FIFTY SHADES OF FREED

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<ul><li> 1. OLDER WOMENIYOUNGER MEN: A LOOK AT THE IMPLICATIONS OF AGE HETEROGAMY IN MARRIAGE BY Nichole R. Proulx-King B.A. University of Maine, 2002 A THESIS Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science (in Human Development) The Graduate School The University of Maine August, 2004Advisory Committee:Sandra L. Caron, Professor of Family Relations, AdvisorMary Ellin Logue, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood EducationMary Madden, Assistant Research Professor </li> <li> 2. O 2004 Nichole Proulx-King All Rights Reserved </li> <li> 3. OLDER WOMENNOUNGER MEN: A LOOK AT THE IMPLICATIONS OF AGE HETEROGAMY IN MARRIAGE By Nichole R. Proulx-King Thesis Advisor: Dr. Sandra L. Caron An Abstract of the Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science (in Human Development) August, 2004 This study provides insight into the lives of eight married couples involvedin an age-heterogamous relationship where the wife is eight or more years olderthan her husband. While there is a lot of information in the literature about menwho date and marry younger women, the research on this subject is very limitedor outdated. This exploratory study provided valuable information in severalareas about couples in woman-older marriages. The interviews were conductedwith each participant separately and explored three major topics of interest: theimpact that age difference has on the relationship, the issues that arise for thecouple, and any difference in husbands and wives experience. Implications forprofessionals working with such couples, as well as for further research, will bediscussed. </li> <li> 4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank all of the people who have supported me throughoutthis process and who have helped me get to this point in my life. First I wouldlike to thank my committee for their help in putting this thesis together. Dr. MaryEllin Logue and Dr. Mary Madden have given me valuable insight into thedynamics of this project. I would especially like to recognize the chair of mycommittee, Dr. Sandra Caron, who has not only been someone who has guidedme through my graduate school career, and has done an exceptional job helpingme with this project, but is also a mentor and a friend. I would also like to thank my husband, Kraig, for supporting me throughevery step of graduate school and for being my rock and my encouragement.Without his patience, emotional support, and unconditional love I would neverhave completed this thesis. I certainly cannot leave out my parents, Raymond and Patricia Proulx,who gave me the tools I needed to go as far as I have. They have always beenmy biggest fans and supporters and I am lucky to be a part of their lives. I alsowant to thank my brothers Raymond and Kevin for their never-ending supportand encouragement. I would like to thank John and Natalie King for their continued help and forbelieving in me. I am proud to be a part of your family. Finally, I would like tothank all of my friends that have supported me throughout this process especiallyErin and Renee, and most importantly Ely who has given me so much continuousstrength and encouragement to make it through. </li> <li> 5. TABLE OF CONTENTS ...ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................. IIILIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................... viChapter1. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 12 . REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................................................... 5 Definitions ............................................................................................... 5 Homogamy .............................................................................................. 5 Heterogamy ............................................................................................. 8 Type of Persons Engaging in Age Heterogamous Relationships .......... 11 Issues Raised in Woman.Older. Age Heterogamous Marriages ........... 15 Summary ............................................................................................... 18 Purpose of Study and Research Questions .......................................... 193 . METHODOLOGY......................................................................................... 22 Sample .................................................................................................. 22 Interview Procedure .............................................................................. 24 Interview Technique .............................................................................. 25 Data Analysis ........................................................................................ 264 . RESULTS .................................................................................................... 27 Research Question 1 ............................................................................ 27 32 Research Question 2 ............................................................................ 38 Research Question 3 ............................................................................5.DISCUSSION ................................................................................................ 40 Research Question 1 ............................................................................ 41 42 Research Question 2 .......................................................................... Research Question 3 ............................................................................ 43 Implications ........................................................................................... 45 Limitations ............................................................................................. 46REFERENCES ................................................................................................ 49 </li> <li> 6. APPENDICES .................................................................................................. 50 Appendix A: Recruitment Email ............................................................. 50 51 Appendix B: Interview Questions .......................................................... Appendix C: Informed Consent ............................................................. 52BIOGRAPHY OF THE AUTHOR ..................................................................... 53 </li> <li> 7. LIST OF TABLESTable 1: Demographics ..................................................................................... 23Table 2 : Results for Research Question 1 ........................................................ 28Table 3: Results for Research Question 2 ........................................................ 33 37Table 4: Advice for People Entering This Type of Marriage ............................. </li> <li> 8. CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Recently there has been a lot of attention given to women marryingyounger men in the popular press. Sitcoms, such as Happy Family, have pokedfun at the idea of a younger man being happily involved in a relationship with anolder woman. Hollywood has had a field day reporting on the dating patterns ofsome of its biggest female stars and their involvement with younger men. Aclassic example of this on Hollywoods big screen is The Graduate, a movieabout how a college graduate is seduced by a woman who is twice his age. Thismovie also included the popular song, Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel.More recently, another movie, How Stella Got her Groove Back, was about howa successful, single, businesswoman falls in love with a man that is half her age,and it portrayed many of the issues and societal pressures that men and womenface as they enter into this type of relationship. Talk shows like Oprah havedevoted entire shows to talking with couples that are engaged in this type ofmarriage, and her October 2003, magazine featured a cover story regarding thistopic as well (Picket, 2003). Finally, there have even been books written for women within the past twodecades about how to maintain a relationship with a younger man. For example,Loving a Younger Man, by Victoria Houston (1987) addresses many of the issuesthat come up for a woman who is in love with a younger man while battling thesocietal attitudes against relationships where the woman is older than her malepartner. </li> <li> 9. What does all of this media attention mean? It certainly means that thisissue is on our mind more than we are willing to admit. It also means that manypeople are deviating from the norm of usual dating and marital relationships.This attention also shows that we are not yet willing to completely accept thesetypes of relationships. Those who participate in woman-older marriages anddating relationships are still seen as deviants in our society. The United States is founded upon the basis that everyone remains equaland can endure many freedoms that other societies cannot. Amongst thesefreedoms is our ability to choose a mate. Many social scientists speculate thatmost people tend to marry others that are similar to themselves in areas such asrace, age, religion, and socioeconomic status, due to the fact that we tend to live,work, and become friends with people who are like us. However, there are nolegal restrictions for marrying someone who is a different from you in theseareas. Therefore, you would think that society completely accepts the practice ofdoing this wholeheartedly. It was not so long ago where it was completely against the societys moralgroundings to marry someone who was not within the same race. Historically,many of the major religions in the United States have also been very opposed tomarriages that were not homogamous in religion. While some churches stilloppose this, at least to some degree, some of its members have chosen to strayfrom this strict code. Much movement has taken place for mixed racial andinterfaith marriages to become more widely accepted and practiced, by society...</li></ul>