Ever had a fantasy about an older man? Or perhaps you had a crush on an older member of a boy band growing up? If so then you’re not alone. Most of us have had these thoughts at some point. But there are some of us that act on these impulses and if there is one thing that is sure to turn heads and stir opinions then it’s an age gap / May-December relationship. Surprisingly there is more science to it than you might think. Men from many cultures select mates that are younger than themselves and many women choose partners who are significantly older and here are the basic reasons why.
Why men prefer younger women
For women, fertility peaks when they are in their mid twenties. This matches with research that concluded that men up to the age of 50 all considered 25 to be the ideal age for a partner. So this means that men are hard wired to seek out youthful looks to ensure successful reproduction and survival. Also for a man, a younger mate usually means healthier offspring and that his female partner will be around for longer to look after them. Men’s primal instinct to ensure survival seems to be just as strong today as it was millions of years ago.
Why women prefer older men
Since humans first walked the earth it has been survival of the fittest. So women often chose older men because they were the best choice to have children with as they would usually have more skills and experience to survive and provide. Older men usually had more resources to. All of this made older men the logical option to reproduce with if they wanted their offspring to survive. Today this primal instinct appears to still be there. Women also mature faster than men. So we look to older guys to match our own maturity levels and find someone who is at the same stage of life, be that focusing on a career, getting married or starting a family.
Pheromones are chemicals that humans and even animals excrete. They act like hormones outside of the body and influence our behaviour. They are subconsciously detected by the nose, brain and nervous system. Scientists believe that we pick our mates by smell. There was a groundbreaking white t-shirt experiment in which men were asked to sweat onto a t-shirt. Women were then asked to smell the t-shirts and rate the men on attractiveness from the t-shirt alone. They had no idea what the men looked like. The results found that women rated the men who were most genetically compatible as most attractive and the least genetically compatible men as the least attractive. So who we are attracted to can be beyond our control. This probably explains why I always tell my partner he smells amazing. Not so crazy after all.
Appeal of the modern day older man
Let’s face it, with age often comes confidence and confidence in a guy can be sexy as hell. So this is one bonus of dating the older guy. Also younger guys can be quite immature. They’re usually more interested in going clubbing or backpacking around Asia than having a serious relationship and they’re less likely to be thinking about settling down or even being in a committed, serious relationship. So the maturity that an older man has to offer can be a refreshing change. This maturity can make you feel safe and secure in your relationship and your future together. Older men have usually established a good career in their chosen profession. This is appealing if you’re looking to start a family someday (Primal instincts). Older men usually have a wealth of knowledge that they can share with you. Want to know the best places to go on holiday? They will be able to tell you. Want to know a nice restaurant? They will know as they have been around long enough to learn a thing or two. Guys tend to develop a sense of style as they get older, there is nothing more attractive than being approached by a well dressed older man with salt and pepper hair oozing with confidence, charm and sophistication.
Better chance of working out
Research has concluded that 20% of men who remarry often choose women who are 10 or more years younger. So it’s good news if you are the significantly younger woman as it means that there is a substantial chance that you will be the one he spends the rest of his life with. It also means you don’t really have to worry about being traded in for a younger model when you get to 40 because you are the younger model. As a man gets older he gets wiser and learns from his mistakes. He has been there and done that and is now better equipped to deal with life’s situations making for a longer lasting more stable relationship. If you’re also looking to settle down, get married or even start a family then older men have usually done everything they wanted to do in life and have realised that they are not invincible and they won’t live forever. This means that they are a better choice for women who want commitment. Older men with significantly younger partners tend to be more loyal.
Celebrity May-December Relationships
May refers to the spring of youth so this term applies to the younger of the couple and December / Winter refers to the older party. Typically we think of May-December relationships consisting of an older man and younger woman but it can be the opposite even if it is less so. Celebrities seem to be normalising the May-December relationship. As many famous stars are bucking the ideals of what is considered the norm and dating partners that are significantly older or younger than themselves. Examples of these are George Clooney and Amal Clooney (17 year age gap) Ashley Olsen and Richard Sachs (28 year age gap) Mary-Kate Olsen and Oliver Sarkozy (17 year age gap) Cheryl Tweedy “Cole” and Liam Payne (10 year age gap) and Brad Pitt and his ex wife Angelina Jolie who had a 12 year age gap. So even the stars are succumbing to the powers that are the natural laws of attraction.
I myself have witnessed people’s opinions and reactions as my other half is almost 18 years my senior. So walking down the street linking his arm can cause quite a few stares and shocked reactions. Mostly I think strangers are trying to figure out the reasons why we’re together. Like “she must be a gold digger and is dating him just for his money” or “Are they actually a couple or are my eyes playing tricks on me” as without my make-up I must confess I can look extremely young and probably look more like his daughter. I remember our very first date when we met and he confessed to me that his friends had been winding him up that I would be a man when he turned up to meet me. But I guess a 24 year old having a date with a 42 year old could seem a bit unusual. I think the majority of people stare because yes it is unusual to see a couple with such a big age gap so it’s just a bit shocking for them. But there are always going to be people who think age gap relationships are wrong because they only see the number between the two people and make negative assumptions. That said, other people’s opinions are all they are. They are of no real importance. As long as both parties of an age gap relationship are old enough to consent and are happy then it shouldn’t be a big deal. People will also assume that any problems you have in the relationship are due to the age gap. Even though couples who are the same age can have problems too.
Pro’s of dating an older man
- Maturity, buckets and buckets of maturity.
- Prepare to meet a gentleman, a different generation means a different set of rules. This guy will sweep you off your feet and treat you like a lady. Opening car doors, lending you his jacket, romantic gestures, nice dinners and flowers are just a few things you will have to look forward to.
- Commitment is not a dirty word to him. He has lived long enough to realise that playing the field and going home to an empty house is actually not as appealing as it once was. So this is a guy who is ready to settle down and be in a serious relationship.
- No games. He won’t be scared to say he loves you. There is no waiting a few days before you text each other after a first date. He will let you know exactly how he feels. Older guys will usually be open from the start about their intentions and what they want from you. If they don’t want kids, they will tell you. If they plan to marry someday then they will tell you.
- He has a plethora of knowledge he can share with you which can be comforting. He’s been there, done that so if you don’t know what to do then chances are he will.
- He can take control. No more arguing over where to eat. This man knows the best places to dine so he can take charge and you will always be pleasantly surprised.
- More emotionally stable.
Con’s of dating an older man
- Having to deal with people’s reactions.
- You might not get to spend as much time together as same age couples would as you could outlive them.
- Generational age gap. Not being able to reminisce together about toys you played with or programmes you watched as a kid.
They say that age is just a number and I think this is very true. I’m a 26 year old who feels and acts like a 46 year old and my partner is 43 and he is young at heart and feels more like he’s 26. So in the relationship it’s me who acts like the old woman. Yet on face value and judging us simply from our appearance you would not guess that. People do not always feel the age they are so dating partners their actual age does not always appeal. In relationships we often look for people we can connect with mentally rather than just on a physical level. That’s why if you glanced at any couple in the street (age gap or not) you might sometimes think what are those two people doing together? How could they possibly be attracted to one another? But you’re not really seeing the bigger picture of their relationship, just a snapshot and that’s exactly the same reason people can quickly make wrong assumptions about age gap relationships. There is no perfect couple age combination that can work for everyone. So if two people are happy then who are we to judge?