I’ve been thinking about age lately especially when it comes to relationships.

Men date younger women all the time and it’s no big deal, right? Is that because these women are fertile, can still have kids and generally look better the younger they are whereas men “age better” (though most of the guys I seem to know are all bald or balding, but let’s assume this is generally true)?

Is it true that if we’re the same age we then have a shared past or experiences? What if I grew up in New Jersey and he grew up in Afghanistan? Even if we’re the same age, I can’t imagine he grew up salivating after Michael Jackson and Madonna or watching Beverly HIlls 90210. Shouldn’t it be more important to have a shared present and future? Does it really matter if the person I’m with digs 80’s music or is it more telling that we both read The Economist today or want to travel to the Maldives in the future? What are the things that really define the core of a relationship with someone? Is age just an anchor we wear around our necks?

I’m also wondering if the obsession with age is an American thing. In Asia and Africa, age is revered. In Latin America and Europe, age doesn’t even seem to be part of the conversation. Rather, it’s about cherishing, intimacy, being connected. I have one girlfriend who is married to a Cuban/Columbian guy and he adores her even when she is a sweaty mess. I truly believe that even if she was 65 and he was 40, he would still have big eyes only for her because he’s connected to her beyond just how she looks.

On this topic, of course I read more about the demise of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. It seems the “age thing” here (a 16-year gap) stemmed from something else lacking in their relationship. Who knows, perhaps Demi was insecure as she got older and less famous while Ashton got more famous and remained in that 20/30 age bracket where everything generally still looks pretty good. I get it. It’s like she may have been waiting for the shoe to drop and when he cheated with a younger woman, it was over. But I also believe by fearing or thinking about something too much we give it life and bring it to being.

In Ghana, my business partner Sammy said to me, ”Old people are dying. Young people are dying. It doesn’t matter. When you stay together over the years, you both start to become the same age.”

Actions

1. Let it go. Getting hung up on age as a number seems narrow-minded. I’ve always dated guys who were my age or older and they all turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m not saying a young guy is the answer, but maybe age isn’t necessarily a defining factor of strength in a relationship.

2. Keep options open. Just because someone is 10 years younger or 10 years older, don’t shut the door on the conversation. If you connect intellectually and emotionally, maybe something’s there that transcends age.

3. Be willing to explore. Sure, maybe a relationship with a 10-year age gap can fail, but so can a relationship with no age gap, right? Sadly, relationships fail all the time. Don’t let boundaries you’ve created hold you back. Even though the world is big and life is long, everything can suddenly feel very small and limited if we close ourselves off based on our definitions of what we can and cannot have.

This post was originally featured on Jody’s blog, Got Ennui?

People make a lot of fuss about “summer-winter relationships” but the fact is that they can be enjoyable and fulfilling – if occasionally challenging – for both parties in the couple.

The Advantages of an Age Gap
When you’re in a relationship with someone from a different generation, there are many benefits. The younger partner can learn from their other half’s maturity and life experience. This can be particularly useful in situations where, if they had been left to their own devices, the more innocent party might have screwed up.

For his part, the older partner gets to enjoy the energy, youth and liveliness of their spring chicken “toy” boy or girl! I’m not trying to say that us more mature ladies and gentlemen don’t know how to let our hair down – it’s just that having someone young around can give you a real boost of energy, and keep us up-to-date on the latest trends. Your friends will feel this burst of energy as well – it’s infectious!

Another big advantage is that being with someone younger pushes you to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You might be getting healthy just to remain seductive or so that the age gap isn’t so obvious, but you’ll reap the health benefits all the same. And it’s never a bad thing to give ourselves, our body and our appearance more attention!

The Drawbacks – and How to Deal with Them
For all the good stuff we get in an age gap relationship, belonging to different generations can sometimes be a weakness.

It can be hard to be on the same page about things. One person’s maturity and experience comes up against incomprehension. To add insult to injury, the younger party might find their partners “wisdom” embarrassing, as they just don’t get where their coming from. For example; the older partner might spend time agonizing over the consequences of a relationship with someone younger, while the latter might be solely concerned with living this love as intensely as possible, without spending too much time reflecting on the potential fallout among family and friends.

On top of this, it’s not always easy to get in sync with your partner when he or she is ten years younger and seems to never run out of steam. The younger party in the couple will want to go out all the time, dance all night, see the latest movie, go on exciting, noisy vacations… whereas the older party’s idea of a good time might be bed by ten in front of Netflix. Once the first heady burst of passion in the relationship wears off, this kinds of differences can raise their head.

Of course, we’re generalizing here – these are not rules by any stretch of the imagination – and they are also differences a lot of couples of the same age experience… though we must admit they seem to crop up more often when an age gap’s involved.

Finally, the big one: kids. The question of whether or not you’re going to have children is one that tends to creep up on people. You really must give this nonnegotiable aspect of your relationship some serious thought. A younger man with a partner who is nearing the onset of menopause for example needs to think about this. His partner might find herself unable to offer him the child that he wants. The lack of desire in one partner to have a child as they already have a child of their own is another big one. This is a subject which can’t be neglected in a couple. It is at the beginning of a relationship, when you begin to feel that things could become serious, that you need to think about this issue. Often the future of the couple depends on it.

