Relationships should be about two people. However, in society, relationships are about how others perceive the two people. This perception informs the couple's dynamics in many subtle and overt ways. It's almost impossible for them to insulate themselves from the opinion of their social circle. And, in the end, this is what makes dating a younger man so hard for women.
The taboo associated with such an unconventional pairing can manifest itself in many forms. Some of the common reasons people find the idea of a young man dating an older woman uncomfortable are explored below:
# The gap in experience -- Many people will point out that an older woman has more experience in life than her younger partner. She is more worldly, and therefore, should be with someone equally or more familiar with life's vagaries. She should not be with a partner whose worldview is relatively immature. This idea seems to stem largely from the belief that a woman cannot respect a man who has less experience than her.
# Fading beauty -- No matter how small the age gap between the couple, the people around them will watch the woman for signs of ageing and compare her looks with that of her younger beau. If the woman /looks/ older than her partner, people instinctively wonder how the younger man can stand to be with her. They can't quite grasp that love and understanding extends beyond the transient issues of outer beauty.
# Sexual shaming -- While many magazines write tongue-in-cheek articles about the sexual stamina and appetite of younger male partners, there exists a strong feeling in society that older women should not be enjoying frequent sex. This ties into society's hangups about women's sexual freedom. Social conditioning strongly suggests that at some point a woman should stop dating and settle down with a same-aged or older partner. But when an older woman is seen with a younger man, society feels like she is breaking the natural laws of the world. She should be having less sex as she grows older, not more.
#Sugar momma -- It bewilders society when a younger man chooses to be with an older woman, so they immediately brand him a gold digger or someone equally opportunistic. The idea is that his feelings for her can never be very deep since there is a clear power imbalance between them. He must be with her for her money, power, status, or some other reason, no matter how far fetched they may be.
# Emasculation -- In the eyes of the world, a man is emasculated when he can't provide for the woman he's with. In many older woman-younger man relationships, the men earn less than their partners or may be wholly dependent on them. This feeds right into the prejudices against "Sugar Momma Dating." While the world would see nothing wrong if the relationship was inverted; society can't accept a woman having a higher financial or social status than her partner.
People will take pains to point out every single way in which such a relationship might fail, plumbing inadequacies that exist among all couples. The points they make may even ring true for some couples; however, the danger is in generalizing these beliefs to the point that we ignore the fact that every relationship is different. There have been many successful relationships between older women and younger men in history, and it's becoming quite a common sight today. It's time we banished such old prejudices and allowed individuals to make their own dating choices without judgment.
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