What Do Guys In Their 20’s Want With Women In Their 40’s?

I am in my mid-forties and I have been online dating off and on for about 2½ years and dating in general for 4 years. I am a year and a half out of a relationship and in that time, I have found only one guy I was interested in but he did the vanishing act. I have probably more dates than the average woman and I just can’t seem to find a guy I want to date. I am often told I am beautiful and I look about 10 years younger than I my age. I get contacted by a fair number of guys in their 20’s and most I don’t respond to because I just feel it won’t go anywhere. Recently, however, I was contacted by a guy in his mid-twenties and I was impressed by his profile…he’s mature, intelligent, articulate and attractive. I started up a correspondence with him. I was curious. But I still feel that maybe it’s a mistake…what do I really have in common with this guy? After all, I am twenty years older than he is. 

In your opinion, what do guys in their twenties really expect and/or want when contacting an older woman?  The youngest guy I have ever been out with is 33. 

Thanks for your insight. I really enjoy reading your blog and I feel that of many so-called dating experts that you are right on!

Carla

Thanks, Coug–, uh Carla. As a so-called dating expert, I really appreciate the kind words!

Which is why I’m sure you’re going to be completely receptive to this:

You’re wasting your time with this kid.

Okay, that’s not fair. Let me use more words to say it:

If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you’re most likely wasting your time with this kid. However, if you’re looking for good, clean (and not-so-clean) fun with a young stallion, you can have an amazing time. In fact, I would encourage you to do so. And take lots of pictures.

If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you’re most likely wasting your time with this kid. However, if you’re looking for good, clean (and not-so-clean) fun with a young stallion, you can have an amazing time.

See, I’m not here to set the rules for society. I’m here to observe society and report back to you how things USUALLY work out. And for every Demi and Ashton (Celebrities, They’re Just Like Us!), there are thousands of other instances of cross-generational relationships that die a quick, painless death. Why? Because he was born in the 80’s, right about the time that you were losing your virginity in college. Because he’s been in the workforce for oh, about four years. Because he may be a great communicator, mature for his age, and relationship minded, but he’s also, y’know, a BABY.

You know how I know this? Because I’M that guy. I’ve ALWAYS loved older women. I was with a 35 year old woman when I was 20. I used to flirt with my mom’s friends. And when all my friends would make fun of me and say, “Why would you date an older woman when you could date a younger woman?”, I’d say, “Why would you date a younger woman when you can date an older woman?”. … As far as I’m concerned, every woman is better at 28 than at 23, better at 33 than at 28, and so on. Now, there is a flaw in this system – the biological clock – which is much worse at 38 than at 23. This is a valid concern to men looking to have families, so let’s not overlook it. But still, I’m a big proponent of life experience and wisdom. Older women are AWESOME in this guy’s book.

So even if this young man’s interest in you is completely pure, even if he wants to have a real relationship with you, you guys are most likely doomed. If he wants to have kids. Or go clubbing at night. Or switch careers a few more times. Or do normal things like twentysomethings do. You’re at the home buying, 401K saving, family planning phase of life – for MOST 46-year-olds. Hey, if you still have the juice to hang with kids, go crazy.

There’s a very good reason that you don’t see many 25 year old men with 45 year old women.

It just seems far more likely that a) he’s bragging to his friends that he might get to sleep with a woman 20 years older than himself, or b) you guys really might be compatible if only he were significantly older or you were significantly younger. But he’s not. And you’re not. Put another way, there’s a very good reason that you don’t see many 25 year old men with 45 year old women.

A caveat which I must acknowledge: if neither of you desires children, then you have a far better chance. But presuming he does, if I were you, Carla, I’d probably have some fun. Go in with your eyes open and appreciate the experience for what it is – a dalliance with the youthful exuberance of your past. Enjoy it while it lasts.

 

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Marc F.

    “What do guys in their twenties really expect and/or want when contacting an older woman?”

    To get laid! Plain and simple. Maybe not all of them, and maybe not this particular guy, but most guys in their 20s think an older woman is easier and hornier than women their own age. That’s what I thought when I was a schmucky 20 something, and so did my friends. I would proceed with caution, if you’re looking for something more than a fling with a young stud.

  2. 2
    Steve

    First, I predict that this thread will be very long.

    Evan made all good points, but I don’t think he answered the question as to why men in their 20s find older women interesting.

    My guess would be greater sexual and emotional intimacy without fear. Women their own age are expecting them to be the man, the leader of the relationship, the decision maker. Somehow that expectation might not be there with a partner who is older. These younger men can relax. They can open themselves up to being more vulnerable and openup to receiving more sexual/psychological pleasure.

