Why do older men want to date younger women? I really don’t get it! I am a smart, attractive executive woman who is looking for love at age 50 after my divorce. My problem is that all the men around my age seem to want much younger women. I’m busy and I don’t have time for a lot of dating, so I posted some online profiles with a great photo and spent a lot of time creating profiles that would show how interesting and worth getting to know I am. What bothers me is that I’m not getting good results (or any results) because men in my age range don’t want a 50 year old, they want a 20-30 year old. I am sure that if a man met me, even though I wasn’t in my 30’s, that I would have a chance, but I can’t even get these men to connect in any way! I could lie and say I’m in my 30’s (I think I could pass for late 30’s), but then I am starting out every potential relationship, in a big lie. What is wrong with these men? Have they all lost their minds? Why don’t they want to date someone fabulous and in their 50’s, and how do I get them to change their minds and give me a chance? Should I lie to get people to date me?
Frustrated Fabulous Sheela
Alison’s Take: Why do older men want to date younger women? Women over 40–read this (it’s a long answer)!
Sheela, I could go on and on about this topic, having experienced a bit of dating ageism when I wrote one of my dating books (I’m not mentioning which one because I don’t want any issues with this reputable publisher). I’d been married for a long time, and I was in my 40’s and online dating didn’t exist when I met my husband, so the Editor insisted that sign up a a number of popular online dating sites. I wasn’t going to actually go on dates, but I had to fill out a profile and go through the selection process.
Since I didn’t know any better, I didn’t even think of misrepresenting myself (as I am told many people do). I put up a flattering photo of myself and added a thoughtfully worded profile. I even filled out one of the very long compatibility profiles (it took hours) specifying the few things I absolutely needed to have in a mate and the things I absolutely wouldn’t accept.
The results were shocking, and sobering. I found that I was compatible with many men (my age or older) on the various sites, but almost none of the men my age would date women in my age group (40’s). Worse, the men that did want to date me were men in their 70’s and 80’s eager for my services to be a travel companion to carry their suitcases and remember their pill schedules. They would assure me that they could still perform (with Viagra) and some could still “cut a rug” (on the dance floor). When I lowered my age ten years with the same photo and profile, the responses poured in! And on the compatibility site I was matched with a man that had none of the things I wanted and many of the things I didn’t. I realized he was the only man who would date a woman in my age group. The experience baffled and angered me and was frankly, so ego deflating that at one point, I ended up, spoon raised, reaching into the freezer for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to soothe my hurt feelings.
I was just a writer and happily married, but the experience felt terrible and rejection never feels good. It has got to feel even worse when when you are single and hoping to make a love connection. When I attempted to put this into the book I was writing, and tell the truth with some tips about how to handle this, I was told I couldn’t. But this is my own web site, so now, I can. So thanks Sheela, for writing to Alison and Tony or Leather and Lace Advice. I hope that you will pass our advice to your friends, and frankly, if you are someone who is just finding this question and you know someone who is in this situation, please send it/share it.
But what do you do when you’re a woman over 40 and it appears that all the men want a trophy wife, a mom for their kids, or a mom for themselves?
There is no simple answer to this and this is a column, not a book. But the good news is that not all men want a young girl for their next true love. Most of the couples I know in my personal life who are connecting in their 50’s and above are doing so with age-appropriate mates. They may try a toss in the sack with younger people for fun, but when they are ready for a serious relationship, they relate best to someone closer to their own age than their children’s age.
Newly separated or divorced men may think they want a younger model for a new girlfriend or wife, why not? It make them feel young again and revvs up their engines. If they are not very wealthy, the easiest place to try and order up a younger woman is the “take-out of dating” –online. People really do have unrealistic expectations of online dating. There is a lot of misrepresentation (I can recount dozens of stories of people whose online profiles were not remotely representative of the real person) and for many, it’s fantasy, like being a kid in a candy store, where you can “order up” the girl of your dreams. Why not look for a supermodel, millionaire, genius who wants to live with you in the middle of nowhere, take care of your three pre-schoolers, and who won’t complain about the fact that all the income goes to support your ex wife? Even if a man does find such a fantasy girl in the flesh and dates her, he may eventually discover (as did one real life college professor I know) that they have really nothing in common. The real-life, nubile girlfriend of this man didn’t get a single reference to anything from generation, he hated her music, he couldn’t dance with her, she couldn’t’ relate to his friends or they to her, she was so immature he felt he had a teenager in the house again, she expected expensive gifts, his own daughters were her contemporaries and were horrified and hated her, and after a while, she bored him to tears. He eventually met and married another college professor his own age (40+).
