In the world of love and relationships, age has long been a subject of intrigue and controversy. When the iconic Hollywood duo of Ashton Kutcher, 27, and Demi Moore, 43, tied the knot, it sent ripples through the tabloids and gossip columns. People had mixed reactions: some saw it as great, some as bizarre, while others labeled Demi as a “cradle robber.” But perhaps, amidst all the chatter, it’s a giant step forward for older women.
Why? Because this union reflects a broader shift in societal attitudes towards age disparities in relationships, particularly when it comes to older women dating younger men.
Traditionally, older women who dared to date younger men faced raised eyebrows and judgment. Yet, for older female celebrities, fame and fortune often serve as powerful magnets that transcend age boundaries. But what happens when the allure of youth fades? Thankfully, with the advancements in cosmetic procedures, aging gracefully is no longer an issue. Women with financial resources can maintain a youthful appearance well into their golden years.
For a savvy, forward-thinking man, an older woman with financial stability promises long-term benefits. If she’s significantly older, he may anticipate a substantial inheritance down the road. Even if the relationship doesn’t stand the test of time, he could secure a generous settlement. So, from his perspective, what does a younger guy have to lose?
What’s noteworthy about the Moore-Kutcher union is that it challenges the age-old taboo surrounding relationships between older women and younger men. This taboo has been a stumbling block for everyday “common folk” older women seeking love with younger partners, without the luxury of fame or wealth.
I once gave a talk to a group of older women, and after the presentation, a vivacious 84-year-old woman, let’s call her Betty, shared her dating journey. Betty was single, never disclosed her age, and had a preference for men under 60. She candidly explained, “I can’t stand old geezers. They’re all dead. They are living but they are dead, if you know what I mean.”
Betty’s preference for younger men made sense. She looked phenomenal—trim, intelligent, with eyes that sparkled, and skin as smooth as silk. She could easily pass for someone in her 60s. Why would she settle for a cranky old codger her own age?
However, there was a catch. When Betty found a potential match, the revelation of her age often led to rejection. It’s safe to assume that if Betty had fame and fortune, her experiences might have been different.
Allow me to share a personal anecdote. At the pharmacy where I work, a customer, whom I’ll call Mr. Smooth, in his mid-fifties, showed interest in me despite knowing I was married. One day, a local newspaper ran a story about my new book and mentioned that I was 76. Until then, my age had remained a mystery because I never discussed it. The public revelation of my age triggered raised eyebrows and office whispers. “She’s HOW old?” Formerly friendly male colleagues began avoiding me. Apparently, conversing with an older woman was deemed questionable.
Betty and I aren’t alone in this. A woman’s age often matters significantly to most men. Yet, there’s an exception to this rule: when she’s 18 and he’s 81, society often accepts it with a knowing nod and a wink. If such a relationship produces offspring, it’s considered “cool”—until the kids lose their father before they turn six.
Betty knows what she wants, what she offers, and she refuses to let ancient age taboos hinder her quest for happiness. By withholding her age, maintaining a youthful demeanor, and projecting a positive attitude, she rejects the stigma of being an “invisible older woman.”
The likes of Joan Collins, Susan Sarandon, Tina Turner, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Victoria Principal, and Demi Moore herself have defied conventions by choosing younger partners.
It’s only a matter of time before it becomes fashionable for a fabulous older woman, without fame or wealth, to have a relationship with a fabulous younger man.
Why? Because we are living longer, healthier lives. What was considered “old” in the past is now the new “middle age” for many women. Dr. Helen Harkness, in her book “Don’t Stop the Career Clock,” presents a fresh perspective on aging:
- Young adulthood: 20-40
- First midlife: 40-60
- Second midlife: 60-80
- Young-old: 80-90
- Elderly: 90 and above
- Old-old: 2-3 years to live
Dr. Harkness’s vision of aging stages may take time to gain acceptance, but it will inevitably happen. In the meantime, fabulous older women in search of vibrant partners should keep their age close to their chests. Happy hunting!
Note: It’s important to mention that age should always be disclosed honestly in any romantic relationship, and this article highlights the challenges some people face due to age-related biases.