May-December Romance

Me: How are things with your boy toy?

Her: *glowingly happy* Really good.

I’d heard through the office mill that my co-worker was dating someone younger than her but I wouldn’t have teased if I realized she was already getting heat, supportive and typical but still heat. Turns out she is more than ten years older than her new boyfriend. Once I turned my misguided josh into genuine questions on her happiness, she told me about meeting the parents and how well her twenty-one year old daughter was handling it.

This made me think about May-December relationships in movies and books. May-December are relationships with a significant age difference. How Stella Got Her Groove Back is a 1998 movie where a forty-something stock broker falls in love with a young twenty-something. In Suzanne Brockmann’s The Admiral’s Bride the hero saved the heroine’s father during the Vietnam war. They had an over twenty year gap as well.


Ronald Tobias talks about May-December romances in 20 Master Plots and breaks down the movie Harold and Maude. Harold is sixty years younger than his love interest Maude. Tobias describes this almost forbidden love as built slowly out of commonalities and respect. Yet in most of these stories the couple, because of the age gap, has little but physical chemistry in common. They work to get past that awkward meeting of friends or disliking each other’s musical tastes.

In my novella Marriage Most Convenient there is a secondary plot that features a May-December relationship. Bob and Ashley have been married for awhile and are happily expecting their first child. Ashley helps Tom, the story’s hero, remember that love can keep us together despite all our differences.

I told my husband about my foot in mouth incident and the concept of May-December romances having ‘unique challenges.’

Him: Every relationship has those moments.

Me: *agreeing with him* WE don’t even like the same kinds of music. (We are only 9 months apart in age)

Him: Are you saying you only want me for my body?

Yet that isn’t why my co-worker is dating this younger man, for his body. And not because he makes her feel younger or because he needs someone to take care of him. They’re building a solid relationship with friendship and respect and attraction. We don’t have to ‘get it’ as long as it makes sense to them.


Me: Your body definitely ranks pretty high on my happily-married-for-19-years list.

Him: *shakes head* That doesn’t make up for your dislike of Evanescence. 

Do you know anyone in a May-December relationship? Or have a favorite version of the story in book or movie form?