A question that has been brought up rather often of late, well since many of my American friends have seen photos of my girlfriend/fiance, which concerns her age. It is true she is young for me, but I want to emphasise that she is only young for me on Western standards. In Asia, including Thailand of course, it is more common for the man to be the elder in relationships. In fact the Chinese method for a man looking for a bride is for him to cut his age in half and then add ten years. So, for example, a 40 year old man should look for a 30 year old woman. A 30 year old man should look for a woman of 25 and so forth.
Okay, many of us here in the Kingdom of Thailand have a larger age gap than this. In speaking with 6 of my coworkers the other day it came out that the closest age gap was 12 years and the largest was 16 years. I know that is a very big gap, but let me explain to Westerners a little bit about the differences in culture that explain this.
#1 It is not just about sex. Although the Kamasutra does say that an older man with a young woman is always the best mix for sensual pleasures.
#2 Thai women who are mature and are beginning to wish to date more seriously, seem to feel that older men are a better fit for them because the men are so immature. Many Thai women complain that men here, both Farang and Thai, love to play too much and never take dating seriously. It seems to them the best way to avoid getting a broken heart is to date a man who is beginning to slow down a little. Now about the slowing down a little, please return to #1 and you will see another problem with younger men. Slow it down boys -- slow it down.
#3 Thai women seem to have a different interest in a husband than they do in a friend or even a boyfriend. For instance, when I asked a large class of Assumption University students the first thing they looked for in a boyfriend they responded fun and exciting. The first thing they wanted in a husband was stable and caring. What this results in is girls who date for fun while they are in their teens and early twenties, but by mid-twenties most of them are beginning to look for older men to provide a more satisfactory relationship.
"BUT? How can you have a quality relationship with someone half your age?" someone in Ohio or Kansas or California is screaming.
"Well, how can you have a quality relationship with someone your own age?" would be my response. Come on Americans can not talk about relationships at ALL, until that they get their 75% 1st marriage divorce rate to come dow, because I'm not listening to anyone with a track record that bad. Would you go to a doctor who kills 3 out of 4 of his patients?
Look, it is true that older men are not equal in the relationship with their younger wives. There are times that I feel like a father to my girlfriend, a mentor at least, but is there something wrong with offering my experience to mix and mingle with her exuberance and energy? It would seem temperance enhances vigor.
I believe the age gap is far too big an issue for most Western people and that in truth being the same age offers little or no help in a relationship. Two peole with similar experiences certainly don't offer a lot to a joint venture as important as marriage. Perhaps, if Americans want to get their divorce rate down, the women in the States should begin to look for older men.