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May December Relationship: 22 Truths, Problems & Why It Works So Well

If you are thinking about having a May December relationship, you should think about the pros and the cons. Here is everything you need to know to decide.

May December relationship

So, what is a May December relationship? In a nutshell, it is a romance between two people with a considerable age difference. Typically, when someone talks about May December relationships, you think of the older man and the younger woman. 

Think Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart or Catherine Zeta-Jones with Michael Douglas. However, over the past decade or so, things have begun to even out. More younger men are seeking out older women. 

In fact, Paul Rudd and Michelle Pfeiffer even starred together in a movie all about this sort of relationship. Some sexy examples are Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade, Cameron Diaz with Benji Madden, and Priyanka Chopra with Nick Jonas. An older woman with a younger man may still be called a cougar, but that isn’t stopping them. 

May December relationships aren’t just sexual, they can make for a real, lasting, and blissful union.

As the popularity of the May December relationships continues to increase, hopefully, they become more socially acceptable regardless of who is older. [Read: What is an acceptable age gap when dating?]

Why is a May December relationship taboo?

Age differences in couples are nothing new. Although they are only more recently becoming accepted in society, they have always been prominent. And they very often work out. 

The issues that some people see with May December relationships are specific and simply not accurate to most. Some might say that a younger woman dating an older man is looking for a father figure. Yikes. [Read: What are daddy issues? The term explained]

Derogatory terms like “gold digger,” “cradle robber,” and “daddy issues” often arise when discussing a May December romance. And yes, they may not be as common as couples that share less than a 4-year age gap, but so what? As long as it is consensual, there shouldn’t be such a stigma.

Proving a May December Relationship works

Yes, a May December relationship is atypical. But, so are interracial and same-sex relationships. That doesn’t take away from their joy, love, or success. 

In fact, the societal disapproval of such relationships may lead to more commitment and intimacy. Because these couples need to work harder to gain acceptance from those around them, that effort ends up benefiting them.

With this, it proves that age gap relationships are not doomed or even dysfunctional. All of the chatter about them is seemingly unfounded. [Read: When does an age gap matter in a successful relationship?]

Why a May December Relationships works

A relationship depends on more than just age. Undoubtedly, someone your own age may have a similar perspective on pop culture, but that by no means signals happiness. 

The success of any partnership depends on the emotional maturity of both members. And, when it comes down to it, age is rarely a good gauge of the maturity of an individual. 

There are many advantages to May December relationships regardless of whether the man or woman is older.

1. Less drama

When you start out together, coming from the same life circumstances, you go through the same life stages together. You graduate at similar times and start work together, etc. But, often the stress of trying to mature together can sometimes be too much and take distraction from the relationship itself.

When you are both doing so much at one time, you may grow apart rather than grow together. But, in a May December relationship, one person can help the other based on their experiences. 

Having someone who has already been through the difficulties of struggling in life can be a great comfort and provide emotional support that you just can’t get when you are both facing the same life struggles simultaneously. [Read: How to resolve conflict and reduce drama in your life]

2. Less self-absorption

When you date an older person, they are less likely to be shallow. As you get older, you realize that there is more to a person than the way that they appear on the outside. You learn to embrace your age, rather than running from it.

You know that love is about what people possess on the inside too. When you date an older person, they are less likely to worry so much about the superficial things in life and to cherish the inner you, not just the way you present yourself to the outside world. 

3. No games

Someone who is established in life is less likely to date around and may want something that is more stable. They are over the games that are so common when you are younger. They don’t want to waste their time on someone they don’t find intriguing.

If they show interest, they probably have the maturity to be real, honest, and take a chance. In May December relationships, both parties will likely be looking for someone to share their time with and know that time is not endless. [Read: 9 relationship stages that all couples go through]

4. Confidence

There is something awesome about dating someone who has already gone through the crisis of figuring out who they are and what they want. They can actually focus on the relationship rather than themselves.

When you date someone older, they already know who they are, have accepted those things about themselves that may not be the best, and aren’t insecure about them.

When someone is comfortable in their own skin, it is much easier to be around them. Dating someone who isn’t trying to be who they aren’t, or trying to figure out who they are, is a huge advantage of May December romance. [Read: Older women dating younger men – What’s really in it for the woman?]

