I got this from 'eHarmony.com' today. Here's my commentary (in parens):
Scan the pages of any issue of People magazine, and you'll get the idea that relationship age gaps are all the rage. Tom and Katie, Rod and Penny, and Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas are just a few couples with decades between them. Not that the phenomenon is that new - the likes of Bogey and Bacall and Sinatra and Mia Farrow were doing it even before our current celebs were begging for a first date.
But how do you make sure that your relationship with an older man is more Harrison and Calista and less Paul McCartney and Heather Mills? Here are eight things you should know about dating an older man...
Chances are that if a man's started sprouting grey hairs, he probably produced a few children along the way who helped put them there. This may not be an issue for you, but it's one that should be seriously thought through before committing to a relationship with him.
While it's most likely going to be the mother that has full custody, expect weekends dedicated to his kids and attention away from you when he needs to be there for them. Plus, you have to consider whether you're ready for a relationship with his children and what that really means.
Will they resent you for being with their father? Will they adore you and want to spend all their vacation time with you? Either way, you have to be prepared for the reality of their input and how it will impact your relationship. There's also a chance that if he's already had children, the last thing he wants is any more. Or maybe he's ready to add to his brood and wants to get started before he gets too much older. Either way, make sure you've talked to each other at length about your options and your needs, and make sure you're on the same page.
(er, that should be obvious, I hope--no issues with issues)
2) He May be Set in His Ways
When you meet someone in your youth, if you're lucky, you'll meld and form sympathetic personalities together, enabling you to naturally be in sync. When you meet someone fully formed, that person's had a lifetime to know what he wants and how he likes it, and he's most unlikely to be open to changes. Sure, he won't be entirely inflexible, but what you see is what you get, and if you're hoping you can start molding him, it's very unlikely to happen. So make sure you like what you're getting and don't start expecting big changes.
(I'm getting more rigid as my understanding increases)
3) You May Not Get Cultural References
To him, Bread is a great old band from the '70s; for you, something to put in the toaster. To you, Ice-T is a New Jersey hip-hop legend; to him, a deliciously refreshing beverage. While on the surface, the differences can be fun and interesting, for some, the experience can be isolating. People use the experiences from their past to express themselves in the now, and if you're just not getting it, it can be frustrating for both of you.
(nah, I eat and listen to M&Ms)
4) Medical Issues
It's a basic, simple truth: the older you get, the sicker you are. What you have to decide is whether you're ready to watch his struggle with medical issues and understand how they're likely to impact your life together. While not everyone is going to fall apart as soon as they turn 40, no one can stop the inevitable. Older men often have special dietary requirements, have to cut down on their social drinking, snore louder, get aching joints, never go too far without a bottle of Tums... It's part of life, but you should be prepared to make his problems yours, too.
(I do tend to avoid sugar, but I've done that since my early twenties, I still drink like a fish, and other than arthritis and snoring don't fit much of this category)
5) Sexual Appetite
It's generally considered that men peak sexually between the ages of 18 and 25, and women between 25 and 40, so you do the math. Of course, plenty of older men still have the appetites of men half their age, and they also may find themselves invigorated by their new, younger partners. There's another plus here, too: older men usually have the experience to satisfy their partners. So what you may lose in quantity, you could gain in quality.
(that's not been an issue yet since I've yet to meet a woman who has more appetite)
Again, another simple fact of life - the older he gets, the less active he'll be. This isn't to ignore the fact that you're just as likely to find a man in his 20s who can barely drag himself away from his Xbox, but he's far less likely to want to spend his evenings waving his arms in the air to the latest R&B cuts. Similarly, house parties where the food is delivery pizza and you end up crashing on a crusted sofa aren't likely to hold much appeal to him, and if he's got work in the morning, chances are he'd appreciate an early night.
(it's really more 'enthusiasm' than energy, since ample energy exists for items of interest)
While an older man has likely paid off his college tuition and established himself in his work, not all older men are Donald Trump (i.e., stinking rich). Some may be putting their kids through college, trying to invest as much as they can in their pensions, making alimony payments, or simply peaking in their earnings potential and riding it out until they retire. While they may seem wealthy relative to your typical early-20s exes, be realistic about their financial situations.
(well, given that I'm still not contracted, that's an annoying point, but generally I don't have to worry if what I put on my debit card has cash to cover it)
Like we've established, the older you get, the more you know what you like, and this could turn into a problem if you're the type that likes to pick up and go when the opportunity strikes. Before he ups and goes, he's likely to need to square it with the mother of his children, let his boss know, make sure he's got his meds together and pull together some clean shirts. On the plus side, his more measured ways could offer some stability to your life, helping to give you some focus and direction.