If you think a younger boyfriend or husband will keep you youthful, we’ve got news for you: he might just put you in an early grave. Research has found that having a male partner who is between seven to nine years younger increases a woman’s mortality rate by 20 percent. There are many theories surrounding why this is, but some experts believe it’s because having a younger husband brings on extra stress for women. The same study found that when a man is older than his spouse, his mortality rate decreases. Another study found that men with younger wives report higher rates of marital satisfaction than those with wives who are older. None of it is fair, but you won’t add years onto your life by debating the injustice of it all. If you have a younger boyfriend, you may or may not be able to handle the stress as it is.
While the experts struggle to pin down exact reasons women with younger partners experience lower rates of satisfaction and higher rates of mortality, we can certainly deduce some ideas just based on what we see in society. Here are problems that can come up in the long run when dating a younger man.
Having a toddler in your 50s
As a woman, you have some great reproductive options today that don’t force you into old-school timelines. You can freeze your eggs and have your children after you feel more financially secure, after you’ve met some career milestones, and perhaps after you’ve had some personal experiences you’ve been dreaming about. You can do things on your timeline. However, whether or not you want to do things that way is a different story. Having a 38-year-old boyfriend when you’re 48, who is pushing you to unfreeze those eggs to put them to use and make a family, could leave you a 50-year-old mom chasing around toddlers, which could be exhausting.
You have a career while he wants to have fun
Depending on where you are in your life, your career might be booming (read: busy) when he’s still having some fun and trying to figure some things out. You may own a business, or have a high position at a company. Your job may demand a lot of your time, energy, and attention, at a time when your younger man doesn’t quite feel the pressure to find his path – just yet. That can mean disappointing him when you want to go to bed at 9 p.m. on a weeknight because you’re exhausted and he wants to go to late-night happy hour sushi on a weeknight. It can mean being woken up at 3 a.m. when he comes home from the bar with friends when you have an early meeting.
You can relax later, but what if he then has a busy career?
Your career phases won’t have much overlap – not likely. When your younger partner finally does find his way in his career, then he’ll be the one who has to work long hours, work weekends, and be rather consumed with work. But at that point, you may have made such a name for yourself that you’re finally able to relax a little. So, while your career is a bit more on autopilot, you might want to travel more, take some long weekends, and things like that. Now it’s your younger partner whose career is his life, and who can’t spare a Friday to drive to wine country. You might feel you aren’t getting to enjoy your earned relaxation to the fullest.
Big purchases may fall on you
For many reasons, you might have much more money than your partner. Maybe you’ve been working for more years than he has, so you’ve saved more. You also may have worked your way up to higher-paying positions. You have savings accounts that have been accruing interest far longer than his. For many reasons, you might end up being the “Moneybags” in the relationship. And for that reason, when something comes up like…putting a down payment on a place…most of that will fall on you. That can happen over and over again and cause some resentment.
Making friends with other couples could be tricky
Making friends with other couples might prove difficult. If many of your female friends took the route of marrying older men or ones their own age, then the age gap between their partners and yours could be major. If your partner is just seven years younger, and your friends’ partners are seven years older, there can be a 14 year-ish age gap between those men. When you all go out for dinner, or on couples’ vacations, your friends’ older partners may struggle to relate to your partner. They may feel more like his mentors, rather than his peers.
He’ll literally run circles around you
Nobody likes to think about their mortality, but at one point, your age will catch up with you. It will do that with everybody. And there may come a point when you physically can’t do the things he wants to do. Ailments begin to add up with age. You could have a knee thing. You could have a back thing. You could, hopefully not, have a blood sugar thing. And suddenly, these 10-mile treks to a camping site where you’ll sleep on the ground for three nights simply aren’t feasible for you. However, if that’s his favorite thing to do (in fact, if it’s how he feels most alive) then you’ll be spending a lot of time apart.
Is he a husband or a nurse?
This can also be slightly uncomfortable to think of, but it’s a reality you might face if you date someone who is much younger. You’ll enter the phase of life when you need help doing simple things – like walking your dog or running errands – before he enters that phase of life. That will naturally put him in the position of being your helper. It’s not like he’s going to sit back and do nothing when you clearly need assistance. As much as he’ll insist and insist that it makes him happy to do these things, you might feel that having him act as your keeper kills the romance a little bit.
The Botox Olympics
If you don’t want to admit it, that’s fine, but for some, there may come a time when you feel insecure about the fact that women with not a single wrinkle on their faces hit on your partner right in front of you. You may wonder if he notices that difference. You may wonder if you could just usher these concerns away with a little Botox. Then a little more. A little facelift. Oh, and now you can’t move your face. There’s nothing wrong with any of these procedures when done at your own pace to make yourself happy. But if you do them to keep up with the “competition” who just so happen to be 15 years younger, things can get out of hand fast.
A struggle to empathize
You know how you chat with your girlfriends about the different phases of life as you move through them? It’s nice to be able to laugh and chat with somebody who also knows what it’s like to suddenly only be able to handle one glass of wine or to get knee pain after a half-mile of walking. You may find that you want that in a partner, too. Ultimately, you’ll spend most of your time with your romantic partner. But if he doesn’t know what you’re talking about when you complain of needing Metamucil, it can rob you of the fun of joking about those things.
Societally imposed distance
There is an excellent example of this happening right now. There are couples with such a big age difference that only one person is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine presently. So you have couples where the vaccinated one feels held back by the non-vaccinated one. For a while, there were the early hours when grocery stores only allowed in customers over a certain age. There are many societally imposed measures like this that create distance between the “young” and the “old.” And as you get older, you and your younger man may face them more and more. Society almost forces you to face the age gap and to feel that it’s an inconvenience.