Monday, October 13, 2008

Older women

People seem to be under the impression that the older woman/younger man scenario is a new cultural phenomenon. Not so. In my former reincarnation, I was the family historian. Older women/younger men marriages accounted for approximately fifty percent of our family couples.

The age discrepancy was anywhere from six to fifteen years. You might ask why that would be and I have a theory. Single young women had a limited number of options in the past. Basically, they were unpaid labor in the home if they remained single. Many families were anywhere from six to twelve children. Of course the wife/mother was always happy for an extra pair of hands.

But I think there finally came a time when the woman started looking around for an escape hatch. After all, if she was going to work her fingers to the bone, why not do that in her own home? The older woman was attractive to the men back then precisely because she was settled. Her expectations were mature. She was prepared to be a helpmate.

Widows were in even more dire straits. Without a wage earner to help them support their families, many widows were eager to settle down with a new husband with what some considered indecent haste. But consider. There was no such thing as life insurance. Women had few legal rights.

In my family, one young woman was left a widow with one small child under two--and she was pregnant. Within six months she had remarried to a nineteen year old man. She was twenty five. They had a long marriage for that time--over forty years--and six more children.

I confess that I'm puzzled about why people find the older woman/younger man couple so objectionable. To me, it makes far more sense than the other way around. In general women live longer. The couple are more likely to have a long life together. According to medical evidence their sex drives will be closer in sync. Their professional lives should track closer together as the professional track for a woman takes longer.

Instead of worrying about the age discrepancy, we should be asking about other things like what they have in common. Just like any other couple.

anny

3 comments:

  1. So true, Anny! I have a lot friends that have a older woman/younger man in a relationship. They all agree that they couldn't be happier. Thanks for posting!

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  2. Great post Anny! I think older woman/younger man is more common than people think. I agree. Why do people think it's odd?

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