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Toyboys a new lease on life

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

There was a time when society deemed it to be in bad taste or taboo for women to bridge the age gap by dating a younger man, but "May-December" romances are inevitably on the rise.

Clinical psychologist Jane Kruger says "the 40s are the new 30s". She says dating younger men is becoming a major trend.

"We've read about celebs like Demi Moore marrying a younger Ashton Kutcher and Madonna and Guy Ritchie, and Vivica Fox dating 50 Cent. The list is endless.

"Women are not only feeling younger, they are also acting younger and younger men are accepting them in their new personalities," she said.

Kruger says most children have issues with their mother dating younger men because of the stigma attached to such behaviour.

She advises mothers who are in these relationships that, rather than forgo romance, they should deal with their children's concerns head-on before dating begins.

"The mother must make sure the introduction of her new man takes place only after she's had a private conversation with her children," Kruger said.

"For the kids to learn to live with their mother's relationship with a younger man they should be encouraged to express their feelings. But mothers should not allow children to dictate the terms of their love life."

Kruger says children will always fear that events in their life are spinning out of control. She says rather than viewing this simply as bad behaviour, parents should recognise it as a child's attempt to regain control and restore a sense of order.

Aaron Zindela, 26, said he was shocked when his 49-year-old widowed mother told him that her 29-year-old boyfriend was moving in with them.

"I was shocked when she introduced a 29-year-old guy to me. I thought these things only happened in movies. The first thing that came to my mind was what people were going to say about it."

Zindela said his mother's behaviour changed and she started doing annoying and embarrassing things.

"She started dressing scantily, she cut and dyed her hair blond and started going to parties with this toyboy and friends. She spent her money on clothes, booze and expensive cellphones for the toyboy and friends while I was studying with loaned money."

Relationship expert and psychologist Kelly Roberts says Zindela's mother was exhibiting signs of midlife crisis.

"Midlife women are turning old sex roles upside down. They are dating and having affairs with younger mates, a luxury that used to be reserved for men. And increasingly, they are enjoying vital, active sex lives over the age of 45."

Agnes Moshi*, a forty nine-year-old executive at a parastatal and a mother of a two teenagers, says she cheated with a 26-year-old man "because I got bored with my husband".

Moshi said that though her boyfriend's presence created tension between her and her children, her sex life exploded.

"I am feeling more beautiful, sexier, younger and attractive. My man is here to stay. My children have to live with it."

Roberts says women's sexuality is part of their femininity and self-esteem booster.

"When women regain their sexuality they regain their general power."

Roberts says that in addition to the cliche of great sex, younger boyfriends generally give women new energy.

* Not her real name

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