The Pros and Cons of Dating Someone Much Younger
Thinking About Dating a Younger Man, Woman, or Both?
You meet that special someone and there’s an instant connection—you’re both into Game of Thrones, their dry sense of humor kills you, and dang those eyes! And then you learn that the same year you graduated college, they were wrapping up freshman year—of high school.
Dating a younger man, woman, or anyone really—whether you’re two or three years their senior or you're talking cougar territory—certainly can work, but being an “older woman” in a relationship does tend to come with certain perks and downfalls. If you want to make things work, be sure you can handle the following. (Related: Real Women Share Why They Love The Age Difference in Their Marriage)
Pro: The Sex
Fun fact: Men reach their sexual prime in their twenties due to a spike in testosterone, while women typically reach theirs in their 30s and 40s. Add the fact that younger people have more stamina, and you just may find yourself in orgasm heaven. (And if you train like an athlete, you might find yourself with a greater sex drive.)
“A younger man has more energy and is more willing to try things,” says Lindsay Slosberg, a dating expert for the app Let’s Date. “In turn, doing new things increases dopamine in the brain, triggering a desire to spend more time together and assisting in lighting your sexual fire.”
Pro: You'll Go on Instagram-Worthy Dates All The Time
Sure, you’ll have classic dinner-and-movie nights when you're dating a younger man or woman who's too young to have had a MySpace profile, but also be ready for, say, a 10-mile hike one weekend followed by a concert the next. Younger people are as adventurous outside of the bedroom as they are inside it, and they’ll bring out a more youthful, vibrant side of you, says Lori Bizzoco, founder and executive editor of CupidsPulse.com.
“Your partner will see you as smarter and worldlier, so they'll want to please you, not just physically but emotionally and intellectually,” she says. “They'll come up with creative date ideas that bring back romance and youth, and make you feel empowered and appreciated.”
Pro: Less Baggage
When you enter into a new relationship, it’s no secret you’re bringing former partners along with you. But a younger S.O. likely is packing less. “Men can have preconceived notions about women and relationships based on past experiences,” says Samantha Daniels, a professional matchmaker and president of Samantha's Table Matchmaking. “The younger and less experienced he is, the more open he’ll be in his relationship with you.”
Be forewarned, though: Less baggage can also mean a lack of relationship skills, such as communicating and resolving problems and conflicts, says Melanie Matcek, a matchmaker and relationship coach in San Antonio, Texas. Be selective about your battles and learn to compromise on things that aren’t vital to your relationship, she recommends.
Con: Lifestyle Differences
If a lot of your partner's friends are like them—young and single—going out to bars until 4 a.m. drinking, flirting, and behaving like they never left college could be the norm. So when you're dating someone younger, they might choose to hang with their pals over coming to your place more often than you’d hoped they would. “Many younger people are more connected with their peers than they are with the idea of being a couple,” explains Naples, Florida-based author and relationship columnist April Masini. “They don’t want to miss out on being part of their group, with whom they glean their identity.” (Related: 4 Ways to Confront Common Relationship Roadblocks)
Con: They Might Not Be Ready for a Long-Term Commitment
Although you may be ready to move in with your partner and get a dog together, someone who hasn't shared an apartment with anyone except their college roommate and parents might not want to put that security deposit down just yet. Aside from not having the same life experiences as you, “in some cases, a younger guy is developmentally in a different place,” says psychotherapist Robi Ludwig. “Your partner's not ready for all of the pressures and responsibilities that go along with a committed relationship because their emotional maturity is not fully developed yet.” They could either be scared of love or love you but feel like marriage means giving up their freedom, she adds—and that means you could be looking at a casual relationship for a while.
While you might be both mentally and physically ready to have a little one (Reminder: Women in their mid-20s to early 30s are in their biological prime for pregnancy), your S.O. might not be in the same state. “Younger men don’t have the ‘dad” gene in them until they get to be more established and mature,” says New York City-based matchmaker Janis Spindel. So if you want kids, it could be several years until your youthful partner is ready to raise one too. Of course, not everyone wants to have biological children, so this could be on a pro of dating a younger man for you. (FYI, some research shows that coupling up with a younger guy could improve your pregnancy chances.)
Con: Financial Imbalances
Being at different points in your career can also be a potential negative for your relationship if you're more successful and established, while they're just getting a career going, says Amber Soletti, founder of OnSpeedDating.com and SingleandtheCity.com. While some partners might be perfectly fine with it, others may feel emasculated if they feel like they're unable to provide for you, she adds. (When you're completely clueless about your finances, turn to these budgeting apps.)
Even worse, women who are dating a younger man—or woman with fewer years under their belt—in this situation may end up being more of a mommy-figure, rather than an equal partner, says Ludwig. Being the breadwinner may not matter to you if, say, they make an amazing dinner every night so you don’t have to worry about cooking, or they're a great handyman and have updated your entire apartment, but only you can decide that. (Just beware that some people may be true gold diggers looking for a free ride or to be taken care of financially, she adds.)