Then there was Ashton Kutcher who stepped out with a 23-year-old, leading Demi Moore into a whippet-induced 911 scandal. “In the hundreds of cases I've researched, the couples I know and with whom I've worked, there is love and fidelity,” she says.
Mariah Carey, 42, has had twins with Nick Cannon–that’s a 10-year age gap. But top of the tree, as ever, is Madonna, 53, who is at least considering a marriage proposal from her 24-year-old boyfriend, Brahim Zaibat.
But no one raises an eyebrow at a 29-year age gap any more. There’s on television and dating sites like Cougar
And it’s not just for celebrities-according to a 2008 AARP poll, almost one-third of women between the ages of 40 and 69 date men who are 10 or more years younger. What will Madonna have to do to make sure her relationship lasts longer than , for some advice. “The assumption that a younger man will inevitably cheat on an older woman is part of the historic nonsense by which women are made to feel fearful, valueless and undesirable,” she says. Judging from, infidelity is by far the biggest issue cougars face.
Look at Halle Berry and Eva Longoria, who ended their relationships when their younger men allegedly strayed with younger women.
It doesn’t help that women have been wired for centuries to equate their worth with youth and beauty. “It is often the limiting thoughts a woman has absorbed that can create problems for the couple,” says Winter.
“If she is fearful, insecure and doubting her merit, she will never be able to accept that her younger man loves her.” Winter adds that media reports about Demi Moore’s obsession with looking young are “the perfect example of how the ideal of youth and beauty can torture even the most lovely example of a modern-day woman.” The idea that one must maintain an illusion of youth to keep a younger partner is illogical. “It's an up-front buy that he's willing to accept, because he values the totality of who she is and what she brings to his life.” Talk about family planning.
Insecurity and infidelity are juicier issues, for sure, but the most common reason older women’s relationships with younger men end is more prosaic. “That’s usually what it comes down to.” The most common disagreements arise when the younger man wants a child, and the older woman is done having children, can no longer do so or is simply committed to her child-free lifestyle.
Yet women shouldn’t assume that all younger men will eventually want children. Despite the prevalence of the cougar trend, older women shouldn’t expect society to treat their relationships with younger men as “normal.” They will likely field their share of raised eyebrows from friends and family members.
Says Winter, “More and more, I'm meeting young men partnered with women 15-20 years older, both of whom don't want to have children.” In fact, the desire to remain child-free may account for many younger men seeking older female partners in the first place. So a woman’s ability to successfully date a younger man may ultimately come down to being an independent thinker who is brave enough to buck the system (kind of like Madonna).
“Madonna lives her life boldly, openly and without regard for social convention.
Indeed, this is a woman who would have the courage to love a younger man,” says Winter.