Why Would a Younger Woman Want to Date a Much Older Man?

Okay, Evan, I agree mostly with your opinion on younger men/older women. What do you say about the reverse? I mean, I can see why an older man would want to date a younger woman – physically that is, but why would a 28-year-old woman want to date a man 45 or more?

Penelope

Dear Penelope,

Beats the shit out of me.

I can totally understand why older men go for younger women. There’s no denying that they’re, for the most part, in better shape, with better skin, and less baggage from broken relationships. Time creates wisdom – but it also creates responsibilities and complications – mortgage, kids, career, etc. All of this makes dating more and more complex as we get older. It’s a lot easier for a man to take out a carefree, responsibility free, baggage free, wrinkle free 28-year-old, which is why so many men try to go in that direction. I’m not condoning this. I’m OBSERVING that it happens.

Still, most of them fail miserably, for the exact same reasons that I think Penelope is suggesting. Men want much younger women, but rarely do much younger women want older men. Put another way, if a woman has an array of other quality options closer to her age range, what incentives would she have to date a man who is SEVENTEEN YEARS OLDER?

Not many, I’m thinking.

Before any 40+ people get all hot and bothered about this – I am not judging you. There is nothing wrong with aging. I do think people improve with age (my 38-year-old girlfriend is nodding). But let’s not pretend that we, as a culture, don’t worship at the altar of youth. If you’re over the age of 40 and have ever said, “But I’m told I look five years younger than my age”, then you’re not immune to it yourself. But see, for men who covet younger women, it’s not whether you look good for your age – it’s what age you really are.

She doesn’t NEED a guy who’s 45. She can find that same amazing guy at age 30. Or 35. Or 40.

Because it’s competitive out there for all of us. People have choices. And nobody has more choices than a 28-year-old woman. If she wants to date a guy who is 6’2”, makes $400,000+, likes skiing, is within ten miles of her house and five years of her age, you know what? She could probably find him. All she has to do is go on Match.com, and wade through a few thousand applicants. The point is, she doesn’t NEED a guy who’s 45. She can find that same amazing guy at age 30. Or 35. Or 40. She doesn’t need a guy who will be taking Viagra when she’s sexually peaking at 43.

Don’t get me wrong, there are advantages in a 45-year-old guy. He’s probably a man. He’s got the job and the home and the car, and been divorced with a kid already. So if a woman finds it more appealing to just step into that world – to jump from the prolonged adolescence of the late 20’s into full-fledged settled-down womanhood – that could make sense.

There are many other things that are attractive about older men. They embody wisdom and stability. They can afford nicer restaurants and vacations and have cultivated greater tastes in the arts. They’re more experienced, more chivalrous, and more likely to want to settle down than a twentysomething party boy.

And yet, they probably resemble Penelope’s dad more than they resemble her brother….

This is the most compelling reason behind why younger women might go for older men: they’re daddy substitutes. An older man’s going to be the strong, nurturing guy who takes care of her, teaches her, and treats her like a princess – the kind of relationship that she probably lacked growing up.

Most of them are completely creeped out at the prospect of dating a guy who was alive when JFK was alive.

Hey, I’m no psychologist – just your friendly, neighborhood http://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/. But I do know women, and lots of women in their 20’s. And the truth is that most of them are completely creeped out at the prospect of dating a guy who was alive when JFK was alive. These women were born in the EIGHTIES. They grew up with computers. They’re contemporaries with Britney Spears. Whether we like it or not, there is nearly a full generation gap between 28 and 45. A few women may bridge this gap for lust or money or dimestore psychological reasons, but most of the women I know would prefer to date a great, stable 30-40 year-old – who also knows who Limp Bizkit is.

Okay, older men – tell me why I’m wrong. But don’t forget, you and your younger girlfriends are the EXCEPTION. I’m writing about the RULE.

By the way, my girlfriend wants it on record that she would totally sleep with Harrison Ford if he should be reading this. So as a gift to both of them: Sure, why not? Happy 66th, Indy!