That said, not everyone lies, or lies so much that you can’t distinguish fact from fiction. What I do think is that people place too much emphasis on chronological age instead of emotional maturity and metal ability. Shouldn’t that matter more? There are some people who never grow up, and there are some people who are wise beyond their years. The only time age really matters is if you have a biological clock ticking, or if you are a man who wants (biological not adopted) family.
Sheela, you may be fabulous, fun, incredible, and I get that you are busy, but could you be spending too much time dating your computer? By that I mean, if you’re not getting the results you want, step away from the computer, and re-think your approach to the meet market. If you meet someone in person for the first time, they’re not likely to come right out and ask you how old you are. But on a dating site, it’s the first thing they’re trawling. So for someone over 40, online dating is one way to meet people, not the only way. Sure online dating is easy, and it can be exciting and fun, but Tony and I agree that if you are over 40 you have to be more selective about where you place your profile. Go to the sites where you are likely to find single men that want to date women their own age. As far as I am concerned, while online dating is fun and easy, the best way to meet people is just to go out in person and get involved in real life activities where you can see and be seen. Save online dating for those nights when there’s nothing on TV and you don’t have anything scheduled outside of your home.
If you want to date online, I have two real stories with happy endings for you: I recently officiated a wedding of a wonderful couple in their 40’s, and in her vows the bride said “I am so glad you clicked on me” to her 40+ groom. I will be officiating another wedding of a couple where the bride is in her 60’s and the groom is in his early 70’s, and they too, met online. These couples found each other because they were optimistic and looking for love and you sound frustrated and angry. It is possible that you are radiating burnout to the men you do meet. Take a break. Re-brand yourself and stop focusing on your age because that’s not all you are. Lighten up, and then show the world how fabulous you are. If you think so, the men will too.
*cautionary note for young women: And if you are a young woman thinking that you can pull an “Anna Nicole,” think twice about how great that really might be. I was once on a cruise where my attention was captured by a table of people obviously traveling together, and clearly all over the age of 70 (if they were a day). All except for one young woman who could not have been more than 25 or 30. The man sitting next to her was her husband. These elderly (but lively) people were a group of his friends, and they were having a fabulous time laughing and sharing “war stories.” All except this young woman, who sat starting into space, nursing her drink, and staring at the huge sparkling rock on her left hand, while her aged husband occasionally inappropriately pawed her at the table.
Tony’s Take: Your are the conjunction of three bad psychological trends here. The first is everyone does lie about their age, therefore if you are telling the truth about your age everybody thinks you are older than that. Second, all of these sites encourage fantasy. Everyone wants their equivalent of the virgins promised in paradise. so you troll for 20 and 30 year olds who might actually respond. The third issue is a lot of guys worked hard when they were young and never had a family. Now that they are a bit older they realize they missed something and they really can only have a family with a woman under 40.
One must be careful about what dating sites one uses because they have different audiences and the wrong audience can be deeply emotionally damaging. The large general dating sites make their money by having a very large number of members that attempt to attract each other with little success. But there are enough of them that there is someone new to try each time you log on.
Your biggest single problem is that you’ve been fishing in the wrong pond, if you to be ytuyhful abouy yuor age. There are at least half dozen major senior/mature dating sites where the minimum age is 50. Thus, you become the young woman everyone else on the site hates,a good palce to be! Since the largest of these has close to 2 million members I am sure you can sort of out something that could b interesting to you. If not, mat hing making has moved to thje internet and I’m sure theyull acdept a large amount of money in return for quality dates.