Dating younger Women, Dating older Men.

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Dating younger Women, Dating older Men.

“I wouldn’t date a woman above 30.”
“I wouldn’t date a man younger than me.”

The other day I was watching…youtube? And a commercial came on for…I don’t know. But it was something to do with Rob Lowe and sharks.

Admittedly, Rob looks like he’s 30, and he’s probably close to twice that. Below him (looking all handsome and heroic), 
kneeling at his feet, was your typical “hot woman.” But because of his infamous ability to never age, I thought about her age. She was probably 25, at most. Young enough to be his daughter, for sure.

And yet…this is normal. Most of the time, most of us don’t give such pairing (especially in Hollywood) a second thought.

I just turned 40. I’m incredibly hot, handsome, and young-looking (if you believe me). And I often date women…girls who are 25, 28, sometimes younger. I don’t like to date younger than 24, unless she’s really mature. I don’t like to date older than 30, partially because many such women are expecting something more serious, and I don’t want to burn out their biological clock, and I work all the time, and having a commitment-light, less-serious relationship has been attractive to me. I’m not making excuses. I get made fun of for dating younger, and mea culpa, baby.

But it’s interesting. Older women, too, love to date younger men. If you don’t believe me, just search the web, or even elephant journal. Google: “One of the poorest countries on earth, Gambia, is a hotbed for female sex tourism. Wealthy older European woman seek out young African men. It’s the country’s main attraction.”

On the other hand, women and men love to casually agree that we men mature slower. Most 30 and younger female friends of mine wouldn’t consider dating younger than them.

I think about this, because I pride myself in ethical, genuine relationships, even if they’re short term. And I wonder why my Tinder setting is 24 – 29. My conclusion, for now, is that dating younger is easier. Dating older than 25 helps ensure that they’ve been through some challenges, some ups and downs, some maturity. They’re still young and busy enough to leave me alone if I want to work all the time. But the fact that I wouldn’t consider dating someone my own age does bother me, a bit. It’s not that I don’t find women my age beautiful, or attractive. I do. Perhaps I’m scared of commitment (you think?!).

In any case, this week, instead of spouting off about some wisdom, I figured I’d mea culpa, and open up, in the hope that we could have a…mature discussion about dating, and age, and ageism. Please leave a mindful comment here about your own experience, and learning moments.

“The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” ~ H.L. Mencken

Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis

This went viral last week. I didn’t love it, but it’s food for thought, and it has elements of truth to both (stay tuned for the women on men chart at the end that most folks missed when this went viral).

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Comments

67 Responses to “Dating younger Women, Dating older Men.”

  1. Tui Anderson says:

    I understand your reasoning, but this creates a bit of a void for women like me- 40-ish, healthy, decent, etc, not baby-crazy, not looking for marriage or anything, just looking for a normal, intelligent relationship or dating with a guy about my age….. No fair!!

  2. Jen says:

    1. Wisdom does not come with age but experience does. When you are dating a person 8 or more years younger, you will always have an edge in the experience category. I do feel many men need to feel somewhat dominant, and this is why many (not all) date younger women. I am speaking from my dating experience, and I will be 40 in less than a month.
    2. According to the "crazy/hot matrix" I will never be in a long term relationship/ married because I am a red head. Awesome. Seems legit.
    3. I wouldn't date either man in the video because they are both small minded fools. My chart has a huge "Egotistical A-hole" zone and they are both in it.
    3. I really appreciate you being honest about yourself and your dating life. Self-reflection is extremely attractive in any person.

  3. Tif says:

    I'm 40 (but hey, I get carded more often than not)…my boyfriend of three years just turned 24. He is willing to fit into the cracks and crannies of my life – and I fit the same way into his. I guess neither of us has time for a full-time. I have a 12 year old, and a mortgage, and just started a business. He's in college (changing majors halfway does a number on completion time) and working, too. We love and respect each other, and have a lot of fun, but we know it's not a forever situation. We're ok with that. Mea culpa, too, I guess. I usually date younger men. I feel that most men my age have way more baggage than I do, and I like running my own life, in my own laid back way. And maturity – well, that's not just a number.

    • elephantjournal says:

      And when I was young, I loved and appreciated dating older women. One of my best friends, as often as not, has dated younger men, and enjoyed it, and the feeling was mutual, I gather. 🙂

      Thanks for your comments, all—I was aiming to be uncool, and open, and honest, and not trying to look good, but rather to foment honest dialogue, the kind we often have over meals but not in blogs or Facebook.

    • Tara says:

      Thank you Tif, I was just putting connections together in my life for the past 5yrs post-divorce. I'm 37 and saw a pattern of younger men. I resented that and questioned if there was something deep and full of unknown issues. Was good to be mindful of my own patterns and stop judging myself. I had just come to acceptance that ultimately we need to follow our own guidance, and decide to listen to energetic pulls. Especially the ones that come with less societal acceptance. Written labels of numbers means nothing to life experiences, spirituality, passion, playfulness, and work ethics. It will be enriching regardless of the outcome, if we are following our own voice. I began to feel self acceptance, and opening to a new experience presented to me. Then I read this article and your post, perfect timing. Thank you sister.

