The dating game is always a tough one, but is it differen’t when you’re dating an older man? Some things are the same. Finding someone who really ‘gets’ you and understands you isn’t easy. regardless of age.
Anyone who’s been in a long term relationship will tell you that it’s not always chocolates and roses. Dating has its challenges and perhaps none more so than the added challenge of an age gap.
First… it’s not uncommon.
Dating an older man is nothing new. According to a 2012 study, over 4 and a half million married couples in the US had the male aged at least 10 years old than the female.
In unmarried couples, this figure was over 850 thousand. This is a trend that seems to be increasing too. According to a study by Zoosk, online daters in 2017 were 9% more likely to consider dating someone with a 10-year age gap than they were in 2016.
Why women go for older men
Since it’s not a new thing, what is it about older men that attract women? Some psychologists have called the phenomenon of older men dating younger women the ‘George Clooney effect’.
The Confidence Factor
They say it often happens when women become financially independent because this is the time they become more confident. Often, when men reach financial independence, they begin looking at younger women.
Conversely, it seems that women become attracted to more experienced, powerful, and attractive men. Another reason for younger women to go for older men could be down to fertility.
The Baby Maker Factor
This is explained by evolutionary psychologists who make a point of saying that whilst women’s fertility peaks at 30, men can continue to produce offspring for much longer. For a woman wanting a family, she may choose an older man simply because she doesn’t need to worry about his ability to father a child.
The Missing Piece Factor
Before you head down the dating path and start thinking about how to date an older man, think about why you are considering dating older men. There is some evidence that suggests that some women choose older men to fulfill a gap in their lives.
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Perhaps they’re looking to plug a psychological need e.g. to find a missing father-figure perhaps. If you’re sure you’re going into this for the right reasons, read on.
How to date an older man – what you need to know
Dating an older man will likely look different from dating someone your own age. Depending on the age gap, there are things to be aware of when it comes to dates.
There will be different interests.
Even a gap of around 10 years might mean that you are at different stages in your lives and don’t share as many common interests. Interests can mean lots of different things: from the types of different dates you choose to the music you like to listen to.
Interests aside, there is plenty of common ground that you will be able to find. In getting to know an older person, you could even discover new interests. Having an open mind is a key to success in relationships with an age gap.
What do dates look like with an older man?
They can look like any date! Let’s face it, there are many things that many people have in common regardless of age. Who doesn’t like a nice meal out, a coffee or a trip to the cinema?
There is nothing to say an older man might be less compatible with food, coffee or music tastes than their younger counterparts. There are men young and old that love nothing better than a walk in the countryside.
Equally, there are men all over the country that, regardless of their age, like to travel and see new places.
Pros of dating an older man
Dating an older man does have many positives. If it didn’t, I’m not sure it would be as popular! There are just some things that older men are better at.
This isn’t to say, of course, that an older man will be all of these things and a younger man won’t. I’m sure there will be cases for the other side of the argument too. But, generally speaking, there are things that you can expect from an older man.
1. Easier communication
Gone are the awkward angst-ridden phases of youth. An older man is usually pretty adept in explaining what he wants and doesn’t want. With more life (and love) experience behind him, an older man can communicate his needs and wants much better than someone of a younger generation.
2. More acceptance of flaws
Given their more advanced age, older men will be more realistic in what a real woman looks like. While younger men might seek the model perfection they see in glossy men’s magazines, older men will have met enough women in their time to know that this isn’t the reality.
Not only that, but an older man will have come to accept that he, too, has flaws and will, therefore, be more accepting of yours.
3. Different perspective
Even with gaps as small as ten years (and that is relatively small by some accounts), partners can offer each other different perspectives and insights. An older man might have more experience to offer a different perspective should you find yourself with a concern or problem.
In another way, an older man might be able to help you realize that what you’re going through isn’t really a problem at all. They might have gone through a similar time or event that has now made its way into their past.
4. Financial stability
This might be a reason why so many younger women are attracted to older men. If you’re looking for a lifelong partner or a potential father, you really need someone who is savvy with their finances and who can provide for you and your family.
I’m not talking about those women who could be considered to be ‘gold diggers’, though. Wanting financial stability in your life doesn’t mean you’re out for what you can get financially speaking.
It might simply mean that you’re interested in someone who is capable of being financially independent just like you are. There is nothing more frustrating than dating someone, falling in love and then later discovering they are useless with money.
5. No game playing
Again we’re speaking generally but an older man usually knows what he wants. If it’s commitment you’re looking for, you’re more likely to get it sooner from an older man.
Long gone are their fast dating days; an older man is usually looking for long term commitment and love. If they’re not, you can bet they’ll be honest about it.
Cons of dating an older man and how to overcome them
Of course, as with everything in life, there is another side to the coin and dating older men can have its disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages aren’t guaranteed to be the case with every older man out there but they’re certainly more likely. Some you may have experience with younger men too.
1. Incompatible sex drives
This isn’t an exclusive problem for older men by any means. It is important to think about sexual incompatibility when dating older men. It might not be a problem in the rosy first few weeks and months of a new relationship but it is well known that men’s libido drops as they age. You don’t want to find yourself mismatched years down the line when his libido starts to drop off before yours does.
