Posts tagged age difference

The Age Thing, Again


My friends and I often find ourselves talking about “the age thing” – this can include men’s propensity to seek out younger women (often excluding women in their own age group), how older women dating younger men are generally frowned on and assigned an animal nickname (welcome to “Cougartown”), how an age difference can either matter or not matter in choosing someone to date, and the degree to which online dating – filtering primarily by age – creates unnecessary and unimportant hurdles in front of someone who could be great.

For instance, this “Vows” couple who almost didn’t make it, because of her list, and because of “the age thing.” They went out twice, had two great dates, and then she called it off – not because she didn’t like him or have fun with him, but because he was nine years older. True, part of that was because she was feeling her youth and her newness in a big city with lots of (perceived potential) – at that point, to her, 26/35 was a huge difference.

Don’t cry for him, though – he became a “serial dater” in the ultimate serial dater city, and along the way, stayed in touch with the lady in question, meeting for drinks and listening to her kvetch about other guys. Eventually, the stars aligned, something shifted, the bride-to-be got older and wiser, and the couple dated, got engaged and got married.

The bride said she could not believe she wasted more than 10 years without him.  “I look at him now and he’s the hottest guy on the planet,” she said.

What lesson should we learn from this couple?

That the right guy at the wrong time is the wrong guy?

That attraction sometimes takes 10 years to develop? (For women – if he hadn’t been attracted from the beginning, I don’t think we’d be reading this story…)

That we shouldn’t cling so tightly to our “lists”?

That age ain’t nothin’ but a number? Or that age unfairly assigns a set of stereotypes to a person who may not remotely fit them?

The Age Thing


If asked, most people would say that they try not to judge people by their age. I was born in the 70s, and most of my friends were born in the 80s. Fine. No problems, except for when they refer to 80s music as “oldies,” which makes me wince a little.

If age is really relative, it might seem strange to establish age as a determinant in either dating or not dating a person. If theoretically, you’re only looking for someone to age 40, it makes no sense to reject someone just because he’s 41 – in all likelihood, he’s no different in terms of his ability to enjoy life and act young than any 40 year old is. And also, we all know people who act way older or younger than their actual calendar age, and so we know not to judge a book by how old its birth certificate says it is. (Yes, enjoy that mixed metaphor.)

But what’s happening online is something different. Everyone who fills out an online dating profile indicates a preferred age range for potential partners. And a woman in her thirties who indicates that she’s looking for a man in his thirties or forties will likely encounter that the men in their thirties and forties are looking for women in their twenties. Then comes the next part: men in their fifties contacting women in their thirties, even if that’s not the age range they’d prefer.

Of course, we’ve already said that age doesn’t matter. But is a woman still entitled to reject a man’s advances online if he’s over a certain age? After all, some of the men online are employing artificial age cutoffs themselves, mostly because it’s required by most dating services. Does this make her a judgmental person? Or is she just using her best judgment?

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