 

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Selena

    When I was in my late 30′s I became involved with someone 15 yrs. older. The age difference did not seem especially significant during the 5 yrs we were together. Now in my mid 40′s though, the idea of dating someone in their 60′s does seem like a big difference in terms of where we each are in life.

    Harrison Ford being an exception for me as well though, I have to say. (He’s really 66? Wow!)

  2. 2
    JerseyGirl

    I’m in my 20s and I don’t find Harrison Ford attractive at all.

  3. 3
    Camilla

    Similar to Selena, I met my husband when I was 35 and he was 47. At the time, the 12 years was a non-issue. Fast forward to me hitting my prime at 41, and him slowing down at 53…and it DID become a problem. He stopped wanting to travel and have fun with me. Didn’t attend important work events for me (like I had with him.) And frankly, he started aging really fast. He started looking 60, whereas he looked younger than his age when we met. We became incompatible, now divorcing.

    So like Evan is saying, the age gap may not SEEM like a problem when you’re both still young-ish. But it might be a problem later. I don’t recommend more than a 7 year difference, max.

  4. 4
    vino

    Oh boy is this one interesting. Some choice quotes from Evan’s answer”

    “Don’t get me wrong, there are advantages in a 45-year-old guy. He’s probably a man. He’s got the job and the home and the car, and been divorced with a kid already. So if a woman finds it more appealing to just step into that world to jump from the prolonged adolescence of the late 20′s into full-fledged settled-down womanhood that could make sense.”

    “There are many other things that are attractive about older men. They embody wisdom and stability. They can afford nicer restaurants and vacations and have cultivated greater tastes in the arts. They’re more experienced, more chivalrous, and more likely to want to settle down than a twentysomething party boy.”

    ” . . .they’re daddy substitutes. An older man’s going to be the strong, nurturing guy who takes care of her, teaches her, and treats her like a princess the kind of relationship that she probably lacked growing up.”

    So I break this down into 2 basic reasons women go for older guys.

    1. Material reasons
    2. Daddy issues

    Materially, Evan said it well – “He’s got the job and the home and the car . . ” and “They can afford nicer restaurants and vacations and have cultivated greater tastes in the arts.”

    Daddy issues – I’d venture to say that I think both extremes apply here. Evan wrote, “… treats her like a princess the kind of relationship that she probably lacked growing up.” I’d say that I’ve run into just as many daddy issues with girls who WERE treated like princesses by daddy.

    No matter which reason(s) applies, it’s the same thing in effect. She wants to be treated like a child. She wants to be immature.

  5. 5
    vino

    “And frankly, he started aging really fast. He started looking 60, whereas he looked younger than his age when we met. ”

    I have to remember this one.

  6. 6
    Steve

    Most unflattering reasons, but likely true as “the rule” :

    younger women being attracted to older men
    1. “Daddy” issues
    2. Material issues

    younger men being attracted to older women
    1. “Mommy” issues
    2. Faster, easier, sex

    women and men wanting to date/mate younger:
    1. recapture fading youth
    2. more immature than their chronological counterparts
    3. wants a partner more easily controlled
    4. an ego stroke, arm candy, a trophy partner
    5. can’t handle someone their own age

    Despite all of those unflattering dime store( a very “dating” remark…..amend that..to “dollar store”) reasons, sometimes these various pairings happen only because the two people involved have a genuine appreciation of each other.

    1. 6.1
      Sherry

      I think you have a great point.  But I have to add older men are better in bed too….I was 23 and my ex was 36…and yes he robbed the cruddle.  He wanted to mold me to what he wanted…the only trouble there is, I did grow up. As for daddy issues. My dad was never around at my young age….I seriously had more fun with my ex. I tried dating younger men my age but they didn’t want a serious relationship….commitment phobics.   Lol.  Damn if you do, and damn if you don’t….lol

