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The Great Age Debate

Men and women have long been embroiled in a mental tug of war around relationship age gaps and whether the years between two lovers contributes to a successful relationship, or actually means absolutely nothing. Is an older man more ready to settle down and commit to the white picket fence and family wagon? Will the whippersnapper leave you for his overseas adventures, next door neighbour and drug habit?  And, will his constant frivolity and Instagram gal pals push you into a realm of frustration too steep to endure whilst attempting to maintain your sanity?

Recently, I was perusing the interwebs for issues of (dating) controversy when I came across an article about the benefits of "dating up" (in age). I don’t often dissect other people’s writing because, well, karma, and because creativity is totally subjective.  However, the grandiose generalisations of this particular piece got me more involuntarily heated than usual. One of the skills I’ve developed as a writer, and as an observant creature is the ability to astutely analyse a scenario and draw (balanced) conclusions. Usually when you present a written opinion you also need to be able to sympathise with the opposite argument so you can positively influence with yours. Unfortunately not everyone is able to do this.  My commentary on the Age Debate comes via the points of another article that argues that dating older men is better. Full stop.

Older men have finished grinding it out in their careers

(The insinuated argument here is that young men still have so much to learn because they are still on the climb to career/life success.) Of course they still have much to learn, but so do older men! As human beings we all face the concept of personal evolution and age has very little to do with it. Some of us will never worry about succeeding, achieving or reaching a point of self actualisation because we’re happy just to be. (See my article Reach or Settle) This is irrespective of gender, or age. It’s a unique choice. Changes in career or life direction can come at any time, which means that a 45 year old could face the same ‘new challenges’ and uphill battles as a 27 year old.

Another question lies in whether (if you’re trying to nab a guy who has finished grinding) you are satisfied in being with someone who has reached 40/45/55 and finished putting in effort to make life great? Isn’t that more of an issue than the progress itself? That they’re finished making any? Whilst they may have reached a pivotal point in their careers this doesn’t mean that their personal grind has finished and you will always be their sole priority. If you’re with an ambitious man who enjoys life to the fullest he’ll never stop with the projects. He might have a career under his belt but that doesn’t mean he won’t try and master french, write a screenplay, open a restaurant or be training for a marathon.  Ipso facto, age doesn’t equate to being settled.

They’ve learned from past dating mistakes and they will treat you with respect

Not to generalize or anything, but should we just also add a point here about all girls liking pink?

I don’t think so. Many, many men have not learnt a thing from dating, and don’t know how to treat women with respect but this is irrespective of their age. Generally it’s a combination of their life experiences and upbringing.

Older men are more likely to be ready for stability and family

As dictated by what? Age? We’re using the same criteria to measure as we are to judge which technically makes the statement redundant.

Yes, if we consult traditional evolutionary expectations an older man is more likely to want to have children and settle down. However, 2021 is reasonably far away from 1850 and at least 50 years away from the 1950’s when this was the dominant status quo. Realistically we all reach the readiness needed for a family and ‘settling down’ at different times in life. We also have a completely individual perception of what settling down connotes.

Let’s not forget that your silver fox may already have been married and have little ones, meaning he’s not willing to do that again, ipso facto by choosing an older man, you miss out.

Men in their 40s or older are financially healthier

This point could actually be viable. The more time you have on earth, the longer you have to accumulate wealth (money) right? So, logically this applies.

Whether a man of this age is happy to dispose of this financial health is another disparity linked to his life experience and choices. If he’s an older man with a wife and family (or ex) then he may want to spend it on you as a short term ROI only. He may also have less disposable income because of his past decisions. He may be willing to throw money at anything to make the regret and emptiness of his past actions and decisions go away. I’ll let that brew...

The age gap means your man will have less of a wandering eye

Seems i've saved the best for last huh?

WOW. Just wow. If the prior 4 statements weren’t examples of what I got marked down in uni for; “grand sweeping statements” of generalisation then this is it right here.

Men, are men. They’re all males. This is something that is dictated by the Y chromosome and particular chemicals like testosterone. What this means is that they are all prone to having a wandering eye (if, that is indeed the argument for males) and this does not depend on their AGE, it depends on their unique character and personality (again).

Many men don’t notice anything around them except if they want to eat it or avoid it killing them, which does include women, milk cartons and insects. Some men look at everything suggestively. There’s plenty of each type of male in both age categories. There are also plenty of women of all ages in each category. Also, as you can imagine this phenomena is hyper subjective. Find an older man who has been single and getting up close and personal with his porn collection on the reg and he’ll probably be pretty visually pervy. A younger guy who is super focused on building his career, shares or new business (as illustrated in point 1, thank you) may be intently ignoring female distractions to nail his dreams and won’t be looking at anything other than his Google Analytics data for a long time. Adolescents may be the exception to the rule here because they’re literally trying to rub themselves on any rough surface to create friction (but if we’re referring to young boys under 16 here then that’s an actual issue of concern.)

Dating younger or older men and women are different experiences which both have their pros & cons and are uniquely related to the context of the relationship and the connection of the two individuals. What might work for me, may not for you. What may work for another couple of the same ages as another 2 may go drastically wrong. Age is a number, and, although we pretend they are not, numbers are just as mutable as anything else in life.

Date with (non-numerical) care.

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