Why do woman, and indeed young men, find themselves attracted to older men? The main answer seems to be because they're sick of feeling as though they're wasting their time on men in their age bracket.
While men in their 20s may not be looking for a committed relationship or thinking about children, men in their 40s may be financially stable and on the look out for for someone to start a family with. Your motive for dating an older man may not even be about your search for a future husband or father - you may just fed up with dealing with the emotionally immaturity that comes hand in hand with dating some young men. Google 'when does a man become emotionally mature?' and the Internet will tell you that it'll take until he's 43 years old. If you can't understand why someone you know is dating a man 20 years older, maybe you're starting to get the picture!
Pictured: Angelina Jolie and Billie Bob Thornton - between whom was a 20 year age gap.
The Benefits of Dating an Older Man
Ok, so he may not care about Instagram and he probably couldn't pick Post Malone out of a line-up, but there are definitely several major benefits to dating an older guy.
Never get approached when you're out with your friends? There's nothing wrong with you, young men can just be shy and unsure of themselves. Older men know a good thing when they see it, which is why they'll often make the first move. You won't have to buck your boyfriend up all the time when you're dating a mature guy either. With age comes more experience, increased self-confidence and the ability the back yourself. The chances are he already knows he's got it going on!
2. No Silly Games
"Ok here's what happened, so I sent him a text, then he FB messaged me, then he saw that I saw his message, so now I'm going to wait 30 minutes before I reply to that message so that he knows that I know" - sound familiar? Playing mind games over social media is exhausting, immature, and kind of pointless. You know who doesn't act this way? Older guys. If they want to speak to you, they'll call you, because *plot twist* that's actually the primary function of a mobile phone. They're likely to reply to your texts quicker and ring you when they say they will, because they just don't care about mindless dating games.
Need advice about work, finances, general big decisions - your older man might be able to help! Ok, sometimes they'll lord it over you for a joke, but it's great to be in a relationship with someone who can prevent you from making avoidable mistakes. If they get too cocky, just remind them that they thought The Chainsmokers were the local nicotine addicts who hang out at the end of your street!
Pictured: Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley - they've been together 9 years, have a child together and were born 20 years apart.
4. Financially stable
If you've a young woman who's determined to make smart investments and save up all her hard earned cash, why would you gravitate towards someone who spends impulsively on non-essentials and is always broke come pay day? Older men are often more financially stable than their younger counterparts because they've learnt to save their money. Just like TLC said, we don't want no scrubs!
5. Ditch the jealously
Older men tend to understand that it's important to spend time apart when you're in a relationship. While you may be sick of the green-eyed monster making an appearance in the younger men you date, an older boyfriend may be more self-assured and trusting.
The Challenges of Dating an Older Man
Nobody's perfect, everyone is going bring different strengths and weaknesses to a relationship. Older men aren't exempt, there are definitely a few common obstacles you'll have to get past if you're dating an older man of 10 years or more.
1. Family ties
In the published guide 'Rules for Dating an Older Man', this is the first hurdle. Your older man may already come with kids from a previous relationship, and you're not allowed to be salty about that. He had a life before he met you, that's nothing anybody can control. He may not want to become a father a second time around, or you may not be comfortable with getting put in the role of step-mum. His ex-partner may not be pumped that you're younger than her, or his children may be less than pleased to discover their Dad is dating again. If you're both determined to be together, you'll need to work out how you're going to effectively manage extended family. And then there's your family to consider. If your boyfriend is 5 years older, it normally won't ruffle any feathers, but if you're bringing home someone that closer in years to your father, your family might not take it well at first. Be prepared for everyone to get very vocal with their opinions.
2. Your Friends Don't Always Click
Don't expect your 40-something boyfriend to immediately gel with everyone else's 25-year old beau. It's nothing to take personally, it's just that your boyfriend has already done his fair share of keg-stands, lighting his own farts on fire, nudie-runs etc. And your friend's BFs probably don't want to hear about the stock market, the U.S Open or this really interesting interview that was on Radio National last week. Expect to hear "You can bring (*insert his name here*) but he might get bored" a lot.