  7. 7
    Sarah G

    The longest, best romantic relationship I ever had was with a much older guy. I knew he was older, but I didn’t know how much older. When I found out I was shocked b/c it was a LOT older. All that said, we were very much in love and it felt like we were equals. I know that people looked at us and thought things — esp. b/c he’s highly successful in our field (he’s won several of one of the big 3 awards, shall we say) and I was a rank beginner. (Well, not rank.) But even there, I didn’t feel that we were mismatched b/c he was successful and I was starting out — it was more that we were in different places in our careers. And, it turns out, in our lives. He had done a lot of the things that I still needed to do to feel like I’d lived (marriage, a kid, real estate, career success — though I can skip the multiple divorce part, thanks). But we never talked about that stuff — we were just into each other and our work together. And when I started to talk about a LIFE together he started to lie (actually, he was lying from the beginning) — he didn’t want to lose me but he didn’t want to build anything with me. I could still be his perma-girlfriend today, had I wanted that spot, and be meeting the people and going to the “events.” And I’m telling you, it was great interpersonally with this guy, but I had to leave and have nothing to do with him, even though it meant taking many steps backwards professionally. (I’m kinda proud in my work, so that actually felt like a relief.) And now I’m fine and dating guys who don’t raise eyebrows when we’re out together. It isn’t the rush it was being with this guy, and maybe it does feel like settling. But it also feels like peace and happiness.

    I do know many successful May-December couples. The woman is most often the younger, but not always. In that particular situation it’s really hard b/c the guy starts losing his health a few decades before the woman will, and so she’ll (most likely) have to see him through his illness and death and then (possibly) be alone for a very long time. And if you are marrying a guy for his “stability” — meaning, you may be attracted to him to fill in some gaps in your own abilities — well, unless you learn in your time with him how to manage a portfolio and deal with all of the stuff that comes with settling an estate, that “stability” may not seem like such a gift.

    OK. Gotta get off the internet. My eHarmony guy is gonna call in a few. He’s 3 years older than I am. Not as exciting as Award Man, but very funny, nice.

  8. 8
    Lance

    Older guys: higher social value. More money, more real estate, knowledge, culture, wisdom, well traveled, higher social/emotional intelligence. I totally buy younger women going for older men. See it all the time.

    I’ve got a question. Let’s say a 28 year old goes out with a 45 year old VRD (very rich dude). They only plan on being together for 15 years, give or take. Basically a really long LTR or a planned mid-term marriage. Does anyone have a problem with this? I don’t. He gets what he wants (fantasies fulfilled, feels younger, arm candy, whatever), and she gets what she wants that is, a comfortable life.

  9. 9
    starthrower68

    Oh I can related to that “being with an older guy is a rush thing”. I briefly – very briefly – dated a 50 year old. He just knocked my socks off. Obviously it didn’t work out, and there were other incompatibilities, but yah, this guy still had it!

  10. 10
    vino

    Lance wrote: “I’ve got a question. Let’s say a 28 year old goes out with a 45 year old VRD (very rich dude). They only plan on being together for 15 years, give or take. Basically a really long LTR or a planned mid-term marriage. Does anyone have a problem with this? I don’t. He gets what he wants (fantasies fulfilled, feels younger, arm candy, whatever), and she gets what she wants that is, a comfortable life.”

    Do THEY jointly plan on being together for 15 years? Or does She? I ask because the VRD can live like Hef (cialis, viagra). What’s the payout to her?

    No offense, still sounds like legalized prostitution.

    Wait, isn’t that much of what it is anyway?

  11. 11
    Sarah G

    And don’t forget events, Lance. The grown-up events are very nice, and not something that a young guy can bring you to. It’s hard for me now to go to hipster events where people have been throwing up on the steps outside.

  12. 12
    A-L

    My family background has made me naturally drawn toward older people (friends and romantic interests alike). My siblings are all between 10-17 years older than me, my dad is 10 years older than my mom, my grandfather was 12 years older than my grandmother…for us it’s kind of the norm. Granted the 10-12 year age difference isn’t 17-25+, but it’s greater than average.

    My interests have also tended to be “older” for my age. I’ve never been into the bar/club scene, can count on one hand the number of concerts by artists with a younger fan base, and enjoy the opera, symphonies, museums, etc, that generally tend to have an older audience.

