Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford
May-December relationships are those that include a big age difference between parties in a relationship. Like all relationships, relationships in which there is a significant age difference can be filled with both challenges and rewards. Generally speaking, May-December relationships are often considered an unconventional choice. Age significance usually refers to age disparities 10 years or more. The term "May" refers to the younger party or spouse in the relationship, those considered to be in the spring of life, while "December" refers to the older party or spouse who is described as being in the winter of one’s life.
While celebrity dating and marriages have allowed May-December relationships to become more acceptable, many face challenges with obtaining support from family and friends. Family and friends may be hesitant to accept the relationship for many reasons that include but are not limited to:
One party in the relationship may be viewed as having an ulterior motive for being in the relationship other than love.
Perception of having a “mommy” or “daddy” syndrome.
Perception of lack of other viable options
If a current single parent, having a desire to secure another parent figure for children.
In an effort to help others understand the relationship, you must not force acceptance. Don't force your partner on your family, or attempt to force yourself on your partner’s family. However, ensure your family knows who your partner is and mutual respect exists within the context of that relationship. Recognize you both are expected to maintain individual relationships with your respective families. Realize that your partner may want to be connected with his or her parents even if they aren't accepting of you. Inform your family you understand their concerns about your relationship, however they must respect your choice to remain in it, if you so choose.
Another challenge May-December relationship often face consist of whether or not to have children together. For May-December couples, having children can be an issue. As woman age, childbearing and conception can become difficult. However, whereas men can continue to impregnate woman well into advanced age. If a woman is older, she may not want, or be able, to have kids, but a man may not want to start over when he's older.
Reasons some men are attracted to older women
Women (and men) are taking better care of themselves
Older women are looking better every day, thanks to better nutrition, advancements in cosmetic surgery, and more access to gyms.
Older women are also more likely to return to the dating field following a divorce.
Human lifestyle has improved and lengthened.
Woman are also expanding their options, i.e., not making the white picket fence and 2 car garage an all or nothing.
Both males and females are becoming more interested in enjoying their lives rather than living up to what society dictates for them.
Vanessa & Todd
Vanessa is a beautiful 46-year-old divorced female, with a 22-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son. Vanessa was married for 23 years and divorced for 3. Vanessa men 30-year-old Todd at the gym 6 months earlier. By all accounts the relationship is going well, however, Vanessa become self-conscious when the pair have to travel in public. Vanessa constantly wonders if she will be mistaken for Todd’s mother. Her insecurities, negative perceptions about her age and how the relationship appears to others is causing her to dwell on the thoughts. Vanessa is so fixated on what she thinks others are thinking about her relationship that she is no longer enjoying what she has with Todd. Todd no longer feeling comfortable in his relationship with Vanessa has contemplated moving on and pursuing a relationship with another woman, possibly someone his own age. Todd makes the assumption although he loves Vanessa, her insecurities about their age disparity will not allow the relationship to continue. Therefore, he feels someone within his own age group will be more comfortable with him and the relationship because age will not be an issue.