A wise man once said that age is nothing but a number, but there is still a negative image in our society attached to women marrying out of their age bracket, unflatteringly labeled "cougars." We tracked down six brides whose love stories with their significantly younger husbands will be enough to change your opinion on how old is too old to 'rob the cradle!'
"I married a man 15 years younger than myself — I was 41; he 26 and just out of college. His family was depressed; mine was shocked. Because so many friends teased me mercilessly, my ex-husband included, about my 'boy toy', I decided to plan a wedding in Disneyland just to celebrate my guy's youthful spirit and snub my nose at naysayers. We got married by The Walt Disney World Resort by Chaplain Reverend Tim, who loved our age difference and helped us celebrate our union. We've now been happily married for over 20 years.
He's still my boy toy." — Mindy
"We met on a cougar dating site — I was 48; he was 29. I was newly divorced and just looking for some fun. But things quickly turned serious — partly because we share the same wacky sense of humor. For example, so many people said I was robbing the cradle when I told them about the relationship that during the ceremony we actually had a cradle up at the altar with us!" — Jill
"I'd been married before so wasn't interested in a big party. Been there, done that. I would have been happy eloping. But, being 24 years my junior, Tim wanted to experience every moment of pledging his life to another. He volunteered to plan all the details of our wedding. All I had to do was buy a cocktail dress — not white! — and show up. We had 60 guests, a harpist, waiters in white gloves, and a ceremony so romantic and sweet the memory still takes my breath away." — Steph
"This may sound a little weird but my daughter was so happy that after a decade of widowhood her mom found someone — even if that someone was 18 years younger — that she performed the ceremony!" — Ann
"My brother and two sons were apoplectic when I said I was marrying a man who was in grade school the first time I walked down the aisle. They refused to have anything to do with the wedding, and said they would wait to see me when I came to my senses. Their rejection hurt a great deal. My husband Ken's family was fine about the age difference; indeed they planned a lovely party in their backyard where we said our vows. Ken's younger sister was our flower girl. It took nine months but my family eventually came around.
In fact, last Thanksgiving my daughter invited Ken's parents and sister to join us for Thanksgiving. That really gave me a reason for gratitude." — Laura
"It's cliché but we married in Vegas where a 30 year age different felt pretty normal. Breaking it to our families and friends was tough but it's our lives, not theirs! My wedding pictures are hysterical — an Elvis impersonator is lifting me into the air while my new husband is strutting the guitar, singing, 'You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog.'" — Arleen
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.