3. "So, Who's This?"
If your boyfriend looks significantly older, get ready for him to be called your friend, your uncle, your father - basically everything else under the sun except 'boyfriend' because people can't comprehend that you two could possibly be in a relationship. You can combat this with a few different methods. You can either smile politely and then start smooching (a bit passive aggressive and kind of weird if you haven't corrected them yet!) or you can get used to the fact that you're both going to have to explain a "No, sorry, this is actually my partner" for the duration of your relationship.
Pictured: Alec and Hilaria Baldwin - This is Alec Baldwin's second marriage. Him and Hilaria have four children together and they have 26 years between them.
It's important to note that there's a difference between challenges that stem from your age gap, and major problems. If you're a 30 year old woman dating a 40 year old man - sure it's a 10 year age difference but it isn't unheard of. However, if you're a 19 year old who's dating guy who's nearly 30, you have to keep an eye on the relationship psychology and whether it's healthy. You may be legally old enough to date and consent to a sexual relationship, but that doesn't mean that your relationship is a positive one. Sometimes older men seek to date younger men and women precisely because these young people have less life experience with love and healthy relationships. When a young person doesn't yet know the difference between what's love and what's an abuse of power, it can be easy to emotionally manipulate and control them. Emotional abuse can happen in all types of relationships, no matter the age difference, so if you or someone you know is struggling with complex feelings, check out 1800RESPECT.
What's It Like Dating An Older Man?
- "My husband is 13 years my senior. We make the relationship work with mature wine, cheese, and conversation — we talk about everything, laugh hysterically, and forgive quickly. Because we are both professionals, we often negotiate and find arrangements that are as close to win-win as possible. Successfully agreeing to disagree when necessary has helped our marriage thrive, as well. Albert and I fully acknowledge that we may not have 50 years together, so we are on a mission to make as many fond memories as possible with one another and our children (and eventually their spouses and children)." - Lisa(48) and Albert (61)
- "Jake and I have been together for over 21 years. Our age difference has never really been an issue. Maybe at the very start, though I was more mature for my age so that probably helped. Our relationship differences are more about our personality differences — whether it's hobbies and interests, introvert versus extrovert, cynical (I prefer 'realistic' or 'practical') versus upbeat, etc. These differences can be a source of frustration and annoyance, but when you learn to embrace and appreciate the differences, you realise they are what balance things out and lead to a more fulfilling and well-rounded life." - Keith (42) and Jake (52)
- "The 20-year age difference between us has been a blessing. I think men mature much later than women, so relationships with a younger woman and older man seem to work on all levels, especially in this world of dating apps which seems to have made most males revert back to being teenagers. Julia appreciates my maturity, emotional availability, and financial security, especially compared to younger guys. Guys her age seem to care only about quantity over quality when it comes to relationships. They're so used to swiping through human beings like items on a restaurant menu, it's hard to connect beyond the superficial or purely physical aspects of somebody. In contrast to shallow, fleeting Tinder relationships, when two mature people really connect on a deeper level, it transcends casual dating." - David (49) and Julia (29)
Pictured: You could be forgiven for not knowing that Ryan Reynolds is 11 years older than his wife Blake Lively.
Where do I go to find myself an older man?
If you've into more mature Tinder users, you can always slide your scale up to 50+ and see who pops up in your DMs. If it's a case of 'slim pickings' in your local area, you may finding signing up to a few dating sites is more helpful. Be careful though, not everyone is who they say they are on the Internet! Hanging with a crowd of friends of varying ages may also help you find your dream man. Spending time with people who are aged 30-50 will widen your social circle, and give you a better chance of bumping into Mr. Right!
Best of luck and remember, age is just is number!