Photo courtesy of Huffpost.

We can hardly get enough of Elizabeth Banks lately. She’s a busy working mom but still finds time to make and share hilarious videos, like her heart health awareness PSA we featured last week! In her YouTube series, Really Important Questions, she shares her infinite wisdom with those seeking advice. This week, she gave what we think is some pretty genius (and hilarious) dating advice to a 14 year old who asked. We’re pretty sure this should be mandatory viewing for all teenagers! What do you think?

We’re totally subscribed to her channel. Are you?

Have a funny or cute video you’d like to share? Send it to us HERE and we might feature it!

Ladies, let’s talk about online dating real quick.

I’ve been divorced for some time but I just recently got out of a relationship (if you can even call it that) with a man I’d been seeing for over a year and a half. I’m not even remotely close to being emotionally ready to jump back on the dating wagon but last weekend when I found myself child-free and 4 bottles into a 6-pack of hard cider I downloaded a dating app on my iPhone called Tinder where you basically judge people on their physical appearance to determine if you have a connection.

24 hours and 1 hangover later I had 50 matches on Tinder. FIFTY MATCHES. I went from being single to an online dating slut in a matter of hours. This is real life you guys! You can meet your future soul mate without actually meeting him. All you need is a good selfie and a few witty lines for your bio. Maybe throw a Ghandi or Mother Teresa quote in there so all the men know that you’re profound and intelligent.

Moving on…

I’ve been doing this Tinder thing for a few days now and this is what I’ve found so far.

1.)There are a ton of fish in the sea.
2.)Most of these fish don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”
3.)A large chunk of the male population still thinks using a bathroom mirror selfie of your abs as a profile photo is a good idea.
4.)It’s not uncommon to see pictures of men with tigers. Like, real live, living and breathing tigers. –I don’t even know.

Don’t let this sway your decision to use online dating as a method of meeting someone. I actually know some people who are in great relationships because of online dating. Just, you know, maybe only date the guys that know “your” and “you’re” are not the same thing.

Have you tried online dating? Would you consider it a success or an epic fail?

Photo courtesy of the Yale Daily News.

I need to do something about my love life. Back in June 2012 my long-term relationship went kaput out of nowhere. Combined with leaving my long-term job, my world was rattled. I’ve spent the past several months rebuilding my world as well as starting a new business, but I need to admit that the heart as it relates to romance is not an easy fix. Raise your hands if you agree.

But I’m lucky to have people call me on it—to make me get active and try some different things to shake things up. Earlier this week I had the chance to catch up with Karen, one of my closest friends from college. We didn’t cover nearly enough considering she’d been in Vietnam for almost a month working on her noodle business and juggling that with two small children. But we did talk about relationships, and she had some great advice for me. She suggested seeking a professional matchmaker. The way she explained it, online dating is a very active, anonymous process…while just waiting for something to happen organically is very passive. Working with a pro-MM (matchmaker) is a good grey area—something in the middle which might be something I can get comfortable with. She knows me well. Oddly enough, my mom called just after that and had the same suggestion! Somewhere around 5 years ago I realized that my mom was right about almost everything, and I needed to start listening to her a lot more often than I had been.

I also recently had dinner with an oddball group of women, and one of them told me about a website called The Right Stuff.  ”You should get on it!” one of the women trilled. I looked it up and it looked more legit to me than Match or eHarmony, so I’ll throw that in the mix as well.

I need help with matters of the heart, so I am raising my hand and asking for it.

ACTIONS
1. Track down professional matchmakers that seem solid.  I found two in NYC and my sister sent me a list of some others I need to check out. They are all free for women, but you need to get “accepted.” I know, the pressure of getting pre-screened, but I would rather that and then have someone working on my behalf than trawling through ambiguous Match winks and pokes or whatever.

2. Call for reinforcements. I need some serious pictures for this effort. They want a head shot, a full body one and an “active” shot. Somehow all my pictures are active so I need help with the others and flipping around my iPhone just isn’t going to cut it. So I’m rallying my NYCBFF to help me this weekend when I will be at her beach house. I told her I wanted the “photo shoot” to be fun and have a bigger calling than just the pro-MMs and Right Stuff. She answered the call with total enthusiasm and already has time slots figured out for when we’re doing this. My NYCBFF loves executing a project, so I’m glad I put this one in her hands.

3. Randomize it. For me, this means going to all the parties and stuff I get invited to that I may normally skip for one reason or another. Maybe I don’t know the people well enough or maybe I do know them well, but don’t relish the thought of spending time with them, or maybe I’m just tired, but I need to put aside those feelings and get out there.

LESSONS
1. Be open-minded. When trying to expand your world you can’t create your own boundaries.

