10 Ways Dating Older Guys Is Different—And Not Necessarily In A Good Way

No matter what, eyebrows are going to be raised the second you bring an older guy to a family party. Unfortunately, there are a lot of stereotypes about older men dating younger women. Even though your judgment is the best indicator, it’s still a good idea to consider these points before making it official.

  1. You’ll need to be cool with people assuming he’s your father. If he’s a man who’s 15 to 20 years older than you are, people will make the assumption that you’re related. Relationships come in all shapes and sizes these days, but people’s minds will instantly recognize him as your dad before your boyfriend. You need to be able to keep a level head about all of this and perhaps think up some good zingers to prove you’re well aware of the age gap.
  2. You’ll need to be extra careful with your friendships. Sometimes, older guys like to control younger women by cutting off their social group. One brief argument with your bestie might encourage him to tell you to cut her off for good. If you hear things like, “Why do you even need her? You have me,” that’s a red flag. People change, but don’t forget the friends you made before this guy came along.
  3. Also, be careful about your job. Even if your dream is to stay at home and be a housewife, it’s dangerous if this guy convinces you to leave your job, especially if you’re not married yet. He’ll take care of you financially for now, but soon you’ll become dependent on him for money. The relationship will sour quickly and leave you feeling trapped if you don’t have your own career and own life apart from his.
  4. A lot of your pop culture references may go unappreciated. All of us dabble in movies and music that are a generation or two above or below us, but decades are so great for summing up the big things that mattered in pop culture. Your older boyfriend won’t be able to keep up the way a guy would that’s closer to you in age.
  5. Your friends will constantly be looking for red flags with this guy. It’s out of love—they don’t want to see you hurt. If he’s a genuinely nice guy, they’ll be able to let their guard down a little bit, but they still may feel a little uncomfortable around him for a little bit until they know he’s dating you for all the right reasons. You may be frustrated by this, but try to see their point of view.
  6. He may have kids or baggage from an old relationship. We all have baggage, but the older a guy is, the more of a chance that he’s been hung up on someone for years. He may also have kids, which is totally normal but could be challenging if you’ve never pictured them in your life before. You need to ask yourself if you’re ready to try and make things work with someone who’s already lived a good portion of their life without you.
  7. He may treat you like a kid. Older guys have this bad habit of thinking they know everything, so if you try to prove him wrong about something (which you should), his instinct may be to silence you or tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes, it’s degrading, and it can really hurt. You shouldn’t be with any guy who openly silences you, but it’s a bad trait that might be more common with an older man.
  8. If he’s marriage material, you may want to prep for one day living a life without him. Death happens to everyone and the possibility of death shouldn’t be the sole factor as to why you’re not giving someone a chance. But if the age gap is huge, he has a higher chance of dying before you do. Now, life can take a ton of twists and turns and we’ll never know what may happen. But if you’re hoping to stay with someone well into old age, dating a guy who’s older may lessen your chance of that happening.
  9. He may prevent you from living your life to the fullest. As we get older, things become a lot less fun. It seems stereotypical, but people usually get more fragile as the years pass. Many older guys have a lust for life that’s incredible, but a lot of them would rather stay home and watch a movie than go skydiving. You need to consider whether or not you’re ready to give up some of the high impact interests you have unless you’re willing to do them with a group of friends instead.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.