Does Age Matter in Dating?

When we meet people as dating prospects, we always get to the question: “How old are you?” Age is kind of a big deal. Is this guy immature or mature? And does age matter in dating?

If I’m 23, do I really want to date an 18-year-old? I was a different person at 18. And of course, if you’re under 18, you’re basically still a kid, sorry — and adult men should stick to adult women, not kids.

Still, it’s no secret that in general, guys go for younger girls and women go for older guys. One study in Finland found on average women prefer men who are around their age and somewhat older. Men, on the other hand, have a tendency to be attracted to women in their mid-twenties — no matter how old they are themselves.

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You might assume men are only after young women because they’re “hotter,” but it also has to do with reproduction. The theory is that men are attracted to younger women because they’re more likely to be fertile. This is why you might find older guys sniffing around no matter what age you are.

“I find that when the guy is older, he is more ready to settle down and has the chance to manipulate a younger woman into believing that she wants to settle down to,” Catherine Blanco from Connecticut told us. “When the opposite situation occurs I find that the woman has more fun and is in more control of the direction of the relationship. Young guys are usually goofballs and have no tolerance for drama. The older woman has made and learned from many mistakes and just wants to chill and have fun.”

Often we worry, what is an older man trying to get out of a younger woman? Does he want to settle down or does he want to just have fun and hook up with someone who makes him feel young? But, where you are in life can seriously alter the idea that a guy just wants to sleep with you.

Shaheen Tokhi from New York weighed in, “My parents (mom and step-dad) are a little less than 13 years apart in age, and while this may seem outrageous, they met when my mom was in her early thirties and my dad in his early forties. They had both been divorced and had kids from previous marriages and were honestly perfect for one another because…they understood all that the other had been through.” It makes perfect sense because they knew that kids played a role in their compatibility.

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What about those of us who do not have kids? Well, it’s difficult to decide until you go on a couple of dates and feel the person out. My own experience was of the stereotype: a 13-years-older man who had no interest in anything serious. He just wanted fun. This could also be said of young, assumingly “immature” men. If that’s what a woman wants, that situation would be a win-win.

Having an older guy can still turn out amazing though. Perhaps a lesser age difference may be better.

Chrissy Pusz from New York, who has a five-year gap from her 28-year-old boyfriend said, “[There] are certain things that I am able to learn from him specific to his being older…Like how to grow in a career…Another pro is that his age (coupled with his personality) makes him far more mature than other men I’ve pursued who were my age. From day one, the communication was much more open and transparent.”

Still, always remember to ask yourself one question when you’re dating an older guy: how come girls his own age don’t want him? This especially if you’re still in high school or college and a guy who’s in a different stage of life takes interest in you. If you’re in high school and he’s in his early 20s, it might be a red flag that girls his own age aren’t interested in him. It’s easy for older guys to think they can manipulate younger girls, so you have to be careful.

Look no further than Kylie Jenner and Tyga. Kylie’s grown up quickly because of being in the public eye. But if the rumors of legal and financial trouble are true, then Tyga, who’s five years older than her, didn’t have much more to offer her than five more years of life experience. Oh, besides a kid and an ex-fiancée. What independent, successful 20-year-old wants to deal with that?!

Either way, communication and honesty are essential. You have to be straightforward. Be wary of men who insist they’re mature — they’re probably not.

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