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Age-Gap Dating Is HUGE Right Now. Still...Read This Before Doing It.

If you’re someone who’s been reading my content for a while, you know that I’m pretty big on accountability (with both men and women), and that means sometimes I will call out blatant hypocrisy and double standards. Today? It’s the fact that I find it to be mighty interesting that when an older woman is dating a younger man, she’s usually considered to be a “cougar” yet when an older man dates a younger woman, suddenly he’s a “perv” (short for pervert).


It's important to bring up that super unfair comparison because, when it comes to a particular dating trend that’s on the list of being a really big dating trend right now, it’s both men and women who are looking to get in on it — and if it’s good for one gender (within reason), in all fairness, it should be seen the same way for the other (again, within reason).

So, with that said, whatever it is that I’m about to share on the topic of age-gap dating, just know that I have no bias; I simply think it’s important for men and women, younger and older, to take a very realistic approach to this kind of dating…because as with pretty much everything in life, it has its pros and some, well, cons too.

Popular Doesn’t Automatically Mean Best

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Something that has kind of always fascinated me about our culture is how so many people will abandon all common sense and logic, just to do something that is considered popular. Well, at the end of the day, that’s pretty much what a trend is: something that is currently done by a lot of people for…whatever the reason. When it comes to dating trends, specifically, oftentimes, they are “birthed” out of surveys from dating sites or apps. When the people who conduct them notice that something is overwhelmingly preferred, encouraged, or supported, then it becomes a trend — and that’s just where age-gap dating came from.

Long story short, Bumble kinda-sorta-recently did a survey and discovered things like 63 percent of folks don’t factor in age when it comes to dating, and 59 percent of women said that they would date a younger man; those are pretty large numbers, and so, there ya have it: a trend.

I will say that although the study wasn’t super-duper specific about when an age gap is considered to be too much of one,Glamour published an article a few years back that said, 10-plus years between two people is enough to start causing some issues if one is not careful (more on that in a sec). And so, before you decide to get out here lookin’ for a youngin’ or a more — eh hem — mature man, just because it currently seems like everyone else is open to it, consider if 10 years — backward or forwards — is something that you would want to deal with; especially long-term.

If you’re not sure, keep reading. Hopefully, I will provide some things for you to ponder.

Difference in Age Means Differences Everywhere

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I’ve got people in my world who have big age gaps in their relationships. I’m talking about more than just 10 years. One example that immediately comes to mind is a married couple who has 15 years between them; the wife is older. On some levels, everything seems cool and copasetic. Oh, but there are nuances. Like she can be very condescending when it comes to what he finds to be fun and entertaining. Plus, their sex drives are not even close to being compatible now that she is well past menopause. It’s interesting because, rather than acknowledging that a lot of all of this has to do with their vast age differences, she prefers to see him as being immature. He’s not immature, sis. He’s just a lot younger than you are.

So, when it comes to age-gap relationships, that’s the first thing that you should think about: are you willing to deal with the differences that will probably come about, simply because you are at different stages in your lives due to your different ages?

Example: Because people say that I don’t look my age (‘preciate it), it’s not uncommon for folks to try and set me up with someone who is in their early 30s. For the most part, I’ll pass. For one thing, I intentionally decided that I didn’t want to have kids a long time ago, and I don’t want to have that discussion/debate with someone who may feel otherwise (quite possibly because they don’t have kids or want more of them). Also, I’ve worked with people, in the lane of relationships, for quite some time now.

Men before 35? For the most part, I encourage their focus to be on themselves and building their life (because a lot of guys don’t hit their professional and financial peak until their late 40s or early 50s). As for myself, I’m pretty settled, so I don’t want to be a hindrance when it comes to them up and moving a few times or switching career paths. Do that babe. You should.

I could go on and on when it comes to this particular point. The bottom line is dating someone who has a semi-significant age difference from you and then having a problem with the differences that come along with it is like really enjoying the summertime and then expecting winter to act like it…just because you do. Feel me?

Age-Gap Dating Requires Being a (Patient) Student. And Teacher.

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Whenever people talk to me about the hours that they spend (or is it waste?) arguing with folks on social media, something that I will oftentimes say (for instance) is, “Some of those folks weren’t even born when Freaknik happened. Let them come to the wisdom and insight that you have, due to your age, on their own.” Same thing goes for age-gap dating.

When it comes to these celebrity relationships, so many of them switch up like they change their underwear, so I won’t even give specific examples. If you surf or scroll on a daily basis, though, you know that there are some older women dating younger men and older men who are dating younger women who show all the signs in the world of heading for a real roller coaster ride because…they are simply at two totally different points in their life.

For instance, when you’re in your 20s, it’s not automatically a red flag that you want to go to the club often. Oh, but when you’re in your 40s, you can be tempted to tell them that it is — even though you did the same thing when you were their age. You know, just because you’ve “been there and done that” before, that doesn’t mean you should look down on them because they haven’t (yet).

