Would You Date Outside Your Age Group?

It has become far more acceptable in recent years for us to date outside the traditional two year age gap.  There was a time when men dating significantly younger women were seen as predatory, sleazy or “only interested in one thing.”  When women who dated younger men were assumed to want to mother them or again, to be using them as some sort of nubile sex toy.  

Thanks goodness nowadays, we all have a lot more freedom over who we date and how we date.  When it comes to age, it is perfectly acceptable to be attracted to people who are younger or older without people feeling the need to psychoanalyse you and delve into the meaning behind your feelings.

Celebrities helped normalise the age gap relationship. Couples such as Jennifer Lopez and choreographer Caspar Smart (with an 18 year age gap), Al Pacino and Lucila Sola (with 40 years between them), Alek Baldwin and Hilaria Thomas (with almost 30 years difference) and Harrison Ford and Cali sta Flockhart (with 22 years between them) are amongst the many celebrity couples who have opted for an age gap relationship.  

Madonna is famed for dating younger men, saying she “dates the person and not their age.”  Celebrity couples like these have proven to us that age gap relationships don’t just have to be a sexual fantasy-fuelled fling, but can actually be very fulfilling and have great longevity. 

In online dating, the age gap issue has a different landscape.  If you happen to meet someone face-to-face who is older than you’d usually be attracted to but you feel instant chemistry and an immediate connection, then you’d no doubt consider dating outside your prescribed age range without batting an eyelid. But in the realm of internet dating you need to consciously type in numbers to narrow down your search criteria and being too restrictive may mean you lose out on someone surprising and unique.  

The next issue whether approach someone who may be much older or younger than you are.  It’s not as if you can catch someone’s eyes across a crowded café and establish that they are attracted to you and that it would be acceptable to ask them out for dinner.  Unless someone states on their profile that they are looking for a very specific age of partner, then you really have no way of knowing.

In reality, most people are more open minded about dating someone of a different age than you’d imagine.  At Cupid, we’ve helped facilitate a lot of successful age gap relationships.  The beauty is that you can reach out to someone and if they aren’t interested, there's none of that embarrassment or awkwardness that real life tends to have. There are plenty more people out there, so you just have to keep on fishing.

A great friend of mine once had a fling with a man who was forty years her senior.  They met through her work, she was in her mid twenties and he was in his sixties.  “I loved his maturity.  We would talk about art and culture, politics and travel.  He had fully formed opinions and such insight and experience which was lacking in men my own age.  In the end it was the financial difference that came between us, he was earning a lot and I was only just starting out. I still miss him.  The sex was explosive, he really knew what he was doing and was a very selfless lover.  I had the most intense orgasms of my life with him, even now, ten years later no-one else has come close.”

The fact that my friend chose to end her relationship with a significantly older man due to their difference in income is unusual.  A recent study showed that 55% of women who date older men stated their income as the main reason to be dating them.  Proof that the sugar daddy phenomenon is not dead!  

However, if you’re an older man who is worried about being preyed upon by young women on the hunt for your fortune then rest assured, gold diggers are easy to spot a mile away.  There are actually specialist dating sites devoted to younger women and older men that will attract the attention of these types, instead of reputable dating sites like Cupid. 

It pays to not flaunt your wealth on dating sites, let that be an added bonus for the right girl rather than a hook to reel in the wrong ones.

It also pays to not flaunt your wealth on dating sites, let that be an added bonus for the right girl rather than a hook to reel in the wrong ones.  Also, if you find a girl flaunting her looks and youth but with little else in the way of substance, then perhaps she is deliberately looking for an older man for specific reasons.  You’ll be able to tell by the question she asks you if she is into you for your money or is interested in you as a person. 

Another rule of thumb is to find out if that person always dates significantly older or younger partners.  If someone is drawn to you for who you are, regardless of age then the chances of the relationship lasting is high.  If they are attracted to you because they tend to go for people of your age group, then it may be short lived.  In this day and age, we need to appreciate that many women will be drawn to older men for their maturity and wisdom, just like my friend was and that men may well be drawn to mature women for the same reasons.  

A recent study showed that men mature at the age of 43, while women hit maturity a good eleven years earlier.  Suggesting, that perhaps an eleven year age gap might result in a successful relationship.  Another study based on two thousand participates suggested that the perfect relationship age gap was four years and four months, with the man being the elder.

Less than half of the people in the study insisted that there was no ideal age gap, but 33% of women stated they preferred their men up to seven years older than them.   In the same study, only 1% of women stated they preferred younger men.  If you are a younger man who likes his women older, don’t be disheartened.  Think of J-Lo and Madonna and keep looking for that 1%.

All in all, age is all a matter of preference.  Our age can be a good indication of where we have been and of our knowledge and life experience.  It can be nice to share nostalgically with someone of the same generation, to chat about TV shows you both might have enjoyed or bands you loved.  However, learning about a different decade from someone you are sharing your life with is equally exciting and interesting. If you’ve been divorced, faced bereavement or had a difficult life, then you may appreciate dating someone of similar life experience, however, you might also be drawn to someone younger who has a different energy or enthusiasm and will help you move on from the burdens of the past.  

Nowadays, age gap relationships are perfectly acceptable and expanding your age selection when looking for potential dates may well set you on the path to finding your ideal match.