Are you a woman over 60 who’s been dating hard for a while, looking for your soulmate . . . and getting discouraged time and time again?
Along with being prepared to date well – by creating your dating game plan – there is at least one pretty big issue that may be the reason you haven’t been successful.
There are simply fewer single men over 60, than single women over 60 – it’s something like 3 single women to every single man in the 60 to 64 age range.
And it gets worse.
There are something like 4 single women to every single man in the 70-74 age range.
This doesn’t even factor in another important issue – among the diminishing pool of single men over 60, plenty of them are not relationship-worthy.
You know what I mean, if you’ve been dating for even, say, a few months. You’ve come across single men over 60 who you know would not be a good match for anyone.
The dreaded “older man/younger woman” syndrome.
To top it off, there’s another reason you may not be finding many older men to date – the older man/younger woman phenomenon . . . men who will only pursue a relationship with women 10 or more years younger than they are.
Renee Fisher, writer and founder of the blog Life in the Boomer Lane, amusingly confirmed this in a Huffington Post article:
“Some suggest that older single males find younger women to date, a myth popularized by the media and the Russian mail order bride industry. But the reality is that this accounts for only a very small percentage of the older single male population, and most of them are George Clooney.”
My assessment of the older man/younger woman match-up is that those men are more than likely emotionally immature, and probably not such a great relationship candidate anyway, so you should quickly move on from them. Don’t try to convince them that they should give you a try.
Let’s take a look at this cultural phenomenon, in terms of whether a bigger age difference signals a proportionately worse relationship success rate.
Why will some men only date much younger women?
To illustrate this phenomenon, let’s look at one particular case in point.
Australian media mogul and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, 92, recently announced his engagement to his fifth wife who is 66.
Why would he take on the potential legal and financial complications of marriage at his age to a woman nearly 30 years younger than he is?
According to the NY Times:
“Getting married is one of life’s big signposts. It brings a sense of adventure and possibilities. Every wedding is a frontier, dividing one’s life into a before and an after. And that creation of a new ‘after’ imbues all weddings, no matter the age of the participants, with an aura of youth.
Mr. Murdoch acknowledged as much himself, telling The New York Post (which he owns), ‘We’re both looking forward to spending the second half of our lives together.’ While an ironic, even witty remark, his words nonetheless contain that sense of futurity, of more life left, that new marriage conjures.”
The article continues with the way our culture accepts aging differently for women than men:
“Humans, especially over 50, yearn to stave off mortality, but our culture encourages men and women to do that in very different ways. Women are often encouraged to practice ‘anti-aging,’ to plump and highlight, tighten and tone ourselves into the closest possible approximation of an eternally 38-year-old woman. This is especially true for women in the public eye: women on television, in films or in the news, and women who marry billionaires.
All too often, remaining a publicly viable woman in the second half of life means — paradoxically — doing one’s utmost to look like one is still in the first half of life. Being visible as a woman, that is, requires making one’s age invisible. It’s a conflictual, not to say crazy-making diktat, to follow.
Physical signs of aging, even of extreme age, do not carry much stigma for men. Instead, men like Mr. Murdoch resist old age — and permit themselves (even if jokingly) to speak of entering, at 92, the ‘second half’ of their lives — by focusing outward, through the agency of other people, acquiring younger (and ‘anti-aged’) companions to inspire or energize them.”
Perhaps men are afraid to face their true age, and fear death, so taking up with a younger women tricks them into thinking they’re younger than they are.
Certainly rich and powerful men have an easier time attracting much younger women than the average Joe.
What statistics reveal about the ideal age difference men prefer.
Although there are plenty of men who will only date younger women, it may not be as prevalent as you think.
Dating platform Zoosk surveyed their 40+ million members about men who date younger women. Here’s what they found.
- 60% of men are attracted to younger women. Half of them prefer 1-4 years younger, 27% 5-9 years younger, and 22% 10+ years younger.