Yeah, that’s another challenge about age-gap dating and age-gap relationships: you tend to think that you should be someone’s parent instead of their partner.

So, do I think that age-gap dating can never work? No, that’s not the case. What I will say is if you’re not a very flexible person, you are about to be pissed, often. Because when you’re with someone who has a different view of things that you do, and a part of it is because they are a different age than you are, you’ve got to be willing to teach some things that could help them to grow and also learn some things that could help you to become a better person — whether they are the older one or not.

Take two of my clients where, again, the husband is younger (by nine years) and the wife is older. He says all of the time that if he had not come into her life, she would’ve aged faster because she owns the fact that she’s not naturally a very adventurous person. At the same time, because of her influence in his life, he’s better with time management, which has helped him professionally, because she’s a huge planner (something that she learned to become due to “fumbling some balls” back when she was younger). See what I mean: the student as well as the teacher.

Does this apply to all relationships? It should. I’m just saying that when age-gap dating comes into play, lessons tend to pop up often and sometimes, very unexpectedly, simply due to folks being at various places and stages due to their age alone. If you can’t fathom dealing with that, age-gap dating is probably not something that you should get involved with.

Casually Doing It Can Tend to Backfire

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Okay, so what if you’re someone who wants to do some age-gap dating on a casual level? What could possibly go wrong there? Well, from reading some of my other articles (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”), you’ll already know that I’m not big on the meaning of casual: apathetic, careless, off-hand, without serious intention. Me? Especially at this age, I have zero energy or interest to be dealt with on a casual basis (whew, chile). And what if you’re the one who wants to take this approach? I mean, you’re grown, right? Do you.

I will just give the heads up when it comes to, say, wanting to have a casual sexual situationship with a younger man, while there is more content out here that says while 20-somethings may be having more sex, it’s the people in their 40s who are actually enjoying it the most (which means that it shouldn’t be assumed that the young guys do it better), science is science — and science says that testosterone levels are at their highest when a man is in his 20s. Meanwhile, for us, we are reportedly able to have the most consistent orgasms while we’re in our 30s. Where am I going with all of this?

I actually didn’t become sexually active until college. My first love was younger than I, and goodness, when didn’t he want to hump my leg? The college period was like a sea of raging hormone vessels with free rooms in the form of dorms. Chaotic and damn near diabolical in hindsight. LOL. And a big part of that is because guys have testosterone surging, and we as women are hella fertile. Getting off stays at the forefront on some level (at least for most of us).

The challenge with that is a lot of people who are hormone-driven may not necessarily be relationship-minded. And once you hit your late 30s-40s, after a couple of months of mind-blowing sex (perhaps), that could get old, especially if the sweet young thang doesn’t have much more to offer than that. And so…where do things have to go? That’s the thing about casual…usually nowhere. Again, by definition.

I will say that if you just read all of that and was like, “Okay…and still, what’s the problem?” — hey, do you, sis. I just think it needs to go on record that once you reach a certain point and place in life, casual experiences with younger men can damn near seem brutal — and you can’t really blame them if you got turned out, yet they barely respond to any texts that don’t have sex on the menu. #justsaying

Make Sure to Be Extremely Honest About Your Needs. And Expectations.

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Let’s swing to the other side of this: you dating an older man. I know someone who is currently doing that as well. She’s in her late 30s, and he’s in his early 50s. He’s stable. He’s smart. She said the sex is bomb. Dating him is fun, spontaneous, and full of surprises. So, what’s the problem? He’s super set in his ways. His values are hella traditional (hers are not).

More than anything, though, she wants to get married, and he’s divorced, so he has more of a “been there, done that” take on it. Does he have a problem with being exclusive? Absolutely not. However, having another wife or more children? His kids are grown. He’s mentally and emotionally past that time, too. And so, at a bit of a crossroads, they are — both are invested, and yet, because they are in different seasons of life, they don’t want the same things.

That’s another thing to consider when it comes to age-gap dating — if you are looking for something serious or substantial, you don’t really have time to waste when it comes to getting your needs and expectations out on the table. That’s why, past the first date to see if there is potential for a real connection beyond just chemistry, when it comes to age-gap dating, you really need to get your needs and expectations out there (on both sides) as soon as possible because — and pardon the pun — time is definitely of the essence.

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A lot to think about? Yeah, perhaps. At the same time, is the age-gap something to be leery of? No. It’s just important to check your motives, be realistic, and not lie to yourself or the person you’re seeing about what you want to get out of it.

Because no matter how hot of a trend age-gap dating may currently be, you need to do what’s right and best for you…not merely what is…popular.

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Featured image by FG Trade/Getty Images

 

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