Can a 40-year-old woman be happy with much younger man?

Can a 40-year-old woman be happy with much younger man?

A single woman dating a man who is 12 years younger wonders if she should find someone 'her age'.

Dear Thelma,

I have just turned 40. While some people say that 40 is now the new 20, I don't think it's true.

My love life is in a shambles, I'm still not married yet, and I'm dating someone 12 years my junior. I feel like I'm having a mid-life crisis.

I hate the word "cougar", but this is precisely what people are labelling me when they see us together.

He is a real sweetheart, but not very good in bed, so it's getting to the point where I'm wondering if this is worth it.

Also, he doesn't have much money, so I end up paying for everything.

I do, however, love him, but am wondering if I should look for someone closer to my age. - Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

We have looked at the issue of the older woman-younger man situation before. Indeed, the word "cougar" doesn't seem to have a very positive tone to it. But there's nothing that says older woman-younger man relationships are bad.

The term "cougar" itself comes across as derogatory and gives an unflattering stereotype of women.

On the other hand, there are no similar terms used for older men who date or marry younger women. This is probably because this considered totally acceptable.

It must be very hard when others see your relationship in a less than positive light. If you don't like someone calling you names, it's best that you should just tell them. You have no reason to be cowed by what other people think of you.

Ending a relationship is a tough call. Before you do that, perhaps you should think a few things through.

What is wrong with an older woman dating a younger man? Yes, you are probably more successful than he is, and end up paying for most things.

Maybe you both could decide together what he pays for and which bill you will pick up? Maybe he can't afford the expensive restaurant.

You could pick one that is more affordable for him and eat there a few times a month. That will take the load off you.

This is just an example of what you could do. A bigger conversation needs to take place in order to decide other money-related matters.

The first thing that this scenario raises is stereotypes or gender-related expectations in a relationship.

You probably won't be thinking about money and who pays for what if you were in a relationship with a man your age or older, because he would be earning more, hypothetically speaking.

But why is that acceptable, or even expected? Think about it.

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