    As Evan mentioned, men in their 20s and women in their 40s are both at their sexual peak. Both groups seem more interested in sex and with fewer preliminaries.

    Going down a few notches I think there is also the appeal of the forbidden and the appeal of the trendy, which seem to intersecting right now.

    Speaking only for myself, when I was 14 I found women aged between the mid 30s – mid 40s to be the most interesting. They were easier to talk to. Girls my own age only wanted to talk about music and various brands of beer. Boring! *Women* I met were interested in eastern philosophy, yoga (not trendy back in the stone ages ), literature, sci-fi, etc… The conversations were interesting and these conversations were easily started with these women who were comfortable with being assertive, voicing their ideas. They were good looking too. The complete package. At that time in my life talking to good looking *girls* was still a bit intimidating and when I made the effort I was only rewarded with dull conversations.

    Now that I am within their age range I still find this set of women interesting and I’m guessing that when I am beyond their age range I will still find them interesting.

    The only reasons I date younger women are:

    - these women don’t seem to be out and about in my venues

    - they can’t relax and enjoy a date. They have an agenda and
    interrogate me, looking for signs. They may be subtle to other
    guys but I see through it and it turns me off.

    - they are unconfident about being desirable and that makes them
    act and seem less desirable.

    - they gave up on taking care of themselves…physically and/or
    psychologically.

    Still, this group would be my first choice. I just find it so exciting to have conversations with people who understand all of my cultural references and who have their own insights from having lived to add to my own

  3. 3
    Damie

    I have a very close friend in her early 50s who looks AMAZING for her age, plays bass in a rock band, is a very lively active woman with lots of young interests. When I hang out with her very seldom do I feel like I’m with “my mother.”

    She is approached by younger guys, guys in their late 20s, ALL the time for dates. She goes out with some of them. She falls in love with some of them. And in every instance they always say they love her for her and that the age thing doesn’t matter. Until a few months goes by…

    They want to settle down and have a real serious girlfriend they can take home to mom, and all of a sudden it starts to weird them out that my friend could BE their mom. They love hanging with her but are often embarassed to bring her around their friends. In every single case, it’s been, as Evan said, doomed. And it brings a lot of depression to my friend.

    So, in my opinion, stay within your age range and steer clear of the youngins. They just want to play.

  4. 4
    BeenThruTheWars

    I was 44 when I met my now-husband. He was 33. The 11-year age difference has made very little difference in our relationship. He is kind of an old soul and had no desire to have kids. I don’t have or want kids either, and he was delighted to be dating someone who did NOT have the whole desperate marriage-and-kids agenda (as women his age definitely did). The only real difference I’ve noticed is where we are in our careers relative to each other. I am entering my peak years, starting to think about retiring in ten years if all goes well, and he is still in the building phase. Sometimes I find myself mentoring him and I need to step back and cut it out unless he’s asked for suggestions or advice. He has more energy than I do, but not enough to create problems. That said, we are only 11 years apart, not twenty-five.

    Would I have dated a 20-year-old when I was 43? Well, I went out with a couple 29-year-olds… the lower age limit of the guys who asked… and we didn’t click. Guys in their twenties were, to me, terribly earnest and always seemed to be trying to prove how cool and mature they were. It usually wound up being more amusing to me than anything. I just couldn’t take them seriously. I would refer to them as “the lads” or “young master So-and-So” to my friends, who teased me about my boy toys. But if this particular guy you are impressed with wants to take you out on a date, go. What do you have to lose? Have dinner with him, see if he’s for real. You never know who the great love of your life is going to be. I certainly wasn’t expecting mine to be a never-married, still-partying hearty guy in his early 30s; but he’s grown up a lot, and I’ve stayed open minded, and we get along like a house on fire. I truly do expect to be with him until death do us part.

  5. 5
    Steve

    Carla;

    Ditto on Damie’s & Evan’s warning. I’ve felt and reacted the way the men Damie’s friend dated responded. If you want to avoid getting hurt don’t expect anything more than hot sex and friendship from a younger a much younger guy.

  6. 6
    Selena

    I believe men have a biological clock too. Men in their 20′s & 30′s may say they don’t want kids (or may mistakenly believe they are sterile) but may start to feel otherwise as they approach 40. If you are a woman in her 40′s-60′s you are biologically done with that, and may well not want to start the childrearing process through adoption either. Something to think about when contemplating dating someone much younger with LTR in mind.

