Older women dating younger men is not uncommon. A study by AARP found that 34 percent of single women surveyed who were over 40 were seeing younger men. Lynn Snowden Picket, who is thirteen years older than her husband, points out that many men who came of age in the 1960s -- before the women’s movement -- have profoundly different expectations of women than younger men. But with dating a younger man comes challenges, such as stereotypes your families might hold, that you must confront as a couple. Meeting his family may be intimidating, but there are ways to prepare yourself beforehand.
1. Prep Together
When your boyfriend asks you to meet his family, be honest about your fears. One reason Mark Pasquinelli, a photographer in Pennsylvania, liked dating his older wife was because she was more direct than the younger women he had dated. Tell him directly if you’re nervous about meeting his parents because you’re afraid they’ll think you’re a “cougar.” Ask him to talk to his family beforehand, if he hasn’t already, and to stick by your side if they question your motives.
2. Dress Casually and Modestly
One of the unfortunate stereotypes about older women who date younger men is that they’re “predatorial." This idea is a sexist double standard and largely untrue. Though you should dress in a way that would normally suit your personality, tone down the sexiness for the first meeting with his family. Clothing is a form of nonverbal communication that indicates who you are. A dress that covers your cleavage or a pair of tailored pants with a modest top will bring attention away from your clothing and on to the real you.
3. Bring Something
Show that you have good manners, and ask what you can bring. If his parents make a suggestion, follow it. If they tell you not to bring anything, come armed with a nice bottle of wine or a dessert. You want his family to see you as someone who is considerate, self-aware and invested in this relationship.
4. Be Genuine
If you have been dating this man long enough to reach the stage of meeting his family, you’re probably serious about each other. Most likely, the only thing that matters to his family is that he’s happy and his girlfriend is with him for the right reasons. Be the person your boyfriend sees in you: fun, smart, responsible, etc. Hopefully his family will see your wonderful qualities as well.
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