updated 9 Jan 2010, 20:26
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Mon, Nov 30, 2009
The Star/Asia News Network
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Older woman, younger man, can it work?

Marriage counsellor Ng Lian Peng, 37, sees a growing trend in older women dating younger men.

“Older women have the self-confidence that could only come from experience and the knowledge that they can handle whatever life throws their way. Their independence and confidence can be a turn-on for younger men,” he says.

Older women opt for younger men for the same reasons that older men select younger women. Having a youthful person on your arm makes you feel good, ageless, desired and desirable,” he says.

“Older women are taking care of themselves and they are feeling much better about themselves. They’re looking for men who can keep up with them.”

But the difference in maturity levels and life experience, says Ng, can be a problem in any relationship where a large age gap exists.

“One cannot be 40 and single, and not have a significant amount of baggage. Ex-husbands, kids, pending divorces and debts can often be part of the package.

“A young man must be ready and willing to accept this reality if you are going to be romantically linked with an older woman. You also have to face societal pressures and prejudice.

“Discrepancies in income and self-esteem, as well as later care-giving if the woman is significantly older, can also cause rifts.

“For some couples, it becomes a problem later in life if the younger man finds the older woman less attractive physically. For other couples, ageing isn’t an issue at all.

“Whether this kind of romance leads to a happy marriage, he says, depends on the same kind of challenges that affect any relationship.

“Shared priorities, financial goals, mutual respect, to name a few. You will need to examine and work through these issues in order to determine if you two have staying power.”

The upswing trend

Older women, dubbed Cougars, are now dating younger men in record numbers, revealed a survey of 4,500 British singles by online dating service

The survey shows that about 35% of single females in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are hunting for men at least five years younger. The figure was only 8% five years ago. It appears, about 21% of British men in their 20s and 30s say they would date an older woman — compared with8% five years ago.

A South Korean Statistics study of 1,462 cougar couples in 2007 shows that one in every 10 married couples is estimated to have an older bride.

The report mentions that 70% of unmarried women did not not care if their date was three or four years younger, and 40% of unmarried men said it was unimportant whether their date was three or four years older, but stressed that she must be financially independent.

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