I’m Dating A Man 10 Years Younger Than Me — Here’s What I’ve Realized

I’ve been dating since my early 20s (I was a late bloomer!) and I generally always went for older guys. I thought guys my age were too immature for relationships, which pretty much ruled out younger guys as well. However, after a string of experiences that never really worked out, I decided to be a little less rigid. Now, I’m dating a man  10 years younger than me, and it’s actually been a really eye-opening experience.

While I don’t necessarily see us being together forever and the relationship does have its share of ups and downs, I’m learning so much from my boyfriend that I wouldn’t have if I’d stuck with dating guys my age or older. Here are some of the realizations I’ve had.

  1. Men and women really do mature at different rates. We’ve heard it repeated our whole lives, but it’s true: studies have proven that women mature much faster than men — 11 years faster, to be specific. I’ve definitely seen that in action with my boyfriend. Dating a younger guy means accepting that there are certain ways of thinking he’ll have and certain life experiences he’ll lack that will be incredibly frustrating sometimes. I try not to hold it against him. It’s not like he can help it!
  2. People in their 20s are really dumb. I would have balked at this when I was in my 20s, but now that I’m 35, I can see just how stupid I really was. My boyfriend, of course, thinks he’s a genius. He thinks he has it all figured out and, at the tender age of 25, likes to look down on 18 and 19-year-olds because he’s so much older and wiser. Of course, he doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight like I do.
  3. So are people in their 30s. This is so true. Just as I thought I knew everything in my 20s but realize now that I didn’t, I also have to accept the fact that all the insights and intelligence I’ve gained now still pale in comparison to what people 10, 20, or 50 years older than me have. In fact, I’m pretty sure we all know little to nothing throughout our lives and that it’s a constant learning process. That’s been a really positive takeaway I’ve gotten from dating a man 10 years younger. It’s also vaguely comforting to him that I’m in the same boat.
  4. It’s so hard to keep your mouth shut when you know better. While I may still have a long way to go when it comes to achieving enlightenment in life, I do have a decade’s worth of experience that my boyfriend lacks. However, I know it’s not my place to live his life for him or fix his problems. If he asks me for my advice, I’ll happily give it. Most of the time, he insists he knows better and I just have to sit back and bite my tongue. It’s so hard!
  5. Some lessons you have to learn the hard way. Dating a man 10 years younger than me has really driven home how stubborn this age group can be. Just like I know I need to keep my mouth shut when it comes to my opinions on some of the dubious decisions he makes, I also realize that learning these lessons the hard way is vital. Messing up and making wrong moves (and then dealing with the consequences) is what gives you character. It helps you mature, gives you perspective, and makes you a better person. Truly.
  6. Sex doesn’t have to be orgasmic to be fun. After one too many bad sexual experiences, I kinda swore off any kind of intimacy that wasn’t going to produce the desired result of getting me off. That was a mistake! While my boyfriend is getting very good in bed and is eager to learn, sex doesn’t always result in an orgasm. The old me would have seen that as a waste of time, but now I realize how silly that is. Every single time my boyfriend and I are in bed together is a good one, mostly because it’s so fun, joyous, and full of laughter. I know that sounds corny but it’s true. Sex is about connection, not necessarily about orgasm. That’s an added bonus!
  7. It’s easy to get caught up in the heavy stuff in life as you get older. I’m 35, which means I’m pretty heavily into the adulting world now. I have a career, bills, a ticking biological clock, ailing parents, and just a ton of stretch. I sometimes look at my boyfriend and wish I had his innocence and naivete about the world. That’s not meant to be condescending or belittling in any way. In fact, being with him has had the added bonus of really making me lighten up a bit. It’s so easy to get consumed by the heavy stuff in life, and while we do have responsibilities and things that happen that need to be taken seriously, we don’t have to lose any sense of levity.
  8. Age is nothing but a number. If there’s anything dating a man 10 years younger than me has made me realize, it’s this. We sometimes focus so much on the number of candles on our birthday cake, but that just doesn’t matter. Who we are doesn’t magically change because we’ve been on the planet for another year. Life experiences help us grow and evolve, but there’s nothing to say I can’t still be just as young at heart as my boyfriend is. He’s keeping me happy and alive and reminding me of many things I lost sight of. For that, I’ll always be grateful.
Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia
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