By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
After seeing photos of Katie Couric and her hot, significantly younger boyfriend, we were curious whether this whole dating-a-younger-man trend is healthy for womankind.
After all, Demi and Ashton (15 years apart) seem happy. And, despite their recent breakup, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (12 years) seemed very well suited for one another.
"I think it's a wonderful example of a huge world trend of women becoming more economically powerful throughout the world," says Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a biological anthropologist and Chief Scientific Advisor to online dating site Chemistry.com. "It's a strange trend from a biological perspective though. Marriage evolved for us to fall in love with someone we can reproduce with. For a million years it was not adaptive for a man to marry an older woman because she wasn't as likely to have fresh eggs."
So if dating a younger man is an evolutionary anomaly, is it a bad idea all together? Actually, ladies, there are a good number of perks to robbing the cradle:
Younger men = more professional freedom "There is a role reversal of sorts going on; women are more powerful and may want men who are younger and therefore more flexible men who can let the woman's career and lifestyle be more important," says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist in private practice and "Dr. Romance" blogger. "Media images like 'Sex and the City' and 'Eat, Pray, Love' are also showing women that dates don't have to be older. Because of careers and freedom issues, women are exercising more choice."
...and great sex And then there's the youthful sex life that comes with this younger man--he's naturally equipped with a stronger sex drive. And the fact that you're not just some young thing he picked up at the bar makes it likely that he really appreciates you for what you have accomplished throughout your life. With women, this emotional component is very important when it comes to good sex.
... and someone who can keep you active and vibrant "Some older people feel younger at heart than their contemporaries, and like to date people who are as active as we are," says Tessina. "Chronological age doesn't always reflect either physical capability or emotional maturity."
But it could backfire if... "Sometimes an age difference is a mentoring relationship where the older person advices the younger one on life or career," says Tessina "This can backfire when the younger person decides he or she has learned enough, and wants to move on."
Both Fisher and Tessina agree that there are also benefits to dating older men (financial resources and more life experience) as well as men similar in age to yourself (you went through the same social, political, and cultural events and this can foster a sense of mutual understanding and connection).
"No matter the arbitrary numbers difference in your ages, if you are getting along, you have good communication and problem-solving, and you love each other, that's a precious thing, and far more important than any age difference could be," says Tessina. "If other people have a problem with it, it's their problem."
Have you ever dated a significantly younger or older man? What were the perks and challenges?
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Photo Credit: WWD