    I have noticed, though, that as I’ve gotten older that I’m less inclined to consider a relationship where there is a much larger age gap. In my early adult years I would have considered dating someone 20 years older than me, but now that’s down to about 10-12 years. Perhaps the fact that guys closer to my age are finally maturing has something to do with it. I’m also interested in some activities (like skydiving or whitewater rafting) that guys above a certain age have zero interest in, so that’s also helping to keep the age difference to one that’s fairly minimal.

    And lastly, in regards to the sugar daddy (or rich older man) phenomeon. Not necessarily the case. I’m currently deliberating over a guy who’s far older than he looks (he looks 10 years younger), who’s sweet as can be, and is the best looking man I’ve seen in years (not just seen romantically, but seen in real life anywhere). Financially though, I suspect I have far more assets. I own my home, and wouldn’t be surprised if earn twice what he does. And though I know the golddigger comments are going to be coming out, that is a concern as he is 17 years older than me (and hence should be that much further along financially) and I’m not earning the executive salaries that the men on this board often comment about. But he’s still very tempting…

  13. 13
    A-L

    Y’all can keep Harrison Ford, I want Robert Redford! Though I also know more than a few young ladies with a thing for Sean Connery…

  14. 14
    Sarah G

    Hmm. I can’t think of any older actors who really do it for me. But this topic is curious b/c just today I read that Adrienne Barbeau is with Billy Van Zandt (she’s about 12 years older); and Barbara Hershey is with that stunner Naveen Andrews from “Lost” (she’s 21 years older); and I don’t know if any of you have seen Kim Basinger lately, but she is an incredible-looking 50-something (for any age, really), and I’m sure that there is many a young guy who’d park his horse in her stable. (I believe she is an animal lover.) These days a lot of women are holding onto their hotness. It’s a nice trend. :)

  15. 15
    Sarah G

    Prostitution is very quid pro quo, Vino. A relationship isn’t because you have feelings for each other. Would each have the same feelings if he were an old loser and she were a young ugly thing? Maybe. But they probably wouldn’t be attracted to each other long enough to find out. Relationship currency isn’t like REAL currency. It’s just what you offer, materially yes, but in other ways, too. Really, the insult is to the guy in the “prostitution” idea you are putting forth — money is all he has to offer and he’s so out of touch emotionally that he would think that someone who is using him really cares about him? I don’t think men are that stupid.

  16. 16
    vino

    “Prostitution is very quid pro quo, Vino.”

    It’s good of you to admit it. I’ll remember that next time someone demands that men pay for everything.

    Also, you seem to ignore the premise that Lance set forth, upon which I based my comment.

    “It’s just what you offer, materially yes, but in other ways, too. Really, the insult is to the guy in the prostitution idea you are putting forth money is all he has to offer and he’s so out of touch emotionally that he would think that someone who is using him really cares about him? I don’t think men are that stupid.”

    What does SHE offer? What other ways? See this link http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/why-does-my-boyfriend-want-less-sex-than-me/#comment-6810. Deathslayer writes yet another priceless post. It’s too long to quote fully here, but it is on point. A choice quote or 2, so people can link over…

    If you women no longer have vaginas, how would you
    keep your man happy?.

    Man you could hear a pin drop…”

    “He said something like this. What’s wrong with you? You could have said, learn to play pool, take him to a sports game, or boating. There were a ton of things you could have done to be with your man and make him happy. But the only way all you women could define yourselves was as three holes and nothing else.

    “They wanted women for those things money CAN’T buy, love, respect, a warm home to come home to, their own children and a good woman to raise them.”

    Many guys 45 & up are not that out of touch emotionally aren’t that out of touch. You are right. They are not that stupid. They just accept it as the cost of admission, like paying a membership fee to join a country club or a cover charge to enter a night club. It’s not an insult to the guy in the ‘prostitution’ idea, just a realistic statement of the nature of the situation.

  17. 17
    Selena

    Along with the possible reasons Evan cited for a younger woman seeking out an older man is also that women in their 20′s-early 30′s may have tired of the young men in their age bracket who treat sex, relationships as sport, conquests and are looking for something more substantial and lasting.

