May-December Marriages

The term “May-December Marriage” refers to couples who have a significant difference in ages, typically a young woman and a much older man, but that is not always the case. Why this is a topic for discussion is that there is a certain social stigma attached to that kind of relationship. Cradle robbing as a term comes to mind, as well as gold digger. The actual statistics report that most marriages of this type are quite happy and last for many years. It makes it all that much harder for tabloids to sell their wares-except that we don’t hear about the May-December marriages that last, only the ones that fail, so we can emit a smug “I told ya so,” as we pick up the current issue in the grocery line.

The media has created a stir in the May-December category since their were celebrities to gossip about, such as the marriage of HRH Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in July of 1981 (she was 20, he was 32) and other celebrities (Tom Cruise 42, and Katie Holmes 26, Tiny Tim and miss Vicki-36 and 17-and of course Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall) and continue to voice their (the media’s) opinions on these romances.

There are very real horror stories associated with May-December marriages that the media doesn’t cover, most certainly because there are no stars involved and little room for gossip. Take, for instance, the 12 year old girl who was raped by her 48 year old teacher and became pregnant. The punishment for this act was that the teacher had to marry his former student. (To incur the cost of providing for her and the baby) Or the couple arrested and charged with forcing their 15 year old to marry a 60 year old man because he was rich.

Obviously there is a big difference between couples with a significant age bridge marrying for love, rather than being forced into servitude.

Often the differences in age are the result of pedophilia, at least in America, and masquerade as no longer statutory rape, because the boy or girl is over 18, when in fact the older person just likes kids. Some cultures require that there be a significant age difference between couples, or even arrange marriages between children, to take place when they become the culture’s traditional age, but this is not a example of a May-December marriage, either.

So that’s all the dirt on the May-December romance. For the most part, it’s not how old the person is that you love, it’s that the feelings are mutual. What age a couple is shouldn’t make any difference, unless it’s of course under the aforementioned circumstances.

But celebrities who marry far below their age, as well as kids who get married what some might consider too young, should be left alone to make these decisions and not judged, or even gossiped about-I mean, unless it’s obvious that a child is being molested, who cares? May-December marriages are just more fodder for celebrity tabloid magazines.