Well, why is it that so many men who are dating after 40 clearly want younger women? Or do we hear a lot about the over-40 single men who want younger women, even though the majority of men are happy to date women in their own age group. Which is it?
There’s no question that some older men do want to date younger women. One reason is simply because they can. Our society has long accepted the idea of an older man dating a younger woman. If a 45-year-old man can get a 30-year-old woman to go out with him, why shouldn’t he? Unfortunately, though, the tables are rarely turned. Society has not embraced the idea of an older woman going out with a younger man. When a 50-something woman does go out with a 30-something man, for example, we call that woman a “cougar.” And the term “cougar” isn’t usually meant to be a compliment.
So if society allows a man to date a younger woman, what’s the age difference that’s acceptable? Is it OK for a 60-year-old man to date a 40-year-old woman? How about a 65-year-old man dating a 40-year-old woman? That’s 25 year difference in their ages. How about a 30-year difference in age? Where does a single person draw the line? Or as one woman commented, “It bothers me when I see a man who’s in his 60s going after a woman in her 30s. What does that mean for me, at 53? Does that mean I have to date men who are 75 and older?”
I hope not. That would really suck, wouldn’t it?
Let’s face it—getting older is no picnic for either gender. A typical man has concerns about his virility, while the typical woman tends to be concerned with her physical beauty. Many men who are afraid that they are getting older (as in “past their prime”) try to recapture the feeling of virility that they had as young men by dating a younger woman. Dating a younger woman makes them feel younger, and that often will give a man an extra shot of energy—and dare I say, testosterone.
But speaking as both a man and the Middle-Aged Babe Magnet, I can tell you that there are plenty of problems with dating a younger woman. For one thing, there’s the lack of common cultural experience. If the first band you fell in love with is the Beatles, and you remember their Ed Sullivan Show appearances in 1964, then you’re not going to have that in common with a younger woman who first got excited about Duran Duran (“the band so nice they named it twice”). You’re probably not going to like the same movies. The list goes on and on.
Another huge challenge in dating someone who is significantly older or younger than you are has to do with kids. Let’s say you’ve got older kids who are all out of the house—in college or even into their adult lives. Then you start seeing someone whose kids are still in elementary school. That’s a huge difference in your family situations. And anytime you date someone with kids living in the home it changes the dynamics of the dating situation.
So whether you’re a man dating younger women or a woman dating younger men, you’ve got to deal with a lot of age-related challenges.
That’s why, in my humble experience and in my own personal research, I’ve found it much more likely that long-term relationships blossom when the two people are close enough in age to have a common bond of mutual experiences. Being at roughly the same stage of life and coming from the same cultural experiences is a huge factor in finding mutual compatibility.
So, gentlemen, go ahead and date a few young babes if you need to get it out of your system. But I’ll bet you five bucks that the woman you choose for a long-term relationship is closer to your own age.
For more on this topic—and just about everything else concerning dating and relationships, read The Babe Magnet Rules of Dating Over 50: 101 Tips for Meeting, Winning & Keeping a New Love by yours truly, Chad Stone.