Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Older vs Younger Men
College was probably the last time I found a man “my age.” The dating pool was different on a campus of peers. Now, as a graduate and an aspiring adult, I find that the men I meet are either much younger or much older. While I enjoy this time of dating and exploration, I’m finding that each jump down (or up) the age-number line has its own set of challenges and benefits.
Younger men (at least 5+ years younger than you) have a newness and fresh perspective that I missed as I try to keep my head afloat in the work-sleep-eat-repeat-routine that develops in adulthood. It seems that men in their early 20s can be immature, but like all men, you have to find one with a good head on his shoulders. Younger men don’t have as many dating years and may be less jaded. He could be drawn to the maturity and romantic intelligence of an older woman. He was also more open minded and willing to listen to new ideas and default to your experience because he isn’t quite set in his ways yet. And of course, the rumors are true. A younger man is young and full of energy. Take that as you will.
However, younger men had a whole set of challenges that I just wasn’t prepared for at all. I’d already gone through the “where is my life headed?” disarray of my early 20s so to encounter someone who wasn’t quite on their career path was new. Although I was happy to offer advice as needed, I did miss having a man who knew where he was going and was already significantly on the path to get there. There was also fighting the tendency to watch my motherly tone. Since younger men lack experience and direction (like we all did in our early 20s) the natural tendency was to “help” him by doing it for him or getting frustrated when he wasn’t there yet.
There’s no sense of security that matches being with an older man (5+ years your senior). Hopefully, he’s passed the game-playing age, is tired of the player role, and more established in his career. You really can learn from your elders too! Being with an older man can usually be a learning experience since he may have a different generation of music, friends, film and overall experiences that he can share with you.
However, there are drawbacks and most of them are probably in your head. Being with an older man can make you recognize some things about your age group and how it may not connect. While a younger man is probably listening to the same music or on Twitter with you, an older man may not get all the hype and look at you crazy when you speak about Direct Messages (DMs) and the new Drake album. The relationship may also call for you to grow up a little bit more and that may not be something you are ready to do so quickly. Occasionally, people may stereotypically assume that you are with him for his money or that he is with you for the sex. This could create backlash if this message is coming from your family and friends, his family and friends or both.
So let’s talk! Have you dated a younger man? Or an older man? What was your experience? Does one age group have more/less benefits than the other? Comment below!
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss., a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss or visit the site at http://laughcrycuss.com.