5. Finances

One of the hardest factors in any relationship is money issues. If you date someone who is older, they are likely to be monetarily established and have more disposable income so that you aren’t constantly quarreling about who pays for what, or worrying about your last dime.

When you take the stress of money out of a relationship, you will be surprised at how easy it is to get along with someone.

Money can turn even the best relationship sour. When it isn’t a factor, it is one more reason that a partnership can flourish. [Read: How to talk about money with your partner without fighting about it]

6. Honesty

Once you reach a certain age, lying just isn’t worth it anymore. You don’t want to say things just to say them. you don’t lie to avoid things. You’ve been through enough to know that honesty really is the best policy.

The petty issues that arise when you date someone who is figuring things out won’t be as prevalent in a May December relationship. Older men and women have worked through those things and are more likely to know how to be in a successful relationship. [Read: Relationship rules and 30 must-know tips to have a successful love life]

7. Sometimes people are old souls

There are just certain people that you get along with more than others. Not an age thing, dating someone older doesn’t have to be an issue if you “get” one another.

Sure, there might be subtle differences like knowing the same bands, but that also can be a fun thing to explore during a May December romance.

If you just click better with those who are older, dating some older just makes sense. If you both have an open mind, there is never any boredom or lack of new adventure to be had.

8. Travel

When you are in a relationship with someone younger, it is hard to travel the world and take time from work simultaneously to do the things you want to do together. You are paying your dues, so they say. 

Everything is on a tight budget and having fun can often be more stressful than it’s worth when it comes to pinching pennies. When you date someone who isn’t beholden to the nine to five or has more generous savings, they have more freedom as well.

Being able to experience things when you’re younger is an amazing advantage to a May December romance. Instead of waiting to retire to do the things you want, you can do them all while you are still young enough to enjoy them. [Read: How to make an older woman fall in love with you]

9. It can keep you young

When you date someone who is younger, they can help to rewind the clock and bring you back to a time in life when things were less responsible, and you were more willing to take chances. If you spend loads of time with people your age, you may find yourself feeling older.

Dating someone younger can help you find the inner child that has long since put their toys away. You can bring out these newfound things in each other. [Read: Dating an older man – 9 reasons you should do it at least once]

10. Less jealousy

People who are less emotionally mature are usually more jealous than those who are more secure and established. If you are tired of people your age acting out of jealousy, one of the advantages of a May December relationship is that there is usually a lot less of that.

An older man or woman will not settle down with someone they don’t trust. They are more likely to give you space and independence. 

11. Early communication

Because May December romances are not as accepted, it can lead to a lot of open discussions early on. Instead of waiting until you’ve been together a year to talk about marriage or kids, the age gap introduces these conversations sooner.

People will ask, “isn’t he or she too old to have kids?” Or, “what about the kids they already have?” These things can actually help your relationship grow and prosper early instead of getting answers once you’re always attached. [Read: 25 relationship topics you should talk about now if you want to be happy later]

12. Defense

The simple fact of having to defend your relationship to the outside world gives you even more motivation to make it work. It seems odd, but you look for reasons to make it work rather than excuses to end it when in a May December relationship.

Sure, this can seem like extra effort, but what relationship hasn’t benefited from some extra work?

13. Feeling needed

We all want to feel needed in a relationship and when there is a large age gap, that is easier. Let me explain. The older partner can teach the younger partner a lot. They can show them things they have yet to experience.

The younger partner, however, can take care of the older one. They can also teach them things about their generation and technology. Being able to teach each other things grows confidence individually and strengthens the bond. [Read: What makes a good relationship – 30 signs of a really good and healthy one]

14. Sex life

You had to know this would pop up eventually. Having sex without someone you aren’t close in age with introduces you to so much. You get a new level of energy. There is the excitement that isn’t there when you know what to expect. 

It is just different in an exciting and romantic way. With a May December relationship, you also tend to see more open-mindedness. Both partners want to please each other, making things a lot more pleasurable. 

15. Boost in confidence

Sure, it is obvious that someone older would feel good about themselves, knowing they could bag someone younger who could get anyone they want.

