Is it acceptable for an older woman to marry a younger man?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Psychosocial aging is completely different from chronological aging. In fact, we should all stop measuring our maturity based on the number of years that we have existed on Earth.

If you think about this, say one day you fall into a comma and you lose ten years of your life. You go from 10-20 in a heartbeat. Are you supposed to wake up and act like a 20 year old when life, as you knew it, stopped when you were 10? This is the case of many people who experience psychological shocks or life-changing events. Their lives stop whenever the event starts. This is why we all should, literally, go to therapy to explore what is going on inside of us all, individually.

Many women grow up with a list of expectations. Unfortunately, society has not completely liberated women from expected social behaviors. Hence, some women are raised to achieve the two key components of womanhood: Marriage and Motherhood.

Let's suppose that a woman complies with this and is left unsatisfied. Let's also suppose that this same woman obliges to continue to live this way until a later age. Furthermore, let's suppose that this woman decides to quit the cycle.

Obviously, this woman is going to experience a need for change that will inevitably be found in a man who has not gone through the same experiences as herself. This will probably be a younger man.

Therefore, YES. As long as BOTH parts in a couple are psycho-socially and sexually in tandem age should not be a factor in establishing a relationship.


belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Traditionally, heterosexual marriages involve an older man and a younger woman. Although the accepted age of the woman varies both historically and culturally, a "normal" marriage would involve the woman being no more than ten years younger than the man. These norms change based on both common practice and common law, and must also include the concept of Betrothal, where an infant is promised in marriage.

Although the common concept of the Cougar -- a sexually-active older woman seeking a younger man -- is a recent development, the practice itself is as old as any other sexual relationship. There is no biological reason that a man must be older than a woman, nor is there usually any religious stricture. Instead, since historically the man has been the provider for the family, an older man would have the experience and skills needed to provide, while a younger man might not.

Marrying a younger man can be seen as an expression of individuality, or of self-confidence, or of rebellion; today, though, there is no real cultural bias against older women marrying younger men. In fact, with the rise of feminism and women carrying an equal economic weight in society, it has become common. Bias rests with familial concepts as well as with cultural tradition. However, a recent study does indicate that older women who marry younger men have shorter lifespans overall.

litlady33 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this depends on many factors and who you are asking. I think society in general has come to accept this, and I wouldn't even call it taboo (depending on the age differences). However, if you ask the man or the woman's family, there might be some adverse feelings toward the idea. For example, the woman's family might not approve of her relationship with the younger man because it is not something they expected or hoped for, or vice versa. I think, more than anything, it is important to look at the couple itself to determine whether the union is "acceptable." Are they together for the right reasons? Have they given the relationship thoughtful consideration before committing to anything long-term? These are all important things to look at when evaluating a relationship, and can be more important than age.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it depends upon the maturity level of each spouse. I was married to a man eleven years older than I was. I believe it made a difference. I am now divorced but I think that I was never at his maturity level. When he was fifty and I was thirty-nine, I did not understand his groans as he got out of bed in the morning. He was stiff in the joints. He would moan and I would ask in a panic "What's wrong?" He would reply that he was just getting older. Now that I am fifty, I completely understand his sentiments in the early morning.

That is just a small, insignificant difference. I believe that age makes a difference only if the age difference is significant. I do believe that the gap closes in significantly as a couple ages.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say age doesn't play as much of a role in a healthy marriage as the position both people hold in life.  By position I mean their maturity, achievements, and goals.  For instance, a thirty year old might attend the same college courses as a twenty year old.  If they are at the same point in their lives and looking for similar things, a relationship might work well despite the age difference.  The same could be said for many situations.  I think the point in life achieved by each partner has more to do with making a relationship successful than age.  In today's society, most people accept age differences as part of life.  I know many couples where the woman is older and many where the man is older.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My husband is two years younger than me. Most people think it is the reverse, although I think we are quite well balanced. He is more of an outdoorsman, I am the bookworm, but I am the optimist and he is the cynic. Our age difference is just another factor which gives us another perspective on life which we share. I do not see the numbers as important to us, but our experiences and complementing outlooks keep our marriage alive and well! 

