Leonardo DiCaprio is known for dating women much younger than he is. So what age-gap is acceptable or unacceptable in the modern world, asks Jim Duffy.
I recently watched Leonardo DiCaprio on my Netflix. The movie was called Body of Lies. A good thriller with Russell Crowe also giving a star performance. As I watched DiCaprio do his thing as a terrific actor, living his life his way, it made me think about him in general. Specifically, his private life. As a 44-year-old chap who is doing rather well, he is still not married yet.
Nothing much wrong with that these days as the institution of marriage is not as front and centre as it used to be. And one of his best mates – Brad Pitt – is going through a rather acrimonious and public split from his Mrs, so he might be hearing some horror stories. But, what I find weird about Leonardo is not that he has not tied the knot, but that his girlfriend is half his age. No, maybe weird is the wrong descriptor. Perhaps slightly wrong is a better way of putting it.
But should age feature in any scrutiny of anyone else’s relationship?
The man in question doesn’t seem to have dated anyone over the age of 25. That’s his business and fair play to him. But, is there a “cut off” age-differential that common decency finds acceptable between partners?
For the record, the difference in age between me and my partner is 13 years. I’m a sprightly 52, while she is a fit 39. She is mature and worldly wise having had relationships before and experienced the world. She is ready to settle down with old grumpy drawers and accepts that we love each other and I will probably have a zimmer frame well before her.
It feels ok and right and proper as our interests align and our conversations are based on experience. Although, I do think sometimes that when I was 21, she was only eight...
And this is where it gets tricky for me as I look at Leonardo. He is 44 and his girlfriend is half his age. And when I look at my own daughters, who are her age, I think that if they walked through the door with a 44-year-old I would be a little sceptical and nervous. Wouldn’t you be? So, what is acceptable as an age difference?
And does it depend on the actual age of each person in the relationship? Let me give you some examples to cogitate. If one partner is 18, while the other is 40 is that okay? Does that sit well with you? It simply doesn’t for me.
What about if one partner is 30 and the other is 52? I can kind of get this, but I would worry a bit for the 30-year-old. Finally, what about if one partner is 40 and the other is 62? Somehow, this feels rather okay, don’t you think? So is an older persion being in a relationship with someone at the lower end of maturity in age, the actual problem?
This is why I have a slight problem with Leonardo and his younger model emphasis. Extrapolating this further, if Leonardo remains with his current partner and they grow together, I’m all good. But, if they split up and he still fishes in the sub-25 age group while he grows older, I’m not so good. Because the maturity of the younger partner comes into question the older the other partner is. There is a big disconnect here for me and it leads me to question what exactly feels right. What will 21st-century society accept?
Having had my 23-year-old daughter visit with her two girlfriends, I was trying to estimate what level of maturity they had and could they cope with a 44-year-old partner. I asked them about boys etc and they were pretty forthright. When they went out to clubs, older men chatted them up and they found this gross. I wonder if they would have felt the same way if the older man doing the chatting up had been Leonardo DiCaprio?
The laws of attraction are unique to each of us. Some guys like older women, while some women like younger guys. Just because you are attracted to someone older or younger, doesn’t class you as old, weird or perverted. There are many very happy couples of all ages and sexes who wouldn’t even consider age as a blocker, hindrance or variable in their relationship. They are attracted to each other and love each other and others will just have to get over it. Right? It’s private and personal and essentially their business. Others will always have an opinion regardless. And I do.
This is why I have a slight issue with the likes of Leonardo dating women half his age. But, maybe this is my hang-up. Maybe this is my problem and I need to reset my age calibrations a bit.
After all, I seem to have no issue with President Macron of France, aged 41, and his 66-year-old wife, Brigitte. Who, by the way, lost a whole load of friends when they got together when he was a teenager. Maybe it’s because I have daughters that I struggle with older men dating young ladies. Could I be being hypocritical as I date my fiancée 13 years my junior? You be the judge.
I am sure Leonardo’s girlfriend would put me right if she reads this. It’s her life and not mine. So, good luck to them both.