Straight From His Mouth: Is It Harder To Date Women In Their Late 20s And Early 30s?

February 25, 2013  |  

Source: Shutterstock

I’ve always had a theory that at a certain point in everyone’s life they stop developing and they start coping. Without a serious life altering event, it’s unlikely that most people will truly change after their mid-twenties. They may adapt, but they won’t really change. I’ll give you an example: after a woman is about 30 and she realizes that she has trust issues she typically reacts a certain way. She will either resolve that she has trust issues and project that onto the people she dates, expecting them to deal with it, or she will choose to suppress her trust issues because she has found that it negatively affects her dating life. As you can see, she either doesn’t take any action at all, or she adapts to get the desired result. However, those trust issues are still very present within.

I was asked one time if it gets harder to date as you got older and I responded, “Yes, for men it is. For women, it’s still a little unclear to me.” I don’t believe in generalizations but if I was forced to answer that question, I’d say that the nature of dating and relationships is cumulative and progressive and for that reason it makes it harder for women as they get older.

As a man, by the time I’ve reached my late 20s I’ve had a significant amount of experience dating. I explained to a group of women at a recent panel that at this point in my life when I make a mistake or do something wrong in a relationship, I’m fully aware of those actions. I’ve been in the dating world since adolescence, lying, cheating or being too distant aren’t ignorant mistakes a man makes – he’s very cognizant of his errors. Most men are also logical lovers; we believe that somehow we can control our emotions and feelings. We believe that if we adjust this or that, it will in turn adjust the outcome. This prevents most men from having a perspective that things will never change.

Well, in my experience from dealing with women as they near their late 20s, their experiences start to get the best of them. I think of the people with the most optimistic outlook on dating and relationships and I notice that they are typically younger. (I’m assuming these women are single. Married women who are nearing 30 or in their early 30s may not have been in the dating world for some time at this point.) As women get older, and because the majority of women are emotional lovers, they begin to inherently have baggage. Whether they’d like to admit it or not, they are carrying the cumulative transcript of their dating lives. Every time they’ve worn their heart on their sleeve too early on and had it crushed, they learn to not give too much and wait for a man to commit before them. Every time they’ve been cheated on, they’ve learned to be very careful to not give trust but let it be earned. Several examples could be given here, but I believe you get the picture. If women love emotionally, when their emotions get damaged, they can’t help but be affected.

I should say, this isn’t a bad thing. People should let past experiences guide their actions, but they just shouldn’t be held captive by them. Consequently, I think it’s harder, but I don’t know if I would say worse, to date women as they get older. I’ll explain.

I would tell any other man, by the time a woman reaches the age of 27-28, her brain has completely developed and will not be developing anymore. That’s a biological fact. That doesn’t mean she won’t emotionally or socially grow, but her brain is done. The chances are she’s going to be the way she is at that point forever unless she has a life-altering event. Life-altering events are rare in nature and don’t happen often or to everyone. The woman you’re trying to date is likely very aware of her faults and if she isn’t, will never be aware of her faults. This might be a good thing for a man. If you’re able to know up front all the good and bad things about a woman, it may make out for a better situation – but not easier. For example, if you’re told by a woman that she is an absolute control freak and just likes things a certain way, that may be a good thing for a man who doesn’t want to have to worry about having to do everything and handle every detail. But in the same breath that partner is going to have control over his ever move because that’s a gift and curse of his woman.

Conversely, younger women are easier to date, but it’s not always the best situation. Younger women aren’t done developing and are subject to many more iterations before they fully mature or settle into their persona. It’s easy to date younger women because they haven’t figured it all out and haven’t grown their “olive tree” in the yard. (An Olive tree is an example of something that represents identity and tradition and is longstanding.) On the flip side, younger women are likely to go through many iterations of themselves between 21 and 30. The young girl you find easy to date today may one day change and leave, or not be the great fit you imagined she was before. That’s why I advise men to keep that in the back of their mind when they date younger. You may be falling in love with a person who is going to change and they may or may not still love you down the line.

