Men get bored being toy boys
As growing numbers of successful women emulated their male peers in settling down with a younger "trophy" spouse, it was seen as evidence that the battle of the sexes could finally be over.
But what was heralded as a revolution in attitudes could be short-lived, after lawyers noted a marked rise in separations involving younger husbands filing for divorce from their older wives as they reached middle age.
In many cases, men who were so-called "toy boys" went on to form a relationship with a woman significantly younger than themselves. One law firm, JMW Solicitors, said it had seen the number of such cases on its books rise by a third in three years.
The trend towards career women forming a relationship with significantly younger men was exemplified in the television show Sex and the City, in which the character Samantha had a number of relationships with younger toy boys.
James Brown, a partner at JMW, said the reality of such relationships was often very different to the series.
He said the number of marriages in which the wife was the older party had begun to rise over the past 10 to 15 years. "In my experience over that time, many of the women marrying younger men do so when they reach their late 30s or early 40s," he said.
"Often they have built a career, are more confident and being able to attract a younger husband is almost an expression of 'girl power', for want of a better phrase.
"However, we are sadly seeing many instances in which this kind of relationship often founders as women reach middle age." (© Daily Telegraph London)