The latest tabloid news says that Demi Moore, mostly noted these days for being fifteen years older than her husband, Ashton Kutcher, is splitting with him after a six-year marriage. Given the length of their union – not bad for Hollywood – even cynical observers thought that Moore, 48, and Kutcher, 33, had something special. Now, it seems, that may not be the case. Rumors of infidelity have dogged Kutcher. Moore appears to be getting skinnier and skinnier, perhaps in the belief that fewer pounds will lure him back.
As so many women know, how mistaken that is. Millions of wives have had the face lift, done the Botox, lipoed away the tummy trouble. They’re active, take care of themselves and read the newspaper, or do it on-line, anyhow. They’re loving, caring, supportive and take an interest in their husband’s life. They still make love regularly.
So why do men leave for someone younger?
There are several reasons why a seemingly idyllic marriage suddenly dies. When there are protracted money problems, when one partner is arrested for committing some kind of crime, when a child dies, when an imbalance is created because one partner suddenly comes into a lot of wealth; these are the primary reasons why otherwise solid marriages fall apart. It’s a cliché that men often fall head over heels with a younger face, but it happens all the time. That’s why they call it a cliché.
The rules of attraction for men are fairly simple. Men are most attracted to women who ovulate. As a species, nature has designed us to procreate, which is why pheromones and hormones play such a strong role in what’s attractive. It’s a bitter pill to accept, but almost any woman capable of bearing children is, at a cellular level, more attractive to a man than a woman who can’t. It doesn’t matter if he’s an old goat. As long as he’s got sperm and the impetus to use it, he’ll be drawn to the younger ewe.
Now this doesn’t mean that every married woman is in danger of having her husband leave her for a younger, still fertile, woman. The majority of happily married men think with their heads, not their hormones. Just because he’s attracted to the female with lively ovaries doesn’t mean he’s going to ditch his old wife. He may flirt. He may be tempted. But unless he’s serious about having a second family, he probably won’t file for divorce.
Recognize your spouse’s attraction and try to make light of it. Long time marriages are usually based on shared humor; work that. I have known marriages that have survived the husband’s infatuation with a younger woman, even an affair. The majority of older men realize taking on a young wife is often like taking on another child. There’s a very good chance he doesn’t have the energy or resources (or money) to keep up with her demands. That’s when his peer-aged wife starts looking pretty good.
Eve Marx is the author of eight sex books. Her titles include "Whats Your Sexual IQ?," "Flirtspeak: The Sexy Language of Flirtation," "The Goddess Orgasm," and "101 Things You Didnt Know About Sex."