You've fallen for someone 20 years younger, and he/she for you. Friends say you're "infatuated" — why can't they see you're in love? They may impugn the motives of the younger person ("Gold digger!"), or imply that it's all about sex ("You sly devil, you!"), or warn you that unless this is a fling you'll wind up "lonely, poor or both."
Does that just about describe the level of "support" you're receiving? To be fair, your friends may have a point: It is sexy to be with someone different, and there is a certain pride in attracting the interest of a younger mate. But there's more than that to your new relationship, as you know, so you could do without the nudges and winks.
Many couples have conquered this barrier, remaining happily married, or committed, for decades. Perhaps the best known are 68-year-old Michael Douglas and 43-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones, who have bridged their quarter-century age gap to stand by each other through a long partnership (and some recent serious health scares). Or look at 65-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, who made 34-year-old theater producer Sally Humphreys his (third) bride in December 2012.
You don't hear as much about what I refuse to call "cougars": women substantially older than their male partners. Could it be that men prize youth and beauty more highly than women do? Maybe, but I suspect another dynamic is at work: Women don't want to feel maternal about a lover, nor do they want to see themselves as a mother figure in a lover's eyes. This aversion may have stopped some women cold who were hot for younger men. (Unless, of course, they were named Cher.)
But all this prompts a bigger question: Is it smart or stupid to take on a partner 20 years younger once you hit 50, 60 or 70?
The answer to that question may lie in your answers to these: