a point of conversation, stares or rumours.
I asked her whether she finds age to be a problem in their relationship and she replied: “Not at all. Michael has always been a very mature guy and we have so many things in common. Some people say older women only want younger men for sex or because they are having some kind of mid-life crisis, but for me, he is my soul mate.”
We discussed some of the challenges they are currently facing and how they think their families will react.
“I know Michael’s parents will feel that their son can do so much better and will warn him against wasting his life with an older woman. His brother knows about us and told him to think carefully that when I am 50, he will still be 38 – that does he really want to waste his youth? My family have wanted me to find a guy and settle down but they will not approve of this because they care too much what people think.”
I asked her if she knows other women in her position and she said: “Yes. I know it’s shocking to know that there are younger men that are fascinated by older women and want to be with them for more than just sexual purposes and vice-versa. However, we as a society will never accept that.”
I reflected upon my conversation with Maria and all those celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Madonna that are known to date younger men. Simultaneously, I think of all the men I know who date younger women and celebrities such as Donald Trump and Michael Douglas. Certainly, the way their relationships are portrayed are very different based on their gender.
So, reader, I end this piece today with a heavy heart over the fact that for most people, age really is not just a number.
Source : The Observer