I have dated an older man a few different times in my life, with varying results. There are things to love about it and things to hate about it as well. As a teen and 20-something, the dynamic didn’t work as well as it has for me in my 30s. When I was younger, I was still figuring out who I am and what I wanted, and someone older than me was further along in that process and not a good match. Now as someone confident in myself and what I want from life, dating an older man has been good for me and has really managed to change my outlook on love in several ways.
- I know now how it feels to be taken care of in a relationship. In past relationships, I was always the caretaker, and as a single mother, that dynamic definitely wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted someone who desires to take care of me as much as I do him, and that’s been much easier to find in an older man who already has his life figured out. Younger men tend to be still searching for how to be a grown-up, and sometimes what they’re actually looking for is a second mom.
- Generational gaps can be weird. Dating an older man might mean that you don’t have as much in common, or that you have different outlooks on the world in general. Pop culture references might go over his head, and you might hate his music. On the flip side- if you’re more mature, and have trouble relating to your peers because of it- dating someone older might be just the thing you’ve been looking for.
- I’ve learned to be more assertive. My whole life I’ve been a “yes girl,” and dating an older man has helped me to learn the power of saying no. While there are things that might break a relationship when you’re younger, an older man finds it attractive when you assert yourself and know what you want, because they do too. The right man will support you while you go after it.
- There could be a power imbalance. With someone close to your age- the power dynamic is usually pretty much equal, and whoever takes the lead on things mostly has to do with the personalities of the people involved. When you date an older man, this can become tricky. An older man sometimes thinks they should be in more of a leadership role because they are older and wiser, and you could end up feeling like you’re dating your dad. The right older man will have words of wisdom and encouragement for you but support you in all your choices, not only the ones they agree with.
- Life experience is so attractive. I have lived a really complex life, and persevering has made me much wiser than many people my age. An older man has simply had more experience, and with that comes understanding. Maturity and intelligence are so much more abundant in a relationship with an older man, and I’m here for it.
More things I’ve learned from dating an older man
- I’ve realized how much time I need for myself. Most times busyness comes along with having life mostly figured out and varied experiences. Having time for myself is so important to me, and as an introvert, I need time to recharge after socializing. Dating an older man with his own life going on that doesn’t necessarily include me allows me to do the same thing- build a life that’s only for me. In the meantime, it makes the time we spend with each other all that much sweeter.
- I’ve learned to not hide my baggage, and how to accept it in others. When you’re older, “baggage” isn’t things like kids or an ex-wife- once you get past a certain point in life, that stuff is practically inevitable. Baggage refers mostly to unresolved issues and the work you’re (hopefully) doing toward bettering yourself. When I was younger and in relationships with people the same age, I tried to hide these things from my partner. However, an older man has a different outlook- and it’s not that either you or he are damaged goods.
- I need someone that matches my vibe. When I was younger, I was never able to find someone who had ideas like me or viewed the world in the same way. With men my own age, it feels like there is so much judgment and competition. In my relationship with an older man, I feel the opposite of that, and it allows me to let the real “me” show, instead of hiding behind insecurities.
- Life is short. Older people have figured this out way before us- time moves quickly and unforgivably. I’ve gained such a different perspective on time and how I want to spend it from dating someone older.
- I’m learning to let go. We have so many challenges to overcome in life. It’s easy to let anxiety about the future overwhelm you. When dating someone who has lived through even more of it, you start to realize that it can be simple if you let it. Letting go of things that won’t matter in 10 days or even 10 minutes has been an incredibly important lesson.