I recently received an e mail from a separated, late-40s woman who stated that she wanted advice on how to land a much younger man — say, late 20s or early 30s. Men her age do not take care of themselves, she claimed, and they could not keep up with her energetic, fit self. The dating expert she had contacted told her to get over herself and so she contacted me.
If you want to get people into a heated discussion, forget politics or religion — bring up an older woman wanting to date a man half her age.
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I could relate to where she was coming from actually, as I find most women (and men) cannot keep up with me either! Because of this, I tend to date women who are 10 to 15 years younger than I am. This is not to saythat the reverse cannot create a heated discussion as well. It's the same when a middle-aged man who gets divorced and wants to date 25-year-old women and he gets ridiculed for that even more than for buying that "Little Red Corvette" (Remember that song by Prince?).
However, it has never been such a big deal to see an older man with a younger woman because it is fairly common. (In fact, there are many men wanting to date much younger women, but never actually getting an opportunity to do.) Even if people do not approve, they are not surprised. Historically, men have been providers for women and children, so an older man can provide while a younger woman can bear the kids. This model makes some sense in low-resource situations or when women have no rights or education.
Times have changed though, especially in the Western World. With the creation of birth control in the 60s, as well as other significant social changes, more women are going to college and filling the workplace. More than 50% of medical school graduates are women and more women are becoming entrepreneurs and running their own businesses. When you can take care of yourself, you do not need to look for a man to take care of you. You have the freedom to choose men based on other qualities you find important. Because of this, more women, especially older women, are opting to date younger men.
Subsequently, some people struggle with the idea that many women have begun dating younger men. But more people struggle with the opposite notion... "Why would younger men want to date older women?" "This Cougar thing is a fad," one of my male friends said recently. “Those guys aren’t serious about older women. It’s just for sex," said another. I raised a questioning eyebrow to his comment, because as someone who has a history of choosing younger women, it does not add up. But my friend is from a generation where women dating younger men was rarely heard of. (He is actually younger than me and you will be surpised to learn how many men, even young men, still have that 1950's attitude towards women.)
People see this change and may assume that, as with men trying to date younger women, that it must be just about sex. The Cougar (where did that name even come from?) is in her sexual prime and wants a good time with a young male hottie, and the young hottie wants sex with no strings attached. This is the stuff that makes the news. Nobody talks about younger man-older woman relationships. Because relationships are boring and sex is exciting.
But census data does not lie: from 1960 to 2007, marriages where the wife is at least five years older have increased in the Western world, and marriages where the man is at least five years older have decreased.
This presents an interesting question: why do men want to date and marry older women? Men want to date older women because they are, on average, more independent, more confident, more successful, and more into sex. And men like all that. This is not just my opinion — this is what men have said and shared with me. But older women are not as hot as younger women, some argue. So? Anyone can look good when they mature, if they are willing to put in time and effort into themselves and their personal appearance.
Furthermore, just wanting young and hot is not about LOVE or relationship. It is about wanting to capture a lost youth. Is that such a bad thing? Yes, it can be when you carry it to the extremr. Most men figure out that hot is nice to look at but it does not touch your heart. If there is no heart, can you enjoy a successful relationship? Is it that simple?
I have dated my share of younger women. They ranged from 6 to 20 years younger than me. They did not care how old I was. They found me attractive and they liked me. These were not drunken 20-somethings at some bar — they were smart, intelligent cool women I met while working, online, and through friends. And they were looking for a relationship.
But I have wandered. Back to the original question...
"Should you date a younger man?" If you like him and he is a decent man, and he is the man for you...well yes, date away!
As I say....it is not about him, it is about YOU. Do not be strict with age limits on men, and do not rule out younger men. You never know who you will wind up connecting with. However, the bigger the age difference, the more flack you will get from others, and more importantly, the more challenging the relationship will be. Ideally, aim for a man no more than 10 to 15 years younger than you at most.
More than that is okay, too, but once you get in the 15-20 years younger range, you are dating a different generation altogether, and only in exceptional situations does this ever work out. I can testify to this from the male perspective on dating younger women. You do not want to end feeling you are "baby sitting," no matter how hot the sex is. You will also soon get bored of the drama which could come attached with that hot sex.
However, there is always "exceptions" to the rule. Unless he is an exceptional young man, the gap in maturity is just too great. Also, there is a difference between being open to younger men and ONLY wanting to date younger men. When someone, male or female, wants to ONLY date someone younger than themselves, especially if MUCH younger, they are not looking for love — they are looking for an "eye candy" boost. In other words, they are essentially screaming out "Look what I have got!"
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