    Also, at any age you might find you relate well to an individual(s) who are much younger, but come to find out not on every level. The 20′s are such a decade of change, it shouldn’t come as a surprise (but often does) that a younger partner “outgrows you”, the relationship that was fine for awhile no longer is. This happened to two of my late-30′s friends, who found their “soulmate” with someone in his early 20′s. Each relationship lasted less than 2 yrs.

    If a dalliance is okay go for it. But if you are wistful for someone to grow old with, dating out of your generation is not an ideal place to look. For both genders.

  7. 7
    Steve


    Selena Feb 28th 2008 at 01:29 pm 6
    If you are a woman in her 40′s-60′s you are biologically done with that, and may well not want to start the childrearing process through adoption either.

    If I go to match.com ( or any site ) and set the filter to only return women who do not want children I will get hardly any adds back. I see many adds from women in their late 30′s -> mid 40′s who put down “undecided” for “Want kids?” Who are they kidding? Fertility treatments are brutal, expensive, and they don’t work as well as everyone thinks. Adoption takes years of bureaucracy and frustration. Nothing against women who don’t have children. That is what I am looking for.

  8. 8
    verbosity

    What Do Guys In Their 20′s Want With Women In Their 40′s?

    1. Sex without attachment
    2. Sex without (or far less likely) risk of pregnancy

    If I think about it, I would guess that there’s a bit of a group-think or trend following thing going on. This whole ‘coug’ trend (or more wide acceptance) may be a ‘cool’ thing to do. BTW, the coug, thing is based on one night stands, or ‘chance’ encounters. Then again, maybe Oedipus is rearing his head. Who knows?

  9. 9
    Selena

    Steve,
    I’d venture that a majority of women have already had kids by the time they reach their mid-40′s. Not everyone ofcourse, but my post was geared toward a mid-40′s woman hooking up with a man 20 yrs. younger who didn’t want kids THEN, but might well find he wanted them later on. And later on for him could mean when he was 35-45, at which point SHE would be 55-65. I’m just speculating that there are fewer women who would want to start the childrearing process as they near retirement age.

    As a woman in my mid-40′s with a grown son, I would check the want kids? box No. I don’t know what to make of women over 40 checking ‘undecided’. Maybe they really are, or maybe (like you) they’ve found they get far fewer responses if they check No. All about getting your foot in the door, perhaps?

  10. 10
    hunter

    ..sad to say, not all older women are fun rides, there are some, that are terrible in bed…and we try to teach them, but they seem to be set in their ways….back to the post…the older woman, younger man is very common in most of Europe….

  11. 11
    Lynn

    Many of we older women in our 40′s check the “undecided” box for the “want kids?” question because we have arrived at a place where we realize that having kids may not be in the cards for us, and we are ok with that. but if children were conceived, by chance, in a solid relationship, as has happened for at least 3 of my women friends in their 40′s, then that would be ok, too. Or, if a man who had children during a previous relationship brought kids with him as a package deal, then we just may be very open to that concept. . . . .

  12. 12
    Selena

    Lynn,
    Since many singles in their mid-forties already have kids, I can see how checking a want kids? box “undecided” would equate to checking an “okay with me if YOU have kids” box. I haven’t tried on-line dating, I don’t know a thing about what boxes they have for screening purposes.

  13. 13
    Steve

    Lynn;

    I never would have guessed that. The fact that I ( and likely other men ) never would have guessed is probably a good reason for dating sites to offer more choices for the answer to “want kids?” question.

  14. 14
    El

    I totally agree Evan. These relationships usually won’t last so why bother, unless you’re just looking for a little fun. I’m 40 and have younger guys write to me quite often. Usually I don’t respond, but occasionally I’ll ask them why they aren’t writing to someone their own age. They usually say, older women know what they want.
    Yep and this older woman would rather have someone her own age.

  15. 15
    naturegirl

    Selena and Lynn-

    I agree. The “want kids” option on match.com does not provide adequate choices for those of us with kids already. Sure, I want the kids I already have, and would welcome the kids of a boyfriend, but don’t want to create any new children. Where’s the option for that?

  16. 16
    Stifler's Mom

    Isn’t an Oedipal Complex a legit thing for some younger men, to be attracted to women roughly their mother’s age? Haven’t done the research there.

    Evan’s take and most of the comments seem in consensus: older women with much younger men equals sex and fun. Sweet.

    I’ve dated 3 older women, all mothers, not with the same age differential as the emailer. I’ve noticed they all had a couple of qualities in common: a) very laid back in a dating sense, b) strong game, which made it very easy to flirt and have fun on dates (this is like saying they make good dance partners), c) great sex.

