It’s a refrain familiar to younger women dating older men and older men dating younger women: “How pathetic. She’s obviously just after his money.” Or, “Gross! Can’t he find someone his own age?” Answer: Probably. But does he really want to? For that matter, does she really want to? While there are plenty of arguments in favor of choosing a partner close in age to you (more common interests, similar goals, more comparable life experiences, etc.), there are also plenty of pitfalls attached to dating a member of your peer group. And regardless of your gender, or which side of the age gap you happen to be on, there are plenty of perks involved in age gap dating. Let’s look at a few of them now. (Note: This list is addressed to all the younger women seeking older men, but check back soon for a follow-up about the advantages of dating somebody younger!)
Pitfall #1: You’re both clueless.
Particularly if you’re in your early to mid-twenties, there’s a ton you have yet to experience. You may still be in college or graduate school. Your career is probably just beginning. You’re less likely to have been married before or raised children. In many ways, you’re still learning the ropes of being an adult: what you want to do with your life, how to support yourself, and how to navigate the frequently daunting terrain of romantic relationships. And guess what? So is your partner. It’s a case of the blind leading the blind. Because you’re experiencing everything for the first time together, neither of you is in a position to offer the perspective that comes with having been there, done that. How do age gap relationships differ?
Perk #1: Your partner has been there before.
In an age gap relationship, your partner will already have the benefit of many more years of life experience, and the attendant wisdom and perspective that go with it. Crises will seem less intimidating if your partner has already weathered some of the storms you have yet to face. Communication problems will be more easily resolved because your partner will have had more opportunities to figure out what works and what doesn’t and to adjust accordingly. Stressful milestones like moving long-distance, shopping for a home, or making a career change will feel more like fun challenges to somebody who already knows what they’re capable of surviving. Sure, life will still throw you its share of curveballs, but you won’t feel quite so much like you’re blindfolded as you frantically try to catch them.
Pitfall #2: Insert tab A in slot B?
Let’s face it: Especially in your early twenties, sex with a new partner is frequently just bad. Having grown up on a diet of media that depicts sex as something that happens effortlessly with zero verbal communication and nary an awkward moment, most young people have to fumble their way through to figure out how to get each other off. To add insult to injury, a lot of young guys mistakenly think real-life sex works exactly the way it does in porn, and that they can bring a woman to the brink of ecstasy with minimal effort. Likewise, many young women have zero awareness of their own orgasmic potential. They may never have had a partner prioritize their pleasure, and they may not know what’s supposed to feel good and blame themselves if they’re left unsatisfied.
Perk #2: Better Sex.
By mid-life, most people have figured out that sex is a skill, and like all skills it can be improved with patience, practice, and, most importantly, communication. Older men dating younger women are less likely to feel embarrassed or self-conscious about asking their partners what they like in bed, and they’re more apt to appreciate constructive criticism. Because once you hit a certain age, you realize that sex isn’t about your ego. It’s about giving and receiving pleasure with your partner. Women are likelier to have a clearer sense of what they enjoy in bed, and they won’t be shy about asking for it. Men will have come to grips with the fact that porn is for entertainment purposes only, not a how-to guide. The result? A more satisfying sex life for everybody involved (but especially for younger women dating older men)!
Pitfall #3: That awkward moment when you realize you’re dating a child.
You come home from work or school and your partner is sitting there on the sofa wearing the same dirty pair of cargo pants he’s been wearing all week. His fingertips are stained with Hot Cheeto dust. The living room smells like weed. He’s yelling at the other players in his MMORPG. For one horrible moment, you’d swear you’re back at your parents’ house staring at your fourteen-year-old brother. Oh, by the way, he’s going to be late with his half of the rent this month, and would it be cool if he borrowed twenty bucks? It’s nickel shot night at the dive down the street.
Yeah, that stereotype about how boys take longer to mature? It exists for a reason.
Perk #3: Sharing your life with an actual grownup.
Maturity is one of the most commonly cited reasons for younger women looking for older men. Because women only have so many childbearing years, they have to think more seriously about establishing stable lives, settling down, and starting families if those are goals they hope to meet. They don’t have as much time to piddle around and hedge their bets, so they want to know that their partner is someone they can count on to uphold his end of the life they create together. With their 20s and 30s behind them, men are likelier to know exactly what they want, and they’re prepared to work to meet those milestones instead of slacking off.
There you have it: three pitfalls of dating your peers, and three perks of dating somebody older. Check back soon for the next installment about the benefits of dating a younger partner!