  4. Meg Morris says:

    I talk to people about this a lot. And at the end of it all I think when we see relationships with other people as utility, a means to an end, it isn't real from the start. Women do it too of course. I just had a conversation with a girl who was concerned her boyfriend wasn't ambitious enough. But I don't think any of that is love. When we set out to find people to fulfill a function in our life we are already not genuine… There shouldn't be a litmus test for love.

  5. @TobyIsrael says:

    I think there is a bit of a double standard around this subject (scratch that, I think there is a huge double standard). Older women who date younger men are called "cougars," and younger women who date older men are "whores." Overall, society does not look too kindly on women who date outside their own age group. Meanwhile, of course of course, younger men who date older women are totally scoring. Ditto for older men dating younger women. As a woman, I find the hypocrisy infuriating.

  6. brandiesmithtlc says:

    I think about this often as I am an old soul with a young spirit. The conventional rules of relationship have never been of interest to me. I like spending time by myself and don't have the desire to work out my issues "on" someone else. When I love, I love big, regardless of age. But I do find myself most open to the idea of a lover who is my best friend, my playmate, my intellectual sparring partner and fellow spiritual seeker. I'm really a fierce lone wolf looking for my lone wolf partner so we can roam the world in a way where we can be together and separate, when necessary. Both knowing that eventually our hearts will lead us home.

  7. Natalie says:

    I like to date younger men. I'm attracted to younger men. But I'm not a commitent-phobe, as the writer refers to himself. I simply need someone who can keep up with me. I have a great job and a family to care for, but I need someone who likes to be ridiculous sometimes, who is up for fun stuff, who can keep me interested. Maybe I like to be idolized a little bit. 😉 Older men just can't do that for me. The writer of this piece may find that the reason younger women are attracted to him is because he offers something that younger men can't – safety, stability, money a sense of maturity. We all have our interests. Just go out and find someone that meshes with them. It's as simple as that! 😉

  8. I like this. it's nice and honest. Nothing wrong with admitting you put yourself in a box with your dating criteria (no pun intended.. but acknowledged =P ) I would bet we all do if we're being honest. I know do. I am 26 and I only date older men. I like the end quotes there, I have heard it before & shaken my head liberally in agreement. Life is so fun =)

  9. mysweetpeaorganics says:

    Age is just a number and all people male and female progress and grow differently. I was married for 10 years to someone the same age. I am currently dating someone 12 years younger, going on a year………..we connect, he is what I would call an old soul, and though I am older and have three small kids, he enjoys my spontaneity and craziness! You just never know!

  10. H says:

    Loved your words brandiesmithtlc.

    I’m a woman in my mid twenties and I’ve always dated older men. The last 2 have been significantly older (late 30s, early 40s) than me. Looking back on both relationships, the only major difference between us that had an impact on our relationship was experience. As someone mentioned above, if you’re significantly older than the person you’re dating, you are going to have more experience, in various areas of life. As a consequence to these experiences, you have formed into the worldly person you are today. The person you’re dating will have also had significant experiences in their life that have shaped who they are too, and heck, some of their experiences may have given them a maturity beyond yours in some areas. But alas, you are older and likely aware that the person you are dating still has many soul-shaping experiences ahead that they couldn’t even begin to understand yet. Because of this, I strongly believe it is the moral responsibility of the older person, to leave the younger, a better person than they were before your relationship. In both of my relationships with older men, I was treated poorly and I exitted the relationship with a broken heart. Do I regret them? Absolutely not, those heart breaks were the best thing to ever happen to me as I have taken so much from them, and have began my journey to being my authentic self and learning self – love. I’m now well aware that I can only control my actions in a relationship and I can’t change the person I am with, nor should I want to if I have chosen to be with them. But if I was to pass judgement for a second on the other person in the relationship, I’d be reminding them that they’re older, they’ve got a handicap over the person they are with, they’ve got more experience… know that – and be sure to enter and leave their life with a positive touch. I don’t mean try and change THEM, I mean ensure YOUR actions in the relationship, will leave the younger person with a positive experience of you. You need to be aware and acknowledge that should you act distasteful in this relationship, or treat them poorly, you may be the first person to treat them that way. And if you are, you’re also the first person to open them up to a storm of unfamiliar negative emotions. Emotions that they’ll learn from sure, but negative ones nonetheless. Do you really want to be that person? The first person in their life who showed them that love can cause incomparable agony? Don’t be that person. Be the person who shows them how wonderful people can be, or how wonderful this world is. Don’t ignore your responsibility, older one.

    • @JSAacts says:

      H! Exactly! "…responsibility of the older person, to leave the younger, a better person…" Going in I say I want you to be better off for having known me, and be more important as a friend long after we've dated. Met with initial skepticism, the younger women I've dated have been surprised it's turned out to be true. All are still good friends, and one I helped over the fear of grad school she had been longing, yet terrified to do. You have to be genuine. Me, I'm 51, and look 40. I'm a creative – actor, poet, filmmaker. I work and spend most of my time with other creatives in their twenties and thirties. Mostly I've dated mid to late twenties, much along the lines of our author.

