There is always some form of trepidation when your son announces he is finally bringing home his latest girlfriend to meet the family. A hundred questions flash through your mind from whether or not you will like each other to whether she is good enough for your son and a whole lot in between.
Once the shock has worn off, and I hope you managed to hide your initial reaction because you know they were waiting for it, it’s time to take stock of a few things and put them into perspective.
Don’t Take it Personally
Firstly, this has nothing to do with you. Your initial instinct may be that perhaps he is looking for a mother figure. Or
His attraction to this woman is just like any other relationship. Their attraction can be based on numerous factors, none of which have anything to do with your parenting. You also need to remember that you know your child, and you need to show a bit of faith in that the values and wisdom you have instilled will always come to the fore.
Besides, be able to share your concerns in a way that will not alienate him.
How Old is Too Old?
How old is too old is very subjective, and in the quest to come up with some type of formula, many people refer back to the French author Léon Paul Blouet. Granted his formula was aimed at men but for reference, this formula has been quoted many times and is half your age plus 7. (I will put in the caveat that science definitely does not back this rule.)
This can be a little on the creepy side if you then consider that a 50-year-old woman can comfortably date a 32-year-old man. But on a serious note, the age gap can often depend more on the maturity of the two people involved as opposed to the actual age difference.
But let’s be honest, the real question you are asking yourself is why?
Why is My Son Dating an Older Woman?
As mentioned earlier, there can be a host of reasons, and, honestly, sometimes attraction just can’t be explained. Unless there is a real connection, this relationship is bound to fizzle out, so you may want to take a few deep breaths before you go into panic mode.
Let’s start with maturity levels. For example, if your 25-year-old son is ambitious, motivated, and well on his way to success, dating a woman 10 years older may not be as big an issue as you initially thought. By this stage, she herself may very well be established and exactly what he needs to push him to the next level.
If we’re honest, our first reaction may be to immediately think of those movies where the younger man seeks out that experienced older woman. Calm down, not every scenario is going to turn into a Mrs. Robinson scene from The Graduate.
Younger men often find older women attractive and, let’s be honest, older women have never looked as good as they do now. Just think about Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, and Cameron Diaz who are all over 50, and yes, they have had some extra help.
But older women offer something younger women don’t, and that’s less pressure. Research has shown that more and more men are having children after 30 while many women are keen to start in their 20s. If children aren’t a priority for your son right now, then an older woman is a perfect match.
Older women are more likely to be able to converse around a host of topics versus the current TikTok and Instagram generation who are permanently glued to their phones or busy taking the perfect selfie.
4 Steps to Approaching the Topic
If you do nothing else, ensure that how you approach the topic is done very carefully. If you come across aggressively or far too negatively, you are bound to push him closer to this woman and as we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to alienate your son.
There have probably been previous girlfriends that you weren’t partial to, but you always have to remember that your son’s choice of partner is exactly that, his choice. We all want our children to be happy, but we need to trust them to find that happiness even if it doesn’t fall into our hopes and dreams.
Our first recommendation is to sit down and get to know this woman. You may be pleasantly surprised and actually find yourself liking her. On a humorous note, you may have more in common with her than your son and if there ever was a turn-off for your son, that may just do the trick.
Getting to know her and what her aspirations are will be a key indicator of where this relationship is going and may very well help you have meaningful discussions with your son. After all, if she is supportive of his goals and aspirations, it may just be what he needs right now.
Engaging with your son on an adult level is key. You don’t want to come across as a disapproving mother but rather as someone who has his best interests at heart and is prepared to see his point of view.
Ask those crucial questions that will make him think – your aim should never be to sabotage the relationship but rather to ensure that the future he wants is achievable with his new partner. Through key questions like where he sees himself in 5 or 10 years and whether or not he eventually wants to be married with children, you can initiate a new thought process.
Sometimes, the questions are more important than the answers. Our brains can’t help but try and solve a question. At the end of the day, your child’s happiness is all that matters and as long as you are there to support him through thick and thin, there is no need to worry about your son dating an older woman.