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In today's society, people are simply too ready to judge. Therefore, my offering is to simply say this: if one is happy, who care what other people say. As long as both people involved know that their may be some critical people in the world, and they are willing to accept and fight, then do what you want. Do not let the potential judgement of others keep two people apart.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given the statistics on longevity for men and women, it might make a great deal of sense to marry a younger man.  There are far more widows than widowers, I believe, and a happy marriage between an older woman and a younger man is more likely to keep them together longer.  Now, that being said, since I am from a Western culture, my primary focus would be on love.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although more older men marry younger women, I certainly see nothing wrong with the flip side of this. My grandmother was 10 years older than my grandfather, and my mother was two years older than my father. I never considered this unusual while I was gowing up, and I don't really think it makes much difference today.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it is socially acceptable only after the couple proves themselves happy, healthy, mature, etc.  On face value, I think most people question any large age difference between partners, but more often when the older person is the woman.  The same goes for much taller women as well.

parama9000 | Student

Such a concept is becoming more prevalent in modern culture and people are generally starting to accept it. However, we do live in an age where people judge quickly and easily, so there will be a bias.

mchandrea | Student

To be quite honest, we live in an age where people judge you within one look and form opinions about you within one move. I think marriage, no matter the circumstance, is acceptable as long as it is a unity based on love. Not money, not business, not because of a child along its way. As long as the couple is happy and in love with each other, I think their age (or even their gender, to an extent) is none of other people's businesses.

jess1999 | Student

It is culturally acceptable for an older woman to marry a younger man . For example, there are many people that I know where the wife is older and the husband is younger. The only thing though is that the age gap isn't really a huge difference at most it's only about 5 years apart. Overall though as long as they are happy they shouldn't care what other people think.

sweetsallonie | Student

love is blind... if u love, even if the other sex is younger or older, it does not really matters. and if u think that what will the society think, let them think. if they will feel negative about you, let them, they are only doing bad karmas..

and the rest decision is yours..

Best Of Luck

jedayana | Student

For me, it doesn't matter because it is a personal issue that involve a person feeling. Perhaps, some will judge it as something that should never been done but people have to be open. If both parties are agreed to tie their relationship with a marriage, then why age has to be a problem. As long as we are happy with our decision, everything will be fine.

aaana | Student

it does not matter whether man is younger or women...i believe , if both are compatible for each other ,they should marry .. there are so many examples in which the couple lead perfect life ,inspite of teh fact that wife is elder and husband is younger ..

irha-nadeem | Student

Why not? What's the matter in it?

faithlovesgod | Student

I think it is acceptable only if the couple are happy with their relationship. I don't think that people should bring people down or try to break them up just because of a number. My boyfriend is 2 years yonger them me, although people tend think I am younger then him. We really haven't had problems with it.  I love him and he loves me. We are very happy in our relationship.

aznboy578 | Student

I agree strongly with #28. Love knows no age. It doesn't matter how old you are or what age difference you are from your wife or husband. It's only that you love eachother.

aikanaro | Student

Love knows no age - That what im going to say.

No matter how old are or him. as much you guys love each - thats what matters.

No need to explain, why or why not.

hannahskye145 | Student
Is it acceptable for an older woman to marry a younger man?

Is it acceptable for an older woman to marry a younger man?

In my opinion, if two people can be mature, manage a healthy lifestyle, and be able to take care of their responsibilities, the it is fine to be together, no matter what their ages are, whose older; younger, etc. They just have to also take into consideration that not everyone will have the same opinions as them, and they will have to accept it.

santyst | Student

quite acceptable. social and ethical values are just artificial and can never resist the natural forces at all. complications resulting in the relationship will also be natural then why so worry about desires of heart. and finally provided both the partner are agreedagreed

princessita-2-day | Student

It all depends on the culture that the person is coming from. Like in my culture younger woman tend to marry older man because woman grow faster(mentally,physically) than men.

ngyunhui | Student

 Women tend to have more close friendships outside marriage and so benefit less than men from having a partner. "Unlike the benefits of a younger wife, a younger husband wouldn't help extend the life of his older wife by taking care of her, going for a walk with her and enjoying late life together. She already has friends for that. The older man, however, doesn't," said Drefahl.Women with much younger husbands may die younger on average because they experience more stress, Drefahl speculates.

user3116584 | Student

I am 37 my fiancée is 54 . We have a wonderful relationship, I have 3 children from a previous marriage so fertility isn't an issue , she has 4 children that are grown and they accept our relationship so I say don't pass up what could be a good thing by letting a few years get to you 

sid-sarfraz | Student

Marrying older women is not a mistake or anything like that. One can marry anyone who makes you happy and with whom you have a feeling of completeness. 

Marriage is one thing which is for life. Once married you should stay committed whether she's young or old. Nothing matters. When you are happyhappy, then you shouldn't care about age. 

But there is one thing that one should know.  according to latest research it is proved that womens aging process is fast as compared to men. This is natural that is the reason why   we prefer women to be young then man atleast 5-10 years.

just-s | Student

well i think that nothing is wrong but if there is no other reason eg. wealth etc

if not for all material likings then personally i think that there is nothing wrong

and then and again everyone is entiteled to their own opinions!!

tuhinzia | Student

It is acceptable when she (old women) looks so much sexy and rich. Besides this reason there is no reason to accept such kind of women. i hope.........