Written by Velour and Zeus for Interracial Intersection.
Hi. I recently stumbled across this page. Are there any blogs on age gap interracial relationships? I completely fell for an older black co worker who liked me for a time, but has a huge issue with the combo of age and race difference. She’s 47 and I’m 29. Let me know if you get a chance. Thanks!
Some of the fears an older black woman who is looking for a relationship may have about getting involved with a younger white man are:
- There is a stereotype that young men could only want an older woman for sex: many young men say that older woman have more sexual experience and less sexual inhibitions and thus are better able to please men. An older woman may believe that a younger man will just use her for sex – and then go on to marry a younger woman. Maybe she’d like to get married, and maybe she’d even like to have children (modern science makes this possible for older women).
- She has likely been through decades of life without seeing too many serious black women/white men relationships, and has heard often that white men do not want a black woman for anything more serious than sex. When you combine this with the popular notion that younger men only want older women for sex, your co-worker probably believes that there is no way you could want her anything serious.
- You and she may not be in compatible life stages. Perhaps she is at a more advanced stage of her career and already financially established, or maybe she’s already had children and feels she’s “been there and done that,” while you might be wanting to have your own children someday.
- She may fear that, as time passes, and her energy level and perhaps her physical abilities decline, you will regret the relationship and long for a woman with whom you can go to fun places and do fun physical activities such as dancing. She may wonder whether you’ll come to see her as a burden someday if she has age-related health problems. She may want to be sure that she’ll have security and protection when she gets into her golden years, a man who can empathize with the challenges of aging without feeling pity.
- She knows that her family, friends, and co-workers will judge her for being in a relationship with a man who is so much younger. Research by social psychologist Justin J. Lehmiller has shown that age-gap couples “perceive more prejudice against their relationship than same-sex or interracial couples.” Age-gap couples in which the woman is the older one are judged even more harshly by most people due to the fact that they are unconventional. Most people are convinced that older woman/young man relationships will fail since it is uncommon, and goes against convention and traditional wisdom. Some people will assume the relationship is based on sex, and people can be judgmental toward women whom they believe to be in sex-based relationships, especially older women. She may fear that she would be risking her reputation on the job, her family and friends, and that it’s too much of a risk to take on a man whom she thinks may not stick around for long.
- She is very different from the type of women that society thinks you “should” like: young, white women. It appears from your Facebook photo that you are good-looking, so she may assume that women who fit closer to social ideals will throw themselves at you, and you won’t resist temptation (and social pressure) forever.
- She may wonder whether you and she could have any common interests, given the difference in both age and ethnic background.
- She may wonder if she’d fit in with your friends (assuming they share your age range) and if they’d welcome and accept her, or if she’d feel like an alien amongst them.
Ease Her Fears & Ease Into Her Heart…
Your co-worker needs reassurance that you seriously like and admire her and could be serious about her. Don’t pressure her to date you or be in a relationship with you, or it will push her away. Bring her flowers and sweets regularly to remind her of your tender feelings toward her, compliment her on her personality and work achievements, show interest when she discusses her life experiences, and remind her of the things you already know you have in common with her. Doing those things will show her that your interest in her goes deeper than sex, though it’s good to say, “You look exceptionally pretty today,” so she’ll know you’re also attracted to her. Just avoid putting too much emphasis on her looks right now. When she realizes that you admire the spirit of who she is and genuinely want to get to know her better, this will most likely wear down her fears gradually until she decides to give you a chance and consent to a date.
On your early dates, she will still be cautious, and curious to know why a young man would choose an older woman over any younger woman. Some young men say that they are attracted to older women because they typically find them more confident, grounded, economically stable, interesting to converse with due to having more life experiences, and they seem to know what they want. You can tell her whichever of these you feel apply to her, and also remind her of the things you admire about her as an individual. Make sure you are have carefully thought about the unique challenges of this type of relationship and can envision pursuing a relationship with her if you find that you and she are compatible. She will want to know that you’re fully aware of, and willing and prepared to face, these challenges. If she has lingering doubts, you can inform her that the 2008 Psychology of Women Quarterly found that women 10 or more years older than their partners report being more satisfied and committed to their relationships than women who are the same age or younger than their partners.
What is most important for the success of any relationship is that the two individuals are compatible, have similar levels of maturity, and are willing to open themselves up to seeing the world through each other’s eyes. Focus on what you have in common, and have fun learning and experiencing the things you don’t. If you don’t know the songs, TV shows and dance styles of her generation, you can let her introduce you to them, and in turn you can have her rediscover her youth by taking her roller skating, bike-riding or bowling.
Based on everything you have written to me, I feel that you really, really like this woman, so I hope that she will give you a chance to show you can love her.