AGE DOESN'T MATTER - OR DOES
Catherine Zeta Jones is
often in the news along with her husband actor Michael Douglas. Catherine
looking every inch the beautiful, blooming mother, is many years Michael's
junior. How long will it last?
Why do people pair off across such
great age gaps? Usually, let's face it, the man is older - it seems to be the
convention. What is the essential ingredient that makes up for the age gap?
Wealth, fame, power or unadulterated sex appeal can, of course, be very
seductive outweighing grey hairs or an impending hip replacement. But isn't this
being horribly cynical? True happiness has little to do with such stuff ...or does
We asked for some views. Here's
what our panel said:
Jon - a 32 year old marketing
now, but my last longstanding girlfriend was four years older than me. It really
wasn't important at the beginning, but eventually it turned out that her agenda
was different - she wanted to think about having children and for her this was
important. After all, a woman has only got so many years in which she can do this
thing. I guess, I'm just not ready for that kind of responsibility. I felt
really guiIty - as if I had been wasting her time. The tension around this was
what led us to split in the end - sadly."
Zora - a 29 year old
" I'm from
a middle-Eastern background and in our culture it's not so unusual for men to marry
much younger women, at least it was like this in the past. But now, with women
being less dependent and having their own careers, they want someone they can relate to
on a more equal basis. Women don't need a man to look after them like in the
old days - and who wants to be a widow in her fifties? I want a partner I can
grow old with - I don't want to end up being a nursemaid to some old man whose
twinkle has long gone."
Steve - a 47 year old
"In my work I notice the age
factor and its changing significance as relationships develop ... a lot of men
in middle age have a fantasy about regaining lost youth by replacing the wife
with a younger version. The ‘trophy' woman, maybe ten or more years younger, is
a symbol of an identity crisis any of us can face as we have to let go of the
dreams of our youth. We all think we look younger than we do ... our friends
tell us this at every birthday … so providing the man has some social standing,
and maybe professional success and is in reasonable physical nick then he can
get away with going for a much younger partner. What he might forget is that
someone ten years younger belongs to a different generation and may have fewer
interests to share. It's not a strong basis for a lasting
Beth - a 36 year old teacher:
"This is all so much
rubbish! If the chemistry's there then it doesn't matter about age gaps - either
way round! It makes me want to puke when people try and analyse what love is.
Either it's there or it's not. I do want to find a partner before I'm forty, but
only because my bio-clock is nudging me. Most of my friends are younger than me
and I share more with that generation than with people who are older. Spare me
the pipe and slippers syndrome! I know I look good and I see no reason why I
should settle for some old fogey!"
Dan - a 53 year old
"I've been there and done it.
Had a relationship with a significantly younger woman after my divorce five
years ago. I think I'd something to prove … she's gone to work abroad now and
her career's developing. I just don't buy this younger model business. We simply
wanted different things ... children were on her shopping list, but I don't want
any more. For heaven's sake, mine are in their twenties now…… I can't do that
again. Mind you, I wouldn't want to go out with anyone actually older than me!
Except just as a friend…"
Just to be provocative we decided to give the last word to Peter Stringfellow, at this time of writing 59 (and three quarters) owner ofStringfellow's Nightclub. His current girlfriend is
Peter "Sure, a ‘a young woman' makes you feel great, I can tell
you. Go for it - if you can! My ex-wife, with whom I'm still great friends, is
older and we've had a lot of magic together. But now I like living on my own
with my three cats. I have everything just how I want it - you know, all clean
and nice. Lots of my best friends are older women. But youth and beauty is such
a tonic! Ooh, and lust, it's wonderful … great sex…when did I last make love you
ask? Last year some time! Before Christmas anyway!" And yes, there is a
perceptible twinkle in his eye.
*The identities of Jon,
Zora Steve, Beth and Dan have been changed.
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