I felt I'd found someone with whom I connected in the most perfect way, but so many of my friends fixated on his age: how could I possibly find any of that in someone so young? When I was growing up, my sisters and I all agreed that we would never – NEVER! Once, my older sister reported that she found out a boy in her class was a whole month younger, and it was unanimously decided that that ruled him out entirely.When one of our aunts remarried a man a decade younger, a tizzy broke out between the three of us – what was she doing?Indeed, the frequency with which these relationships are characterised as sexual deviance is tiresome, insulting and objectifying.These terms, and this mindset, take agency away from both parties, turning a consenting adult relationship into a caricature.For many men, a woman in a position of power is a normal, familiar circumstance can help younger men be eager, open, willing and appreciative of the wisdom, the guidance and decisive nature that mature, successful women can offer.When you’re a successful woman who gravitates toward younger men, it may be because you find in them, a non-defensive willingness to absorb what you can provide.Even the fact that the younger man/older woman pairing is seen as subversive proves that we are socially still mired in antiquated patriarchal expectations, which today shouldn't mean much at all.You can see it in the way that media talks about these pairings, too – celebrities like Kylie Minogue, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Demi Moore have all copped the "cougar" label, with their partners referred to as "toy boys" and "young hunks", but there's no such fuss when older men pair up with much younger women (dare I bring Donald and Melania into this? Female celebrities have spoken up about this double standard, with Minogue calling the "toyboy" label "derogatory to both of us" and Taylor-Johnson branding it pure sexism.
Though a gender gap most certainly remains, there are many, many more women in positions of leadership, who do not back down from challenges, who compete in many of the same fields as men, and who work side by side with men.I've also read articles proclaiming the benefits of dating younger men, from increased energy to better sex to less emotional baggage.Though these pieces strip away the cultural taboo that still seems to underscore the idea of older women with younger men, the prescription of such sweeping generalisations to something so deeply individual also seems unproductive – we fall in love with people, not concepts.Today's younger men have had the opportunity to grow up seeing these powerful women – it’s been a more regular part of their experience in everyday life.Because many women work full-time and raise families it enables men who have grown up with this norm to feel less threatened by female success.
How to be the approachable older woman You may struggle with balancing your work identity and your single woman savvy self.