People often sneer at unions in which the woman is older than her partner. Yet when a man finds himself in a similar situation, his choice is usually approved: “Wow, you have such a beautiful and young wife!” We tell you how women actually feel in relationships with younger partners.
It’s unlikely you’ve heard of the American reality show MILF Manor, but if you have, the concept probably surprised you. It looks like this: eight single women in their 40s and 50s live in a villa in Mexico and build a personal life with men a few decades younger than them.
American audiences are not confused by the age difference, while Russian viewers are provoked by the very fact that women are older than potential partners.
THE GENDER DIVIDE
Discussions always break out around relationships with a solid age difference when a man is younger. Think of the union of Alla Pugacheva and Maxim Galkin (recognized as a foreign agent), which is ridiculed and condemned to this day, or the sensational relationships of Prokhor Chaliapin with older women. Yet Sergei Shnurov’s or Igor Nikolaev’s relationships with younger partners do not arouse scorn.
Indeed, when it comes to relationships with age differences, we see a “double standard” based on the gender divide. Studies show that society disapproves of unions where the senior partner is a woman. She is automatically labelled as a predator, luring the victim into her web. It is partly because of society’s attitude towards such couples that they do not end up in large numbers. And, as it turns out, for good reason.
OLDER WOMEN ARE HAPPY
Justine J. Lemiller, a researcher at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and a recognized sex educator, conducted a study involving about two hundred heterosexual women.
A third were significantly older than their partners (by an average of 22 years), a third were younger (by an average of 17 years), and a third were dating the same age (or an average of three years apart). The survey showed that women who were more than 10 years older than men felt superior, enjoyed themselves, their partner and life.
This can be explained by the fact that a woman’s age is able to shift power dynamics towards greater equality. Many studies prove that equal sharing of responsibilities makes couples happier. On the other hand, age can cause a woman to be placed in a more dominant position, which pushes the man into a position of submission – and many people like that.
“Perhaps it’s the feeling of being empowered that allows you to enjoy yourself and life,” concludes Lemiller.