Is She Too Much Older?

Q: I am 50 years old and would like to be with a 39 year old. I am in great shape, work out six days a week and am in better shape than most 25 year olds. I am full of life and energy. Can a relationship with that much age difference work out? -- Kel, 50

Dr. Susan: Age differences are about so much more than what kind of physical shape you're in. An 11-year gap is surmountable, though over time you'll find that there are differences you hadn't counted on. Twenty years is a whole generation, and your age difference is half that. Your cultural references are different, for one small thing. If you have a genuinely deep relationship that is comprised of shared values, shared goals, and a lot of flexibility and willingness to compromise and negotiate, of course you can make it. Still, no matter how much you fight it, no matter how much you work out, sooner or later you're going to show signs of age, and your honey will probably show them a decade later than you will. We women aren't typically thrilled when we look older than our mates. How will you and he deal with that? Hopefully, like real grown-ups who know how rare lasting love is, rather than like kids who always want the newest everything.

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