Age-gap relationships: Tom Daley's boyfriend revealed

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Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black

Hidden resentment in a relationship will poison it - say what's on your mind and clear the air.

Continued below...

When Tom Daley sent a message out to the world via YouTube that he was in a new and loving relationship with a man, we were overcome with respect and pride for the young athlete.


Speaking openly and honestly in a video he posted to his website, he said 'Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And, well, that someone - is a guy.' His decision to tell everyone in his own words was both heart-warming and touching, and we couldn't be happier for the 19 year old.


And it seems the guy Tom is referring to could in fact be an older man, because if recent reports are to be believed Tom's new boyfriend is Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black - 20 years his senior at 39!


An American LGBT rights activist and Milk screenwriter, a source has revealed that Dustin is 'very proud of Tom for making such a powerful statement about his sexuality'. And it seems Tom is besotted with Dustin, with reports suggesting he's travelling back and forth to Los Angeles to visit his boyfriend since they began dating. 


But what is it about age-gap relationships? Because it seems Tom and Dustin aren't the only ones! There's an 8-year gap between Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan and 16 years between Sir Elton John and David Furnish. But they're all blown out of the water by Carol McGiffin's relationship. The Loose Woman's boyfriend Mark Cassidy is 22 years younger than her. Go Carol! 


So can age gap relationships really work? 


The facts


Age-gap relationships are not just for the rich and famous like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. A recent analysis revealed that in 23% of all British marriages, the woman is older than the man. Another recent survey said that 280,000 British women over 45 are looking for toy boys and 47% of young men say the age of their partner is not an issue. Toy boys are also good for the long haul. In the US, a third of women aged 40-69 are dating men 10 or more years younger than them, and more than 1 in 3 of the relationships last for 10 or more years. 


The good news


Having a younger man really can be as much fun as it sounds! There are also loads of benefits in it for them... 


1. Older women look fantastic Women like Carol Vorderman, Helen Mirren, Lulu and Emma Thompson look sleeker and sexier than in their mousey 20s. (You may remember that Lulu, 60, never denied her rumoured fling with Take That's Jason Orange, 38.) Older women are very attractive to younger men. New Scientist magazine showed men pictures of attractive older women and ordinary younger women. In nearly every case, the men chose the older woman. 


2. Older women are sexier Sexiness is not just in the eye of the beholder - it's in the hormones. Men's testosterone and sex drive tail off in their 40s. Women's sex hormone levels peak in their 30s and stay more or less level for the next 20 years - or longer if they use hormone replacements, some of which are proven aphrodisiacs


3. Goodbye fertility Most women beyond their late 30s have 'been there, done that' with the fertility rollercoaster. An older woman doesn't choose a man for his fatherly potential, and sex is no longer about having (or avoiding) kids. It's all about you and him, and sex is now purely for fun. Lucky him! 


4. Older women are happier Studies have shown that women thrive emotionally as they age, making them more attractive companions. Dr Elizabeth Breeze of University College London found that while older women get happier as they age, men don't. In the words of actress Helen Mirren (more gorgeous than ever at 63), men 'become grumpy old men'. 


5. Older women are more independent A woman's financial and emotional security grows as the years pass. Older women have their own homes and careers, and don't need a man to support them. She's also had enough relationships to know what she does and doesn't want from love. 


6. Older women give great conversation Age means experience means conversation. As women go through life, they learn about life, gain intellectual confidence and have all sorts of experiences. In short, they're more fun to talk to. 


The pit falls


Being the older woman in an age-gap relationship is not all sex and fun. There are disadvantages, too. Here we look at some of the problems that can occur, and ask psychologist Nazanin Azimian for tips on dealing with them. 


1. Social expectations Age-gap relationships are still seen as going against the norm, especially when the woman is older. That can put things under serious strain. 'Age gaps also attract comment when the man is older,' says Nazanin. 'Think of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, who are 25 years apart. But generally speaking, it's older-woman relationships that create the most gossip.' If you're getting embarrassing questions or bitchy comments, ride out the storm. 'Show friends and family that you're perfectly suited,' says Nazanin. 'The novelty will soon wear off, and the age gap will be forgotten.' 


2. The Sugar Mummy problem If a younger woman is with a much older man, his bigger earning power seems natural. He earns the money - she has kids and stays at home. But when the woman is older, traditional roles go out the window. 'You may worry about becoming a meal ticket,' says Nazanin. 'Try not to let your fears wreck things. Discuss it with your lover. 'He may be hurt by the implication that he's a freeloader, but you must be honest and open about your fears. A couple who can't discuss difficult things shouldn't be together.' 


3. Different ages, different pop cultures Never underestimate the power of a Top of the Pops reference. It's never nice when you mention seeing Blondie on telly, and he says he wasn't born at the time. The problem here isn't just gaps in conversation. It's an embarrassing reminder that you're older and wrinklier than your man. However it soon turns into a non-issue. 'Different pop culture references may seem like a big deal when you're both relatively young and you've recently started seeing each other,' says Nazanin. 'But once you've spent 10 years watching films, going out and listening to music together, your cultural references will be far more similar. Also as you grow older, your references are more to do with personal taste, and less to do with the year you were born.' 


4. The sex isn't always great You may grow more confident, experienced and frisky in bed as the years pass, but you may also grow more demanding - and your 28-year-old boyfriend may not measure up. 'Look on the bright side,' says Nazanin. 'What he lacks in experience he probably makes up for in enthusiasm. He'll also be eager to learn, whereas an older man may be more set in his ways. 'Show your younger man how to please you. Tell him what feels good. He'll love that you're turning him into a sex god - and you get to reap the benefits.'


Where to next?

Put the spark back in your relationship 

Find out what stage your relationship is at 

Horoscopes love matches 

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Kennedy Mubita

I think its ok to be in such a relationship. Its really fun to have somebody who doesnt mind the age difference but is able to reconcile the gap

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