  11. BettySue Goeppner says:

    That's very interesting, Waylon. I'm 45, my fiance is 36. My ex-husband was 7 years older than me…and not long after I was divorced from him, I dated someone briefly old enough to be my father, definitely daddy issues there. I didn't seek out a younger partner, that I now have as my fiance, but it happened and we clicked. I have to say I'm surprised that you don't date women closer to your age (no judgement)…You may find us riper, juicier, and deeper, maturity matters. (And I consider myself beautiful still, even over 40 after 2 children, I am certainly more free than I was in my 20s) Dating at 40 and up is challenging, because the men that age do seem to want younger women. These are all just my observations. I'm loving this conversation.

  12. @natehermes says:

    i'm a 36 year old man — i think anywhere from late 20s to late 30s is a great match for me in a woman / potential romantic partner. i find that the problem of biological clocks and wanting to 'settle down' tends to be common across most of the country. i live in NYC, however, and here there seems to be plenty of independent women in their 30s and 40s who don't want children and are committed to a rich and fulfilling life sans kiddos. sometimes i wonder if the 'american' (for lack of a better descriptor) model of relationships is broken — seems like a lot of couples i know are more codependent than anything else. it would be great is more people were able to embrace the beauty of their individuality and independence and allow their partners to do the same.

  13. Kate says:

    This is why I fear that I'm going to be perpetually alone. I don't want to be. At 41, I'm more interesting, more successful, and more self-assured than I ever have been. People assume I'm 24, and then there's this awful 'reveal' moment of shock when I tell people my age. Like telling people that I've got gangrene everywhere below the chin. I've published two novels, for chrissakes. I've never been so proud or felt so lucky. I've never had more to offer – intellectually, sexually… in every possible way. When I was 24, I was a kid. I was a blank. That's not a dig on 24 year-olds – it's just the truth. 24 year-olds are a mere handful of years, if not months, out from having lived with their parents. A nice, lovely 24-year-old is a fraction of the niceness and loveliness that they will acquire with more years. 24 year-old men are not my peers, at least not the ones I've met. And I want a peer. But there's none in sight, because men my age date young for all the reasons (or, rather, impulses and assumptions) that you state. It's frustrating. It's why there's nobody for me to be with, in this small place. I am – I'm sorry – rolling my eyes at this. Affectionately, mostly. You're missing out on so much. I'm not speaking of myself specifically, and I don't mean to be self-aggrandizing strictly due to age. There are enlightened 24 year olds, and there are dull 41 year-olds, for certain. But by limiting yourself to 24-29, you are missing out. You just are, and it's sad. For me, figuratively speaking, and for you.

    • Jen says:

      I feel I am in the same boat at 39. Younger men are not my peers, although I receive many offers. I feel more sexually assured and experienced, I am fit, attractive, successful, and support myself and my 14-year-old daughter (who is also an independent individual in her own right, studying 4 hours or more to become a professional dancer). Unfortunately, I have had men admit that they are intimidated by me. I have no idea why. Is it because I am not "needy"? In my experience, it was much easier to find a partner when I was more "needy" and less confident- more dependent. I often wonder if the "damsel in distress" model also subconsciously affects men, as well. I also want a peer. And I do not feel I want to be motherly or "lead" a much younger man in a relationship- it is a HUGE turn-off for me. So I am just trying to remain open and put myself out there. Faith in the universe is my motto. I try not to go out with a certain mindset because I think it is limiting. I agree men that date younger are missing out, but as I stated above, I do believe it is a subconscious issue of dominance.

    • BettyBlue says:

      I totally feel the same – I am 48 year old woman, still hot, still get carded, and gets hit on by younger guys a LOT. However, when they find out how old I am they freak out. I have been single in LA for 5 years now, and also fear that I am going to be alone for the rest of my life, as nobody seems to be interested in a committed relationship. I would LOVE to meet someone who was my age who actually aren't afraid of falling head over heels in love and wants to be in a monogamous committed relationship, but like the writer of this article these age appropriate men are not interested. It scares the hell out of me. And then I get the helpful advice to try men in their 60's. Arrggghhh.

  14. bluemountainchild says:

    I'm surprised when I hear people say they date within a specific age range: when it's been right it's been right.

    That being said, it hasn't always been "right" for the right reasons. My ex husband was older than me—I needed the security and stability I found in that. My next relationship was with a slightly younger man because I was developing those parts of myself, the parts seeking security and stability externally, and someone younger than me was a match.

    Of course I didn't think of all this at the time, and connected with these people because we were meant to. If I put limits on who I'm going to be drawn to I feel like I would be missing out. (Though putting limits on who I date is a different thing altogether)

    I'm with Kate, the older I get the better I get.