    Older women appreciate younger men for the same reasons older men appreciate younger women. Younger men are more likely to have a flat stomach and all their hair. Also, regarding the perception that women over 40 are “hard”–’some’ men over 40 are quite rigid in their expectations and ‘some’ of them are so bitter you wonder why they are dating in the first place. Perhaps to get back to that time of life when sex and relationships were merely sport and conquests?

    Those observations aside, we still do tend to find someone we really connect with when we’re truly open to it. At any age.

  18. 18
    Selena

    JersyGirl-
    Harrison Ford is not of my generation, but he popped into my generation’s attention in the first “Star Wars” movie when he was in his 30′s and my girlfriends and I were in our teens. It’s been a pleasure to watch him over the last 30 yrs. He’s aged remarkably well.

    Is there an entertainment star you admire (or did as a teen) who is 12 or more yrs. your senior? If so, it might amuse you in the coming decades to see how well THEY age.

  19. 19
    Michael Ejercito

    Evan,

    How would being divorced with a kid appeal to younger women who are neither divorced nor have a kid?

  20. 20
    Steve


    Selena Apr 8th 2008 at 02:13 am 17
    some men over 40 are quite rigid in their expectations and some of them are so bitter you wonder why they are dating in the first place.

    – or hanging out on dating blogs. Some of them are younger too.

  21. 21
    Paul

    The founder of E-Harmony says 6 years either way is about tops. I agree for a host of reasons. It’s a matter of sameness…the more you have the same, ie. background, education, culture, AGE… the more likely the relationship will survive long term. The more differences there are, the more you’ll have to get around. My Dad on the other hand married a woman 25 years younger than he and from a culture half way around the world…been married over 40 years and raised 2 kids. Go figure. The longer you live however, the less age diffference makes a difference. A 40 year old married to a 20 year old would raise some eyebrows. However an 80 year old with a 60 year old? No big deal. I frankly, as much as I’m attracted to the younger form, do not want a gal who is more concerned with things like child rearing if I’m more into retirement planning. Stage of life issues. As my Mom used to say, “find someone you have a lot in common with”.

  22. 22
    Selena

    Steve,
    Yes I’ve noticed that as well. Seems like a waste of time, but if you don’t have anything else to do…?

  23. 23
    Selena

    Paul,
    I disagree that age difference matters less with age. At age 60, many (most?) people are still quite active. At 80 that is much, much less the case–frailty is more the norm.

    The 20′s is an era of such personal change, usually more so than later decades so a relationship between a 20 yr. old and a 40 yr. old might prove difficult as the younger partner progresses through that decade. Person’s in their 30′s, 40′s, & 50′s are more likely to be in more complementary stages of life where differences in age might be mitigated by circumstances (ie: child-rearing, careers).

  24. 24
    dame4net

    Older guys definately have higher social value and are more mature. Fatter incomes, more assets, experience, wisdom, and well traveled and higher EQ, not mention more time as they likely work less or can take early retirement as they have more money. I see why younger women go for older men and I see it all the time online. These young women who are not ready to settle down and pick out older, mature men. Not to mention women are waiting longer these days to have children and families, so what is wrong with dating an older man for a few years before settling down?

  25. 25
    Steve

    Selena;

    About post #22. I agree that it is a waste of time. I’ve been in that kind of loop in my life before. You are so consumed with venting your emotions ( over and over again ) and so obsessed with getting other people to validate your experience that you don’t see that you are caught in an time wasting loop of fruitless repeated experiences. You don’t see that you aren’t moving forward.

    If you can’t see the problem, you can’t fix it.

    The problem isn’t that reality is unfair. It is unfair for everyone. People who are happy despite a given issue are happy because they work with reality as it is rather than demanding to be validated.

  26. 26
    Dittohd

    I think this is a really ridiculous topic. I can’t imagine why any younger woman would want an older man. In fact, assuming that women get smarter as they get older, why would any woman want an older man considering older men are so inherantly so unattractive? An older man as compared to a younger man is generally smarter, more financially secure, a more experienced lover and diaper changer. He’s more experienced at resolving child behavior problems, not so easily frazzled when most other problems in life arise, and better at knowing what women in general want and in communicating with his woman to ascertain what his woman actually wants… and possibly even more interested in providing his woman what she wants if she’s providing him what he wants from the relationship, than a younger man would in many cases.

