May‑December Relationships

ESTIMATE 4-MINUTE READ

Wide Age Gap

Pin

First the definition: A May-December romance has nothing to do with the month a couple meets or marries. It describes an intimate involvement of two people with a considerable age difference. Very wealthy men average remarrying brides that are 22.3 years younger.

A woman, typically 35–50, who is more than 8 years older is considered a “cougar.” This term can be either offensive or empowering, depending on the person. In the United States, a “puma” is a woman in her 30s who prefers dating younger men.

An older male is called a “sugar daddy” if he finances a young woman’s lifestyle. The bride of a much older male is often called a “trophy wife.” When either the younger male or female is a minor, the relationship is child molestation—regardless of consent.

Classic May-December Acting Roles

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn
Actors Cary Grant (b. Archibald Alec Leach, 1904) and Audrey Hepburn (b. Audrey Kathleen Ruston, 1929) in Charade, 1963.

Movies often portray an older debonair leading male in dramas and comedies. Without recommending any of the following, plot endings are often, but not always, blissful.

  1. The Age of Adaline (2015): Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman
  2. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947): Cary Grant and Shirley Temple
  3. Charade (1963): Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn
  4. The Graduate (1967): Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman
  5. Love in the Afternoon (1957): Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn
  6. Obsession (1980): Richard Burton and Tatum O’Neal
  7. Rear Window (1954): James Stewart and Grace Kelly
  8. Rebecca (1940): Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine
  9. Roman Holiday (1953): Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn
  10. Sabrina (1995): Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond
  11. Sabrina (1954): Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn
  12. Sunset Boulevard (1950): Gloria Swanson and William Holden

Actual May-December Actor Relationships

Joan Collins 2010
Actress Joan Collins, 2010, born May 23, 1933.

Among Hollywood marriages, significant age differences sometimes extend beyond the movie set.

  1. George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin: Age gap: 16 years
  2. Warren Beatty and Annette Bening: Age gap: 21 years
  3. Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart: Age gap: 22 years
  4. Bruce Willis and Emma Heming: Age gap: 23 years
  5. Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin: Age gap: 22 years
  6. Solange Knowles and Alan Ferguson: Age gap: 23 years
  7. Donald and Melania Trump: Age gap: 24 years
  8. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones: Age gap: 25 years
  9. Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas: Age gap: 26 years
  10. Kelsey Grammer and Kayte Walsh: Age gap: 26 years
  11. Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster: Age gap: 26 years
  12. Steve Martin and Anne Stringfield: Age gap: 26 years
  13. Edward James Olmos and Lymari Nadal: Age gap: 31 years
  14. Jeff Goldblum and Emilie Livingston: Age gap: 31 years
  15. Joan Collins and Percy Gibson: Age gap: 32 years
  16. David Foster and Katharine McPhee: Age gap: 35 years
  17. Patrick Stewart and Sunny Ozell: Age gap: 38 years
  18. Robert Duval and Luciana Pedraza: Age gap: 41 years
  19. Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn: Age gap: 48 years

Biblical May-December Relationships

People may look in the Bible, focusing on a reference to the “wife of your youth” at Proverbs 5:18. The context is not a prohibition. Rather, it draws a contrast between a man’s wife and a strange woman. Other scriptures describe intimate relationships with significant age differences.

  1. Abram and Hagar: Genesis 6:1–4
  2. Boaz and Ruth: Ruth 4:13
  3. David and Abigail: 1 Samuel 25:42
  4. David and Abishag: 1 Kings 1:1–4
  5. Soloman’s wives and concubines: 1 Kings 11:1–3

Negative Consequences

There are more cons than pros to May-December relation­ships. Expect many opportunities to become offended by the remarks of onlookers. The topic of age will be in the forefront of many discus­sions. Most parents have some choice words for someone “robbing the cradle,” especially when that person is near their age.

In social settings, people like to reminisce about youthful memories. These conversa­tions can alienate a mate born decades later. If you can’t handle people talking about you behind (or in front of) your back, you are not ready for this type of relation­ship.

Expect many awkward assumptions of your older mate being your parent or a younger mate being your child. Be quick to introduce yourself as the spouse before someone puts their foot in their mouth (or you have the inclination to put your foot in someone’s mouth).

Hungry for juicy gossip, the common followup question is: “How did you two meet?” If you met under question­able circum­stances, you can change the subject.

Fighting Flaws

May-December Romance
Age gap can become more apparent in the older partner as decades progress.

Some people believe that their soul mate cannot be confined to a specific age. Typically, someone in their 20s is attracted to someone else in their 30s or 40s who looks good for their age. They may be dying their gray hairs and be reasonably fit. At a glance, people can assume an age difference of half a dozen years. Eventually, that age gap becomes more evident.

In a close relationship, you will also be privy to views of the older mate without makeup. The bond must be built on more than physical appearance. Are you prepared for frequent criticism and innu­endos? If not, your initial attraction may change to resentment.

Do you dream of raising a family and growing old together with your mate. A significant age gap can hinder childbirth and accelerate retirement for half of the partnership. Unexpected illness can occur at any age. But old age brings about aches and pains. So the younger mate is more likely to become an earlier caregiver.

An older woman may experience menopause soon after marriage (if she has not already done so). A man’s testosterone and virility diminishes in propor­tion to a growing prostate gland after 50 or 60 years of age. You could be shaving decades off of your marriage with a significant age difference.

Positive Benefits

A mature man without offspring might marry a youthful woman to carry on his progeny. With more financial stability, a mature partner can impart insight and wisdom. The youthful partner has more strength and vitality. In a complemen­tary manner, they can complete each other. Many younger mates are drawn to the financial stability of the older one. This should not be the sole motivation.

Weigh the pros and cons. If you are truly in love and able to deal with obstacles, cherish the time you have together.

To support the writing of useful articles about emotions, ClinicalPosters sells human anatomy posters, scientific posters and other products online. You can donate or leave an encourag­ing comment to keep the work going. Stay safe and A Bit More Healthy.

Login Register

Kevin Williams is a health advocate, artist, pro­gram­mer, and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites. He has 17 years experi­ence as a Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs graphics con­sul­tant.

Impart Your Wisdom