Sex Question Friday: Older Women Dating Younger Men--Can It Work?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know whether it is possible for an age-gap relationship to work out when it involves an older woman and a younger man.

I am a 46-year-old woman recently married to a man 18 years younger than myself. We've been together about 2 years, and got married mainly so that he can live with me and my two children from a previous marriage. So far we all get along great, but from the beginning I've wondered how realistic it is to hope for long-term success given the age difference. In particular, our society ridicules and devalues older women, and I worry that as I get older, it will be harder and harder for my husband to feel attracted to me even if he still loves me. I don't know any other women who have tried dating younger men, but I've noticed that you are one of very few people who has published research on this subject. Is there any advice you would give, based on your research or on your experience with age-gap couples?

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Could Being In A Marginalized Relationship Be Bad For Your Health?

Many people are involved in romantic relationships that are not accepted by their family, friends, or society at large. Sometimes it is because the partners are of the same sex, while other times it is because the partners are of different races or because one partner is much older than the other.  Regardless of why one’s relationship is socially rejected, this bias can have significant implications for the partners involved. For instance, the more relationship disapproval a couple experiences, the more likely they are to break up in the future.1 A brand new study suggests that the effects of romantic disapproval may extend even further than this and could potentially harm couple members' health and well-being.2
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