No one can say that all of these are absolutes; I’ve seen many who don’t fit the mold. I’m just speaking from my experience and from what I’ve noticed at a macro level. Each woman is going to be different. If I was playing a numbers game, I would go with everything in this article. In practicality, I have to just get out there and meet the woman and take it from there. I believe it’s true that older women are ready to settle down, get married and build a family. I believe that younger women are still trying to find out who they are and want to have fun at the same time. As a man, I’ve got to meet the right woman and see what the issues are – am I willing to sacrifice or compromise for those issues? Younger women may be all over the place but they love deeper and quicker. Older women may love smarter but may carry baggage from past dating experiences that turned bad. I really don’t know, all I can do is tell you that you can either play the numbers game or you can form a theory and test it out and see if it hold true. Personally, I would recommend taking it on a case by case basis.

Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated.  Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.

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  • Santigo

    As a 33 y/o man, I would much rather date a woman in her late 20’s/early 30’s than a young woman between 20-25. It is usually too much of an age gap. Been there done that 2 times, and it was enough. 3 years ago at the age of the 30 I dated a 22 y/o young woman. Great connection, she had an old soul so we enjoyed many of the same interests, amazing sex & attraction…BUT, emotionally she was very underdeveloped & also came with a lot of dysfunctional baggage from her family & previous relationships. Those things sucked the life out of our relationship & she ended up going to back an ex who treated her awful & constantly cheated on her. She went back to him & within a year or so…came back looking for me, but Nah, no going back, low is too short to fix people. The lack of life experience and to be honest I don’t think most of us really knew what healthy love was at 20-25. Hell, we were still working to become comfortable with ourselves let alone know what love really is. I know I can look back during that time when I was in my early 20’s and find a few young women I dated and say “What The Hell was I thinking” and then there were also 1-2 women I dated during that time that were more mature than I was and I realize I did not realize what a good woman I had at that time because I was too immature to appreciate them or understand them. Now at 32y/o the youngest I would date is 28. I think most Men & Women from an emotional sense as long as they don’t carry excess baggage around start getting it around 27,28…BUT definitely not 20-25.

  • Sharay

    I pretty much agree, coming from a 33 yr old female. Most of the women my age who are single either realize they don’t need a man, or are completely desperate for one. Most women in this age group are stuck in their ways and aren’t willing to bend. They have already set standards, and if you don’t meet the requirements they quickly lose interest.

  • ariana rezendes

    Lol the complete negligence of any sherd of scientific and statistical factual data is very humorous to me. . ..made me laugh long time!

  • Alissa

    From a widow who had it all: independent single women in their late twenties early thirties who have life experience and know themselves have no trouble being direct about what they want , need, expect from a man. That is not baggage. That is being an adult woman , not a nieve girl. Keep your herpes because I don’t want it no matter how cute you are. Get the point?

  • Cool Breeze

    You better no pout, you better not shout; daddy’s gone spank you! Women know they need a rough and tumble brother with a smooth sense of sensibility. What they missed out on in not having a male father figure guiding them.

  • Pingback: Est-il plus difficile de sortir avec une femme en fin de 20aine/début 30aine ? | La Scandaleuse()

  • DCgirlnmd

    This was a waste of time to read! The article is choc-full of assumptions, the author’s logic is a bit faulty, and alot of what he’s saying is nonsensical. It literally took me 20 minutes to get through the entire thing because I rolled my eyes so much. LOL

    • Drew Smith

      I’d urge you to rethink your position (re: the article being a waste of time), as this IS the general consensus for MOST men — as nonsensical as it may seem. Sure. the article is full of assumptions; it’s an opinion piece…

      • think

        How do you know that? Did you do a global study? Yet another generalization.

        • Drew Smith

          News Flash: Even a “Global Study” would take a subset of the population, then make a generalization based upon the results — DUH. In this case — a scaled down version of a Global Study — I’ve taken the conversations I’ve had over the years with hundreds of men spanning different age groups, ethnicities and geographic locations, and made a generalization based upon the subject of said conversations. I’ve gone through the trouble of providing additional examples of generalizations I’ve come up with in my life, and they are as follows: (1) Most people in the World are NOT blind; (2) most people in the United States have a job; and (3) most of the US population is, in fact, literate. Every study ever done is a generalization beyond the specific test group. “Think” about that for a while.

