Why so much outrage at the sight of older women dating younger men?

By Nina Steele 

older women dating younger menChannel 4 did a documentary on older British women going to the Gambia, in West Africa, to find love. It aired recently and is entitled: ‘Sex on the beach’. There have previously been many articles written on the subject. The relationships are often painted in a negative light because they often end in tears for some of the older women. There have indeed been many stories of women being scammed out of their life savings. Yet those negative stories do not seem to deter other western women still determined to make the journey to the Gambia, hoping to strike lucky. After watching the show, my reaction was, each to their own.

I have to admit that I have read the same type of outrage with regards to older men going to the developing world to find younger brides. But of course, unlike with older men, in addition to the widely held assumption that it is all about money and a ticket to the West, the fact that the older women are past their childbearing years, is also used against them, particularly when the relationships lead to marriage.

Any young man dating a woman who is past her childbearing years, knows exactly what he is getting himself into. In the channel 4 documentary, one of the men is 32 and his girlfriend 68 (unlike the other women, she is from Belgium). They eventually got married. By the look of things, the man seemed more preoccupied with building a financially successful life for himself. Nowhere was the issue of children mentioned. Only time will tell what happens next.

I have to admit that I haven’t always been so open-minded on the issue. My attitude has changed over the years. As I said before, each to their own. If an older woman wants to date a younger man, who is anyone to tell her she can’t?

Being originally from the developing world, I know how powerful a driving force poverty can be. It makes people do all sorts of things. Equally, the quest for love is powerful too, and some people will do anything to experience being loved. So you can imagine why we are hearing about all these stories. The women in the documentary are honest about the fact that they are treated like goddesses in the Gambia while back in the UK, they are almost invisible. That is quite a powerful pull. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is their choice to make.

It is true that a great number of these relationships often end in tears for the older women. But that is a risk they are willing to take. One of the women mentioned how dull her life is in the UK, compared to the excitement she feels whenever she is in the Gambia. She says that she feels ‘youthful’ whenever she goes there. It is her life and hers alone to live it whichever way she sees fit. Of course she and other women like her need to be careful so they don’t end up being scammed. But I am sure that this is a risk they know they are taking.

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