Picture this scenario: you meet an amazing man, have instant chemistry, and are lost in enthralling conversations for hours. He’s funny and vibrant, the sex is incredible, and you’re having more fun than you ever have before.
…the problem is, he’s a few (or more than a few!) years younger than you, and you don’t know how to feel about that.
Some of you may have already been in this situation, while others may be terrified of ever dealing with the prospect. But why is this seen as a “problem”?
Why not date a younger man?
Societal double standards are more than a little ridiculous, aren’t they? For example, few people even think twice about a male celebrity dating a woman who’s 15, 20, or even 25 years his junior, but baulk if a famous woman’s partner is even five years younger than she is.
Johnny Depp was 22 years older than Amber Heard when they married, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend is 23 years his junior.
But then, older man + younger woman seems to be accepted as absolutely normal. After all, young women are considered desirable because they’re full of youthful vitality, not to mention fertility. They’re a catch, right?
As women mature, we tend to be viewed as maternal rather than desirable, whether we’ve actually had children or not.
Older woman + younger man isn’t understood quite as easily. This pairing is often seen as unnatural, against basic biology. Desperate, even.
The term “cougar” is often used to describe these pairings, implying that the older woman is a huntress who’s out to prey upon an innocent young man. The truth is that a relationship with a younger man isn’t much different than a relationship with someone your own age, or older.
Sure, there are going to be issues to navigate, but that’s par for the course in any kind of partnership, right?
Have you met a fabulous younger man, but are worried about the pros and cons of a relationship with him?
Let’s dive into a few helpful tips that may help you along.
1. Remember that maturity isn’t dictated by age.
Repeat to yourself: maturity has absolutely nothing to do with age.
A woman in her mid-30s might be solidly engrossed in her career, or she may still be living at home, trying to find herself. She might be a mother of four or an avid skateboarder.
If she’s led a very sheltered life, she might be quite immature emotionally, compared to a woman who’s been living on her own since her late teens.
Similarly, a guy who has gone through a lot over the course of his life may be a lot more emotionally mature and dependable than someone twice his age.
In contrast, a grown-ass man who’s been babied and coddled all his life might have the overall maturity of a teenager.
2. Make sure your man isn’t looking for mom 2.0.
It’s a good idea to determine early whether your partner is, in fact, looking for a replacement mama. A lot of younger men are drawn to older women because they like having someone who will take care of them.
These guys tend to be the ones who left home quite late and had mothers who did pretty much everything for them while they still lived at home.
They’ve learned to expect that someone else will step up and take care of things, so they don’t have to.
If you find yourself involved with a guy like this, don’t expect to be able to change him. You can try to force him to step up and be responsible for himself, but he’ll probably end up resenting you for it.
He’ll likely end the relationship and find another woman to take care of him or date a much younger girl who won’t try to make him do anything.
3. Acknowledge that you likely have different energy levels.
If there’s an age gap of more than five years, you may find that your partner has significantly more energy than you do. This is especially true if you’re further along in your career than he is, or if you have children from a previous relationship.
He might be really into the idea of going out drinking on a Saturday night and not crawling home until the wee hours of Sunday morning, while you’re more into curling up with Netflix and a really lovely bottle of wine.
This is where communication and compromise come in: you can probably handle the occasional late night out, and he can probably enjoy the occasional night in.
For sex: his libido might be a lot higher than yours, so that’s something you’ll need to address tactfully. He may not have the stamina that an older man may boast but can make up for that by being ready to go several times a night.
As an added bonus, a lot of women find that their sex drives actually get significantly higher after age 35.
If you’re involved with a younger man, chances are you could be well matched rather than exhausted.
4. Be open to new ideas and experiences.
This could range across the board, really. You may have a ton of things in common, but chances are he’ll have his finger on the pulse of some things that you’ve never heard of, and vice versa!
For example, just a few years’ age difference is enough that you two might have a wide array of musical interests that the other has never heard of. This is a great opportunity for both of you to discover a bunch of “new-to-you” bands. Same goes for literature, film, TV shows, games, art… you name it.
But it’s a good idea to try something before turning your nose up at it: you may discover that you actually really enjoy gaming.
Before you know it, you will be bonding over late-night Skyrim dates and having a blast while doing so.
5. Understand that it’s absolutely okay to have different interests.
Your respective interests give you time and space alone to do your own thing. You don’t need to have every hobby and pursuit in common with your partner. In fact, it’s healthier if you don’t! It’s really important for the two of you to have different hobbies and interests that you can pursue on your own time.
So many people seem to think that they need to do absolutely everything with their partner, but the truth is that too much togetherness can be detrimental.
Encourage him to have his own social circle, and you cultivate your own.
Not only will you both get to do things you love with awesome people, but you’ll also have new stories to share when you get back.
Remember, age is just a number. Be good to one another, enjoy each other, and don’t allow yourselves to be constrained by the illusion of time.
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