  • Cassie

    It’s seems to me that the author is intimidated by mature women that have experience and would rather play in the kiddie pool being that he himself is just as immature. I am glad he doesn’t favor women in their late twenties and thirties such as myself. Bring on the real men!

    • DCgirlnmd


  • D

    I think it’s code for women who are younger are more “naive” so it’s “easier” to date them. Older women see past bullsh**. I understand baggage, but it’s silly to call it harder. Once again, it seems like the blame is on the women. Maybe it’s just men to step up to a certain extent too..

  • On_Point

    yea because many women who slooted it up in their early 20 wasted good time in finding a decent marry to settle down with but by the time they get to their late 20s early 30s they start getting desperate(crazy b/c their clock is ticking).

    • hollyw

      So what about the woman in her late 20s who didn’t “sloot” it up, are nice, successful and sane, why is dating hard for them? Oh, those don’t exist, right lol..?

  • sabrina

    I don’t understand why some people take these articles so seriously. The writers over at SBM and VSB always make it clear that they are not really by definition “relationship experts”, know everything there is to know about women, or defend their statements as absolute truths. They understand that this is their opinion based off of their own experiences and admit that. I just take everything they say with a grain of salt (if that’s how the saying goes) because as he points out — it’s not EVERY woman this applies to, just SOME. And not EVERY man has this mindset or feels the same way.

    • Nope

      Because it’s somewhat critical for lack of a better word. If the article was about how ALL women are beautiful (which would also just be an opinion) would be accepted as fact. Only on here that’s not blindly complimentary about women gets labeled as “generalizing”.

      • sabrina

        LOL that’s so true!

    • SheBe

      THANK YOU!!!!! Goodness. This is taken WAY too personally.

  • Men just need to learn game & stay away from women who are 27 – 39. Too much trouble.

  • Kenedy

    Here we go again with these articles….another black man who thinks he knows black women better than they know themselves because apparently, he’s slept with plenty of them back in his days. These articles are laughable…they always create some weird social constricts that don’t even exist…oh women cheat because of this….oh women aren’t datable once they hit 30…oh women are insecure because of this….oh women should give up on finding love…oh women love to complain because of this & that…MN where do you find all these self proclaimed psychologists at? Happy Monday everyone!

    • rita

      Not sure why this site posts this BS. Just another man rationalizing why women need to step on tiptoes and modify their behavior to deal with childish men. I would like to have a column by a man with a more nuanced view of things — or better yet, make a women’s site a place for women’s voices.

  • we have to stop hating and just keep it moving………sometimes people come in our lives for a while and then we move on ……

  • yes it gets harder when you older because some peope are bitter etcme i am not bitter or mad at my xs i wish them the best and thank-ou for what transpired but all things sometimes come to a end check!!!!!!i find getting older a beautiful thing

  • AW

    A few lines of wisdom and truth but then totally chickened out at the end!

    • DCgirlnmd

      Yes he did…lol. He feared that the women in their late-20s and 30s would tie him up and get him because we’re all CRAZZZZYYY. Lol

      • Amicus

        LOL! chickened out? maybe. But I like to think he’s growing less sure of himself. Some of his earlier stuff was OFF THE WALL. This is actually *mostly* not too arrogant.

  • bluekissess

    Once again this is a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.

    • Nope

      I don’t see it that way. No one gets their way all of the time.

      • bluekissess

        I see it that way. If you’ve read articles from MN then you’ll know what I’m speaking of. It’s the women who’s broken, crazy, a control freak, isn’t allowed to speak her mind and now it’s difficult to date us and the only way it can be easy is if we’re young and dumb. That’s the pattern I’ve noticed when reading articles such as this one

        • Nope

          Well I personally don’t think women are crazy, broken, etc. But I do believe in accountability, 2 way streets, and common denominators, much of which a whole lot of women don’t want to hear anything about. Most women have played a very active and willing role in the romantic situation the wind up in but place 100% blame on men for failed relationships and “relationships” and it’s not until they’re old(er) that they suddenly care.

          Like even though everyone knows that beauty fades, a lot of women still acted like there was no tomorrow going after men they shouldn’t have instead of “nerdy” Theodore, who’s now a CEO, CIO, or COO somewhere.
          These women weren’t at home dateless on Saturday nights they were laying in the bed (sometimes literally) they would have to make in their late 20’s/early 30’s. Most could have had a “good” man locked down when they were younger and more desirable.

