What is a May December Relationship?

In this video I am discussing the term May/December as it applies to romance novels. We will be touching on what it is, what genre you’ll most likely find it in, and some characteristics about May December romances. I also share some of my favorites in this category of romances. I invite you to share yours too!

What can you expect in a May/December romance?

  • A big age difference between the hero and heroine.
  • The May is usually the heroine. The hero is usually the December.
  • May refers to someone in the spring of their life. December in the winter of it.
  • This term applies to all vampire romances, expect for those newly turned.
  • A lot of confusion about appropriateness of the attraction and emotions one or both leads is feeling.
  • Sometimes a difference in philosophy based on their age and generation, though usually one is in agreement with the other to begin with making them the perfect mate.
  • One character (the heroine) pulls the other (the hero) out of their cynicism and jadedness about people and the world at large.
  • A reconciliation for all the components that kept them apart, especially the hurtles in place from the age difference.

Your Turn: Do you like May/December couples or does it gross you out? How big is too big when it comes to a difference in age (excluding of course vampires)? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “What is a May December Relationship?

  • August 6, 2010 at 1:02 PM
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    I hate the term “May/December” when you’re talking about, say, 23 and 38. Big age difference, but 38 is hardly the winter of your life.

    That said, I prefer no more than 12 years tops between the leads. 5-8 is about perfect.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 1:08 PM
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    Love the May/December trope! As long as the age difference is under 15 yrs. Anything over 20 years and I personally get icked out.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 1:38 PM
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    What I think about also, is while it might not seem so big a difference if it were 23 to 38, it might be huge when it gets to be 43 to 68. I can’t even imagine 68, for example.

    62 and 82 might either be hardly any difference or a huge difference, depending on the people involved.

    I don’t like underage heroines, under the legal age of consent, when the guy would be prosecuted for relations, even if he is underage also, much less if he were in a position of authority above her/him as a boss or a teacher.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 2:01 PM
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    I enjoy May/December couples within paranormal romances. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to me, for a 25 year old female to have a 300 year old vamp boyfriend. (As long as, he doesn’t look his age.)
    I agree with Karin on the age of consent issue. But, if you’re of age, 7 years older for the Dec. I think is the magic number. No more than 10.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 2:07 PM
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    I’m not certain if I’ve ever read a May/December romance, except maybe some Lavyrle Spencer long ago…? And strangely enough, I’d never thought of the vampire strain as being the ultra May/December but that’s an excellent point.

    I read a lot of historicals (or mainly historicals at any rate) so I hadn’t thought much about the age of consent, but I’d definitely agree in contemporaries. Even in historicals, youngish heroines (18-19) are usually off-putting to me, but the heroes aren’t often more than thirty or so, which I’d hardly consider a May/December.

    Could anyone recommend a good May/December novel? The more mainstream the better since my local library isn’t thick with romances!

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  • August 6, 2010 at 2:09 PM
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    I like May/Dec romances, it doesn’t eek me out at all because age doesn’t determine maturity. I have met plenty of immature “older” people and vice versa.

    My favorite May/Dec is Susan Wiggs’, Lord of the Night.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 3:42 PM
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    I’m not a big fan of May December romances. I think anything more than 15 years is too big an age difference.

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  • August 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM
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    If only the term was like April and October for Spring/Fall, because I hardly think that the heroes are in their “winter” years unless they’re 300 and vampires. lol

    Age of consent is very important too. It’s part of the reason I have a hard time with Vampire Academy because Dimitri was 24 to Rose’s 17 and was in a position as her mentor and instructor. One year may not make much of a difference, but legally it makes a huge difference.

    Maturity is another issue too, which Scorpio brings up. A 18 year old might have a vast amount of maturity and a 38 years might not. It all depends on the people involved.

    In a romance I can easily handle a 20 year difference or a 400 if it’s a vampire romance. Real life might be another story… lol :)

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  • August 9, 2010 at 5:44 AM
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    I love May/December novels. My favorite has been The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold!

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