- Gender and Relationships
Does Age Matter When You're Dating?
When I was 27, I dated a 57 year old man
Are you having that knee-jerk 30 year age difference ewwww-reaction?
I was old enough to make informed decisions. I didn’t want to have kids, I had solid career goals and I was well on my way to making them realities.
He was well educated and very well traveled. He knew things in a warm and worldly way, and he shared those things with me. He was younger looking than his years, and I was very attracted to him. Think Stephen Tyler circa 1986. Many people commented that we looked pretty cool together.
He was fascinated by my writing. He was encouraging. He taught me about wine, and hedge funds. I taught him about art and literature. We shared quite a few interests which ranged from poetry readings to hockey to concerts. We had a great time together. We each brought something to the relationship. I felt strong, and desirable. And I hope he felt the same.
It wasn’t a long relationship. Neither of us was interested in a long term thing at the time. After a 7 or 8 month friendship and romance, he moved back to Europe and we wished each other happy lives. It’s something I look back on with fondness.
Who is the right person for you to date?
Obviously the answer is different for everyone. But there are some things I think we can all agree with. You should date someone that respects you. You should date someone that makes you feel strong, and beautiful, and smart, and loved. You should be with someone that listens to you and believes in you. You should be with someone that sees you for the person you are: not as just a sex object, or a project, or a meal ticket, or someone easily controlled and manipulated.
If you want to be in a long term relationship, then someone who doesn't is probably not the right person for you to date. If you don't want kids, then someone who does is probably not right for you. But age doesn't necessarily mean same values, same desires or the same future.
The wrong person can come in all shapes and sizes. And ages.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with two consenting adults deciding to get together. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with two adults deciding to enjoy a safe sexual relationship together. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with two people that care about each other pursuing a real and deep relationship.
You can be used, degraded, and taken for granted by people of any age. It isn’t an age specific thing.
People say, what could an older woman possibly want with a younger guy other than sex?I think it’s quite an insult to assume the guy is immature. I’ve dated guys my age that were too immature for me. Hell, I’ve dated guys much older than me that weren’t even close to mature enough for me. But I’ve had relationships with people of all ages. I’ve taken everyone on an individual basis, and tried not to make assumptions based on age.My husband is 7 years younger than I am. He remains the most emotionally mature man I’ve ever met in my life. Just think, if I had been closed off to dating a younger man I would have missed out on meeting the love of my life.
Men Vs Women
It’s been said that girls mature faster than boys. It’s been accepted by society that a man can date a woman younger than he is. But people have strong reactions of judgment when they see a real May-December age difference.
I have found that women tend to be more judging about age-difference dating then men are. I didn’t conduct a research experiment, I’m just making a general observation based on my experiences. I will give you two examples.
I remember attending a New Year’s gathering some years ago when the subject of Anna Nicole Smith and her marriage to J. Howard Marshall came up. The women at the party were quite vocal with their disgust
The men on the other hand made comments to the effect that the old man was their hero.
I remember several water-cooler conversations at a corporation where I used to work. The vice president, an attractive woman in her 40’s, had a boyfriend who was 22. Again, the women in the office were quick to voice judgment, saying things like how it must be just sex, and isn’t that pathetic. The guys on the other hand said things like, “Damn, where was she when I was 22.”
Whether or not Anna or my former boss were in healthy relationships for the right reasons, is not my business or concern. It’s not for me to say. But isn’t it interesting that most of the guys were non-judging, and most of the women were?
Oh I’m sure some women were jealous, and judging because that’s the way they are. But I’m going to defend at least some of the women by offering this conclusion: Women are nuturers.
Whether they were projecting a protective daughterly view of old J Howard Marshall, or a protective motherly view of the young man living with the VP, I think what motivates women to show their concern and leap to judgments is their natural protective nature. Women don’t want to see an innocent party harmed. They don’t want to think anyone took advantage of someone that needed protecting. Women have an innate ability to nurture.
I’m not saying men don’t care who gets hurt. I’m just saying, it’s not the first thing they think of. It’s not the forefront of thought when they look at an age-difference couple.
If you were to ask a woman in her 40’s if she’d be interested to date a 26 year old, she might say no. Tell her it’s Prince William she might change her mind. Ask that same woman if she would date a 66 year old guy, she might say no. Tell her it’s Harrison Ford, and she may rethink her answer.
Ask a guy in his early 20’s if he’s interested to date a 40 year old, he may decline. Tell him it’s Traci Lords, he may reconsider.
This HUB is about adults. Consenting adults. Not children. Not teenagers. The things you want to be wary of when you’re dating are not restricted to age.
And in general in life, in all your relationships, you will do well if you don’t make assumptions about anyone based on outward appearance, age, sex, race, or any other bias. You’ll do well if you can take each person as they are, for who they are, and know them before you judge.