Marc Anthony, 44, and his new girlfriend 21 year-old Chloe Green were recently spotted at Disneyland along with his five-year-old twins, Max and Emme. But don’t be so quick to judge this as another typical May-December romance. Perhaps they’re truly in love, perhaps he needs to prove he’s still got ‘it’ by one-uping ex-wife J-Lo’s relationship with 25-year-old dancer, Casper Smart. Or maybe he just needed someone to babysit his twins so he can have a moment alone on the tea cup ride.
The point is, not every relationship with an age gap is based on a superficial exchange (you scratch my back, I give you a $90,000 engagement ring) or a rabid cougar attack (ahem, ahem, Mariah Carey and Demi Moore). And for the record, “daddy issues” pretty much applies to anyone who’s ever had (or didn’t have) a father, including men.
But this isn’t to say you shouldn’t think it through when dating someone who uses a rotary phone (and not in an ironic hipster way). Age is just a number much in the same way your credit report is just a number. At some stages, it has meaning. Your 20s, 30s, 40s etc. are marked by intellectual and life-changing milestones, revelations, defining experiences and if you’re lucky, utter contentment with who and where you are in life. Chances are, while you’re going through all this, your partner may be totally over the growing process.
Figure out what you want out of life in regards to family, academic or professional pursuits and social life that may alter your lifestyle and the life of whoever is committed to you. In some cases, health and sex are some factors in determining the success of your relationship. This isn’t to say you should run away when a difficult illness strikes, but if you’re planning to have a family with a man who’s old enough to be your children’s grandfather and you’d like him around long enough to see them graduate, then make sure he’s taking care of himself.
There is an initial sense of novelty and excitement when dating an older man. You engage in ideas and conversations you’ve never been exposed to before and there seems to be a lot of room for exploration. Not to mention that older men offer security and have already sown their wild oats before you were old enough to Google what that means.
Of course personality and temperament plays a rather telling role in how couples communicate, regardless of age. But those personalities can sometimes be altered by generations and which episode of VH1’s I Love the 80s applies to you. So before you get to know him, get to know yourself and conjure up a rough draft of your future.
There’s no formula, and large age gap romances are not doomed for failure or fated for success any more than equal age romances. But give the same consideration you would an age-appropriate partner because getting into a serious relationship with anyone requires some self-reflection and deliberation.