Months after marrying a man more than 20 years younger than herself, Ivana Trump -- former wife of The Donald -- is squashing rumors that her Italian playboy husband, Rossano Rubicondi, has stepped out on her with a woman more than a decade younger than he is.
Trump, 59, married Rubicondi, 35, earlier this year after dating him for more than six years. Her husband, an aspiring singer, has been a player on the Italian version of the TV reality show "Survivor," when the rumors surfaced that he was caught on tape having sex with Argentine model Belen Rodriquez. Rubicondi has since been voted off the show.
In her column for the New York Post's Page Six, she recently wrote: "Nothing sexual happened. That I know for sure. Rossano is on his way back from Honduras. I'm not going to make any other comment until I speak to him. ... Then I'll make a decision about how to handle the situation."
Divorce360.com experts say the age difference is only the first of many problems if you're in a relationship like the one Ivana Trump shares with her much younger husband.
"Ivana and Rossano are locked in a transactional relationship, where one only gives in order to get. Such relationships are doomed because the relating part has been replaced by the transaction part and everything become a negotiation. Negotiating does not make you closer, in fact it often sucks the tenderness and loving out of a relationship," said Dr. Mark Goulston
, Ph.D., author of "Get Out of your Own Way."
"What's the difference between Ivana Trump/Rossano Rubicondi and Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher? Ivana is wealthy and possibly insecure about her waning beauty and Rossano is handsome, sexy and not above using it to hook someone like Ivana," Goulston said. "The counterpart is that Demi and Ashton are equally attractive, equally rich and equally powerful."
"A relationship cannot survive when each partner is a taker. Demi and Ashton are possibly involved in a transformational relationship where each is serving a greater vision that it's possible to trust and love and believe someone has your back in a world where both of them have probably experienced how often people are only out to get and use you. What may be feeding their relationship is giving, respecting and unconditionally loving each other in a world that just wants to take from you," Goulston said.
Infidelity expert Ruth Houston
, author of "Is He Cheating on You?", warns older women who get involved with younger men. Why? "Extreme age differences can be a contributing factor to infidelity," she said. "The greater the age difference, the greater the risk of an affair. In marriages or relationships where the age difference is 15 to 20 years or more, there will eventually be a disparity in the sex drives of the two people involved. This disparity can be a contributing factor to infidelity if it drives the man to seek sexual fulfillment outside his primary relationship."
Brenda Della Casa, author of "Cinderella Was a Liar,
" agreed the age difference may be partially to blame when it comes to infidelity in a May-December relationship. "While it is essential to underline the fact that infidelity depends more on the human being than circumstance, the fact is that men and women who are significantly older or younger than their partner might go through phases in which they desire the company of someone they have more in common with. Still, it doesn't mean they will cheat," she said.
Long Beach, Calif., psychotherapist Tina Tessina
, said it comes down to the couple: "I've seen many relationships with age differences that last, and many that do not. It isn't the age difference that tells the tale -- it's the character of the couple, and the quality of their relationship skills."
There are many other issues below the surface in this kind of relationship, experts said, including a fear of aging.
"There are healthy and unhealthy reasons to date someone of a different generation. One motivation for dating a younger person that usually isn't successful would be fear of aging on the older person's part. Obviously, a man or woman who dates someone as young as his or her children is going to run into some social opposition, but the differences that can cause the most problems are differing maturity levels," Tessina said.
And the passage from middle age to elderly can become an issue of long-term care, experts advised. "Differences of 20 years or more in age can lead to some difficulties as the partners get older. For example, the younger partner may mature and reconsider his or her choices, or an older partner may confront aging problems much sooner," Tessina said.
The bottom line, according to Tessina: "It depends on what the motivations of both people are. Some older people feel younger at heart than their contemporaries, and like to date people who are as active as we are. Chronological age doesn't always reflect either physical capability or emotional maturity." TIPS TO HELP YOUR RELATIONSHIP IF THERE'S A SIGNIFICANT AGE DIFFERENCE
1. Teach each other new things from your personal experience.
"Love, passion and beauty might not be defined by our age but there are experiences, memories, traditions and ways of thinking and acting that are specific to each generation. It is essential to not only communicate your feelings and concerns to your partner but to allow your partner to express him or herself without ridiculing or shaming them. This is an important thing to do in any relationship. Try and teach one another new things and learn new things together," Della Casa said.2. If you're the older partner, don't become a parent.
"Make sure you never speak down to your partner or take on a parental-type role, which could be damaging to your intimate life," Della Casa said.
Tessina agreed: "Sometimes an age difference is a mentoring relationship -- the older person advises the younger one on life or career. This can backfire when the younger person decides he or she has learned enough, and wants to move on."3. Understand your bias.
"More mature women often assume that their younger sisters are a threat to their relationships when, in fact, there has been a significant shift in the dating and 'hooking up' scene. Younger men have sexualized the older woman-or 'cougar' as they call them and now often seek out older woman's for sexual liaisons and wooing," Della Casa said.4. Know your spouse's friends.
"The generation gap could also cause the man to initiate friendships with women of his peer group because they have more in common with each other. Problems can arise if these close female friendships lead to emotional infidelity, which can quickly progress to sexual infidelity. Any woman whose spouse or significant other is much younger than she is, should familiarize herself with the early warning signs of infidelity so she can take positive action at the first sign of an affair. It's also vital to keep the lines of communication open so that if she begins to sense him distancing himself from her -- emotionally or physically – the two of them can talk things out together and keep their relationship on track," Houston said.5. Keep a relationship vision in mind.
"What can you learn from this is you are in a May/December relationship? ...Try to have a shared overarching vision (perhaps like the one I am suggesting Demi and Ashton might have) that you can both commit to that become more satisfying than getting your immediate, based on insecurity needs met," Goulston said.Photo by: Christopherpeterson