More 'Brutal Frankness'

There is one aspect of the older men/younger women question I never see mentioned. It's about what happens 10 and 20 years later. The younger women who are the flattered recipients of attention from older men should look ahead before they leap.

My father, then at the height of a glamorous career, married a very solid woman about 20 years his junior, but only a few years older than his oldest children. This of course has dramatic effects on their "expectations" from his estate, a potential source of jealousies and rivalries within the family of ugly dimensions that requires maturity and self-sufficiency beyond the characters of some of us.

But more personally painful to the couple involved is his failing health. His younger wife has gradually become the prisoner of a fading though much-loved old man. I often wonder whether either of them would do it over again, when looking back they see the first few fun years eclipsed by the heart attacks, strokes, incontinence and lost freedoms.

Personally I am involved with a man my own age, and, yes, it has involved some of the compromises mentioned. He's not a raging financial success and we've had some battles over his personal habits, but I do feel cherished, wanted and emotionally secure. Out there is my former, very successful husband who did not produce at any of these personal levels, and all in all at age 50 I like what I've got, which is love.


Santa Barbara

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