Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Younger Women and Older Men

Did Hugh Hefner and Michael Douglas have the right idea after all?

Kim Olver, relationship expert and the author of the new book Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life, has written a provocative article  about why it makes sense for younger women to have relationships with older men. Kim is unique among relationship gurus in that her model of heterosexual unions begins and ends with the person being alone. She is a realist who prominently discusses that 50%  of people will have their relationship end. Thus she sees no problem with women having a mature long term relationship with a man they will statistically outlive. 

Kim Olver observes that, generally speaking, younger women are more focused on making a connection in their relationships than younger men. She has a point. Young men tend to be more immature, unstable, untested and consumed with personal achievement in college, graduate school and overall career. In the hook up culture of 2013 young men are calling the shots. Cultural historian Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted  in her book Why There Are No Good Men Left: The Romantic Plight of the New Single Woman, that "today's single girl gives away her youth to demanding jobs and dawdling boyfriends...[in an arrangement that offers a man] the benefits of a wife without shouldering the reciprocal obligations of a husband."

We also are seeing women dominating in numbers in college and having to compete over a dwindling pool of men equal or greater in status then them. Author Kate Bolick wrote in The Atlantic how more young women were choosing to remain single because of the increased chance that the young men they dated weren't as successful as them. This problem of hypergamy also makes for a poor fit with young women who are looking to bond.

Kim Olver maintains that older women are less likely to be looking to connect with a man and are more likely to graviate towards activities that  develop themselves after years of deferring to the cares of others, especially in their immediate  families. It's their turn to resume careers or revive educational plans that were put on hold to start and raise a family.

Older men tend to become more emotionally mature, are more likely to have dealt with their personal demons such as addiction,  tend to have more financial freedom, have hit their peak in their career path so they can back away from those 60 hour work weeks and after work schmoozing with potential clients and now have more time to devote themselves to a serious relationship and fatherhood. They tend to be more successful than younger women and are wiser and more grounded than they were in their early life. They can offer stability to a young woman weary of a dating scene tailored to young male sexual and romantic self interests. Ms. Olver says it makes sense that those both tuned into connecting should be connecting.

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

more...

Subscribe to Repairing Relationships

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.