Should You Date an Older Man or Woman?

Someone who is 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years older than you has expressed romantic interest.  However, lately you have had some mixed feelings about dating them, how do you deal with your doubts and be at peace with your decision to date, stay in the relationship or end it?

Meet Nadine, she was 21 when she met Dalton 31.  He seemed to have his life very much together as compared to some of the guys she met her own age.  However, Nadine and Dalton came from different worlds.  When Dalton was a child, men were very domineering over women and when Nadine was a child every woman she ever knew was independent.  Their worlds began to collide.  Dalton expected Nadine to listen to him and follow his instructions about cooking and keeping the house clean, take his suggestions on how to dress in front of men and most of all how to communicate with him without using slang and curse words.  Dalton mentioned to her one day he thought she was rather young and they didn’t have many common interests, but there was nothing more said about his statement.  He avoided bringing the age difference issue up to her again, because he definitely didn’t want to break up with her at least not right then.  On the other hand, Nadine wasn’t sure she could continue to look at Dalton’s receding hairline much longer while he gave her his suggestions about how she should act.  She also grew weary of sitting at home watching Dalton’s selection of classic movies on weekends.  Both of them continued to see one another despite their differences; however, they were considering on breaking up with one another secretly.

Although Nadine’s complaints seem trivial, she is use to doing things with people mainly her own age and she socializes with very youthful and attractive people (who haven’t lost their hair at least not yet.)  On the other hand, Dalton works around many people his own age and doesn’t see anything wrong with “teaching” Nadine.  Despite their conflict over age differences, they get along at times, but they are silently grappling with the issue.

Before you decide to date, propose, marry or break up with someone much older or younger than you, be sure to write down all of your concerns.  Don’t just think about how you feel about him or her presently, but how you may feel about them in the future.  What is important to you about another person’s personality and physical attributes may not be so important to everyone else.  The decision you reach should be one you are comfortable with not one someone else tries to convince you to make.  Some people may tell you how great it is to date someone older for wisdom, wealth, growth and other reasons that seem logical.  However, you may have a problem with the way he or she looks, talks to you or treats you out in public.  Others may tell you how wonderful it is to date a younger person, because they don’t have as much baggage, they are exciting and youthful, yet you may find their conversations are annoying or discover they are completely the opposite of what you expected.  Avoid going into a relationship or continuing one with heavy doubts.  If there is a small voice telling you he or she is not the one, listen to it.  No matter how reasonable or logical someone’s advice may sound, go with what gives you peace of mind.

Being with someone who is older or younger is very similar to dating someone inter-racially.   People will stare and comment.  Your own family may be critical and tell you what they think of your mate.  You will have to be prepared to stand strong in the face of opposition if you really want your relationship to work.  Some ex-spouses will attempt to make life difficult for you (and use the children if you have any.)  They may be jealous, angry or even still in love with you depending on how you broke up with them.  Know how to handle them, so that your new mate will not feel insecure or want to leave you.

Questions you may have not thought about are as follows.  Consider asking yourself the following and acting on your response.  It is best to know what you want and how you feel about the relationship before you fall too deeply in love. 

Before You First Met

How would you describe your life before meeting this older or younger person?  This question is important to answer.  For instance, some people who are in their 40s could have recently came out of a relationship with someone who was about the same age and found he or she to be rather boring, tired, miserable, or depressed.  As we know the older you get the more likely hormonal changes occur, unexpected aches and pains and other body challenges.   Sometimes hormones will motivate desires to have every facet of one’s life be changed such as ending a long term marriage, selecting a younger more exciting mate, quitting his or her job and traveling, buying a sports car that one cannot afford, exercising obsessively, dressing younger or taking a deep interest in having a baby or caring for babies. Some people later regret their decisions because they realize a visit to the doctor’s office and a prescription could have kept them from making life- altering changes.  Maybe the problem wasn’t with their previous mate; instead, he or she may have had mental issues.

Another thought you may want to consider, if you are younger, is how was your relationship with your mother and father growing up?  Do you find there is a pattern in selecting mates older than you?  There are young women who are very much in need of a father figure and will confuse that need with their desire to date an older man.  If she had no male influence growing up or her own dad didn’t seem interested in relating to her, she may look for qualities in an older man to compensate for what she lacked in childhood.  An older man who may be aware of this behavior may want to consider what role he will want to play in her life:  good friend, lover, god father, acquaintance or all of the above. 

