Dating the Older Man
A mook with experience of dating older men looks at the benefits a relationship with an older man can bring, along with the potential disadvantages.
The older man is a strange beast. I have fallen prey to its charms, and have come to know them well.
The potential advantages of dating an older man
Dating older men has many advantages.
They're usually more experienced, for one. Not to say that he's been with a million girls, but feeling like at least one of you knows what you're doing can be rather reassuring.
They're more financially stable. Money isn't everything, but having a guy with a decent job he can hold down is often a good start to a stable relationship.
They know better who they are. Remember those try-hards from back in school, who, completely lacking in their own identity, borrowed someone else's? Who didn't know what they were doing with their lives, or what they wanted? Well, after a decade or so, most men have sorted that out, and that's when you can nab them.
They have more life experience. This can be a mixed blessing (it may lead them to view your issues as unimportant), but it does mean that they may be able to give good advice, and have greater understanding. For that matter, they tend to know better what they want. Which is all part of the fact that...
Older men are more mature. This is possibly the clincher. It is pretty much a well-known, accepted, common-sense FACT that women mature faster than men. This might mean, quite simply, that the guys around your age feel like immature little kids to you. It's said that boys never truly grow out of their toys but, really? Nobody cares about your skateboard/WoW character/stupid jokes. Older men *tend* (and I do say tend), to have grown out of a lot of this. And, relatedly...
Younger men often aren't ready to settle down. If you want to marry and have a million babies, an older man may be a better bet.
All of this goes without saying, of course, that he is quite possibly the most fabulous person on the face of the earth, your soulmate, etc. etc. But being with an older man comes with its own concerns...
The potential disadvantages of dating an older man
Are you just a fling to him? Don't trivialise his dating history - you don't want to be someone's "bit of crumpet". Find out what he's looking for; hopefully a deep and meaningful relationship. If you get any indication that he's shallow or a womanizer, ditch him.
Does he respect you? So maybe you're 5 years younger than him. Maybe 15. But that doesn't have to matter if he treats you seriously and as an equal. Don't let him treat your opinions flippantly, or treat you like a 'silly girl'. But what am I saying? You wouldn't put up with that crap.
And if the older man you're seeing is quite far into his later years perhaps you should start asking... Why is he still single? There can be plenty of good reasons for this. Maybe he's been in a long-term relationship or he may even a divorcée (though remember, in that relationship he may have been the problem!). Maybe he's a bit of a workaholic. Maybe it just... hasn't worked out for him yet. Maybe you're that one person in the world who can see all of his amazing qualities. But do consider... if not girl has snatched him up yet, why not?
Why is he interested in YOU? Not to say that he shouldn't be (I have absolutely no doubt that you are a truly stunning person, inside and out), but if he's 35, you may want to ask yourself why he's interested in 20 year olds.
Now might be a good point to mention the Standard Dating Creepiness Rule. It states that the younger partner should not be more than half the older partner's age, plus 7. For instance, a thirty year old could date a 22 year old, but not younger. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but what it emphasises is that an 'appropriate' age gap will depend on your age - 20 & 30 might be okay, but 14 & 20... possibly not.
The approval of others. So maybe this isn't the most important thing, but it still deserves an honourable mention. Will your parents approve of their little girl going out with an older man? Will your friends think you've gone round the twist for dating a university graduate when you're still in high school?
As in any relationship, there are a million variables and things to think about. Sometimes there is the time, but not the place. Sometimes the place but not the time. Every two people are different, and the fact that you are into an older man may complicate things, it may not.
But if it's a meeting of true minds, then age is just a number. Don't let it hold you back!
DISCLAIMER: These observations are, of course, generalisations that may or may not hold true for any specific individual. Don't sue me!
What Mooks are saying on Twitter about dating older men...
@spacedmuch one of the best experiences emotionally. Older guys have the maturity one craves from men their own age and finds lacking.
@meowy24 he is only 4 years older but he is lovely :D
@_amyct I dated an older man and he was a twat. When I say "older", I mean I was 16, he was 21. So, verging on inappropriate. But he wasn't a twat for the reasons people would guess given the ages - he was just a general twat who should never be allowed near humans.
@originalchull Some people wouldn't mind being someone else's 'bit of crumpet'. My older guy was fun but ended because he needed more time for his daughter (!) Child was more of an issue than age.