Me and my old lady

Dr. Daley on Sex and Relationships

Dear Dr. Daley: I’m a 25-year-old guy, and I recently started dating an older woman who’s 36. I think she’s amazing, smart, and sexy, but my friends have given me unmitigated grief about it. They say, “Sure, she looks good now, but think about in 10 or 20 years.” All I know is that I’m crazy about her right now, and I definitely feel way too old to give in to peer pressure. But a small part of me wonders if they have a point. Is it just societal BS, or is there some real biological reason there aren’t more older woman/younger guy couples? Neither one of us wants kids, so that’s not really an issue, but do my friends have a point when they make jokes about how menopause will kill our relationship if nothing else does? I know that if our genders were reversed, my significant other and I would get a lot less flack. But is there any good reason for that?

Being as I am a true professional in 2007, I ran a True Professional Google Search on older women/younger men. Data good, free association bad, right? Came up with gibberish. Made-for-TV movies, etc. Decided to do some research myself. Drank a little more wine. Came to my senses. Let’s go with free association.

I’m telling you what. As soon as I run into some of those evolutionary psychology people, I am going to give them a piece of my mind. I am so sick of this popular, reductionist vision of mate value, reproductive potential, waist-to-hip ratio, DNA-spreading crap I could puke. Except I hate to puke. It’s just one more theory that gets lots of talk show time and keeps women at home and pregnant. “But your honor, of course I shot her – she was cheatin’ on me!” Ugh.

Remember the ’70s, when we fought hard to shatter all the useless rules, limits, stereotypes, and expectations related to gender? Oh. Of course you don’t. Well, young’un, this is exactly the type of thing we were trying to overcome: It’s a bad idea to fall in love with an older woman, because she won’t be able to give birth to your (clearly essential to the future of the planet) progeny. And besides, she will get old and shrivel up real fast even though our culture says you are becoming more attractive by the minute and your dick is still in splendid working order and then what?

This is a bi-gender insult, in case you missed it. Women are only good for looking young, taut, and pretty so you can impregnate them and cause their breasts to sag, their skin to stretch, and their priorities to turn away from the splendor of your cock to meaningless trivia like babies, at which time you are only doing the evolutionarily responsible thing by finding you a cute little DNA-passer to assure your place in the future of humanity. And men! Obviously, if you don’t have a pretty young thing to fuck, you will face the scorn of your entire gender while hobbling down the rocky road to obsolescence. What a world! What a world!

That was the Wicked Witch of the West, not me. Taking care of the so-called “biological reasons” why younger man + older woman = bad idea. Are we still really no more than that?

Me, I’m a romantic. I think if you fall in love with someone, as long as you are not committed to someone else, you go for it. If the people you love and trust have serious reservations (“Honey, are you sure you want to take out that second mortgage just so Lillibelle can take her shot at Everest?”), you thank them politely, take their concerns into account, and make your own decision. And if Lillibelle is worth it to you, you sell the farm.

In this case, you have a woman about whom you are “crazy.” She is amazing, smart, and sexy. (NB: If these traits disappeared at menopause, I would not be here. I could go into some of the inter-marital experiences I had with younger men during a period of freedom in my late 40s, but this is not about me, is it?) Menopause does not kill relationships. People kill relationships.

Mature women, if I may say so, possess a level of confidence, humor, and wisdom that is virtually inaccessible to the less experienced. They are more inclined to speak their minds, trust their intuitions, and celebrate what is truly important in life than younger women can generally afford to do. Not every man is up to that kind of female power, although I believe younger men in America today are far more appreciative of strong women than their fathers were.

Your girl has at least 11 years before she needs to face menopause, if you really want some data. Its effects vary widely from person to person, relationship to relationship. If the drop in estrogen causes things like vaginal dryness, you will buy her a nice bottle of Pink (or whatever new lube is fantastic 11 years from now). If she needs testosterone supplements to recharge her sexual batteries, these are easily obtained. If it takes longer for her to become aroused, you’ll hone your cunnilingus skills. So what? You’ll be 36 and about to be sick of your chosen career/house/car anyway, so she won’t be the only member of the dyad needing a certain amount of patience. And who knows how long it will take you to get it up?

That’s the thing about a real relationship: You enjoy one another’s beauties and try to help each other through the challenges life offers. You don’t say, Sorry, you are too wrinkly for me. Or sorry, the hair sprouting out of your ears gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Your friends may be genuinely concerned about your long-term happiness, but you must consider the following: If the mean IQ in the United Stated is 100, how smart can your friends be?

Not to be immodest, but I myself am a couple of standard deviations above the mean IQ. I say, be happy, and if you are desirous and capable of a long-term commitment, do it. Life is too short to pass up a wonderful relationship because society insists that the only good coloring happens inside the lines.

About the author Dr. Nancy Daley is a licensed psychologist and adjunct assistant professor who teaches Human Sexuality at The University of Texas at Austin. If you would like to submit questions for her to answer in this column, please send them to drdaley at thatotherpaper dot com.

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Comments

Mrs. Bird's picture
reader | good comments

Do not listen to your friends. If you love her and she loves you, that’s all you need to know. Also, women in their mid thirties have awesome sex drives so just tell your friends you are, um, happy, you know?
If your friends act like assholes, drop them for a set who are more liberal, accepting and mature.
Now go have fun.