    The things younger men have over older men seem to be more stamina in bed and a younger body. I can totally understand why, to most women, how these could totally overpower all the advantages previously mentioned older men generally have over younger men. I can totally understand why women would look down on all these properties of older men over the younger men’s advantages.

    What I totally don’t understand is the difference in their stage in life as mentioned before and how that should make much of a difference. Whether a woman stays home or works outside the home, both a man and woman most of the time spend most of their time separated, seeking differing individual goals in the individual work they do daily. Regardless of age, they still both eat and seek entertainment in between the time they aren’t working separately. They still, regardless of age, go to movies, attend entertainment venues that they have in common, take care of their pets and children, etc, etc. So if they determine that they have many similar interests, why would age make a difference considering men and women are, by nature, very different to begin with? Seems to me that any differences between an older man and younger woman are very often common among men and women of similar ages, considering that all men are different and all women are different. So why couldn’t younger women find older men who are very compatible with them?

    One more question. Considering that most marriages in this country end within a relatively short amount of time, is it possible that we are doing things wrong? I wonder which relationships actually last longer on average… couples who are within a few years of age or those with much wider differences in age. Would we be better off if all young women married much older men and then later in life when older, marry much younger men?

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm!

  27. 27
    Nina

    I’m 27 and I find older men incredibly attractive. I had a crush on my father’s friend growing up and I still think he’s one of the most attractive older men I have ever met. The thing is, he was also smart and interesting. I think that is what attracts me to older men. They are so much more mature, interesting, and self aware than men my age. Most of the men my age I have met like to party. I don’t. They like to take pictures with as many hot looking girls as they can find and post them on facebook and myspace for everyone to see how cool that makes them. I’m not saying they’re all like that but I have met my share. In general I just think oder men have more to offer a woman than a 25-35 yr old does.

    1. 27.1
      N Johnson

      There are lots of exceptions.  Not all men are the average at say, 65 or so, as their peers.  So many men have never taken care of themselves and or have bad genes and are what most consider average or normal.  If one is and has been into physical activities all their life, that makes a big difference, unless they have fallen claim to things like diabetes, high blood pressure gone unchecked,  and all the things that can go wrong for either sex.  My GF just 2 years younger, and so wonderful a person and very attractive and sexual at 70, died from ALS.   She had no control over that.   Women want security and so they follow that.  But, they need all the good things that go with a relationship (Marriage) too.   Men want security too.

  28. 28
    Lance

    @Nina: There you have it! Younger women like older guys because of their social value, and older guys like younger women because of their hotness and energy. Attraction in a nutshell.

    1. 28.1
      happymelanie

      I don’t think it’s true that women these days like men simply because of their social value. This is a harsh truth for many men to swallow, but looks are important. A guy can be wealthy and powerful, but I am not going to be sexually attracted to him if he is bald, old, goofy looking, or out of shape. I am happy with my wealth and position in society, so I don’t need his. I can understand how poor/powerless/insecure women go for such men out survival instincts, but is that what you really want? Plus, when much older men hit on me (purely because of my age), it just comes across as insecure and entitled, and that is a bigger turn off than the bald head and gut.
       
       

  29. 29
    Sarah G

    I’d put it this way — relationships that are only about sex are very boring. If a guy sees a woman as “only three holes” he is boring. You do not want to spend time with him in relationship — but it’s good to know there are guys like that out there if you need a booty call. They are easy. At some point guys figure this out and they become immensely attractive as life partners — because well, maybe women want both sex AND relationship. Until the young bucks figure this out, they are just not worth the time of day. Things that men can find in relationship with a woman besides the “three holes”: laughter, companionship, intelligence, warmth, comfort, a family, a partner in building wealth, a caregiver, an ally, a buddy, another driver on long road trips.

  30. 30
    Sarah G

    By figuring “this” out I meant that relationships that are only about sex are boring. That relationship can offer more than that.

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