Exploring the Strengths and Challenges of May-December Relationships

May-December relationship
May-December relationships have existed even before marriages itself. Unlike what most believe, many couples have had successful May-December relationships.
"Some say I'm robbing the cradle, but I say she's robbing the grave!"
―Hubert Farnsworth, Futurama
Family and relationship dynamics, both are rapidly changing. Family dynamics, which are not 'traditional', are often questioned, frowned upon, and carry a stigma. It is uncommon to find young people falling in love with those who are a decade older than they are. In this context, Hollywood movies and red carpet scenarios have always tempted some and disgusted others.
Society plays a key role in many relationships, as it is a social instinct to protect the young, while punishing or shaming the older partner. Such pairings are often perceived to be crossing the moral boundary, making them uneasy to look at and socially acceptable. But when you ask such couples, you will often find that age is just a number, having nothing to do with the relationship and the love, bonding, and understanding that they share. Often, many will question the validity, intentions, and success rate of such relationships. Irrespective of the social outlook on them, there have been many successful May-December relationships.
What Does May-December Romance Mean?
may-december relationships
When a dating couple has a larger age gap between them, their relationship is termed as a 'May-December romance'. May refers to the younger partner being in the spring of (childbearing) his/her age, while the older partner is of a much older age, hence December. However, 'May-December' isn't as relevant today, because people are living longer and healthier lives.
Strengths of a May-December Romance
Age
Opposites attract; this is very evident in May-December relationships. They bring a balance to each other's lives, a sort of Yin to the partner's Yang. The older partner can bring a calm and mature stability, while the younger can bring joy, color, and life into the otherwise black-and-white life of the partner.
Benefits
Younger women can be attracted to older men because such men are able to provide them with stability, commitment, and are sexually experienced as compared to the men of the same age of the women. Let's not neglect that there are financial benefits of having an older partner too. And, the older male gets to feel young again with his new partner. Making his friends and other people his age jealous is an added advantage.
Whereas, when women age, they are more aware about their bodies, are more secure and confident with their sexuality, and are independent, both emotionally and financially. A younger man comes with considerably less emotional baggage, and can appreciate a woman for who she is. As far as sex drive goes, there is no comparison between an older and a younger man. And, the young male gets to learn a thing or two, along with financial and emotional stability.
Challenges of a May-December Romance
Age
Age is the first and most prominent factor; everyone notices when it comes to a May-December relationship. It may seem superficial in the early 'honeymoon phase' of the relationship, but sadly, that's where the cracks begin. For example, the younger partner sending a text to the other, who is still figuring out how to use a cell phone. Or, wanting to have a late night out, while the other wants nothing to do more than to sleep.
Biological Clock and Changes
The topic of having children can go on to be a major deal breaker. For May-December couples, having children can be a big issue. If the man is older, he may not want to start over, while if the woman is older, she may not want, or not be able to bare children, while the younger partner's biological clock may be ticking. Due to prior experience(s), the older partner might unknowingly impose their views onto the younger partner, while the other may want to explore, test, and learn on their own.
Time and tide wait for no one, and neither do biological changes. Men can face lower libido and erectile dysfunction, while women will face menopause and all the changes that come along with it, such as hormonal depletion, lower libido, hot flashes, mood swings, etc.
Family Ties
It might be difficult for the families of both the partners to accept this other person. The older partner may probably already have children from a previous relationship, for whom accepting a younger companion as their parent may not be acceptable. On the other hand, the younger partner's parents and friends too may object to such an alliance.
For any relationship to be successful, it takes the commitment of both the partners. This is especially the case when a relationship is so tabooed that every one around the couple are waiting for the big fall, which puts a lot of pressure on them. With society, family, and friends out of the equation, couples can have a successful May-December relationship, irrespective of which gender partner is older, and the problems they may face together. As mentioned innumerable times in this article, the other person in the relationship is the partner, and hence, the couple, like any other couple, are in a relationship and need to be on not just the same page but the same paragraph, same line, and same word, to have a very successful relationship.
Famous and Successful May-December Relationships
may-december relationships
Patrick Stewart (74) and Sunny Ozell (36)
Johnny Depp (51) and Amber Heard (28)
Al Pacino (74) and Lucila Solá (35)
Hugh Hefner (88) and Crystal Harris (28)
Mariah Carey (44) and Nick Cannon (33)
Geena Davis (58) and Reza Jarrahy (42)
Michael Douglas (67) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (44)
Celine Dion (46) and René Angélil (72)
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