    In Light,
    Guenevere

  15. Amelie says:

    I really appreciate this article–it is quite relevant to my life the past few months. I am a 30-yr old woman who has made a deep connection with a man who is 20 years older. Given our age difference, I feel extremely lucky that we even crossed paths at all, with regard to space / time / the universe's happy accidents / etc. This is my first decade+ older-than-me relationship, so I am treating it as a practice in societal expectations. Being closely aligned with someone from an older generation has alerted me to the rampant ageism that exists, mostly unchecked by others. I am a person who has the capacity to have romantic love for people regardless of gender or sexual expression, and I consider this age difference to be a similarly shallow delineation. He admits that he no longer dates women in his age range because (the ones he has met) have expectations of marriage / family / other stabilizing obligations. Maybe I just want to idealize, but I like to think we would have found ourselves in a relationship no matter what age we are / were. It's not the number or gender or even physical appearance: It's the spirit. Thank you for this honest article; the resulting discussion has been needed.

    • Jen says:

      Amelie, I think your situation is great as long as you are aware that it is probably not going to develop much further.He most likely will never want to be stable or committed 100% to you. I admittedly have difficulty establishing a deep connection with someone who I know is most likely not going to consider our connection some type of responsibility. As I state below, any type of relationship is a responsibility. You are responsible to be aware of the individual you are making the connection with and to be aware of yourself and how you affect the relationship. Tradition and monogamy is not what I am speaking of- I am speaking of empathy, openness, respect, and communication. I often have found in my experience as a 40-year-old woman, that people who state this up front merely want things under control and their way… A defense mechanism, of course, but unlikely to change and ultimately unsatisfying because the person is operating in a egoistic fashion, and your needs may eventually not be met. I wish the best for you both and I hope you continue to connect spiritually.

      • Amelie says:

        Jen, thank you for bringing up the issue of the inherent responsibility within a healthy relationship. Currently, we're agreeing to an open relationship (by mutual consent; not just "what he wants" and "I put up with it"). I married and divorced in my early 20's and have no interest in getting the state involved with a relationship anytime soon, if ever again. We are both fortunate enough to value the aspects of responsibility you mentioned: empathy, openness, respect, and communication. Neither of us wants to possess each other or prevent each other from making new connections with other people because we both recognize that those connections are the reason for living. One thing that is bothersome about the society's view of the older man/younger woman dynamic is that it is assumed the older man holds all the playing cards. I truly do not feel this applies to my situation!

  16. Jen says:

    What I find to be a paradox in many of these comments ( and please enlighten me because maybe I am missing something) is that many of the men/ women state they do not want to be "stable" or have much "responsibility" in a relationship. Or they want to "keep it light"- but yet they still strive for some deep connection. When we connect with others at a certain level there is inherent responsibility to the other- despite what you want to label your relationship (open, light, etc). I have been dating people that fear commitment for several years now- I realize that the experience is a mirror of my own feelings. However, this "light" "irresponsible" type of relationship never works- I believe the people involved are often (not always) fooling themselves. There is usually at least one party in the relationship that seeks more, yet succumbs to the "light" relationship in fear of losing the connection/ experience altogether. The person with less feelings, ultimately gains control of the situation, and it fractures. I believe younger women/ men are often (not always) more naive and that is why they agree to this in the first place. The current commitment issues in our society are stemming from the failure rate of relationships. I believe this failure ( for lack of a better term) is caused by so many factors: Gender roles, parental issues, control issues, ego issues, expectations, etc. Many people have not recovered from this type of conditioning that is so engrained on our psyche and ego. As we awaken we must shed these roles and realize that we can form whatever type of committed relationship we wish, as long as we work with and communicate with the other person. I have yet to find a partner that understand this….

    • @JSAacts says:

      Here is something recent I think may help. Our culture/society views all relationships as "escalator relationships" – start at holding hands, progress through the levels have kids, die – anything less = failure. How many relationships do we have in life? The girlfriend in junior high too afraid to kiss, high school sweetheart, how many in college, etc. Progressively as we grow they're considered failure if they don't end with a Golden Anniversary. What if all those people were still your friend? What if responsibility of relationship consisted of more than till-death-do-us-part? Look to 'H's' comment. What if responsibility of relationship started with "I want your life to be better for having known me". Which may or may not long term include me. I will "have your back" long after we no longer sleep together. If there really is "The One" for us out there, aren't there a lot of great maybe's on the road to meet him or her? Can't we respect, treat well and be friends with all of each other along the way? I think the issue in flux is not a failure of commitment, but rather society coming to understand a relationship should not be judged solely as to whether it ended in life long commitment. The failure rate of all your life's relationships is 90%. Unless of course you did marry that girl you held hands with in 6th grade but was too afraid to kiss. It does happen. My brother is married to his girlfriend from 8th grade. It's just not likely. Thoughts?

      • Amelie says:

        Escalator relationships: Great way to phrase this! I am also weary of considering past relationships to be "failures" just because they didn't result in long-term attachment. Each intimate partner is a life- and mind-changing experience. If you can maintain a stable sense of self, with strong grounding, these relationships will only add to your life, rather than take anything away. And if you can form a deep connection with a person who similarly has a strong foundation, it becomes mutually beneficial, a nice moment of equal symbiosis, instead of one person hanging on by a thread while the other person keeps the scissors.

