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Thursday, April 5, 2018 12:11 am

Hipster replacement

PHOTO COURTESY AMY ALKON
Amy Alkon
I’m a 57-year-old lesbian, and I’m only attracted to much younger women (very early 20s). We’re obviously in very different places in our lives, and these “relationships” don’t last very long. I also get a lot of grief from my friends. I can’t change whom I’m attracted to, but I would like a long-term relationship.  – Seeking

Your previous girlfriend probably remembers prom like it was yesterday – because, for her, it kinda was.

Making matters worse, millennials and post-millenials (generally speaking) are the most overprotected, overparented generations ever – to the point where university administrators probably have stern talks with at least a few parents: “Your son is a freshman in college. You can’t be sneaking into the dining hall to cut his food for him.”

Sure, there are probably some precociously mature 20-somethings out there. However, it usually takes a chunk of life experience – and relationship experience – for a person to grow into who they are and figure out what they want in a partner. So, as a 57-year-old woman, you’re probably as well-paired with the average 22-year-old as you are with the average head of lettuce or desk lamp.

But say – one day while you’re cruising the aisles at Forever 21 – you find the 20-something lady Socrates. There’s still a problem, and it’s the way society sneers at a big age gap between partners. The thumbs-downing comes both from a couple’s “own social networks” and from “society at large,” finds social psychologist Justin Lehmiller. However, “perceived marginalization by one’s social network” appears to be most damaging – “significantly” predicting breakups.

Granted, it’s possible that you have some rigid age cutoff in the regions of your brain that do the “hot or not?” calculations. If that’s the case, simply finding a woman who’s young-looking is a no-go. (When she starts to get those little laugh lines around the eyes, will you put her out on the curb with that aging TV from the guest room?)

But ask yourself whether you simply prefer the springier chickens and are actually just afraid of the emotional risks (as well as the emotional adulthood) required in being with somebody closer to your age. That’s something you can work to correct. Ultimately, if you want a relationship, the answer to your “Hey, babe … where have you been all my life?” shouldn’t be “Um … waiting for my parents to meet so I could do the fun stuff fetuses do, like kickboxing in the womb and giving my mom gestational diabetes.”

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