Dating a younger man? It can be fun, especially if you’re 40 or older and figuring out what you want in terms of dating and relationships. But realize: dating a younger man is definitely different from dating a man your age or even older. There will be things you like (his energy) and things that drive you crazy (the fact that he has no clue who Max Headroom is).
Tips for Dating a Younger Man
Some women exclusively date younger men: in fact, 31% of older women prefer dating younger men. Others may try it once or twice and decide that it’s not for them. There’s no telling which way you’ll feel about dating an older man until you have your own experience.
Here are a few of the things you should be aware of if you do.
1. He’ll Have a Different Perspective
Michelle, who’s 40, went on a date with the younger man she was seeing; they went out for a trivia night at a local brewery.
A question about Max Headroom came up.
“Who’s Max Headroom?” her date asked.
“Are you kidding me?” Michelle wondered.
Later, a question about the Care Bears was asked. Again, her date was clueless. Because he wasn’t even born when these ’80s pop culture icons were popular, he had no reference for them.
They went their separate ways not long after. Coincidence? Maybe…
Realize that in dating a much younger man, you won’t share many cultural references. A man four years younger than you, sure, will get much of the same things you do, but one around 10 years younger probably won’t.
And you might not get his either. You might hate the music and movies he’s into. It’s a generational divide, and you need to figure out how important it is to you to share cultural references or not.
2. He May Have a Different Sex Drive
While it’s not a blanket statement, younger men tend to have higher sex drives than men in their 40s, 50s, 60s, or older. In a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, female participants found that younger men (at least 5 years younger than them) had higher sex drives, could last longer during sex, were physically ready to have sex again sooner, and had more reliable erections than men their age.
If you’re coming into your sexual peak at whatever age you are, you are probably finding that men your age aren’t as eager to hop in bed quite as often as you are, which can leave you wanting more.
By dating a younger man, however, you may meet your match.
The opposite could be true too, so be aware of that. If sex has taken a back burner in importance in your life, you may disappoint a younger man who still wants to get it on fairly regularly.
3. He May Never Have Been Married or in a Long Relationship
You were married for 20 years…his longest relationship was six months. It may
If he doesn’t have experience in a longer relationship, he may not know how to make one work. And as you know, real relationships take work. How you treat one another, what you say, and what you do all matter.
You may quickly find that this man doesn’t know how to argue constructively and deal with the real issue at hand rather than screaming at you.
He may want to give up the first time things get tough.
He may have trouble opening up to you.
Or…he may so desperately want this to work out that he tries too hard.
He may be looking for a wife, while you’re not ready to go down that road again.
Just be aware that dating a younger man who doesn’t have the long-term relationship experience that you do may mean that you have to work harder to get to a good place, or that it will be too difficult to find even ground in a relationship together.
4. He May Want Kids
Your kids are nearly grown and you’re not interested in having more. Or maybe you can’t. But then you meet a man—a really great man—who says that he’d like to start a family one day.
Sadly, when only one of you wants to have kids, this can be a real dealbreaker. Realize that neither of you will likely change your mind and that it wouldn’t be fair for one of you to compromise what you want (who wants to have a kid with someone who really doesn’t want one? or give up the dream to have kids?).
If you’re dating a younger man, ask whether he wants kids early so that you can make your exit before things get serious and you both get hurt by breaking up.
5. He May Be More Adventurous and Spontaneous
The women I know who have dated younger men tend to love that these guys are more spontaneous and fun. I know women who were married for decades and rarely went out to eat with their husbands, let alone took a last-minute road trip. But then they started dating a younger man and they found themselves doing all sorts of things they never imagined doing.
Use this opportunity to say yes to more things. The more experiences you have, the more well-rounded you will be!
You may not be into skydiving, but why not let him take you on a day trip to see the flowers bloom in the desert out of town?
Never tried chicken feet? This guy can introduce you to new cuisine and expand your horizons.
If you’re used to planning every inch of your life, use this as an opportunity to let go and live a little.
6. He Might Love You Being in Control
On the other hand, your need to control might be something that attracts him. He may like how in order your life is, and may be fine putting you in charge of making plans…or even in the bedroom.
Just be wary of this: no relationship should be extremely one-sided in terms of who has the power. If you’re attracted to a younger man because you can control him, that’s not a healthy balance for a real and lasting relationship.
