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My girlfriend is starting to look old

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‘I chased an older woman for a long time and we got married – but now she’s 70’

Updated: BST, 15 August Women start to worry about losing their looks at the age of 28, according to a survey which polled the views of 4, women. So is this true, or does 28 sound too young - or too old? We asked several women writers, aged from 31 to 73, to reveal the moment they suddenly realised they were ageing, with intriguing results.

Reminders: Carol Sarler found that you're actually as old as other people feel you are. Journalist Carol, who lives in London, has a grown-up daughter. I wish I could tell you that I looked into the mirror one day and saw, suddenly, the cruellest fact of life: I was old. But the truth was sadder than that. My mirror, faithful pal, was still kind - it was looking into the eyes of other people, instead, that did for me. The first time, I was 36 and at a party. In the corner, two attractive men chatted disinterestedly to each other, so I did what I had always done: strutted foxily I thought to join them - only to be politely, but obviously, rebuffed.

A nearby friend rescued me with a glass of wine and a whisper: 'Not as easy as it used to be, is it? When, ten minutes later, a pert young girl similarly strutted up and was welcomed into the embrace of the conversation, that's when I knew: whoever said you're only as old as you feel was talking rot - you're actually as old as other people feel you are.

After that, the reminders came thick and fast. The butcher who switched from Miss to Missus. The waiter for whom his senorita became his senora. Horrid old man. Realising that positive thinking would be the only salve, I began a bitchy tally whereby I score myself against other people. Yet even then, in crash the unforgiving looks of others.

As I boasted recently to friends about the brown hair and clear brow they spoke as one: 'Oh. We just thought you'd had a dye job. And Botox, obviously. Writer and broadcaster Bel, 61, lives in Bath with her husband Robin. To pick an age out of the hat, I suspect I'll start to worry about my looks in about three years. Mids, I reckon, is when things begin to slide, no matter how much you've looked after yourself.

My mother taught me always to cleanse and moisturise, with the result that I know I have good skin, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit it pleases me when people are amazed that I will be 62 in October. A touch of vanity keeps you going. Of course I have wrinkles, and hair that's thinner than it was, and a spare tyre where there was none, and skin that's losing its elasticity, but it never worries me. If you de-construct the phrase 'She looks after herself', you arrive at a meaning more profound than the lotion you use to keep the years at bay.

We all 'take care of' things we cherish, whether a valued heirloom or a small dog. It says that you like the person you are; the inner person as well as the outer.

But there's another issue here about which I must be honest, too. Since I am married to a man 16 years my junior I am psyching myself into believing not that he is catching me up, but that I'm running back to meet him. I wasn't surprised by the news that by the age of 28, most women believe they have started to lose their looks. At 31 I think I'm way past my prime. Alright, that's not strictly true, but I'd love to look the way I did when I was There's a photograph of me taken at that age, when I was backpacking around Europe after my A-levels.

Even though I haven't looked at it for years, I can describe it in minute detail. After weeks in the sun, I am beautifully bronzed the biology of skin cancer, pigmentation and sun-induced ageing wasn't on any of my A-level syllabuses , my glossy hair cascades in perfect chestnut curls grey hairs had yet to be invented , my skin is clear post-teen spots, pre-fine lines and my stomach concave naturally rather than as the result of hours in a gym. To me, that photo sums up my glorious youth.

And part of me believes that my skin has never been so radiant, my hair so lustrous and my body so toned since. Of course, at the time I didn't think I'd reached my beauty nirvana and that it would be all downhill from there on in.

No, I think I was at least, oh, 24, when that happened. Realising, with what can only be described as horror, that it was a grey hair, I gasped audibly, plucked it out and phoned my best friend to announce in melodramatic fashion: 'Oh my god, I'm getting old! Wrinkles and grey hair to me spelled old. That single grey hair was proof that I had begun my journey down the slippery slope. Yes, of course, in my heart of hearts I know that there is a beauty to be found in age, wisdom and self-confidence.

It's just like many of the women who think, aged 28, they've lost their looks, I'm just not entirely sure I'd choose that sort of beauty over the beauty that lies in being It's my 55th birthday today, so my message to the year-olds in this survey is to grow up and stop whingeing.

Will I sink into a bog of despair this morning as I meet my reflection in the bathroom mirror, now I'm closer to 60 than 50? No way, I intend to start the day as I often do: swimming 80 lengths of an outdoor pool. TV show, where all my aged flaws were on display to millions of British viewers. If I'm painfully honest, the moment I really started to worry about ageing was when I turned I worried how my body was holding up, whether I had achieved enough, and what other acquaintances thought of me.