      • Jen says:

        I agree with what you are stating. The fact is that most of the relationships in our lives end. I stated "failure (for lack of a better term)" in that manner because I agree that most relationships are great learning experiences about ourselves. I would describe a "failed" relationship as one in which we were not true to ourselves or the other in the situation. However, I do feel many fool themselves into believing certain things about relationships/ lovers because of societal pressure to be in a relationship. I am 40 in less than a month, and I have been single (mostly- some three month stints) for 7-8 years now. As a teacher who works with many "traditional" types, I feel I am looked at as if there is something wrong with me. I am getting over it, as I witness many relationships in which I would simply not want to be involved. Great points!

    • Amelie says:

      I completely agree with you. The power dynamics in a healthy relationship always shift from one person to the other, back and forth, but unfortunately, there are quite a few unhealthy relationships where one person consistently has more power than the other. I like the way you phrased it: "The person with less feelings ultimately gains control of the situation." It's almost as if the person with the smallest attachment has the most freedom. Ah, doesn't this go along with major themes of non-attachment!

      • @JSAacts says:

        Agreed here on the power dynamics, and the smaller/less feelings has the power/freedom. Here is where a healthy sense of self comes in. Had a situation recently that the connection was (over used term) mind blowing. We a couple of artists instant muse chemistry, But for all sorts of stories quickly became imbalanced, I in the "too" much feelings, too attached. These are the blessings of age and experience. I walked away. I know what I want, not settling anymore. There's a powerful attractiveness to this. It hurt … like ripping off a bandaid. Short and quick rather than long and slow. What little you're getting in an imbalanced relationship is never worth it. And the more you have the feeling you may never get this again, the more "they are worth it", the worse off you are, the less likely it will last (or ever get good) … and the less self worth you have. Try this experiment. This freaked me out a few years ago (also was a turning point in my life). Listen to a love song, any love song. Replace the lyrics in a way this song is you singing to you. The more uncomfortable, the more creepy, the less self esteem you have. This is exactly how much someone can love you – the amount to which you can love yourself. I listened to Faith Hill's "This Kiss" for 12 straight hours on a road trip shortly after that contemplating more than I can relate. A turning point in my life.

  17. @JSAacts says:

    I've really enjoyed the genuineness of this article and comments. Everyone is being open, honest, forthright, and not judging, demonizing, or reaching for old cliches. This is huge progress. I think it's directly related to the progress of civil rights, interracial marriage, and now LGBT equality & LGBT marriage. All leading to all of us to live our life, follow our heart and let everyone do the same. Me, I'm pretty much our author's story. I'm 51, look 40. I'm a creative – actor, poet, filmmaker. Recently my dating range has been early twenties to late fifties. The best and most have been in their late twenties. I've felt I'll date anyone, rule out nothing, and I have, this is just where it's evolved. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with a lot of the theories and ideas put forth. I agree with most of our author's conclusions and motivations. But I don't go in with a questionnaire, when sparks fly, sparks fly. My Tinder is 21 to 50+ (unlimited). I don't go in looking for long term, but I'm not averse either. I'd like to hope she's out there. I know I'm lucky for where I am in life right now, and I'm profoundly thankful for it.

  18. erica says:

    Phew a lot to think about in all of this.

    It seems to me that you cannot ever predict when that spark between two people will happen. Some people prefer someone more mature – male or female, an attitude of mind rather than a birth date. And some prefer someone younger – a playful friend – again male or female, with the right mindset.

    I was married for 23 years. But remember saying to family when I was just 16 (and 11 years before I married) that I wanted to find a playmate, a partner in crime, rather than someone with a more mature outlook. And when I married, it was to someone my own age.

    Now that I am on my own and have been for 6 years, most of the single men in their 50s are certainly looking for someone in their 20s/30s/40s. Published work by Dr Christiane Northrup has some interesting biological research to show why this is (and why so many marriages go wrong in the late 40s).

    But being a pretty active, social, striking mid 50s woman means that most of the people who hit on you on dating sites (excluding ones for younger men/older women) are all in their 60s, have mostly failed to look after themselves too well and don't live the life I lead. Their attitude is largely about money and retiring. Whereas mine is very different.

    Add to this – all of my single girlfriends who have recently got remarried are all now with men 10-15 years older, or those who are not particularly healthy and need caring for. That is totally their decision, and I know there is much real love involved. It just isn't what I want.

    So yes, in these last six years I have certainly spent many happy hours in the company and arms of delightful men younger and very much younger, but it has been about who they were in their minds, their lives, their values. Not their ages. But boy, did people on the street feel they were able to comment about the gap!

  19. highdesertdarlin says:

    I am 49, hot, sexy, creative, bitterly divorced, and the mother of 3 boys:14, 16, 18. My boyfriend, with whom I just moved in, is a tender 33. He is the man of my dreams.

