Do We Get Smarter In Love As We Age?

woman on a bad date

Perhaps one of the greatest perils of youth is the alarming number of dating disasters we must go through before finding our ultimate "one."

You know what I'm talking about—he'll give you that, "Can't eat, can't sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series" kind of feeling (It Takes Two, anyone?). As I've searched for this so-called "prince" in my 20s, I've encountered some pretty cringe-worthy frogs; the guy who dressed like Marty McFly, the doctor (who was actually a banker) and even the adult virgin. I've had my fill, and I'm sure you have, too. 

But as they say (they being the older females in my life) much like wine, love gets better with age and so, apparently, do our preferences. A recent survey from smart USA and Harris Interactive found that 88 percent of Americans preferred dating someone intelligent and philanthropic over someone with an attractive face. That's some great news, considering our celebrity- and appearance-obsessed culture.

But more importantly, the survey also revealed that while younger Americans believed in the "bigger is better" mentality, that preference fades drastically as we age. There's that wisdom I've been talking about, ladies!

So how does this relate to dating? Well, aside from anatomy (come on, you knew that joke was coming) it all comes down to maturity. It's been said over and over again that with age comes wisdom, with wisdom comes maturity, and so on. Think about the first person you ever dated and the last person you dated (perhaps your current spouse). Although you might not have noticed it at first, they are likely a much better fit for you than that guy who took you out in college and never called you again.

Is the takeaway here that we should be patient? Perhaps. It may also be that such wisdom comes from learning from our mistakes—sure, we went for the brawn over brains once before, but time has told us to never do that again. In the end, no matter what dating perils we face now, there's a whole lot of love coming our way—once we stop courting those darn frogs.

Have you gotten wiser in love with age?

Kait Smith is a freelance writer living and working the the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York State.