Some older men have desires to have someone care for them particularly if they never had a daughter. There may be a reason why for some of you, you are consistently seeking younger women.  Think about your past relationships, did you find yourself tempted to teach, correct and instruct your younger mate?  Do you find you can control a younger woman or “get away” with certain things you couldn’t with a woman your own age?

When You First Met

This younger or older mate definitely had something about them that drew you to them, what was it?   If you find there is nothing more than physical qualities, sex and/or money, then you can be sure the relationship will be challenged.  There has to be more than these attributes to make you want to be with him or her.  What is it you like or dislike about he or she?  What is it that your mate likes or dislikes about you?  Will you be able to deal with these differences long term?

Physical Characteristics

As we all know beauty comes and goes, will you still find him or her attractive in the short and long term?  What happens when he or she is ill, pregnant or disabled and not looking his or her best?  Have you centered the relationship on appearance and showing him or her off to the public for attention?  A man or woman with a fifty-year-old body doesn’t look like a man or woman with a twenty or thirty-something year old body?  Will you be able to handle a body aging?  If you are older, are you confident enough in the way you look that you won’t give your younger mate a hard time when you see them around people many years younger than you?  If you are younger, what are your feelings about gray hair, balding, protruding bellies and varicose veins? 


There will be those moments when you may say something that will reveal your true age.  It may be a story about how you grew up, what kind of music you like, how old your parents are or something reminding your mate how old or young you are.  How do you feel when you have conversations with your mate and how does he or she make you feel?  Do you find him or her uninteresting?  Do you feel more comfortable around people who are your own age?  How do you think your feelings will affect your relationship in the future?  As discussed earlier, hormonal changes will also come to challenge the relationship.  For men, will you be able to handle a future pregnant woman’s mood swings, menopause, or PMS?   As for women will you be able to deal with male mental and physical issues?


When either a younger or older mate has wealth, he or she may be very generous or protective of it.  They may not know what your motives are for being with them.  How will you respond to their concerns?  Do you have your own personal wealth you can be proud of?   Will your mate object if you work, don’t work, own your own business or go back to school?  Do you expect your mate to assist you?  Have you discussed how much you make, what kind of bills you pay and how much they are and if you can afford to help one another?  Can you both afford to travel, eat out at restaurants and enjoy other forms of entertainment?  All of these questions are important because our interests are a big part of our lives, if you want to do things together, you don’t want money to be an issue later in the relationship. 


Your family will also reveal how old you are as well.  Her sister maybe twenty years old and yours may be forty years old.  Your mate may not have too much in common with her potential sister-in-laws and vice versa.  Don’t anticipate the family will love your mate, because they may not.  Instead, they will question, “What does this younger woman want with my son?  Why is this old man going out with my daughter?”  They will discuss motives among each other and eventually talk with you as to what they suspect is your mate’s reasons for being with you.  Don’t fall into the temptation to believe what you hear unless there is proof from your mate that tells you otherwise.


If you had children or are thinking about not having any, then your younger mate needs to know this.  Don’t cover up how you really feel by saying, “Oh maybe one day.”  The truth will later reveal itself and when it does it won’t help your relationship.  If you are serious about not wanting children, state the truth.  If you have children from a previous relationship, tell your mate.  There are consequences whether you tell or don’t tell.  Avoid hurting your mate anymore than you have to by being honest and allow them the opportunity to make a choice whether to continue a relationship with you.  If you would like to have children one day, be sure your mate knows, but don’t try to convince him or her she will be a good father or mother, let them think about your plans and reach a decision on their own.  


This should concern anyone in any kind of relationship.  The day will come where we will all die.  Think of the person you are with and include them on your insurance policy.  You don’t need to tell them what you have done.  However, if they choose to be with you for the rest of their lives and you are many years older, you know the days will come when they will most likely have to care for you.  Don’t leave your mate or children with any financial burdens.  Plan how your wealth will be handled once you are gone.

Although the information in this article is very detailed for a relationship that may not have started yet or is just beginning, it has provided you with a glimpse of what you will have to consider in the future.  Re-read it.  Make your decision to date someone older or younger wisely, not out of lust, selfish gain, curiosity or some other trivial reason.

Nicholl McGuire shares insightful wisdom around the web, check out "Messages for the Soul" on

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