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Mary Pender, 37, a high school special education teacher in Huntington Beach, California, connected with a truck driver seven years her junior who she met on an online dating site.Though she'd always dated older men before, she "thought it was exciting to date someone younger" -- and, as it turned out, he thought it'd be just as exciting a match.Actor Hugh Jackman has been married to Deborra-Lee Furness for 17 years. A recent article in magazine looked at a handful of real-life May-December romances, focusing mainly on those between older women and younger men.The age gaps spanned anywhere from 10 to 14 years, with women in their late 40s and early 50s enjoying relationships and/or marriage with men in their late 20s or 30s. Couples in this situation had to address the fertility concern head-on, with some choosing to take the leap relatively quickly while others took a pass.
When it comes to the subject of love we always hope that there are no real significant barriers to its success."There was no fear in dating an older woman," he says."I prefer to date older women, and for some reason I always have, even in high school.A 2003 study by AARP revealed that 34 percent of all women over 40 in the survey were dating younger men, and 35 percent preferred it to dating older men. Quite frankly, his mother made it so impossible," Winter says of the six-year relationship, which inspired her book."Societal attitudes have definitely changed," says Susan Winter, 52, co-author of "Older Women, Younger Men: New Options for Love and Romance" -- and she would know. "But (that kind of discrimination) would not be allowable now." Hollywood in particular has defied the ageism stereotype, with celebrities like Madonna and Demi Moore marrying significantly younger men (a 10- and 15-year age gap, respectively, with director Guy Ritchie and actor Ashton Kutcher), and the public has come to accept it.