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

couple doing yoga

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?


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?

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

Not many, I’m thinking.

Before any 40+ people get all hot and bothered about this — I am not judging. There is nothing wrong with aging. I do think people improve with age (my wife 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.

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.

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

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.

Hey, I’m no psychologist — just your friendly, neighborhood dating coach. 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 28-year-old women I know would prefer to date a great, stable 30-40 year-old – who also knows what Snapchat  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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  1. 21

    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”.

  2. 22

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

  3. 23

    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).

  4. 24

    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?

  5. 25


    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.

  6. 26

    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?


    1. 26.1

      Sometimes, just sometimes, the woman listens to her body clock and actually wants to use her body the way it was built … to have a couple of babies. Their is a shortage of men who have the maturity and integrity  to hang around to be the father for their children. So, when a woman finds a man who will, she just might … actually … jump at the chance, even if he actually is a little older than her father!

      Do-gooders say that she should do without … usually the do-gooders already have their own spouse and children, and demand that single women do without. Shame that the do-gooders  do not have the integrity that the older man has  !  

    2. 26.2

      According to British census data, large age difference marriages in both directions last longer than small ones. About as many women chose to marry much younger men as choose much older men. The numbers are small compared to people who marry with a two year age gap (which has by far the highest 20 year divorce rate). My first wife was 5 years older than me my new one is 24 years younger. Age was immaterial both times. Now flak about child rearing that was a serious issue.

      1. 26.2.1

        I don’t know what “British census data” you are referencing, but the studies I have read–and I’ve read a LOT of them since it is my field–say you have it exactly backwards.

        Statistically (and controlling for other factors), if a couple has a one year age difference, the risk of divorce increases to 3 percent (from O percent if they are the exact same age).   The relative risk of divoce with a 5-year age difference goes up to 18 percent.   With a 10-year age difference, risk of divorce increases by almost 40 percent. With a 15 year age difference, relative risk of divorce goes up at least 10 more percent points.   With a 20-year age difference, relative risk of divorce increases to over 90 percent.

        This study’s results, stated generally above, were done in the US .   It did not matter whether the female or male was older.   POINT:   The statistical risk of divorce sharply rises with age gaps in marriage partners.   The bigger the age gap, the higher the rate of divorce (controlling to the degree possible for other factors).   Not saying this is a “cause and effect”…just that there is a strong correlation.

        I do not agree that 28 year old women have the most choices in men.   A lot of smart men want well educated doctor-lawyer-professionally successful wives who still look hot at 50 plus years of age.   (There are still quite a few women like that…think Christy Brinkley at age 61.)     Do you think men in their fifties are really more attracted to women their daughters ages?   (Sorry….some are initially…but they end up marrying within their OWN age bracket most of the time.   NOT because they couldn’t get somebody younger…but because they want somebody they can relate to and who challenges them…and who remembers where they were when Jim Morrison died…and when President Kennedy was shot.)

        When you are 25 and super good looking (I know and remember) you THINK that older men want you….but they really want somebody who is more sophisticated that you!   And more interesting.

        Work on your INNER beauty…and stop worrying about the wrinkles.   Keep yourself fit and healthy and stop reading STUPID STUPID articles such as this one.   Don’t waste your precious time on this guy’s columns.   It’s for teeny boppers.

    3. 26.3

      Although, I agree with almost everything you have posted.  Lol,   I would disagree with one specific area.     With regards to stamina and bodies.     I am 45 and honestly, I find that men my age have way and I mean way better bodies and stamina than younger men.  We are at  our prime.   We lift more, we run more, our tone is better, and  et cetera.   Especially in this video game stay home need a mom  age that young men live in today.    I am in the US army and frankly, I am very embarrassed to see boys from 18 to 30 that  well (not to seem to sexist) are girls.   They are fat, out of  shape whinny and need someone to take care of them at all times.   Its an age of entitlement, where they expect everything to be given to them as if they deserve it.   Hard work is a think of the past and  well  women are the new man.    And when it comes to intimate encounters, well again younger men are lacking.     Of my personal life, I get young 20 year old women weekly asking for my number.   Its flattering but I understand that women want a man.   They don’t want a boy most of the time that they have to take care of .       Up here in Alaska, women are diverse and independent.   Some of the most petite beautiful creatures can be often found, hunting and fishing and living in the woods all by themselves.     It an amazing time and woman have found equality and are taking advantage of it.       Just my two cents, if it made sense that is.   Have a great day!

