1) DO go for the man who makes you happy.
“The traditional theory is that women who are dating older men are looking for a father figure,” says Petra.
“But this isn’t always the case, often age is just one small insignificant factor when we fall in love.
“Despite this, some women may enter a relationship with an older man, looking for security rather than someone to love.
“Remember what your real needs are, being compatible with each other is a must, and shouldn’t be shelved just because you think you need some financial or emotional stability.”
2) DON’T assume he has life experience.
“He may be forty years your senior, but he could have spent most of that time in one town, doing the same job for the duration of his life,” says Petra.
“He may also be hung up on the same things that younger guys are and might not make you any happier than someone your own age.”
3) DO be careful of the mid-life crisis
“If you want something serious from him, be careful to look for signs that he may be simply ‘taking a break’ from his normal life with you.
“If he has recently separated from his family, tread very carefully – years of history with one woman doesn’t disappear in a flash – he could want to return home again.”
4) DON’T compartmentalise your lives
“Relationships where the individuals involved have many differences can often be some of the strongest, but be careful that your lives don’t become too separate.
“While his clubbing days may be long gone, that doesn’t mean you should head out with the girls every weekend and leave him alone.
“Compromise, and understand that these differences are something that you will have to tolerate if you really are in love with him.”
5) DO communicate fully from the word go
“It’s fine to have your own interests but issues relating to settling down should be out in the open sooner rather than later, especially when there is a large age gap.
“If he is twenty years old than you, but hasn’t married before or had children he might be keen to do this straight away with you.
“Or, on the flip side, you might be looking for a husband while he’s never going to marry again.
“Make sure you are both clear on what you want from the relationship before it goes too far.”
6) DON’T leave it too long to tell the folks
“Parents are usually concerned about any man in your life that doesn’t fit the bill, so the likelihood is that they might have a few things to say about someone the same age as them,” says Petra.
“The best thing to do is to speak to your parents about your new man as soon as you can.
“Ease them into the idea, explaining all of his positive points that made you fall for him in the first place.
“They only want what is best for you and talking them through the situation earlier on is the best way to stop bad feeling before they have even met him.”
7) DO make the effort to introduce him to your friends
“There is no doubt some of your friends will pass judgement on a man much older than they are.
“But don’t let this cause a rift between them and your new squeeze.
“Ignore negative attitudes and arrange social events on neutral ground with your friends – such as a meal or a few drinks.
“Hiding him away will give your peers every excuse to think of him only as an ‘older guy’ rather than an individual with a personality."
8) DON’T assume he’ll come round to the idea of having more kids
“It’s tempting to bury your head in the sand when your older man who already has kids says he doesn’t want more.
“Of course, he may well change his mind after being with you for a period of time, but then again, he may not.
“If he has had ‘his family’ he may not want another one, no matter how he feels about you.
“If having children is very important to you, you may have to face the music and work out which means more to you – your man or your desire for your own family.”