Relationships

What men really think of dating older and younger women

Is age really just a number?

Has there ever been a time in your adult life where a potential partner turned you away because you were too young or too old for them?

In many ways, an age difference can make the mystery of love all the more elusive in the best of ways.

But do age differences matter to men? And if so, do men prefer dating older or younger women?

We asked a group of men what they think about age differences in relationships, and their answers were fascinating.

It seems that, for many men, love really knows no limits and age is indeed just a number … Except, of course, for when it isn’t.

Here’s what men say they really think about age differences in relationships and dating older or younger women.

1. Age doesn’t matter as long as you’re both having fun

“I met this woman in a bar my senior year of college, and the next morning she made mention of the fact that she had orientation and had to head back to campus. And then it hit me: She was a freshman and it was move-in weekend. Looking back on it, would I have changed my mind about bringing her home if I knew her age? No. Absolutely not. We had fun, and knowing her age wouldn’t have affected that.”

2. Older women are attractive on both physical and intellectual levels

“I’m getting married to a woman who is both literally and figuratively wise beyond my years. I wouldn’t have held back on asking her to marry me just because she’ll be 40 before I’m 35. A lot of guys get a bad rap for being developmentally and emotionally delayed because girls are usually more mature for their age. But meeting a woman who actually wants to keep that lighthearted, carefree aspect of a relationship alive is really attractive.”

3. It’s rude to ask how old a woman is, and as long as she’s an adult, her age doesn’t matter

“I have one rule: Never ask for age — unless she looks way too young to be at the bar. In that case, trust your instincts. But overall, I think that most women find it really tacky and tasteless when a guy wants to know their age, like it matters in the heat of the moment because … well, it doesn’t.”

4. Older women are attractive because they know who they are

“Does age difference matter to men? I’m not saying that age matters to me because it really doesn’t, but I’m also not trying to take home a woman who’s too young to really know who she is or what she wants in life. I don’t want or need that type of baggage in my life.”

5. Dating younger and older women can both be great, as long as you’re the right fit

“Imagine you want a really expensive flannel shirt. When it’s overpriced, you covet it, thinking that it must be made that much better than all the other brands since only a few can afford it. So you want it more, right? Now, imagine that the same item is on sale. You only want it more because you know you’re getting a better deal. In either instance, your immediate reaction isn’t to shy away from it. You want it because it looks good and you know you’ll look good in it.”

6. Age gaps can work in general as long as you share an emotional connection

“I dated someone who was 11 years my junior and it was one of the best relationships I’d ever had. We just got each other; there’s no other way to explain it. But the space that we struggled with was understanding and absorbing each other physically. I think it’s because our bodies were in different places and our physical needs had changed. But emotionally and mentally, I was sure there was no one out there who could complete me so fully. I’d have been a fool to let her walk away just because more than a decade separated us. In fact, being further apart in age gave us more in common.”

7. Some men say their friends are more accepting of them dating women who are older rather than younger

“I’ve dated women that were both older and younger than I was, but none more than five years younger or older than me. We got along great, but in my circle of friends, I could tell that they didn’t approve of the younger women because they saw them as needy and attention-seeking. With the older women, my friends felt a mixture of intimidation and responsibility to be polite. I know it shouldn’t come down to what your friends think, but it always surprised me how it was the people outside the relationship that could affect what was happening on the inside.”

8. In the end, age only matters if you don’t want the same things at the same time

“This is embarrassing to admit, but I called off an engagement with my fiancée because she was too young for me. I thought it could work out, but when push came to shove, we just didn’t want the same things at the same time. I was ready to settle down and start a family; she was just peaking at the height of her twenties and wanted to be out and about with friends. I think that’s the only time age held me back in a relationship.”