Monday, July 28, 2014

The Pitfalls (And Benefits) Of Dating Younger Women

I'm guilty as charged. I'm a sick weirdo pervert (probably to some). I didn't do anything illegal but to some it was immoral. To others it is probably no big deal, but to some it was a transgression that should be scorned. My last three dates were all 10 + years younger than me (24, 21 and 23 respectively). So I committed the evil sin of dipping below the (half your age + 7 years) acceptable "dating range" at least one of those times. Mind you, the last semi-casual semi-serious relationship I had with someone, the person was 31 years old. So is having a huge age difference bad? Is it detrimental to either person in the relationship, or is it just something to be judged by a case by case basis? A lot of times one will read a blog, or an article online, and read the comments. By reading the comments of certain articles one can get a sense of both trolls as well as opinions expressed by the masses. Let's say someone posts an article about some young actress or entertainer who starts seeing someone say, 15+ years older. A lot of the comments will be about how she's a golddigger (wait isn't she already rich herself?) or that he will "use her up and divorce her" and that he's a "pig" for dipping below society's expectations. I've also seen such ideas perpetuated even on such unlikely sources as "Millionaire Matchmaker" shows where the host says the choice the guy was making wasn't "age appropiate". Often though, cooler heads can prevail. Famous Sex Blogger/Vlogger Laci Green did an excellent video on age differences in dating where her conclusion is that YES, some people can have happy and fulfilling relationships with another person who is much younger (or older) than them. I don't always agree with what Laci has to say, and even in this video there are some points I partially disagree with, but to me she did an excellent and informed job at breaking down these ideas. Now that isn't to say there aren't situations that are outright creepy and weird with regards to age differences and dating. One obvious example of someone who was PROBABLY an actual golddigger was Anna Nicole Smith (RIP). Marrying a RICH 90 year old man in one's twenties, especially when they didn't seem to have much in common, rightfully can get the cynics yowling. Another example I would say, but just because I've read alleged accounts of what his sexual practices are with his young partners is Hugh Hefner. But in cases like Catherine Zeta Jones and her long time marriage to Michael Douglas, or even as far as a gender reversal, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, the idea that there is always a cynical motivation for huge age spreads in relationships seems to (maybe) be the exception and not the rule. But let's bring it down a couple notches to the common person and not the celebrity. I've known couples who have 30 year differences who have been together for years, I've known people who's "soulmate" were 10-15 years older (or vice versa), I've known guys and women who date people much older and younger than them, and the earth's crust isn't falling apart as a result of this (seen by some) "terrible" thing. Now on to the point of the inclusion of this post in this blog. What can one expect if one is a guy and much older than the woman or women he's trying to date (the most common scenario for various reasons). One of the things I've found, is that when I was dating someone who was 22 when I was 33 for example, and also when seeing friends date women much younger (or in their early twenties) is that usually the women are in a much more transitory point in their life. One can't expect them to settle down immediately, especially if they're in college, and one can expect that its not going to be a super long term relationship. That's not to say there isn't a chance of that, but its just less likely. Remember, that this age range (early twenties) is a time for self-exploration, experimentation, and learning, so any expectation to marry someone of that age is very naive indeed. That's not to say that there isn't a sense of fun, not only that you're kind of "reliving" things you may not had experienced during the time you were that age (guilty as charged), but the woman might also get a thrill in dating a more "mature" and established man amongst the "man children" that she feels that guys in her age group are still in the category of lol. So one can expect that having a relationship, at least with someone in their late teens or early twenties anyway, may be only a casual one. I would also argue that a guy who may want a more serious relationship with someone much younger should at least treat it as more light hearted and casual at first anyway, and to give the much younger woman the freedom and choices that she wants (and deserves). This leaves the possibility open that things CAN get more serious down the line, but without the feeling from the woman that she is getting bogged down or restricted. This brings us to the next point that people try to make when discussing the "older man, younger female" dynamic, and that is "power dynamics". Its often said that these relationships have an unequal power dynamic, with the older guy exerting power over the younger female in an unequal way. Now unfortunately, I've seen some evidence of this in the past, even in my own life, where one of my ex girlfriends was swept up by a much older man who was controlling and abusive. However, I've also seen much younger women exert control over older men in different ways, so I would still treat this as a case by case basis. Power dynamics in relationships are always a tricky thing anyway, and if one expects any type of respectful and fun relationship, one should try to always make it equal as possible (without supplicating in a way that compromises your values or self worth anyway). So on to my own life again- Did I consciously choose that the last three women I went on dates with be in their early twenties? No. If we're talking about online dating anyway, I talk to a variety of women with a variety of ages. It just happens to be that I'm in a stage of my life where its more common for me to meet single women who are younger. Most of the women closer to or my age are married, or have children already, or are just not accessible in the ways that there would be an easy opportunity to meet them. I go after those I'm attracted to, so it just kind of works out that the women I date are younger, sometimes much so. I also desire kids down the line, and kids of my own, so it kind of is advantageous that I try to go after younger women since it is easier for them to have kids. Selfish and entitled thinking? I don't think so, as long as its in their benefit and desire to do so as well (which it seems to be at least in part if they're agreeing to dates). Now the early twenties are not even my ideal age range. I prefer women in their mid-late twenties, not because its a good "halfway point" but because my lifestyle, and where I am in my life right now is more similar to them than any other age range (for many reasons, some I won't go into here). The mid twenties women are not as immature and unsettled as the early twenties ones, but also if they want children down the road they can have them without much difficulty. They also are not completely settled in their lives and career, and still try to have that "twenties fun" that I feel I missed out on a lot of the time. They're looking to settle down, but maybe not right away. And they're not as weirded out by dating someone a bit older either so its a win/win situation for me and (hopefully) for them.

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