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May-December Romance Problems

Updated on November 28, 2010
Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow
Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow

May-December relationships involve two people with a significant age difference. These couples are typically older man, younger woman, but they do happen in reverse as well. I am aware that some May-December relationships are meant to be, and they can stand the test of time. Nevertheless, that simply is not a statistical standard and I'm not going to praise these types of relationships for precisely that reason.

That said, each of the following issues are certainly surmountable -- but they can certainly take their toll over time. I have been in a May-December relationship with someone 23 years my senior, and while the relationship had its own fundamental problems, the little extras you see below only served to exacerbate it. If you're in an otherwise perfect May-December relationship, you may very well have the stuff of which dreams are made.

Few relationships are fundamentally perfect, however, and you would do well to consider these points before jumping into the pool.

Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones
Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones

Coping With Staring

People are rude, and strangers often have no qualms about gaping at other strangers. If it's obvious that a couple has more than 10 years separating them, that couple had best be able to ignore the looks, cos they will surely come. What's more, those gapers feel totally justified in doing so, because *you're* the one breaking the societal taboo here, not them.

Take Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, for example. Here you have a two famous actors with impressive careers, and, yet, the main thing the press focuses on is their age difference. That, and Douglas' multiple face lifts, which the press speculate is done just to try to keep up with his younger wife. Nevermind the fact that they seem to actually be in love -- the only interesting tidbit here is discussing their birthdays.

Getting physical

If you're a 25 year old female with a 50 year old man, you'd better believe that one of you is just hitting your sexual prime, and the other is far beyond it. That's not to say things can't be hot between the sheets, but age can get in the way once in a while. Obviously, "love" should withstand this type of thing. All the same, the physical is a big deal, whether you want to admit it or not. If it isn't, why are you sleeping together at all?

Of course, this isn't a major issue when there are only 12 years between you and your man -- as is the case with Hayden and Milo over there. I don't consider this to be a May-December romance because 12 years will be nothing when she's 30 and he's 42. That being said, it does seem a bit pervy to have a 29 year old trying to score with a 17 year old.

Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore
Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore

Coping With Gossip

If you're the younger woman, people are going to at least suggest you're in this for the money. Even if he doesn't have any. If you're the younger man, people are going to assume the same thing -- but they will also assume you're getting some action on the side, because no one will understand why a 25 year old man wants to shag a 40 year old woman. This will be easy to ignore in the beginning. You may even laugh at it. Give it a few years, though, and you may start to get tired of it.

Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft
Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft

Coping With The Jilted

If you're a younger woman dating an older man, be prepared for the occasional middle-aged woman to get in your face and call you a home-wrecker. These are the woman whose husbands slept around during marriage, and then left for their secretary or summat. These are the women who will band together and stare you down at the country club, plotting a way to humiliate you for simply being younger than themselves.

Harrison Ford & Calista Flockhart
Harrison Ford & Calista Flockhart

Coping With Family

If you're the much younger partner, you need to consider what it's going to be like having stepchildren older than yourself. You also need to consider how *they're* going to feel about it. Your spouse may not find it strange, but if their family does, this could cause stress that wouldn't otherwise be there. It takes a special effort to fit into these situations, so you'd better be ready for it.

If you're the older partner, you need to be prepared for your wife or husband's family to treat you as though you're having a mid-life crisis, cos that's what many of them are going to think.

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