    We got together just for a little casual sex 3 years ago. We kept personal lives, stressors, and my children out of the picture – we just wanted something light and non-committal. We "broke up" a couple of times because we thought there was no future to what we had and that we should split.

    Finally, we have realized that love doesn't look any one specific way. He has taken on my children with such love and kindness. They adore, trust and rely on him. He is mature way beyond his years. He listens, he can speak about his feelings. He has never once treated me or my boys or anyone else I have ever seen, with even a smidge of disrespect. He has more integrity in his little finger than most men that I know, will ever dream of having.

    My life is not easy – single mom, horribly abusive ex-husband, living pay check to paycheck, managing 3 boys, and working an incredibly demanding job. This man supports me through it all, holds my hand, rubs my back, brings me lattes at work, yet has the grace to not interfere and try to "help."

    As for the age difference, honestly, I have been more conscious about it than he has.

    He thinks I am totally sexy.

    Once I got over the "shoulds" about who I am dating, I realized that if I open my heart, I can have that thing that people dream about. I get to live it every day. I do feel incredibly beautiful and desirable.

    Our friends, who were skeptical at first, now see us as one of those enviable couples that exudes happiness. We all laugh about the age gap.

    I'm a cougar. A MILF. Mrs Robinson.

    And I am gloriously in love with my life.

    Love is not about the numbers any more than it should be about money or skin color. It's about how you feel when you are with that person. Does that person make you feel generous or stingy, protective of yourself. Do you like who you are in this relationship? Are you joyous? Do you feel like this person is on your team?

    So here, in the middle of my life I have realized that you never know with whom you will fall in love, but if the opportunity comes around, certainly don't look that gift horse in the mouth because of something as silly as age.

    PS: The sex is mind blowing..

  20. danielle says:

    a bloke I know used to work with a barmaid who'd pick her moment to say "men have two heads, but only enough blood to fill one at a time." That's what your article reminded me of, Waylon.

  21. Sue says:

    Am I the only older woman rolling my eyes right now?

  22. Marilyn says:

    While I didn't seek out "older men" per se in my single years (the 1970s), I DID find myself drawn to companions who were unavailable for a serious relationship for one reason or another (married, had a girlfriend, lived at home with mom, didn't have or want a job, etc.) when I was in my early to mid 20s. When Mr. Right finally appeared and turned out to be 3 years younger than I, initially I tried to fix him up with my younger sister because I liked him so much, I wanted to keep him in the family! Fortunately that didn't work out and I wound up marrying him – which has worked pretty well for the past 34 years.

    I think you're much more likely to find Ms. Right when you've got the time to devote to an actual relationship – because it DOES take time and attention! – AND when you can stop commodifying women by age and start seeing each individual woman as a PERSON.

  23. Colleen says:

    You disgust me and now I will no longer support your site or anything about you. Women over 29 are not to be place in this sad "too old" box. You and all these young women who have been brain washed to believe your bs are delusional and stuck in a complete ignorance.

  24. yoga freedom says:

    Age is so unimportant. That said, older men tend to be better at lovemaking. But some 20 year olds are much more mature than 40year olds. It's all about personality and experience.

  25. Elle says:

    Waylon, I am a New Zealander living in Australia – please accept my comments as direct, thoughtful, face to face and well meaning. I came to the 'committment party' late in life at 41 so I have some understanding of the rationale behind it all. There is always a reason why we do what we do, as your words and quotes say and our actions speak even louder as to why. There is no real search for you yet, where young 20 somethings cannot possibly have the emotional maturity, experience and depth that 40 year olds such as yourself do. Our unconscious is ultimately more powerful than our conscious self. Permanence is important to us… and we know that 🙂 Your work is based on this experience and seeking deeper connections with people. It is actually the connection we have to possess internally before externally otherwise we resemble the empty vessels that are the guys on the YouTube clip that place emphasis only on external beauty. Good luck to us all if we buy into that. I now know I am in the best place of my life thus far and have done the 'work' needed to attract the right sort of men now. I panicked at 40 to find the right man to have a child and it ended predictably in disaster but a couple of years later and now free in spirit I will not accept anything less than a beautiful, fun loving and playful relationship in the future. I wish you insight and abundance of spirit. This is one of my favourite quotes; "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us"
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  26. Marga says:

    I guess I’m unusual because I have dated all over the age spectrum. In my teens and early 20’s I dated boys who were within a year or two of my age. However in my midtwenties I lived with a man who was eleven years older than me. My first husband was eights years older and my current husband is six years younger with a two year relationship with a man ten years younger in between. The age of who I was dating always had less impact than if the man haas the “it” factor which for me is a combination of intelligence, integrity, motivation and sex drive. If you have all of those things I’m not so interested in your age. Oh yeah, and he would have to smell good too.

  27. Jennifer says:

    Oh Waylon. As a man, obviously, feel free to date whoever is legal for you to date. But as the founder of Elephant Journal this falls more than short of working "to create enlightened society."