2. Problematic exes and past relationships
Unless this is his first relationship, you could run into problems with exes no matter what the man’s age is. The older a man is, however, the higher the chances that he’s had one or more very long term relationships. He may even have been married once or more than once.
With previous relationships often comes baggage. It might be physical ‘baggage’ like children or jointly-owned property or assets or it could be emotional baggage and ‘damage’ caused by problematic past relationships.
Whatever the status of your older man, be aware of their past and acknowledge it. It’s less likely to be a problem if you go into a new relationship with an open mind and acknowledge the fact that baggage is likely.
3. Dealing with other people’s opinions
Even when you’re rich and famous and clearly compatible like George and Amal Clooney, other people will always have ideas on your relationship. You need to be prepared to deal with other people opinions and comments on your new partner and partnership.
This is even more paramount if the age gap is significant. By ‘significant’, I mean a generation gap. The truth is, the larger the age gap, the more people will have to say about it.
It’s important not to let other people’s views cloud your judgment or come between you and your partner. It can be particularly tricky if you are the same age as their children or thereabouts.
If the age gap between you would make it possible to be the natural mother of their children, accept that eyebrows will be raised. Nothing matters more than your love for each other. So, provided you’re both consenting adults and are both on the same page about your age gap, there is really nothing to worry about.
4. Family life and children
You and your partner should be prepared to accept any children as a part of the package. If they have older children, you should accept that you will be involved in their lives and will need to get on with them.
You should never attempt to ‘mother’ an older man’s children or try to fill some sort of step-mother role. Build a relationship with them on yours and their terms with very few expectations other than mutual respect.
It could be that you’re the one with the children. In all likelihood, your children will be younger and it could be more difficult for your new partner to accept having younger children around, especially if it’s been a long time since they had young children around.
5. Set in his ways
Since an older man has had more time to know what he truly likes and dislikes, it could be difficult to change the way he likes to do things. Obviously, you need to be happy too so decide early on what you will and won’t accept.
6. You might feel immature
When a person grows up or ages they often have an image of what they consider to be ‘older’ or ‘mature’. Being in a relationship with a large age gap might heighten feelings of immaturity on your part. It’s easy to feel inadequate in any relationship.
When dating an older man, you might find yourself idolizing your partner as someone mature who knows what they want in life and has their head screwed on. This, in turn, could make you feel as though you are the opposite.
Don’t let an age gap cloud your judgment. Chances are your new older man has moments where he feels just as inadequate too. With open communication, any feelings of inadequacy and immaturity can be easily quashed.
In this bracket, we can also talk about cultural references. By this, we mean you might not ‘get’ a joke or reference to a band or film because you weren’t old enough to appreciate it when he was. This works both ways too, though and your man might not understand references you make.
You can use this as a positive in your relationship though. Use any cultural references you don’t understand as a way of educating each other and getting to know each other even more.
As time goes on – aging
If you embark upon a relationship with an older man, the age gap might not be too much of a problem initially. As time goes on, however, your other half might begin to slow down well before you’re ready.
A twenty-year age gap when you’re 30 and 50 might not be so obvious, for example. At 60 and 80, however, the gap might seem really obvious and much more problematic.
Obviously, if this is a long-term relationship, you might have to cross the likelihood of becoming a widow when you’re still in your prime.
How to make your relationship really successful – final tips
If you’ve decided to go ahead and broaden your horizons by dating an older guy, here are some final few pointers of advice:
- Be prepared for a turbulent ride with friends and family – it’s likely you’ll have to answer lots of questions about your decisions. Be prepared to answer their questions openly and honestly. If they see you’re truly happy and have considered all aspects of dating an older man, they will be much more accepting.
- Don’t be a trophy wife – just because you’ve decided you quite fancy the idea of dating older men, don’t go for the first man who shows an interest. A few older men will want to date younger women simply as a trophy. Make sure you don’t fall into this trap, take any new relationship really slowly. Equally, be aware of men who want to date women because they’re afraid of aging. Peter Pan Syndrome is real!
- Respect his past – his most probably will have exes and might even have children. You need to accept that there will be a part of who he is and accept them. If he has children, love them but don’t mother them. Let any children young and old take the lead in forging a relationship with you. Listen to your partner, he knows them best.
- Never make jokes about his age – Even if he seems the type to laugh it off, you must consider how age-related jokes might make him feel. It might be something that you can both enjoy and join in with age-related jokes on both sides, but it needs to be something you’re both comfortable with.
Ultimately age shouldn’t be a barrier to love. Finding a compatible life partner is no simple feat and if you’re narrowing the field by only dating men your own age, it can be even more of a challenge to find the perfect match.
As we’ve seen, there are many benefits to dating an older man:
- they’re generally well-grounded
- know what they want
- financially stable
- and more accepting of flaws
As long as you prepare yourself for the challenges you may face, there’s no reason why you can’t have a truly remarkable relationship with an older man.
Dating an older man might not always be easy but it might also be the best decision you ever made. Don’t worry too much about how to date an older man, let the relationship blossom like you would any other.
A relationship with an older man will open you up to a whole wealth of experiences. You will meet people who otherwise you might have considered too old to be friends. Also, you may discover interests you never knew you had. All in all, go into it with your eyes open and your feet firmly on the ground. You may be expected by what you find.