The problems with dating a younger man

He probably grew up having to pitch in and help with dinner (if only to defrost it); he knows his way around a washing machine, and maybe even had to change a diaper or two.When it comes to gender roles and the division of labor, you're better off with a man whose mother has already fought the big battles for you.Parties, rock concerts, nightclubs—I dated the way I should have when I was younger: for fun, without an eye toward marriage. During that time, when I was in my late 30s, I made an important sociological discovery: Men over 40 are profoundly different from those under 35, and it's not just their hairlines.As much as we're loath to admit it, we base most of our expectations about a relationship on the one we observed, for better or worse, growing up at home. I look at him, stunned that he could forget such a big part of 1973. You'd really dig it." Or "Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins!

He'd walk a mile for my chocolate Kahlúa cheesecake, and he immediately bragged about my spaghetti sauce to his friends, who were envious of anything that didn't arrive by delivery boy.They're not so far past the years when they pined to hold a real, live, naked woman that they take for granted what a terrific thrill and holy privilege it really is.When I was in my 20s, my first husband and I went to three weddings in ten years.(In France.) Another guy old enough to have danced naked at Woodstock stared incredulously at my alternative rock CD collection ("I've never even heard of any of these guys," he said, waving around a Pearl Jam CD) and asked if I had any Kenny G or Jimmy Buffet.A guy who has spent the past 20 years in a well-insulated rut will make you tell his astounded buddies about the time you were in "a whaddya call it? " You may have the feeling that your relationship now qualifies as his official Walk on the Wild Side.

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This is the guy who's missed so much in his years on the planet that being with him makes you feel embalmed.

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