    You and I both graduated from the same school in Vermont the same year. Why would you assume that the last ten years that you spent growing, learning and deepening your spirit was ten years I (as a woman) spent becoming old, needy and biological clocky?

    Not even considering a partner who has been on the Earth as long as you is not enlightened, and only considering a partner that you would call a "girl" is sexist. I actually don't think it's possible to have an "ethical, genuine relationship.." with someone you don't even think of as an adult.

  28. Ruth says:

    I am interested that you have a specific age range in mind. By dating do you mean "having sex with but not wanting to commit to?" because that is the meaning I was finding in your article.

  29. Jojo says:

    I think when love happens age really doesn't matter (which is why I find it weird that the author said he would only really date a certain age group). I couldn't care less. Having said that I guess I like having someone who I can totally relate and who grew up in the same pop culture as me. Being 22 I don't think I would ever plan to date a guy more than five years older. I didn't realise there were so many women dating older men. All the girls I know in their twenties only date like the same age or a few years either way. Hmm interesting. Again I guess love happens anywhere but men in their twenties are sooo much more attractive overall. I guess it's all subjective but evenly objectively it seems that way.

  30. Vera says:

    Honestly? Grow up! Not to say don't be boyish, that's fun. But activate that self-knowledge that you developed over the last twenty years or so. Stop dwelling in stories of waiting for your dream girl, you yourself are not 24 anymore, you know that the relationship you actually want is not found in a few months of hormonal bliss. They're honest confessions, I know, but it seems to me you're just postponing for a long while already. I've been reading Elephant about two years now and it strikes me more and more, how you seem to ask for someone to give you a kick in the but. You won't be happy with any woman unless you do the kicking yourself. Just be honest that you are scared and confused to start a next phase, but you actually really want to. And start looking at real life, real people, quit the superficial boxes. Harlequin stories are boring! Real life is messy and stupid and scary, but o so beautiful.
    By the way, there might be a chance this 30+ woman, with all her scary wishes (which I feel you have too) will take you with her in the most wonderful roller coaster. Kick ass! with love

  31. Betsy says:

    Waylon, how many times have you written about wanting to fall in love? How many times has it worked out for you? I'm not saying this to be mean, but purely because of what I have read here of your own writing. Perhaps it's honestly time to think (literally, in this case) outside the box and to look for a peer, not a demographic.

  32. Robyn says:

    i don't believe anything you wrote, and when i look into your picture, i don't believe you do either. i wonder if you seek the truth for yourself, or if you seek it for others. or if you dream to jolt even just one person from passivity by shockingly unenlightened words. i wonder if during the night, sometimes alone, sometimes with another,the truth covers your body and warms you, much warmer than the skin of any 25 year old girl, no matter how hot or sexy or playful. do you wait in the field, tall green grasses, drawing snow angels in the morning dew. she will find you there, of course, is your obscuration your play or your reality? do your words seek to draw her out of the mist, or to keep your comfortable well worn veils?

  33. Cindy says:

    I think that a man who still has not connected with his own self and knows who he is needs to date a younger woman that doesn't yet have the experience and wisdom herself to figure out that the relationship is ego driven and not relationally driven.

  34. Rafal says:

    Thank-you for you efforts at self-reflection. Please indulge my own conceit while i play the devil dance and have some fun. Firstly most men or women are not in a position to date so much younger, even with the advent of Tinder (boy that is a great gif!). Please understand i'm not admitting that i'm not gods alpha gift to women because of course i am. doh.. did i just say that out-loud – whoops 😉
    Secondly i quote bad boy Rochefoucauld: 'We like new acquaintances, not so much that we are wearied of our old friends, or that we enjoy change, but because of our disappointment at not being sufficiently admired by those who know us all too well, and because of a hope that people who know us less intimately may admire us more.'
    yo mama
    .pax

  35. Rafal says:

    Thank-you for you efforts at not sh*ting rainbows. Please indulge my own conceit while i also play the devil dance and have some fun.

    Firstly most men or women are not in a position to date so much younger, even with the advent of Tinder (that is a great gif!). Please understand i'm not admitting that i'm not gods alpha gift to women because of course i am. doh.. did i just say that out-loud – whoops.

    Secondly as bad boy Rochefoucauld one wrote 'We like new acquaintances, not so much that we are wearied of our old friends, or that we enjoy change, but because of our disappointment at not being sufficiently admired by those who know us too well, and because of a hope that people who know us less intimately may admire us more.'

    yo mama.
    keep the peace xo

  36. I've read this article a couple of times, and what troubles me about it is the implication that if you are a woman over 30, your biological clock is ticking and you must be looking for a serious relationship! At 34, I know plenty of women my age and older who are attractive, independent, successful and are in no rush to have children, or are opting out of having children completely.

    The phrase "still young and busy enough to leave me alone if I want to work all the time" particularly disturbs me. As if, if you're over 30, you sit at home at night, endlessly pining for your man. Again, as a woman over the age of 30, I am dedicated to my work and also "work all the time". When I'm not working, my days are filled with friends, exercise, and hobbies — all of which I am more than comfortable doing without my man (and sometimes prefer that!).

