How Assaf Met Anat
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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There was an age difference of 20 years. When Anat Keinan met Assaf Torati, she was 48, and he was 28. That was in Ra'anana, Israel in 2001. He went for a haircut and met Anat, who was the manager of the salon. “The first time he came in, we started talking,” recalls Anat. “He kept coming and we kept talking. I thought he was coming to flirt with my daughter, who was co-manager.” But Assaf thought differently.

Anat and Assaf, who works in high tech, became best friends. Anat found herself spending Fridays with Assaf’s family. “They were very accepting” says Assaf, whose family roots are in Shiraz, Iran. Anat adds: “They also knew that Assaf would do what he wants. The eldest son has certain privileges.”

Anat’s daughter, Naama, was happy for her mother. “My mom is young at heart – that’s how she looks, she dresses, she thinks, and behaves. She’s most comfortable in the company of young people.”

For two years, Anat and Assaf enjoyed a close friendship, spending hours in conversation and listening to music. Their relationship changed when Anat announced that she wanted to travel to Italy. “That was my opportunity,” says Assaf. The two returned a couple.

A study by the American Association of Retired Persons noted a decade ago that 34 percent of women over 39 years old were dating younger men. The number of women marrying younger men has soared in recent years.

As for the pop term “cougar” (for women dating younger men), Anat says: “After the divorce from my first husband, I always dated younger guys. In earlier times, women had no power and no money and they chose to marry men who could look after them. Today, we marry for love.”

If a stranger questions his relationship, how does Assaf respond? “I just reach out to Anat for a romantic kiss in public.”

They agree: “Whoever has an open mind, accepts us.”

At home, Assaf is the cook and Anat does the cleaning. “We’re a team,” says Anat. “We’re so much alike and that’s what makes our relationship so strong.”

Anat has two grandchildren. “I relate to those kids like they were my own kids,” says Assaf. “I feel complete as a grandfather.”

When Assaf proposed in 2007, Anat had a grandchild sitting in her lap. They were at the little boy's home, Assaf recalls: “I got down on my knee, and pulled out the ring. And when I asked Anat to marry me, it was Noam, one of our grandchild, who jumped up and answered yes.”

When they started to plan their wedding, Anat turned to her daughter to design her gown as Naama was now her partner in a bridal salon, Naama and Anat.  “I was a most difficult client,” says Anat, “but it all ended well.”

Anat says her story has inspired another woman who was the older partner in an age-gap relationship to follow her lead and marry. Anat’s advice: “Go with your heart and not with your head.”

Anat and Assaf were married on March 27, 2009. Mazal tov!

Last Update:

12/06/2014 - 17:03
American Association of Retired Persons, cougar, Love, Shiraz

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age gaps in relationships can be both challenging and opportunistic. there will always be parents who feel the gap will be problematic (i.e. one spouse will die before the other, though these days people can go at any age), and some even view those who are of middle age and have never married as "lost causes." this is a terrible opinion, because they don't know what these individuals are really like. as the poster above commented, the older woman had 20 wonderful years with a younger man before the relationship ended. sometimes, it's better to have a shorter amount of time with someone you truly love rather than an extended period of time with someone that is "just ok." age is not as important as common values, feelings, emotions, goals, etc.

I know of a similar situation in which a much younger man helped raise the 5 children of an older woman. They were together 20 years, until the last child moved out. At this point, the man was in his late 40's and decided he wanted his own family, so he left the relationship.
The ending was very painful for the older woman, but she did have 20 good years with this man as well as a loving person involved with her children.
In another situation, a 19 yr old male immigrant became involved with a very beautiful 38 yr old woman. They were together for over 10 years, at which point, her age-related changes made the situation untenable for the young man- and he left her.

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