But, when someone younger is with someone older and dignified, it also offers a level of pride. [Read: How to build confidence – 11 powerful changes to alter your life]

Problems in a May December relationship

Okay now that we know all the good things about a May December relationship, we need to talk about the problems. You didn’t think it would be all unicorns and sunshine, did you? As with everything, there can be some disadvantages.

1. You don’t have the same memories

Let’s say you have a woman who was born 18 to 20 years after her boyfriend or husband. That’s a whole generational difference! When she was born, he was graduating high school – or already in college. They didn’t grow up with the same music, TV shows, movies, or trends. 

He might say something like, “Hey, remember when this movie came out?” And she might respond with, “I wasn’t even born yet.”

Because of this, a May December relationship is a little sad because you can’t share all those memories together as you would with someone your own age. [Read: How to be mature in life – 25 ways to grow up and face life like an adult]

2. Different sex drives

Although we said earlier that this is one of the advantages, it could also be a disadvantage – depending on the people. It’s the unfortunate reality that as people age, their hormones decline. And hormones are a huge determining factor for someone’s sex drive.

Now, if the woman is older, that might work okay because men are more sexual when they are younger, and women get more sexual as they get older.

But if the man is older, maybe the woman will have a super high sex drive, but he’s too tired to do it as much as she wants to. She’s more youthful, so naturally, she is more inclined to want to have sex more often.

3. Energy levels

Similar to the sex drive argument, younger and older people just have different energy levels. The younger person might want to go on a white water rafting vacation that includes camping and hiking. 

On the other hand, the older person might want to go on a cruise or another low-key type of vacation. They might not be into the physical activities that the younger person is. [Read: 20 healthy lifestyle changes you need to make in your 20s for a much better overall life]

4. Different stages of life

When you have an 18+ year age difference, then the two people are bound to be in two very different stages of life. It’s very likely that the older one has been married and raised children already. And maybe those children are even grown.

But the younger one might not have ever been married before, but they want to do that, settle down and have a family of their own. It’s not very likely that the older one would want to start all over with that. They are probably looking toward retirement and relaxing for the rest of their life.

5. Children or grown children

As we said, it’s likely that the older one might already have children. If they have young children, it would be tricky for the kids to handle a new person in their life. Plus, the younger partner would have to learn to be an instant “step-parent.” [Read: Dating a man with kids – 10 things you need to be prepared for]

And maybe the kids are older – like teenagers or grown adults. This presents another problem. Perhaps the kids are barely younger than the youngest person in the relationship. That could get awkward for everyone.

6. Different world views

It’s not uncommon for older people to have more conservative views on life than younger people. Maybe the older person believes in traditional family values and is more religious than the younger one.

And perhaps the younger person in the May December relationship is much more liberal in their outlook on social issues and politics. This could cause some problems because they have very different ways of looking at and perceiving the world.

7. What about the future?

It’s always fun for both the younger and older person in the May December relationship in the early years. But what if they get married?

It might not be a big deal for a 25-year-old woman to marry a 43-year-old man. But when she is 65, he will be 83. That’s a big difference.

65-year-olds still have a lot of life left in them. But 83-year-olds are much slower and older. And what if they get sick and need to be taken care of in the later years of your life? Is the younger person willing to be their caretaker? Not all people are cut out for that.

The younger one might resent having to be a nurse to their spouse later in life. [Read: Resentment in marriage – 33 subtle signs, causes, and how to get rid of it]

May December relationships – The magic and the truth

Everyone matures at a different rate, and typically, it has very little to do with age. There are many times when two people are meant for each other even if they don’t share the same generation. But sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

If you are considering dating someone who is older than you or younger than you *but still an adult, of course*, there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Stop worrying about what others will think and do what makes you happy.

In the end, age is just a number, and unless you allow it to define you, there is no reason why you can’t date someone who is five, ten, or even twenty years older. Just make sure it’s right for you. Think it through very carefully, whether you are the older or the younger person in the relationship.

[Read: The 26 types of romantic relationships and how to define your love life]

As you can see, a May December relationship can be amazing, but there can be a lot of problems too. If you were meant to be, they make you happy, and you just get each other, then go with it and stop thinking too much about candles on a birthday cake. 

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