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For some odd reason, relationships in which the female partner is significantly older than the male partner continue to raise more eyebrows than relationships in which the male partner is the older one. Nonetheless, these relationships are becoming more common now. Statistics suggest that around a third of US women aged between 40 and 69 are dating guys a decade or more their junior. Marriages in which the wife is 10 or more years older than her husband only made up just over a percent of all marriages in the US in 2013, however. 

We could engage in some armchair psychology and examine the reasons for which younger men and older women start dating — current theories include women looking better for longer thanks to surgical interventions, a higher divorce rate, and increased financial independence among women — but though that might be interesting, it could also quickly become offensive. 

If you're a woman who has fallen in love with a much younger man, and he with you, and you're wondering whether loved-ones, coworkers, and random strangers are right to stare or even openly criticize your relationship, you need something entirely different than armchair psychology. You simply need some encouragement that there's nothing inherently wrong with your relationship, but perhaps something wrong with a society that cares about you dating a much younger man, but not about a male contemporary being in a relationship with a much younger woman. 

Still feeling guilty? Here is some food for thought.

Is There A Power Differential In Your Relationship?

Are you your younger date's sugar mommy? Is your younger date just in it for the money? Is your much younger date actually under 18? Does your younger date have Oedipus issues? Are you with a much younger man because you think you can retrieve your "lost youth" that way? Quite aside from the age gap, is your relationship in any way abusive, unhealthy, or unpleasant?

No? Oh. Congratulations! You're two consenting adults who love and respect each other. You can now officially stop caring what anyone else says. That's not as easy as it sounds though, is it?

How To Deal With Nosy And Nasty People

Unfortunately, the way in which other people react to your relationship can indeed have a very real impact both on that relationship and your quality of life — though a nice quality of being a little older is a thicker skin that doesn't depend on outside validation! It can still sting, though, those comments about how you're old enough to be his mother, how he'll trade you in for a younger model soon enough, and of course being called a "cougar". 

Keeping your lines of communication with your partner open, while politely (or not, your call) telling those who think they have the right to comment on your relationship to mind their own business is the way to go here. Don't let them get to you. There is nothing wrong with your relationship — don't let other people's interference change that!

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