Nick Cannon Mariah Carey

Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number (?)

Relationship expert Sil Lai Abrams explores the pros & cons of dating someone much younger (or older) than you

Sil Lai Abrams

by Sil Lai Abrams, June 20, 2012

Nick Cannon Mariah Carey

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey

has less ties to the community that would prevent her from relocating or devoting the majority of her time to you or your shared children. 

Cons:  Immaturity, lack of life experience can be frustrating when trying to complete mutual goals, lack of financial independence, unresolved “Daddy Issues” that she tries to work out on you, her Daddy substitute.

The Older Woman

Pros: Sexual confidence, wisdom, independence (financial and emotional), sexual experience, maturity.

Cons: Emotional or circumstantial baggage, financial insecurity (particularly if she has been raising a family alone or without support), menopause and its accompanying mood swings, depression, anxiety and physical changes, more accountability is expected from their partner than with younger women.

The Younger Man

Pros: High energy, open minded, playful, high sexual stamina, more passionate and less jaded, and with less baggage than a man closer to your age.

Cons: Immaturity, wanderlust (physically and sexually), career ambiguity, possible financial dependence, lack of financial or professional stability.

One thing that all intergenerational relationships must take into consideration is the reality of mortality and other types of end of life issues. An older husband may not live to meet his grandkids. A younger wife has to face the fact that she and her husband will never sit side-by-side in a nursing home. When their peers with age are sailing on together into mutual retirement in their golden years, one partner will always be a decade or more away from what could be a shared and comforting experience.

Intergenerational dating has its unique set of challenges, however if you enter into the relationship with your eyes wide open, these relationships can be just as successful as their more traditional age differenced relationships.

Case in point: my friends The Davis’. When Kery married his wife Samantha 19 years ago, some gossiped because she was ten years younger than his 32.  Now, two children and a shared life later, their marriage is one that defies many of the stereotypes of an older man/younger woman pairing.  They have an equal partnership that is based upon love, respect and friendship and after two decades, they are still lovers and life partners. “One thing I know for sure, I will be married to Samantha Davis until the day I die.” Kery is fond of saying.

The bottom line: If you find yourself in an intergenerational relationship, make sure you have common life goals.  Bear in mind that the larger the gap between you, the more difficult it may be for you to find common ground on important life goals.  Incongruence in maturity or life experience doesn’t have to break a relationship's long-term potential, but it does require that you be especially aware of each person’s future goals, background, culture, family, career, personality, and sexual chemistry.  

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