Had I, I wondered, reached that age when instead of being referred to as 'looking good', I was that hideous backhanded compliment 'looking good for your age'. I suppose it was that year landmark that propelled me into the Australian jungle on I'm A Celebrity. It was a rather drastic move, but liberating, too. Now, as I look forward to a gruelling mile bike ride through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama in the autumn, I don't care about beauty, wrinkles or ageing.

I may well appear a muddy mess when I hike the old Portuguese gold route in Brazil next year. My mother, when she was booted out as Prime Minister in , took off her power heels at her farewell party in No.

And that is how I am determined to embrace the next era of my life. Fifty was my landmark, but why shouldn't 65 be the next? Or even 80? Each birthday from here on in may well bring more wrinkles, and my body may start to creak, but I'm following my mother's mantra.

And for those mornings when I simply cannot bear to examine my face in the mirror, I just won't put my contact lenses in. Author Shyama, 50, is divorced and lives in London with her two daughters.

It doesn't surprise me that women think they start losing their looks at I am convinced we suffer a marked deterioration in looks and fitness every seven years, probably starting at around After that, for me the big deterioration came not at 35, but at I had noticed that all my older friends, whether utterly gorgeous or merely very attractive, started to lose the markers of beauty once they passed this milestone.

I kept hoping it wouldn't happen to me, but it did. By 43, everything was going south. The bosom went from heavy to heaving and my stomach finished somewhere around the knees.

Even my once-luxuriant hair started to thin: it seemed so unfair that having finally found the confidence to express myself physically, the attributes on which I depended for social approval were taken from me with such speed.

I've always been pragmatic. Each step of that journey had meaning: my looks complemented my state of mind. What's scary now is that my face is duller, rounded, saggy. In another few years I may consider this yet another glorious bygone moment, but right now when I look in the mirror, all I see is the trace of who I was and, more scarily, who I am. I first thought about ageing, what the years would do to my skin and hair, before I even became a teenager.

I have photos of me, aged 11, sat on a freezing beach at Sidmouth, slathered in sun protection, with a hat on, because I had read somewhere about UV rays.

I was obsessed with reading about beauty products, even at that age, in Vogue Health and Beauty, which no longer exists. I bought my first moisturiser aged ten.

I was obsessed with hair conditioner, and using the right toothpaste. I didn't start smoking or drinking as a teenager I still haven't even had one puff not because I was frightened of cancer or cirrhosis of the liver, but because I had read they were both terribly ageing. In my 20s, too, I wasn't thinking, ooh, how lovely and dewy I am. I was thinking, oh God, I am getting nearer and nearer to To celebrate my 30th birthday, I had plastic surgery, reducing the size of my breasts which were incredibly big and saggy and, here is the important bit, ageing.

I think, at the age of 49, I am incredibly well preserved. But I also think, well, was it all worth it? I certainly didn't have much fun along the way. Laughter lines, after all, denote the fact you had must have had some fun at some point. And so I look quite young please don't write to tell me I don't , but what good, really, does it do you? Wouldn't it have been better to have had a great life? I was in the Versace store in LA a week or so ago, and the sales assistant said to me: 'Smile, it's nature's face-lift.

Helena Frith-Powell: Don't look in the rear-view mirror unless you're checking the traffic. Journalist and author Helena, 43, lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband Rupert and their five children. Maybe it was the glare of the midmorning sun, but as I caught sight of myself in the rear-view car mirror I recoiled in horror.

Who was this old crone staring back at me? Where had all those hideous crow's feet suddenly come from? Why did I have more wrinkles on my forehead in the mirror than on my actual forehead?

When do you start losing your looks? We asked eight writers aged 31 to 73

Updated: BST, 15 August Women start to worry about losing their looks at the age of 28, according to a survey which polled the views of 4, women. So is this true, or does 28 sound too young - or too old? We asked several women writers, aged from 31 to 73, to reveal the moment they suddenly realised they were ageing, with intriguing results.

Photograph: iStock. She was sophisticated, stunningly beautiful and seemed beyond my reach.

I clicked on the Instagram account of a male friend to check out photos of his new girlfriend. My friend is pushing fifty, good looking, and a successful professional, and I was expecting his girlfriend to be attractive and young. I was wrong, and I was shocked, though pleasantly so. His new girlfriend was clearly older than him. And my surprise reflected how unusual this situation is.

Is this the real reason older men date younger women?


Tell All: My wife is getting uglier





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Jan 9, - My friend is pushing fifty, good looking, and a successful professional, and I was His new girlfriend was clearly older than him. woman wants babies and the man can't bear the thought of starting over, or they stay together.








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