7. He May (or May Not) Be Less Emotionally Mature Than You’d Like
If this younger guy has limited relationship experience, and depending on his personality, he might not have the emotional maturity that you do. This isn’t necessarily the case, because there are plenty of men who are more mature than even older women, but it’s a common enough thing that I want you to watch out for it.
Watch out especially for what I call Peter Pan types. You know the ones. They’ll woo you and then forget to pick you up for a date. They might text like crazy…and then stop texting for days. They have no consideration for your feelings, and are totally self-absorbed.
If you’re on dating sites, you can usually spot a Peter Pan pretty easily. His profile will talk about how into surfing, traveling, hiking, blah blah he is. How his dog is his baby. How he’s not looking for anything serious. And his pictures show that, while he might be incredibly hot, he spends an inordinate amount of time partying.
That’s not the guy for you.
It can be hard to gauge how emotionally mature a younger man is right away, so certainly give this guy a shot. But look for signs that he’s not where you are emotionally, and leave before you get in deeper.
8. He May Not Want a Relationship
While this can be true of a man at any age, depending on what age man you’re dating, you might end up with one (or more) who isn’t ready to settle down.
His reasons for wanting to be single may range from the fact that he just got out of a relationship to just enjoying being footloose and fancy-free. But if you’re looking for The One, this man probably isn’t him, and you won’t be able to change his mind.
Again, have the conversation early on about what each of you are looking for. Many men will put what they want in their dating profiles (“hookups only,” “LTR,” or “looking for a woman to spoil”) so don’t ignore what’s right in front of you. Just don’t tell yourself that you’re okay with something casual if you’re secretly hoping that it will turn into more. That’s just a recipe for heartache.
9. He Probably Prefers Texting to Calling
If you’re dating a Millennial, chances are he’d prefer to text you than to call you. While texting can be incredibly helpful in letting you stay connected to friends, you may find yourself adrift using it as a communication tool in dating.
You can always suggest a phone call, but understand that for many younger men, a “phone” is really just a computer they use to text, post on Snapchat, and read Reddit. So you may make him incredibly uncomfortable in changing his preferred communication channel.
Your best bet is to step up your texting game. Learn how to get to know him in a few short sentences, while saving the bigger conversations for when you go out.
Or…if that just makes you crazy…date an older man!
10. He May Ghost You
Certainly, Millennials don’t hold the trademark on
11. He Will Make You Feel Incredibly Sexy
Just like there’s a certain assumption that dating a younger man means you basically have a hot pool boy serving your every need, there’s some cachet on his end as well for dating an older woman.
An older woman (a cougar, even) is seen as sexy and experienced. Younger men may love that you could teach them a thing or two in bed, and that you appreciate everything they do for you, from please you between the sheets to make you feel beautiful and adored.
I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?
12. He Will Be in a Different Place Careerwise
One thing that can sometimes be a drawback when dating a younger man is that you’re likely going to be in different places in your lives, particularly when it comes to your careers. If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you’ve probably established your professional path and have settled into your field, whereas a guy in his 20s or 30s is just starting on that journey.
It can put pressure on a relationship.
It’s important to accept that you have different goals in your life. If you can do that, then it can work out long-term.
13. You May Be Keenly Aware of the Age Difference
Depending on the age gap between you and this guy, you may become self-conscious about that age difference. It can be particularly awkward when you spend time with his friends who are centered around clubbing or doing other things that you gave up years ago.
You may get looks from people on the street. Frankly, I don’t think you should care what anyone says if you’re into this guy, but if you’re sensitive, just be aware that this might bother you.
For better or worse, there are plenty of good reasons to try dating a younger guy. It can be a great confidence boost, particularly if you took an emotional blow in a past relationship and are looking for a little amp up in that department.
If you’re open to just casually dating, you might have a blast with a younger man. And it is entirely possible that you could fall in love with one and have a long and happy relationship.
Because, as they say, age ain’t nothin’ but a number. You need to focus on finding the man that is your perfect fit, regardless of his age.
So…have you dated a younger man yet? What was your experience? Share it in the comments below!
Regardless of his age, you might want a little help learning to navigate the world of dating after 40. I’ve got you: this free training, How to Find Love After 40, will help you date with way more confidence than you ever had in your 20s or 30s. Sign up now, because space is limited!