Someone very close to me (I’ll call her Annie) has found herself intrigued by an older man. Naturally, because I am known to have “experience” in this kind of thing , Annie spilled the beans to me. After listening to her talk about her budding situation, I asked a couple of non inflammatory yet totally invasive questions to assess what was really going on. Having walked the line when dating older men for some years now, I wanted to get a feel for where she was in her mind. Being a connoisseur of people’s motives, I also needed to feel out his motivation for wanted to date a 20-year-old. I cannot divulge too much more about her situation, but it got me to considering the other side of the game: why older men date younger women. I always go to my main source of information-my husband! After a few covert operations of expert questioning, I learned a lot about why he stepped into this relationship at first. Here’s what he said:
- He was in the middle of an early midlife crisis. Some guys buy cars, get earrings or tattoos: he got a young girlfriend.
- He was looking to have fun, which apparently (at least from his perspective) older women didn’t like to do. He says he didn’t like the routine.
- He wanted someone who was sexually uninhibited. He doesn’t like too much kink but an adventurous spirit and nice body goes a long way with him.
- He wanted someone who was not contentious. He often characterized his earlier loves as enjoying drama, arguing, not malleable and just plain mean.
- He needed some solace. He didn’t feel judged-he felt accepted just the way he was. He didn’t feel any pressure to change.
- He liked the idea of molding someone younger (though I don’t know if that’s worked out the way he planned!). He said he saw a great deal of potential in me and enjoyed the prospect of developing it.
- He craved some old-fashioned hero-worship. He needed to feel needed, and women his age seemed to him so independent that he felt unnecessary.
- He appreciated my hybrid personality-a little country yet capable of urban lifestyles, an academic (Ok, nerd) who could get ignorant when I needed to. Also, financially speaking, he liked my potential earning power.
Now my take on it: I think every older man dating a younger woman goes into it looking for certain benefits: ego, economics and eroticism. The other more noble qualities that we look for in a mate come later in these types of relationships, if at all. The reality of most May-December relationships is that most men have little intention of “wife-ing” their young thang. Going into our relationship, I thought (and rightly so) that ours was nothing more than a passing whimsy on his part and mine. Our saving grace was that we were so compatible and complementary that after a while it seemed more unnatural to separate. I don’t think that all the things that I gleaned from my husband exhaust the list of reasons why a man 15-20 years your senior would be interested in dating you. However, I do think that if you have a relationship like mine, it pays big to know what the motivation is in your case. So, ladies, if you are into dating an older gentleman, be aware of your motivations for hanging around…and be very mindful of his. You will need complete honesty if you’re considering taking it further than sponsorship, rescue, father figuring or friendship. And he will need to move past his ego, economics and eroticism to love the true you. If all you will ever be to him is his acolyte, a source of financial gain or the freak in his sheets, you’ll have to move on to find real, lasting love.