  17. 17
    trouble

    I’ve dated a couple of younger guys. In fact, the first guy I dated after my divorce was 27 to my 39. Our relationship was sweet, fun, and sexy. He reminded me just how much living I still had to do, that I was still sexy, and that dating could be fun. In fact, every man I’ve dated since that time probably owes my friend KC a debt of gratitude as he helped me avoid the bitter divorcee phase.

    I wasn’t bitter, I was having the time of my life. :)

    I’d give these flings 4-5 months, max, which is about as long as you can date across this sort of age divide and enjoy it. For me, at least, after 4-5 months, I really started wanting someone my own age that remembered and could dance to The Cure.

    We’re still friends though, and if you don’t take it too seriously, that’s definitely a side advantage, I’d say we’re both rather protective of one another, and give each other good advice.

    I definitely have no regrets.

  18. 18
    Nervous Nellie

    I am 44 years old. I met a 26-year-old guy online last September for what was supposed to be a casual relationship. In December, he wanted to try having a full-blown, exclusive relationship. A couple of times, I broke it off because his job requires a lot of travel and he was always tired and sometimes canceled dates at the last minute. He would leave me alone for a couple of weeks and then contact me.

    I would tell him I would not mind going back to the casual relationship, i.e., he and I could see other people in addition to each other. However, he did not want to do that.

    We have been doing well for the past couple of months or so. We talk openly about what we want from the relationship. I have an 11-year-old daughter. He has made it clear from the beginning that he does not want any children. I was engaged a few years ago and my ex-fiance and I tried to have a child for a year (he is younger and has 2). Ditto with the boyfriend after him. So, I did not think I could not get pregnant. Well, with current boyfriend (the 26-year-old), I did get pregnant, but miscarried after 6 weeks. Boyfriend said he would have lived up to his responsibilities had I gone to term. However, he was very relieved that I miscarried and is now convinced he does not want children.

    I read through this thread and am now very nervous. It seems that none of you give a relationship like this a chance.

  19. 19
    m

    NN:

    Some of us do. It’s just that when the gender-polarized vitriol gets thick on the ground, we don’t always comment.

    As an individual or a couple, if you’re at all different in the world — and, it seems, especially in America — it’s all about the amount of social pressure you can withstand (or elude, for that matter).

    At the end of the day, it seems to me that it’s about the two people in the relationship — their experiences, how they’ve been socialized, how compatible they are, and how much they want to be with — and stay with — each other.

  20. 20
    Selena

    NN–
    No one can predict how long a relationship will last. Not even people who are whole heartedly committed on their wedding day, as statistics prove out. If you are enjoying your relationship with the 26 yr. old, why not just go with the flow without making predictions for the future?

  21. 21
    Nervous Nellie

    M,

    What “gender-polarized vitriol” are you talking about? And how come this “May-Dec” type relationship is not as much of an issue when the MAN is the one who is much older?

    And as far as being “different,” well I am a 44-year-old with my own law practice. I am represented by 2 model and talent agencies, I take boxing classes and still do gymnastics. I weigh as much as I did in high school. Thanks to good genes, I look much younger than my years – no wrinkles or gray (my parents are from the Philippines). Oh. And I am inked and pierced.

    So, I am not as concerned as what society thinks of me. But as far as investing my heart in this relationship with someone so much younger, in light of the previous posts…that is what makes me nervous.

  22. 22
    Nervous Nellie

    Selena,

    I had married my college sweetheart. Marriage lasted 13 years. Therefore, what you said was right. As for “going with the flow,” I am trying to do just that and taking things one day at a time. As for investing my heart totally, I am still nervous about that.

    1. 22.1
      nykolmayo

      I completly understand.  I met a guy 16 years my jr.  We only flirted, but that is the extent.  Even if he had approached me for something more, i would not pursue because I am finally ready to settle down, and he is just beginning to live his life.  I am sure that he is not looking for anything serious, so why pursue anything?

  23. 23
    hotlips

    There are as many kinds of love as there are people in the world.
    After 7 years and one child with a man 17 years my junior I have to say it’s way more than fun and hot sex. We have built a business together, are raising a child together, he’s been hospitalized for a serious chronic illness, we are buying another peice of property together-you know, all the things same age couples do together.
    He wants to get married too. After 7 years together he just might be breaking through my no marriage barrier. It’s me not him that hasn’t wanted to totally commit. It isn’t because of the age thing that I don’t seek marriage but because a bad divorce taught me that you can really get taken for a ride in a divorce and I don’t want to do that again. But he thinks it is important and it is becoming important to our daughter so I just might do the deed with a younger man-with pre-nup in place. (I would have a pre-nup with ANYONE)

  24. 24
    Nervous Nellie

    hotlips,

    Your post was certainly encouraging. Like you, I am nervous about remarrying. Boyfriend did express a concern about that. And he wants me to meet his parents–mother is only 3 years older than I am. Stepfather is about 13 years older. I think his biological father is almost 10 years older than I am. Did you discuss the prenup issue with your bf?

