Dear Dr. Romance:

I enjoyed your article regarding younger men and older women; but what about older men and younger women who fall in love?  What is to be said about that?  I am in my 40s (and in my prime), and I have met the most wonderful woman in my entire life -- in her 30s.  We have fallen in love, and it has been all through online, and we have not even been together yet, but plan to be soon...   A friend of mine I recently discovered has a similar scenario.  Possibly you have an article on this published that I can read, as I was wondering the philosophy behind this younger woman dating an older man approach....

Dear Reader:

Whether or not a relationship is healthy is not determined by age differences, but by the interaction between the partners. A ten-year difference is not too difficult to bridge, but differences of twenty years or more in age can lead to some difficulties as the partners get older.

For example, the younger partner may mature and reconsider his or her choices, or an older partner may confront aging problems much sooner. As long as both parties are adult, and the couple have talked about the age difference and the future possibilities, I don't make judgements about their ages.

The reasons for dating someone of a different chronological age are myriad, and often go back to childhood. There are healthy and unhealthy reasons to date someone of a different generation. One motivation for dating a younger person that usually isn't successful would be fear of aging on the older person's part. Obviously, a man or woman who dates someone as young as his or her children is going to run into some social opposition, but the differences that can cause the most problems are differing maturity levels.

Success in such relationships depends on what the motivations of both people are. Some older people feel younger at heart than their contemporaries, and like to date people who are as active as we are. Chronological age doesn't always reflect either physical capability or emotional maturity. Sometimes an age difference is a mentoring relationship: the older person advises the younger one on life or career. This can backfire when the younger person decides he or she has learned enough, and wants to move on.

Since you and your lady friend haven't yet met face to face,  "Guidelines for Successful Dating" might be helpful. Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences can help both of you negotiate any challenges that arise in your relationship.  

Lovestyles cover

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.