Dear Dr. Romance:
I was wondering if in any of your books or articles you discuss about why men in their mid 40s-50s might be attracted to 20ish girls. I kind of know the obvious reasons, but being more curious about what that might mean maturity wise etc.
From your question, I don't know if you're asking about someone you know, and want to understand what's going on, or you're just generally curious. Here's some general information about age differences in relationships:
Whether or not a relationship is healthy is not determined by age differences, but by the interaction between the partners. A ten-year difference is not too difficult to bridge, but differences of twenty years or more in age can lead to some difficulties as the partners get older. For example, the younger partner may mature and reconsider his or her choices, or an older partner may confront aging problems much sooner.
As long as both parties are adult, and the couple have talked about the age difference and the future possibilities, I don't make judgments about their ages. There are healthy and unhealthy reasons to date someone of a different generation.
One motivation for dating a younger person that usually isn't successful would be fear of aging on the older person's part. Obviously, a man or woman who dates someone as young as his or her children is going to run into some social opposition, but the differences that can cause the most problems are differing maturity levels. It depends on what the motivations of both people are.
Some older people feel younger at heart than their contemporaries, and like to date people who are as active as we are. Chronological age doesn't always reflect either physical capability or emotional maturity. Sometimes an age difference is a mentoring relationship -- the older person advises the younger one on life or career. This can backfire when the younger person decides he or she has learned enough, and wants to move on.
Most women base their romantic relationships on emotional connection, rather than external appearance. Men are more visually focused. A woman who connects with a much younger man may be powerful in career, and looking for someone to play with. It's difficult to tell without knowing the couple.
For what makes any relationship work, regardless of ages, "Couples Can Cooperate for Success" and "Keys to a Happy Relationship" will give you tips you need to know.
The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again will help you find the relationship for you.
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