  25. 25
    hotlips

    Because he knew me when I was going through my divorce (as a friend) he knew all a long about my allergy to marriage and my strong belief in pre-nups. Still he took the leap and had a relationship with me.
    The younger guy has a risk too. Marriage can mean a claim to half of all his future retirement benefits, alimony, child support if you have kids together. Men tend to earn more than women out the gate. Yes, my guy is only 26 but ALREADY planning for retirement and was thinking about this stuff at 18. He’s a freak that way. So was I at his age.
    Age aside, I recommend Everyone read the book The Courage to be Rich by Ormond. She discusses what marriage can mean financially, pre-nuptual agreements, how to divide expenses based on varying incomes or goals. Everyone should know about this no matter what age their partner is.
    I entered this relationship with no expectations of it being long term because of what other people believed and articles like this. But my experience has been different than the apparent cultural norm. I really think Americans sort of look for the negative. If something isn’t “normal” (whatever that is) then it must be bad.
    I find it amusing that the people who had negative things to say about our relationship or gossiped about how “It would never last” are majorly unhappy in their own relationships and we are happy. I know same age couples that have been married and divorced, with horrific court battles, in the time we’ve been together. Truly, the only negatives in our life are health issues and their HIS.

  26. 26
    Nervous Nellie

    hotlips,

    I am in much better physical shape than my bf, who is also 26 (27 this month). Basically, my ‘negative’ is that he will change his mind about having children someday. So my choices are enjoy things and take things one day and a time, or break it off and find someone closer to my own age, who already has children. Either break my own heart now, or risk having it broken in the future….

  27. 27
    Elena

    I am the one whose man is much older. I am 25 and he is 50. We’ve been together for half a year and so far everything’s been just fine. Our relation is based on true love,trust and understanding.I don’t see it much of an issue being involved into a relation with an older guy.He is in a very good shape, fit and active and full of energy. Maybe it sounds weird but I have almost never been attracted to young boys of my age. I just don’t find them enough mature,interesting,responsible,smart,etc…There hasn’t been a single one young guy,who could satisfy my emotional and sexual needs. My boyfriend on the contrary does it perfectly well. We are very attached to each other, however he gets confused sometimes with our age difference. It seems to be difficult for him to put up with the idea that I actually could be his daughter, although he has never had children. My parents are against our relation. They think its completely insane of me. My friends keep telling that it won’t last long. But I just ignore their remarks. Despite all the negativity our love is growing stronger day after day. I fully believe in us and our future, in fact I would like to marry him and have kids. It’s his wish as well. I really don’t see what is the problem and to my point of view every relation, if based on true feelings should be given a chance. There is no such thing as “do’s and dont’s” in love life. Everything is OK and acceptable as long as it makes both partners happy and the age issue should be the last problem to worry about.

  28. 28
    Collins

    First off, Kutcher was actually born in 1978.

    That said, older women dating/marrying younger men is nothing new. Two of my great-great-grandparents were such a couple; she was born in 1848, he in 1862. They came to the States from Sweden & married in 1886. The age difference may have kept them from having more than 2 children (the older of whom was my great-grandma) but they remained married till death did them part.

    More than a century after my great-great-grandparents’ marriage, I often gravitate toward older women myself, for the following reasons:
    1. Many are divorced & already have kids; thus they’re less likely to want any by me (I want none of my own).
    2. Most are long established in their careers, & thus less likely to depend on me financially.

    Even so, I wouldn’t rule out a woman my own age, or even up to 10 years younger, just so she loves me for me & not for my money or what I can buy with it.

    1. 28.1
      Anne

      Give that man a Bells…..I applaud you….

  29. 29
    Nervous Nellie

    Collins,

    Just curious. Why don’t you want any children? My bf has been steadfast in his desire not to have any children.

  30. 30
    Collins

    Nellie,

    Long story short, having kids is not for everyone, of either gender. Raising children is hard work, harder now than ever, & harder than some people (including me) can handle. Plus, with world pop’n over 6 billion & growing fast, I wouldn’t want to bring a kid into a world with dirty air & water.

    As for you & your guy, if you want kids & he does not, then it may be time to reassess whether you & he should stay together or not.

    Now, I’m afraid we’re going off topic, so I’ll say no more. But thanks for asking.

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