Matchmaking 101 - Office Hours with Lisa Clampitt

Dating Outside of Your Age Range: True Love, or Disaster?

Young woman and older man on a dateRecently, questions about controversial dating topics (age gaps, religious differences, monetary issues, overcoming vanity, etc.) have been popping up in my inbox from PattiKnows readers. So, I thought it was about time that I address some of them.

Let’s start with age gaps. Keep in mind while you read my responses to these top 5 questions that every dating situation is different, and that these answers are general in nature.

1. Why do younger women sometimes prefer dating older men?

It’s no secret to Patti Stanger fans that women are very attracted to a strong alpha male personality. Women seek out men who they believe are secure, successful, and confident. An older man will often fit into this category because they have had more time to establish themselves and their career. This leaves them more secure financially, and more confident in themselves as an individual than a younger man might be.

Older men have also have usually either been married, or had an experience with a long-term relationship. This experience gives them greater knowledge about the commitment involved in a successful relationship. Because they know what it takes to make it work, they can be more certain of what they are looking for in the future.

Being established, and knowing what it takes to maintain a committed relationship are two qualities that a lot of women actively look for in a mate. If it takes going older to get it, they are perfectly willing. The only red flag a younger woman should keep her eyes open for when dating an older man is if he has already had children and does not want more, but she is looking to have children. It’s best to know what both parties want from the start of the relationship so that no one is asked to compromise in the future.

2. Why do older men often go for younger women?

It’s popular for men who have recently left a very long relationship or ended a marriage to date someone younger in their next relationship. This could be because a man married too early in his life, was stunted in his 20’s, which in turn left him looking to regain the experience of a thrilling and young relationship. I have also noticed that an older man will seek out a younger woman if he doesn’t want to be with a partner who is already set in their ways, or can’t make him a priority because they are too busy with their current life.

The other major reason this dating scenario happens is if the man in question wants to have a child. They then feel they need to date women under 35 to hedge their bets on making fatherhood a reality.

3. Is it common for a man to date a woman who is older than him?

This age gap scenario is a bit less common, but happens for sure. Men with this preference tell me they enjoy older women because they don’t play as many “games”. They are more comfortable and confident with themselves, which makes them appear very attractive. Women who are older also don’t tend to be in such a rush to get married and have children because they have either already had children, or have determined that they do not want any.

As time progresses, a younger man dating an older women has become more mainstream, especially with various celebrity couples bringing this type of relationship into the spotlight.

4. Why are some people drawn to larger age gaps than others?

Before my first meeting with a client I have them fill out an in depth questionnaire about their dating past, their individual traits and preferences, and their parent’s relationship. You can learn a lot of information about a person based on their parent’s relationship, and how they witnessed their mother and father relating to each other while they were growing up.

I have noticed that if someone grew up with parents who have a significant gap in their ages they are much more accepting of this type of relationship. In fact, they consider it to be the norm. I have also seen that sometimes women who had a strong father figure growing up will look for a man who is mature, strong, and can be there for her like her father.

5. Is there a point where an age gap is too much for a successful relationship?

I do think there is a point where an age gap can be too large for the relationship to succeed. When the age gap is more than a generation apart, or begins to create life style issues, the two individuals may want to think twice about the long-term success of the relationship. For example, if a 30-year-old woman is dating an 80-year-old man, obviously there will be a big difference in the amount of physical activity and the lifestyle that each can live comfortably. This large of an age gap is also very apparent in terms of knowledge, friends, and life experience, which could make it hard for the two individuals to relate on a deeper level.

That being said, every person and relationship is different.  As long as both people are compatible where it counts, and are getting what they want out of the relationship, it should not matter if they are 5 years apart in age, or 20.

There are no rules to the love game.