As rumours of Justin Bieber and Naomi Campbell dating subside, we see what goes into maintaining an ‘older woman-younger man’ relationship.
Earlier this week, photographs of pop star Justin Bieber (20) holding model Naomi Campbell’s (44) hand flooded the Internet. In no time, rumours of them dating surfaced.
While the British supermodel cleared the air after the incident, the buzz didn’t keep the tabloids from drawing attention to the age difference between the two.
Sure, the difference of 24 years between them made a few jaws drop, but the ‘older woman-younger man romance’ per se isn’t a new phenomenon. In real life, too, such relationships are common.
But every now and then, especially when news appears of such alliances ending in separation or divorce — actor Demi Moore (52) and ex-husband-actor Ashton Kutcher’s (37) age difference was apparently responsible for them parting ways — one wonders whether these relationships work in the long run.
Relationship expert Kinjal Pandya says the longevity of such bonds depends on the reason behind why the partners are together in the first place. “Men tend to want to be with women who can let them be the way they are,” she says.
Young and wise
Stock broker Naman Shah (29), for instance, met Manali Ghorpade (38) when he was only 23. “I was taken aback by Manali’s knowledge of the world. Unlike me, she knew what she wanted from life… she gave me stability,” he says. Today, they are happily married.
Pandya adds that dating older women has a few advantages. “They are not insecure because they are more mature, and that adds to the comfort level,” she says. Take into account the case of Anmol Sheth, a businessman, who got married at the age of 29. His wife, Kanika Mathur, was 40 at the time.
Before he met Kanika, he had three failed relationships behind him. “I felt different in this relationship. She was unlike any other girl I had ever dated. She was financially stable and sensitive to my needs. Even when I was meeting a female friend, she would never bombard me with calls to find out what I was doing,” says Anmol.
The advantages of this settlement aren’t just limited to men. Many women, too, feel that they derive happiness out of getting to be with a younger, more energetic partner. “The fresh thinking becomes the point of attraction for women,” adds Pandya.
A 2008 study in the journal, Psychology Of Women Quarterly, found that women who are 10 or more years older than their partners, report higher satisfaction levels and commitment, compared to those who are of the same age or younger than their partners. Kanika, who has been married to Anmol for five years, agrees, saying, “He brought out my younger side.” Manali, on the other hand, is glad that Naman gave her a new perspective on life.
“His view of the world was different from that of the people who are my age,” she says. On the flipside, Pandya says that women mature much faster than men.
“With time, it becomes hard for the man in the relationship to get along with the woman,” she says. As a result, the woman loses interest because “she hits midlife sooner”.
But like all relationships, those involving an older partner also have no rules. The trick is to remain patient. Clinical psychologist, Neha Shah says that the woman in such a relationship shouldn’t assume that she is always right just because she is older.
“The man shouldn’t use his being younger as an excuse or justification for mistakes or irresponsible behaviour,” says Shah, adding, “But in most instances that I have seen, men enjoy the company of older women as they find them more relaxed, confident and focused. In the end, the most important thing is to remember that the primary aim of establishing the relationship is love and companionship.”