          And regarding this article I find it both ironic and a little humorous that younger women are taking men and attention away from older women, much the same the older women did themselves when she was younger.

          • bluekissess

            Which is true but in order to get some understanding of men they also need to display accountability and not just blaming it just on not being emotional. We’re all hard to date based on past experiences and if we all are aware then the dating should be easy.

          • deidraj

            Again, women (much like their male counterparts) need time to mature. Men often say that women are stronger, or more mature – but not in every way. Most women in their twenties don’t know who they’ll be in 10 years. Can you imagine how terrifying it must be to settle down with a guy who looks like “Mr Right” on paper, when you don’t know yourself? All she can see in her future in that case is a mental breakdown and a highly probable divorce. Women do continue to grow emotionally and are not settled in who they are in their late 20’s and early 30’s. I agree that we let life teach us some hard lessons in a very personal way that may temporarily cripple some women’s dating efforts. Any older woman will tell you that the age of full maturity and emotional security is in the late 30’s or early 40’s. This is when women become more grounded in who we are, when we’ve fully grasped self-love, and emotional intelligence. I get the impression that this guy is so busy trying to use logic to control outcomes that he’s treated his relationships like a science project when he could be taking the opportunity to step up with romance (as in courtship, intimacy, touch, presence), trust-building (transparency, courage, quality time) and an honest commitment. (Not money, looks, lust, or other superficial things) Scared yet? Most women’s hearts aren’t as hard to heal as all that. But it’s about what you do to prove it. If a man comes in to a relationship looking like a duck, behaving like a duck, and quacking like the same lame – behind duck she’s experienced over and over again, then how can he expect to be taken seriously? Or does he want to be taken seriously at all? We have to watch out for those too. A man who really knows women (..Make an effort. Get to know women and work accordingly. Feel your way through.) can have that damaged, cynical, broken-hearted girl in sappy, dopey, punch drunk love in no time – IF he really wants her. I think most men know that, its just that 9 times out of 10, he doesn’t want her badly enough to try when he can just shack up with younger women who don’t know any better.

            • Nope

              “Again, women (much like their male counterparts) need time to mature.”

              Women typically only admit this like 5-10 years after the fact. But they usually claim to know what they want and what their doing in the moment.

          • Me

            Nerdy Theodore can be a dog too. Don’t get it twisted. I know. I like nerds, but they are not exempt from playing tomfoolery, and they don’t all treat you like gold. They have their own issues bc they couldn’t get laid for most of their life. Once they have money, they try to make up for lost time. Smh

            • hollyw

              EXACTLY. Mama never raised no fool, and I never fell for the jock, so please believe, every time I had my time wasted (not including the times I, myself, was a time-waster), it was the smartest Black boy in the class, that talented classical musician from the East Coast, or savvy business student who was the up-and-coming CEO. The age of immaturity is the age of immaturity. It’s not even a women vs. men thing; it’s all humans!

              • Me

                Right!! I tire of that same ol “you didn’t give the nerd/good guy a chance when you were younger” argument. A man is a man is a man…

        • Kahekili

          This article comes from ‘Dr. J’ of Single Black Male. All of their articles are trash.

          • hollyw

            I see that now lol…

          • bluekissess

            Oh, no wonder. Smh

        • hollyw

          I agree. This article just sounded full of cliches. The bit about a woman and trust issues? Speculating that she’ll never learn how to trust after age 28 simply b/c the brain has stopped growing?? That is grossly inaccurate. I’m a clinical psychologist, it gets harder to teach yourself new things the older you become, but it’s not impossible, esp. if one is willing to put in the work. The End. I feel like they let their staff speak on their own experiences too much w/o consulting expert advice. Just lazy. And negative towards women.

          • bluekissess

            I’m not a psychologist but I knew it. Was something like that. Thanks 🙂

          • Kahekili

            That’s the thing about men – They don’t seek advice from other people because they think they are right about everything even when they are wrong.

            • Drew Smith

              No, we definitely seek advice from other people about our careers, how to increase our earning potential, whether to go to grad school or not, where to purchase a home that will appreciate in value most rapidly — basically important things.