    4. 26.4

      “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?”

      I completely agree with you!

  7. 27

    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.

    2. 27.2

      come back ten years from when you are 37 and tell me your dream man is a 55 year old. Ha!  

      1. 27.2.1

        Paula – Exactly! When I was 30; I dated men 10 years older than me thinking this was smart… Now I am 34 and like my man two years older… Men think they are so young at heart … Not so! They age quickly! Current bf is active and the intimacy is wayyy better than my plus 40 boyfriend; we are so compatibilitle! Not to mention, older bf liked his texting girlfriend on the side. No thanks…

    3. 27.3

      I agree completely!   love the interesting topics hes interested in how he understands and listens he has tons of crazy stories hes very self aware always puts others first. He mirrors my personality.sometimes I feel like a 45 year old in a 22 year old body. I dont fit in with my generation. Hes 58 and has lived   through things I would love to experiance. everyone my own age is mostly superficial and looking for a quick bang i have no time or patience for the drama of a young relationship I need understanding intelligence and knowing that he is capable of standing on his own two feet. I have my own life to worry about I dont need to be worrying about if my young boyfriend will finish school get a job and be able to support himself I got stuck supporting two imbeciles for about a year each definitely put my life on backtrack    (had three long term and it was miserable though i did learn alot about myself!) Neither of us were looking for each other we just happened to become good friends and it went from there. People may argue that having a family is near impossible for a such an age gap and maybe thas true but its not when you dont want one! Say what you may but i am a free spirit have plans for my own future and that does not consist of a youngin. I havnt the time. Thats 18+ years I could be working on my own dreams. Besides why would i make an innocent child suffer in this screwed up world that society has created. No thank you i dont like it here so im not going to make someone else suffer. Whether we have 5 years or if we have 30 years together   I know this connection is deep and worth it. For those who have Never loved unconditionally on a soul level will not understand nor will they be expected to understand. They are young souls who need to develop but I feel if you find someone who treats you well challenges your mind enjoys adventures and loves you for you what is stopping you from being together?   Nobody and nothing. Not only is he my “soul mate” he has also been my best friend since way before we were together and I am grateful for every moment we get to spend together confusing the heck out of people while we look deeply into each other knowing what we have is real and right.

      1. 27.3.1

        I LOVE THIS! This is definitely how I feel. I’m not sure of your age gap. But I’m 23 and my boyfriend is 50. I’m definitely a 45 year old in a 23 year old body. We click on every level and the love is so pure and passionate between us that the age thing never crosses my mind. I don’t have to worry about if he’s out cheating or going to quit his job. All of those trivial things my sisters worry about with their boyfriends. He completes me and he is my soul mate. I absolutely adore him and I am his universe. I love how passionate he is and how youthful he is.

  8. 28

    @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

      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.

    2. 28.2

      Things is, at lot of that “social value” was established because women were at an economic disadvantage. Younger women leaned toward men with more stability, i.e., older men, because they HAD to. Now that the wage gap is closing and more women are establishing their own careers, you will see the same standards being applied to men that women have lived with all along. Looks, vitality, Youth, health. We like all those things in our men just as you men like them in us. Prepare to be judged by the standards you have been using to judge others. Once women can support themselves sufficiently without you do you think looks aren’t going to play a big role in who they choose to date?  

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 30.1

      I am 44 and have younger girl FRIENDS. We go out to eat, watch movies or try new things. AS FRIENDS. We are comfortable enough to be able to snuggle and walk with arms around each other without any thought of it meaning more than what it is. Just human contact. We all crave human touch and it is nice to be able to get it without being or feeling pressure to be romantically involved.

      At this point in my life a friend is more important to me than a relationship and I have found that if I try to have just a friendship with women my own age, that is not what they are looking for.

      My point is, just because you see an older man out with a younger girl and even if they have their arms around each other, it doesn’t mean anything. Frankly, none of anyone elses business either.

  11. 31

    Lance, you should remember that Nina can’t possibly speak for all women. Yes, some women like dating older men, some women don’t. There has been evidence in the posting here where women have said they don’t want to date older, and there has been evidence that some don’t mind dating older. It’s kind of funny as soon as one posts that she does, you equate that to her speaking for all women.

