When the Woman is Older

she may appreciate him moreI don’t know about you, but according to the grumbling of many of my readers and friends, the pickings seem to be getting slimmer out there in datingland. So when a few gals I know came across some fine younger gentlemen (you know who you are), it got us all thinking ~ is the age thing really an issue? Let’s read a bit on this topic from Evelyn Millis Duvall, author of the book that started it all: The Art of Dating.

1967: When the Woman is Older

Public opinion says that the man should always be older than the girl he dates. Some girls feel this pressure of opinion so strongly that they refuse to reveal their true ages if they are indeed older than their dates. They may even deliberately falsify their ages and pretend to be younger than they are. Actually a girl can be older than the boy she dates, and a woman older than the man she marries, without any damage to the relationship unless one or the other of them makes an issue over their relative ages.

Some of the happiest marriages ever studied are those in which the woman is older than her husband. Social scientists who are concerned with interpreting interpersonal relationships feel that since marriage demands more of the woman than it does of the man (in her having to adjust to his name, his work, his place of residence, and his way of life), it helps if she’s emotionally mature enough to make these adjustments in a grown-up way. Being the older of the two, she is, theoretically at least, more mature and so is able to work out a mutually satisfying relationship. Although nothing quite parallel has ever been studied among dating pairs, the situation may operate similarly. An older girl is not quite so apt to be demanding, jealous, and possessive. She may have much to give the boy in the way of social poise that will eventually help them both. She may appreciate him more than would someone his own age or younger.

The most important factor seems to be the two people’s own feelings about their difference in ages. If an older woman is always afraid that she’ll lose her man to some younger female, or if she “lords it over him” because she’s wiser and more experienced, there may be trouble. If, on his side, he makes her feel vulnerable by teasing her about her age, or if he takes a dependent role and lets her manage things and him, the relationship may founder. But if two people can understand that the number of birthdays a person has had is far less important than the quality of the life he has lived, age differences are no longer a legitimate concern.

Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. The Art of Dating. New York: Association Press, 1967.
~ pp. 46-47 ~