          • Dr. J

            Actually, that was a biological fact. Did the research. I didn’t say that people don’t teach themselves new things as they get older. I said unlikely because there’s no way to speak in absolutes. I also said that. People can grow as people and as individuals, that doesn’t mean your brain is still growing at all. I used the words adapt and suppress. I purposely worded it that way to let you know that just because the development has stopped from a biological standpoint doesn’t mean that there isn’t any chance that other forms of development can occur.

            • hollyw

              Hello, Mr. J, pleased to meet your acquaintance. I’ve also done a slough of research throughout my education, and while I’ll say that you never spoke in absolutes, you definitely spoke in very clear, gross generalizations. I specifically disagreed with your stance that change was unlike;y, one. I said it was difficult, but most older adults who want love are also more willing to compromise than a 20-something, which you may or may not have mentioned.

              Secondly, your description of the brain is misleading. Brain ‘growth’ is evident as long as there is learning; THAT is a biological fact. Your memory, past evidence of your learning, is held in your neoroceptors and continue to develop until you die (unless you have Alzheimers). This is different from structural development, which actually is almost fully completed in early adolescence. Now, would anyone purport that an 11 yr-old was fully mature? No.

              Finally, your escaping using words of finality don’t excuse the fact that you purposely speak with such high authority on the subject, such as this statement in your final paragraph; “I’m just speaking from my experience and from what I’ve noticed at a macro level.” By indicating those of a minority (those you’ve observed in this world) and those ‘at a macro level’ (which means majority), you are literally referring to everyone. These were the things I had issue with, in addition to disagreeing w/ your stance in gen’l.

              • Eri Cad

                I LOVED this comment!!!! I was appalled at the blatant sexism in this article not to mention the gross generalizations which he tries to downplay as the article comes to a close as if to say, “Women are this, this and this, harder to date blah, blah, but I could be wrong but please take my opinion as the official MAN’S POSITION on women.”

                • hollyw

                  Lmbo EXACTLY! I can’t anymore, w/ the Dr. J’s, Dr. Love’s, and “Dr.” Steve Harvey’s. Just saying at the end, “…this is not everybody…but almost everybody.” doesn’t make you not accountable!

          • Drew Smith

            Hollyw, you have to distinguish an opinion piece from one on CNN based off information cited from the DSM-5. This is the former. The very foundation of an opinion is based upon one’s personal view, which is obviously formed from their experiences. You feel as though the staff speak on their own experiences too much w/o consulting expert advice, but that’s EXACTLY what they’ve been hired to do! Sure, there’s some very janky science in the article, but all things considered, did you HONESTLY expect more? If so, I’d argue the shame’s on you…

            • hollyw

              No, no shame on me, sir lol. I expect when an editor or staffer gives their opinion to be a personal opinion, from personal experience; however, when staff consults “expert opinion”, I actually expect it to 1. be from an actual expert, and 2. be based in reality, not stereotypes and def not from negative biases. Also, please believe, if CNN presented this kind of logic on their show, they’d lose their credibility overnight. My standards might be too high (they’re waning daily for MN), but journalism is journalism, and this is also supposed to be a Pro-Black women site! I mean, really, it’s the least their readers deserve…

              • Drew Smith

                Unfortunately journalism isn’t journalism. There’s solid, credible journalism, downright baseless journalism that borders slander, and everything in between. It’s your job to figure out what’s palatable for you, and act accordingly. This site literally provides entertainment for me. I find more value in reading the comments, as that gives me a much better pulse on the general consensus. Have a great day!

                • hollyw

                  I’ve done just that, and even more, speak out on what I disagree w/ (as apparently so do you), which is also the purpose of the comment section 🙂

                  If the gen’l consensus is what you’re after, I’d say it’s pretty clear that the vast majority of folks who commented on this article found it laughable. This site is obviously an entertainment blog, and aptly so, but sometimes MN needs feedback frm its fanbase. For instance, most agree w/ much of what A Very Smart Brotha says, and what you don’t is still grounded in common sense, plus he doesn’t need to qualify his statements in “biological fact” or by putting Dr. in front of his name…I mean this piece was straight out of Anchorman. So offended, I am not. Opinionated, I am. Enjoy your day, as well, sir!

