They say things like love has no age and that age is but a number but when it comes to actual relationships, do such sayings really hold true?
Further, what about the moralistic aspect or the question of compatibility? Are such intimate arrangements even healthy?
One article published by The Good Men Project discusses how if or not such an engagement is healthy and mutually beneficial relies on the motivations behind the same. This brings us to the question; what reason do men fall for and often marry women twenty or more years younger than they are to begin with? Let’s explore this.
The Psychology behind Older Men Marrying Much Younger Women
As a therapist I have come across men in their forties and fifties who are romantically engaged with and sometimes married to women twenty or more years younger than they are. As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I have also provided couple therapy to various couples between whom the existing age gap was two decades or more.
In my years of working, here are some of the general realizations I have had about why older men become drawn to women so much younger. Do remember that these are just some potential frameworks. As human beings, we are all different and operate in varying ways personally.
One reason that many older men take to marrying or getting into relationships with women so much longer is due to what I like to call midlife anxiety. It is a point that comes in the lives of many men where their mortality dawns on them in a sense. This leads to a subconscious need to reconnect with a more youthful and vibrant side of themselves.
This is done in many ways. With successful men, this might manifest in the form of grandiose spending on luxuries such as sports cars or even real estate. It may manifest in changes in behavior, becoming a little easier going and even partaking in activities one might have given up on earlier in life because they seem to have been outgrown.
Such mid-life anxiety is common in men who settled down into stable family lives too quickly in a sense. The feeling of having lost some of ones best years sometimes adds to it.
Finally, this may even manifest in seeking a partner who fits right in to this narrative of eternal youth. Is this healthy? Not exactly. The reason for this is because the attraction is rooted in a need to feel a certain way about one’s self. Not in appreciation, admiration or respect for the other.
Another slightly more sinister reason why some men might engage with women a lot younger could be a thing of power-play. They might feel inadequate, emasculated by partners their own age or older, or simply not very secure in who they are and what they are about. This may be particularly so with regard to their competence as romantic suitors.
Such men may often gravitate towards, and in a sense, rope in women who are young and might lack the exposure and foresight an older woman would possess. This allows them to be romantically engaged with women who might never have given them a second thought had they been closer to the same age.
Again, this is rooted in the motivation to make one’s own self feel more competent and adequate even if the motivation is subconscious. This does not take away from the tragic fact that as before, the attraction has little to do with real appreciation for the other or what they are about.
Love Really Has no Limits
Though rare, there are instances where the attraction that exists across generations is simply due to a deep appreciation for who the person is. I have worked with men whose partners were far younger but the love between them was very real and quite healthy.
Such people are often the sort who live on the fringes of mainstream society and the relationships they forge with those far younger are rooted not in a need to feel better, younger or secure. They are rooted in commonalities such as interests, socio-political views and approaches to life and living.
If a relationship is based in respect, appreciation, compatibility and true common ground, then age though still relevant and playing a part may take a bit of a back seat!
Making Sure You’re Doing the Right Thing
If you’re an older man who is considering marrying or settling down with someone a lot younger, chances are you have to good consciousness to want to make sure what you’re doing is okay. You want to make sure that you won’t be doing something for the wrong reasons as that usually ends in hurt and heartbreak.
Pre-marital counseling, couple therapy or counseling in general is always something that is helpful in such instances. We recommend, that before you take steps such as these, it helps to work with a professional therapist and bash out particulars. Just to make sure that your motivations are right and your interactions clean!
If you’re located in Palo Alto, feel free to schedule an appointment with us. Remember, if that relationship is healthy and meant to be, it will!