    I don’t have a problem with older men/ younger women relationships or younger men / older women relationships. What I take issue with is that men somehow have this stigma against women where they think women are worth less for aging while men try primp themselves up as being better with age. It’s a crappy way to treat an entire gender. And those are the men that young or older women alike have to stay away from.

  12. 32

    I also want to add that I am in my 20s and none of my friends date, or have an interest in dating older men. Most are in long term relatoinships with men near their age or within 7 years of each other.

    1. 32.1

      People at you age adore  justin bieber as well.
      What’s your point??
      One thing that i hate is moral lessons.

  13. 33
    Michael Ejercito

    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.
    This is true.

    Of course, women should show they can offer something besides a hole or three, or else they will only hook up with men who are only interested in a hole or three.

  14. 34

    Research and studies show, successful relationships have a 15 year age difference, the man is older. Women date younger men through out most of Europe common practice.

    1. 34.1

      I have also found research that says a 7 year age gap, max, is ideal.   It is all relative and research is often bias.  

  15. 35

    What I take issue with is that men somehow have this stigma against women where they think women are worth less for aging while men try primp themselves up as being better with age.
    What stigma? Ask yourself this, IF a man keeps himself in shape and develops maturity and respect, he can get young women, so what’ the problem.

    A woman who develops a FEMININE attitude, keeps herself in shape, and has a NICE personality can also get men interested.

    As I said in an earlier post…people are VISUAL…if you are older, have a nasty scowl, a mean personality, you’re not gonna get noticed.

    Men typically want women who are not battle hardened and still have some feminine charm…as a lot of women these days get older, they have never developed that and basically men say if I’m gonna deal with a woman, it’s best to get her at the peak of ripeness and freshness.

    It’s a crappy way to treat an entire gender. And those are the men that young or older women alike have to stay away from.
    Thing is, will that stop women from complaining that they don’t have a man?

    23% of men are on a dating BOYCOTT…many women complain they can’t find a man even though a woman who looks and acts feminine has guys asking her out close to a 1000 times a year and somehow they CAN’T find a good men worth getting to know?

    Why blame the men? If women don’t want us to bother with them, then I’m sure we can find something else to occupy our time and women who WE can get to know.

    So far, women want the man to come up and talk to them, pay for the date, still love her when she ages, still respect her and desire her and not call out what men have known for ages…

    Now, I want EVERY guy here to ask this question:


    1. 35.1

      Nothing. Just look at older married couples, therein lies your answer. The man’s tetesterone (misspelled) has dropped making her more feminine, the woman has more testosterone and lower estrogen ; she drives, she leads. It’s a joy. We all need love. If there’s nothing in it for you why are you are. you must be very bored just like me. Love is a beautiful thing.

      1. 35.1.1
        Stephan Engel


        What old man wants to chase around toddlers after retirement full time? And for these sweet 20-30 year olds, they are definitely cheating. Don’t fool yourself.

  16. 36

    to Nina,

    Studies show younger women “bond” with older men.

  17. 37

    @Jersey: My comment was tongue in cheek. Things were getting a little too serious around here. Seriously though, I’m of the “To Each His or Her Own” line of thinking. Young chick, older guy? Cool. Older chick, younger guy? Rock on sister.

    Also, can I get your number? 😉

  18. 38

    If the rumours are anywhere near correct then is it not true that about half of all marriages end in divorce within the first 2-7 years? So who cares who is older or by how many years? It’s not like couples are actually growing old together any way. Til death do us part allegedly died decades ago. I say enjoy the limited time you have with whoever you are with. All this fuss about gregorian calender age differences are, in IMHO, moot.

    1. 38.1

      Just because many people get divorced, most people don’t think they are going to get divorced, so your argument does not make much sense.

      Still, I agree that we should love the one we are with and enjoy our limited time together.

      But I came close to death.   I saw the end.   And the only thing that really matters is that people stop treating each other like a piece of meat and what they can get out of one another.

      Better to start out with what one can offer to the other.

  19. 39

    Mia, a very intelligent point ( post 38 )

  20. 40


    May I suggest that after incorporating what you learn from reading your pickup artist (PUA) books you go on to add your own experience to your beliefs and think for yourself? I mean no offense. Sometimes you sound like a new convert to a religion robotically repeating doctrine into whatever subject comes up.

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