- 27% are attracted to older women, defined as 1-4 years older.
- 13% prefer the same age.
In short, the majority of single men prefer women within ten years of their own age.
Pew research found that in North America the average age gap for couples was only 2.2 years, with the woman being younger.
What about women who prefer dating younger men?
Conversely, there are plenty of women who prefer dating younger men.
Here’s what could be behind this preference.
Younger men may be more energetic and open-minded, which can be attractive to older women.
For men and women alike, physical attractiveness remains one of the top perceived benefits of dating younger.
Older women may feel a sense of accomplishment when they are able to attract a younger partner.
Younger men may be less set in their ways and more open to trying new things than their older counterparts. This can be a refreshing change for older women.
Older women may feel a sense of validation from being desired by a younger partner.
There are online dating sites like AgeMatch that cater to age-gap dating – both for older women with younger men and older men with younger women.
What is the ideal age difference for couples?
An Emory University Study of 3,000 people from a few years ago found that the greater the gap in age between couples, the more likely the relationship won’t last.
The study found there is an ideal age gap that will increase the chances of an abiding relationship.
Can you guess what that age gap is?
According to lifestyle writer Jamie Kravitz in an Elite Daily article:
“Couples with a one-year age difference have a mere three percent chance of getting divorced. When you bump the age gap up to five years, the chance of divorce goes up to 18 percent. A 10-year difference is 39 percent, and a 20-year age gap has a jaw-dropping 95 percent chance of ending in divorce. Researchers found that the larger the age gap between a couple, the more likely they are to get divorced. So it seems that a one-year age gap is the ideal difference in a romantic relationship.”
There it is. A one-year age difference is ideal.
Of course, statistics are often meaningless, especially where affairs of the heart are concerned.
There are many successful marriages with an age gap of 10-20 years and more . . . even among celebrities. No surprise that the younger person in the relationship is almost always the woman.
My own dating and relationship story goes against the grain.
I came onto the dating scene again in my late 50’s with the notion that I would have to accept dating men at least 5 years older . . . and probably more than that.
Several of my female friends who had been dating recently, had me pretty well convinced of this.
The men I dated ranged in age from 10 years younger to 10 years older.
Initially, because of that misguided notion that only older men would be interested in me, I anticipated my dates with younger men with great trepidation.
But I learned fast that, just as we all hear so often, “Age is just a number”.
None of the younger men I dated cared that I was older.
I suppose it helped that I’m in decent shape, have a nice figure and look younger than my years . . . if I can believe what people have told me.
Even so, my first love in later life, Sam, was 9 years older than I was. I don’t believe the age difference would have mattered, except that he had a number of health issues that ultimately (and too quickly) claimed his life only 3 years after our relationship began.
When I was ready to date again about a year after Sam died, I was determined NOT to date men more than 3 or 4 years older. I didn’t want to up the odds that I’d be left single again too soon.
I ended up going the other way. Cosmo is 4 years younger than I am. Our age difference plays no part in our relationship.
I did dwell on it at first, but the concerns I had were flimsy and came from my own insecurities. They vanished quickly.
My advice to women over 60 about the ideal age difference.
An age difference of even a handful of years – no matter who is older – will probably not have much of an impact on the relationship.
Be realistic. If you dive into what you hope will be a lasting relationship with someone 20 years older than you, chances are he won’t be around for more than 10 years or so.
And chances are you may be a care giver for him fairly soon.
If that’s okay with you, then go for it.
And someone 20 years older is a generation older, with different reference points. You may not have a lot in common with them.
Don’t fret over dating men younger than you. If he’s the right guy for all the important reasons, he won’t care, so you shouldn’t either. It’s really as simple as that.
Do yourself a favor, if you’re with a younger man – don’t constantly refer to, or think of yourself, as an “older woman” or “old lady”. That kind of negative thinking is pointless and soul-crushing. It will diminish your happiness in your relationship, and your life in general.
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