        • He’s speaking man code. To sum it up what he’s saying is an older woman is more savvy and can see your lies, BS, and game a mile away. She’s going to require more from you from the start so take that into consideration, where as a younger woman being less experienced/mature, hasn’t learned the ropes so she doesn’t require as much and is easier to game and string along, however if you are dealing with her long enough eventually she will become the older women and therefore get hip to your shyt.

          • C’mon son

            Exactly. And when they mature into grown women hip to the game, too through with lackluster relationships and BS from a man looking for a naive girl, they are then referred to as crazy, or irrational, or dried up on the dating spectrum, or ______ (insert any of numerous negative generalizations of women 30+)

          • Kay

            Church……. Preach……. Amen!!!

  • Rosetta’s Stoned

    Date who you want but keep in mind, young women will eventually grow up and their frame of mind will change. Maturity will set in and things will change. Not always for the better.

    • Nope

      And since you were once a young woman, I assume this applied to you as well.

  • L-Boogie

    Um, this article is full of assumptions; however, this is just what author claims he does not want. Interesting.

    • bluekissess

      Very interesting. The one complaint he says about men is that their “logical” and aren’t emotional? Umm that’s been a con on the men’s part for years. But, we’re hard to date?

      • Kahekili

        Let me tell you something – ‘Logical’ is a very popular word over at Single Black Male and Very Smart Brothas. Everything is either logical or not logical.

        • bluekissess

          Lol I’ve noticed

          • mandy

            Yeah, psuedo logic.

  • Nope

    Most men prefer younger women, and most women prefer an older man. So both get what they want…. until a woman hits her late 20’s/early 30’s. That’s basically when a woman’s range of options narrows more and more every year because they don’t want a man too old especially for anything serious or longterm, and for some silly reason dating a man younger than them and sometimes even the same age is beneath them. While a man’s options expands because his range is 21 and up and it doesn’t have to be anything serious either.

    It’s funny how a lot of women have an issue with men chasing the same type of young woman they USED to be.

    • hollyw

      I’m confused as to why you got a competitive vibe between younger and older women from this article. It sounded like the man was just saying that it can be harder or easier dating those in their 20s or 30s based off of what YOU, as a person, want. He provided pros and cons, albeit cliche ones, for each.

      Also, saying most women prefer older man, then comparing that to older women’s options becoming slim, is also a tad cliche. Women of any age will date the male equivalent based, again, off what they’re wanting relationship-wise. Statistically speaking, neither men nor women date that much out of their age range, so if women are dating up, it’s not more than 1-4yrs, and same for men dating down. So, between women, it really doesn’t end up as this big competition between the 20-somethings and 30-somethings. Imo

      • Nope

        That 1-4 years gap is still wider for a man than a woman.

        • hollyw

          Perhaps. But in the end, neither men or women care, so long as both are hooked up at the end of the day.

          I just sincerely believe there’s someone out there for everybody. For the guys in their 50s dating girls in their 20s, women in their 30s and 40s aren’t vying for them, anyway, b/c they clearly aren’t wanting the same things out of life at that time. Also, there are plenty of cougar and cub matches; women just don’t brag as much.

          …plus, women, on average, live 3-5yrs longer, so that gap is more than made up lol! Ijs

    • Its no secret men want to screw younger women. What does that have to do with THIS article?

      • Nope

        That is a man prefers a younger woman, that’s his choice over an older women, and I don’t know nor heard of many older women okay with that.

        • You are speaking for yourself of course you don’t know EVERY man. And older women simply date men older than them. Again what does this have to do with the point he’s making in his article?

          • Nope

            Of course I don’t know “every man”. There’s never an all of anything. That’s statistics 101 isn’t it? The point is that younger women are getting picked OVER older women.

            • I fail to see the relevance in your point to the article.

    • DCgirlnmd

      “…and for some silly reason dating a man younger than them and sometimes even the same age is beneath them.” I dont think that dating a younger man is beneath an older woman, but the immaturity factor is a HUGE deal! So is the fact that younger men are less stable and if youre an older woman that’s stable, it comes off alittle “Sugar Mama-ish”. IJS