    Listen, I have no problem with anyone dating younger or older. You're attracted to who you're attracted to. But let's not say that you need to date younger because women your age will need too much of your time and expect too much. That's crap. Dating younger women is YOUR preference, it's easier for you. And I suspect, it's probably a little bit of an ego boost. There are plenty of attractive, single, over 30s that aren't looking for a long-term, ultimately lead to marriage and babies relationship. You need to be willing to find them and communicate those expectations up front.

  37. Robert Watson says:

    Ha- Spoken like a true 40-something… Revisit this madness in ten years when you are wondering where you made the wrong turn. Relationships aren't about age. They are about awareness and emotional availability. And that door swings both ways. Placing one's own agenda above everything else then rationalizing it out not to be agism is a recipe for relationship disaster. Or… in my profession (counseling) we like to called it job security.

  38. Upasna says:

    Let me tell u. I am dating a guy much younger to me .I m 34. He proposed me to marry yesterday and we are sure to build a beautiful life together. What matters is ..taking a risk to make someone happy.love is beyond your and mine assumptions. It surpasses every doubt once you believe in it.

  39. P. D says:

    Well Now, I am a mature, happy and healthy, 68 year old women, My children are grown, as are my grandchildren, yes, I have 3 great grandbabies..lol..So yes, I have experience.. At my age, I find myself, having very little in common with men, my age, or older.. I am still healthy, No Meds, Still active, Still Loving and Living Life.. I was carded just last month, lol..Do I date, Younger Men, You bet, I Do.. Do I "need" a Man, Nope, but, I do enjoy, them, I've dated Men between the ages of 40-60, and I can tell you , it's much more interesting, they actually have something to talk about, other than their late wife, or ailments..a job or hobby they enjoy, they are more passionate about life, and love, just doing things together, which is great, be it fishing, travel, shopping, road trips, hiking, checking out a gold mine, or digging for diamonds.. or that new waterpark. dinner out or in, some love to cook, and are damn good at it, too. besides the fact that they love to see me laugh, and will do almost anything to see, I have a great experience..so yes, I love dating younger men, call me a Cougar, if you must, but, I have no intention of ever growing up.. or old..I intend to live the rest of my life, finding joy in the day, and the experience.. and allowing a younger man , to spoil me, protect me, feed me, and bring joy into my life…no matter his age, doesn't matter to me, the Man, he is, dose. And I will always allow the handsome baby ones, to open doors for me, and help me find things in a store…with a smile, and a Thank You, Honey!!!

  40. Sydney says:

    Interesting , I'm an over 50 female , although admittedly I look a bit younger , who dates females considerably younger than myself . This is not intentional, I have set my dating box in a 20 year span 40-60 . The one I have been dating turned 40 just 2 weeks before we met They say they are attracted not only to my looks but the maturity level in relationship to me . I am attracted to looks, vitality, desire to have experiences , spiritual qualities and a beautiful heart. I have never been in a relationship with a woman older than myself , I am open to exploring this.
    Point being, we are attracted to who and what we are attracted to. Everyone is a blessing . I love commitment, but can appreciate not everyone does. I am ready to remove the number and get out of the box, boxes suck and limit us . Let go and free yourself, she may still be younger , but darn you never know who's behind the door you've never opened.

  41. Jody says:

    I find it interesting that your conclusion is the direct opposite of mine, found through first hand experience, observation, and talking to friends. I am 44, have no biological clock ticking and not looking for anything serious. I certainly am not looking for someone who will be around all the time because I have my own interests and life and enjoy my space.

    I find most men from about 35- 49 are the ones rushing to quickly create a serious relationship and need to be entertained and constantly be made to feel wanted/paid attention to. I want to have fun, spend time with someone I enjoy and who understands that it is no reflection on him when I want to spend time by myself/be in my own space.

    I don’t think you’ve actually dated or even talked to women older then your bracket, but are making assumptions based on I don’t know what.

  42. Joan says:

    I would say that life is short, and good relationships are hard to develop and maintain. Given those facts, should age difference matter when you choose to let a partner into your life? I have always thought that +/- 5 years from my own age was a good idea. It seemed like a good thing to be experiencing similar phases of life together. I also wanted to maximize the chance that we would be able to spend the most years together – if we decided to marry. While there are no guarantees that the numbers will play out favorably, I took my own advice. We have been married 20 years. He is 4+ years older than I am. We are planning an early retirement together. It seems perfect. For us.

  43. D says:

    When I see a man in his 40’s dating a woman in her 20’s, I immediately lose respect for him. If by your 40’s, you haven’t grown up enough to have anything to offer a woman your own age (which is why you go for “easier”) I wouldn’t be interested in you anyway. It’s kind of a bummer that men would rather not do their work to become someone who can hold up their half of a relationship, but I’d rather they just keep dating younger rather than representing themselves as someone who can step up to the plate and then leaving as soon as something in the relationship gets stressful.

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