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Can love conquer great age differences?

image Following the announcement that former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, 78, plans to marry his 43-year-old partner, economist Maike Richter as soon as he recovers from a fall, one wonders how love can conquer such a great age difference. She’s young enough to be his granddaughter.

The BBC Have Your Say site lists some other high profile imagecouples with large age gaps.  Michael Douglas is 25 years older than Catherine Zeta Jones; Sex & the City actress Kim Cattrall is 23 years older than partner Alan Wyse; film-maker Woody Allen is 35 years older than wife Soon-Yi Previn and nightclub entrepreneur Peter Stringfellow is 42 years older than fiancee Bella Wright.

What Kohl, Douglas, Cattrell and Stringfelimagelow have in their common with their partners is their backgrounds and shared work interests. This is a major plus.

Allen is definitely the odd one out here, this relationship is bizarre and has caused so much hurt to others in their lives, yet they still seem to be together after 16 years.

And well done to the free spirited Cattrell for showing women can successfully overcome age barriers too…


20 Comments

  1. I’ve just seen Brucie on tv with his stunning ex Miss World wife who is a few decades his junior. They always seem to be laughing together, and he is always very loving towards her, who would have thought their marriage would have endured the last 25 years? And it was his third marriage.

  2. I think it sometimes can where there is a genuine meeting of minds.

  3. Ignore Philipa. She’s very pretty actually. That’s not just my opinion – it’s Numania’s too and both he and I are connoiseurs of the finer things.

  4. Mensana, you are right about Flowerpot, and as I read her blog regularly, I can vouch for their genuine love. I did not realise there was such a big age difference. However, he is a musician, and you know what they say about music being the food of love…

    I am sure they are not alone, I hope there are many more couples like them. I have an artist friend who fell in love with one of his young pupils and they had an enduring partnership over many years until she died of cancer. It certainly is possible.

  5. Philipa

    I don’t think age would matter in my case, being blind might be a huge help for any man I might fancy though.

  6. Well Ellee if he has an intellect and power, the chances are he will have money. If not then he isn’t using his attributes to the best of his ability

    But my faith in humankind has been (partly) restored by flowerpot!

  7. I think intellect and power would be a greater aphrodisiac for me with an older man than money. He would be immensely interesting and stimulating company and know how to make a woman feel good.

  8. I’m 18 years younger than my husband and we’ve been together for 12 years. We dont have many interests in commmon and neither of us have any money but we have a similar intelligence, a shared sense of humour and the same values – more or less! That counts for a lot.

  9. And don’t forget the story which broke yesterday in our own neck of the woods.

  10. I don’t think it matters too much for a while but it will eventually be a problem at some stage in my opinion.

  11. Love might not be able to transcend age differences but money sure as hell can.

  12. Love can conquer most things, and lust can transcend most age-gaps.
    It’s all about WHO makes you feel good.

  13. Age differences don’t seem to matter so much now.

  14. I agree with Mens sana. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a local pensioner walking around with a young, beautiful wife on his arm. However, one of my sons is married to someone 16 years older than him; they’ve been married 7 years now and are still happy together. My ex-husband was 12 years older than me and I often felt I was being treated like a backward 3 year old. With my present partner, who is the same age as me, I have realised that it is so nice to have a shared background of experiences such as music, films etc.

  15. I think if you have a similar outlook and like similar things, the age is unimportant!

  16. Hmmm. Show me a rich/powerful young person who has married a poor or powerless person 20 years their senior and I may believe in the magic of cross generational love. I’m afraid I think that it’s mostly about the fascination of money and /or power

  17. Being a year and a bit apart, the not-wife and myself share the same cultural references. But that would be nothing if we did not have a close bond and a very similar outlook on life. The bond and the outlook are not age determined.

  18. I was in the office with my colleague, Alun, on Monday and he started singing a bit of Hanging on the Telephone. He stopped and then, perfectly in time with each other, we both started singing the next bit, and then we both laughed. It’s that sort of thing, having the same triggers, knowing the same songs, that I think couples with large age differences miss out on.

  19. Wasn’t he supposed to have murdered his first wife?

  20. Hi Ellie:
    Interesting piece about ‘age differences’ in relationships.
    I’m always a little suspicious when a younger and aspiring actress, marries a man many years older than herself, as in the case of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas.
    Her career seems to have flourished and considering she was a TV soap star, she sure hit the ‘big time’ when she met Michael Douglas.
    Maybe I am being a cynic but then, they do seem to be very happy together. However, who knows what goes on behind closed doors?
    My sister married a man 13 years older than herself and during the course of the long marriage, he was terribly possesive of her and made her miserable by his petty jealousy. It seemed he was always afraid of losing her to a younger man.
    He died a few years ago and she is left alone in a large lonely house in Brittany, France, with few friends and sadly, no family to comfort her.
    He died aged 79 years of age, which is a ‘good age’ for a man to die. It is reckoned that women, generally, live longer than men, if there is, ever a ‘good age’ for anyone to die?
    I don’t think I could ever be attracted to a man a lot much older than me, But who knows.
    One never knows what is around the corner!
    As I am happily married and am not thinking of ‘pastures new’, all this is hypothetis, on my part.
    I always remember Caroline Adhern, on her hillarious TV show, Mrs Merton, when interviewing Debbie Mcgee, the wife of Paul Daniels, the magician.

    The question was, to quote…

    “Tell me Debbie Mcgee, what was it, that attracted you to the Multi Millionaire, Paul Daniels in the first place” ?

    I rest my case !

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