‘Is it wrong to be attracted to much older men?’ Since the beginning of this year, I’ve seen this question asked many dozens of times in the singles forums I frequent. Young women – many of them still teenagers – are coming forward with interest in guys 5, 10, even 20 years older. One 20 year old entered an online discussion this evening who was dating a man 40 (!!!) years older her. Even in person, I’ve had an astounding number of very young women show very deliberate interest in me just this spring semester on campus. It’s an astounding change just from last fall.
Of course it’s flattering to us old guys, but as someone who is fascinated with strange phenomena, I’m just as curious about what’s causing it as I am flattered. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been casually questioning and discussing it with some of these young women, both online and in person, and I’ve noticed some common elements.
The nature of traditional relationships is changing.
Girls have pretty much always crushed on older men. It’s in their genes. In the past, it’s been society (and older women) that has kept it in check. Now with the upheaval of cultural norms over the past year, people are questioning the fundamental nature of relationships. Of course, gay marriage is the topic everyone is tired of hearing about. But since traditional views of relationships have fallen under question here in the U.S., other types of relationships formerly deemed as deviant are now emerging as well. Like large age gap relationships. Young women are seeing an opportunity now where none existed just a year ago, and many of them are excited about the possibility of new experiences.
Mass feelings of insecurity are sweeping the nation.
Again rooted in the currently volatile nature of American politics, a lot of young people (girls and guys) are afraid and uncertain about their future here in America. I’ve theorized before that during times of social uncertainty, young women will seek out older men because they offer far greater safety, security, and stability to a woman than a younger guy who has little to offer except a hot bod. And that seems to be at least part of the case now with these young women. They want to feel safe.
GenX men are intriguing (even if I do say so myself!)
In multiple and simultaneous ways, we live in a pivotal point in Western civilization. Just in America, we have living members of generations who have used horses to plow fields (like my dad) to youngsters who are almost entirely dependent upon digital technology to survive. That’s fascinating in itself if a person thinks about it. But within that range, there is probably the most dynamic generation gap that’s ever occurred – that between Generation X and the Millennials.
GenX-ers began life as deviant rebels and troublemakers. They were the first generation born to working mothers, so they grew up taking care of themselves and entertaining themselves. But as they grew out of their childish behaviors, they became independent thinkers and innovative builders. They built technology like cellular phones, smart phones, personal computers, and the Internet. They wrote powerful languages of logic and programming to create software. They introduced video gaming and RPG gaming to the world and gave us immensely detailed stories like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Elder Scrolls.’ The list goes on and on. They created the world that the Millennials came to depend upon.
I’m part of the last of Generation X, and the world is a very different place than it was when I was growing up. I was discussing generational differences with a young friend the other day (she’s actually part of the now GenZ). I described to her the world when I was growing up, and she sat there amazed, as if I were telling her a story from a distant past. She couldn’t even begin to imagine a world without smartphones and the Internet, and she seemed fascinated to hear about how differently things were not all that long ago. It’s like the magic when, as children, we would gather around as our grandparents would tell us about the world when they were young, except now the magic for these young women is embodied in men who are still successfully shaping the world, men who are still attractive and virile, men they can marry and to whom they can bear children and experience many years of exotic adventure…
But I doubt my readers are as fascinated with understanding the why of this phenomenon as much as I am, so…
For those young women interested in older men…
I have a few tips and suggestions for my young female readers.
Make sure his maturity matches his age. The world has an ample supply of old guys who just want some young tail. Make sure he’s well established in life and that he’s his own man, or you’ll end up with a 40 year old child.
And while we’re on the topic, please realize that there are no more older men out to take advantage of young women than there are younger men out to take advantage. Older men aren’t any more dangerous (arguably, less) to young women than young men because young men are emotionally unstable and because women are far less guarded against them. But be aware of this: The few older guys who do have ill intentions are very experienced and skilled at it. If you don’t know and trust an older guy, it’s reasonable to take precautions at first, and if you explain your concerns to a man with good intentions, he’ll most likely go to extreme measures to make sure you’re comfortable until he can gain your trust.
Don’t expect it to be anything like dating a younger guy. Expect it to be a new experience altogether. It will be different. Not a bad different, but different. If you realize that, if you approach it with an open mind, and if you’re game for a new experience and challenge, you’ll do fine.
Don’t expect him to act like an insecure teenager. Expecting him to meet you at your level won’t work. A few compromises, a lot of learning experiences, yes, but an older man is already established in life. He knows what he wants from life and how to get it, and if you’re willing to step into his world, he’ll treat you like a princess and take you for the adventure of your life.
Bridging an age gap MUST be a two-way effort. Especially if you’re a Millennial or GenZ woman interested in a GenX man. As I said, that’s an unprecedented gap, and finding ways to communicate and relate can be very challenging. It most certainly will not happen without a great deal of genuine effort from both partners. And as with any great challenge, there will be a lot of mistakes and failures. But if you both really want it, it’ll be a very satisfying accomplishment when your two worlds meet.
If you’re attracted to his maturity, don’t try to change him. Hands down, the biggest problem I’ve personally encountered with younger women is this: She’ll be attracted to me for my ‘older man’ characteristics, like self-reliance and confidence, then after I begin pursuing her, she’ll try to make me behave like the weak, insecure guys her age. Please don’t do this. You’re most likely attracted to him and interested in him because he isn’t what you’re used to. Please don’t play games to try to get him to behave the way you think he should, and just enjoy the new experiences that he has to offer. You’ll be glad you did.
You won’t be popular among other women. Despite this phenomenon, the majority of young women are still the ‘Ew! Old guy???’ type, and they make a habit of heckling the girls online who are interested in older men. Unfortunately, they’re not the worst part. The worst part is women over 30. In the singles forums, I’ve seen older women downright verbally attack and rudely shame younger women for showing interest in older men. Why? Because older women don’t feel they can compete with younger women, and they will go to extreme measures to keep young women from pulling men out of the older dating pool. I’ve even seen this happen in person several times, and it can create huge problems for the young woman who isn’t prepared to stand firm and deal with it.
I don’t know if this phenomenon will persist and if so, for how long. But since dating older men shouldn’t be taken lightly, I encourage my young readers who are interested in such a venture to read as much about it as you can before doing it. There’s a lot available online, and there are some great testimonial b/vlogs of large gap couples available. And hopefully, I’ve provided at least a little useful information for you in this article. Best wishes, and happy dating!