2. Reach out to your friends for support.  Don’t be shy.  If you can’t be honest with the people who love you, then you may as well give up now.

3. Balance includes everything.  Again, it’s so important to step back and see how all aspects of life and ennui are balancing.  Just because you aren’t thinking about your heart matters, doesn’t mean you don’t have serious matters of the heart.

This post was originally published on Got Ennui?

It’s weird to write about dating since I haven’t been in the dating game for a minute. I’ve forgotten the fine art of giving out my phone number and then waiting and sometimes staring at my cell phone, willing it to ring. Ok, that’s a lie…those experiences are burned into my brain the way an image of a fat man in super small stretched-out Speedos running along the rocky sand of a cold dirty Los Angeles beach still gives me chills at night.

I have a lot of single girlfriends. Some are single by choice. Others are single by chance. And I talk to all of them about what it’s like to navigate the Frosty Waters of Dating.

I find myself holding my tongue a lot. Mostly because I’ve found that when a girlfriend is sprung on some new flavor of the week, no amount of levelheaded advice is going to get through to them, but also because there is a very slim (VERY SLIM) chance I could be wrong about this new shady fellow. I’m all about chances. Ok, no, that’s a lie too. I’m not all about chances. I’m just all about keeping my friends because if you’re dubbed The Nagger Friend, then you’re pretty much on The Outs when it comes to all the good gossip, and let’s be real here….I live for gossip. In fact, if you have some juicy news you want to spread, just email me. I could use a little bit of sparkle in my life.

Checklists, I dig. They’re simple. Throw an article at me about String Theory, and I won’t be able to digest one word. But put the same information in a checklist and I’ll rattle off the basics of theoretical physics like it’s the plot line from my favorite Nicholas Sparks movie. Don’t hate. That Nicholas is a pimp.

Jerk Assessment Checklist:

1. Is he saying things that would normally alarm a rational thinking person?
Most of the time, men tell you exactly what they mean. Really, they do. Sometimes, it’s a little indistinguishable because the alcohol is making them slur or they’re coming down from a really bad cocaine binge, so you have to smash the phone really hard into your ear and walk into your closet to hear the under-enunciated words. But if he’s saying it, you should probably listen. Phrases to watch out for include: “You’re not the one for me,” or “I don’t know what I’m doing with you here,” or “I can’t really accept who you are.” I’ve heard all of those lines said to me at one point or another. Guess what I did? I just ignored those tidbits and kept right on. And guess what happened? Nothing. Because eventually, the words become louder and totally unavoidable and before you know it, you’re watching the Academy Awards and you see your man walking down the red carpet with another girl on his arm who isn’t you and you’re thinking….”Wait just a minute here….”

If you hear any of these things being said to you, RUN. Seriously, just put on those flip flops and get the hell out of there as fast as you can, girl. You’ll thank me later. Trust me.

2. Are you a secret? Is he a secret?
Step back and honestly assess this one, friends. Are you pretty much a nonexistent entity in his life except behind closed doors? Do his friends even know you exist? He doesn’t need to make paper flyers declaring his interest, but if you’re not on his public radar, then you’re probably only on his pubic radar.

Conversely, are you ashamed to tell your friends about him? Maybe he’s immersed in a whole bunch of questionable or illegal activities. Maybe he’s been to jail. Now, I’m not saying everyone who’s been to jail is a bad person. Frankly, I’m a little surprised I haven’t spent some time there myself, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before I’m known to my community as Inmate 217 (which, coincidentally, used to be my pager code because “217” is “Liz” upside down and backwards. I know, I have way too much time on my hands).

3. Is it one-sided?
Does he ever ask you about your day? Is it all about his happiness? Does he even give a care about how you feel…about anything? You don’t have to think too long about these questions. It’s obvious and apparent when someone has an interest in you and your well-being. Maybe he remembers to ask about work when he knows you’re having a stressful day. Maybe he asks you about your family when he knows some stuff is going down, and you’re secretly devastated on the inside, but you’re doing that whole martyr front so you look all strong and grown-up on the outside.

4. Does the mofo not call you?
Maybe you’re the one making all the effort. Who’s calling whom? Are you trying to know someone who only bothers to talk to you Monday- Friday while he’s spending those tortured hours at work, and he can’t watch porn on the company computer so he asks you to send him a little picture here and there to pass the time?

5. Do all of his ex-girlfriends hate the shit out of him?
Look, if you’re talking to someone who had to change his home address, phone number or place of employment after a relationship because the newest person he screwed over happens to want him dead, then he’s probably not right for you. Sure, you can kid yourself and claim that you’re going to be the one to change him, but let’s be real…who has that kind of time these days? I don’t even have a dog because I can’t tame an animal. I sure as hell don’t see what kind of wonder-woman has the time, patience and wherewithal to change a man-child. Don’t be delusional.

If you answered “yes” to ANY of these questions, then you should probably do this:

RUN LIKE THE WIND, GIRLFRIEND, RUN LIKE THE WIND.

What did I miss? Ever dated a jerk?

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