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Dating a man twice my age

arugulaarugula - Posts: 4 New Member
edited December 2011 in Parent Cafe
We got along really well on our first date (strong physical and mental attraction) and agreed to go on a second one. What are some things I should keep in mind when dating an older man? To give specifics about our situation, we're both intellectuals affiliated with elite universities. He's financially well-off, simple, and passionate about life. What I like most about him (besides his awesome physique and impressive features) is his maturity and wisdom, things I could never find in guys my age, even at this renowned university I attend. He says he likes me for my charisma, looks, intelligence, independence and maturity. Any advice? I'm especially concerned about having equal power relations and dealing with people's assumptions (i.e. pederasty even though I am over 18) when they see us together. Thanks.
Post edited by arugula on

Replies to: Dating a man twice my age

  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,475 Senior Member
    Remind yourself that those guys your age will have the maturity, finances et al in the not too distant future. You haven't had time to meet many of the guys your own age yet. It is flattering to have an older man interested in you, and yes, he can afford to spend more money on you than a college student can. There are known instances of professors taking advantage of students- he may not be at your institution but I see red flags. I don't see this as a permanent situation- you would be giving up so much of the exploration of life done in college if you spend your free time with a man 18 years older. You need to do all of the things he did way back when he was your age. I suggest you spend some time finding out how he spent his time in college and see what happens when you suggest the same activities. If he's a normally adjusted adult, regardless of his intellect (I speak from been there done that as a college student with high IQ friends) he will have done some silly things. The college years are a time between childhood and adulthood, there is no reason to forgo doing things you would never do a few years later. There is plenty of time for the more sophisticated behavior of 30 plus year olds. I certainly hope you haven't finished growing/maturing yourself. You do not have an equal relationship- you won't until you also are done with college and earning money yourself. Ask him the hard questions- why is he after a new college student instead of someone closer to his age?
  • arugulaarugula - Posts: 4 New Member
    Btw, I'm a junior (I believe it's important to distinguish between a freshman and a junior) and so have experienced the "college life" to some extent though not certainly all of it. I asked him about his college years, and they sounded pretty normal.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,555 Senior Member
    A couple of things to consider:

    1) Because of his greater experience in life, the two of you can never be equals in this relationship, even if it continues beyond your graduation. He will always be substantially further along in his career than you are in yours, and (unless he is in a low-paying field and you choose a very high-paying one), he will out-earn you. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to assert yourself as an equal. This may not seem to matter now, and indeed, if this relationship never progresses beyond dating, it may not matter at all. But if you were to get to the point of living together, and/or making plans to continue your relationship after your graduation, it might be important. To give just one example: young couples where both people are of similar age and career potential often make compromises about where to live on the basis of the professional opportunities available to both. For example, one person might choose the graduate school that was only third or fourth on his/her list because it is located in a city that also offers good job opportunities for the other partner. Or one person might turn down a job because there is no really worthwhile job for the partner in that city. Can you really see the guy you're dating making that kind of compromise for you?

    2) He is the person he's going to be. You aren't. Not quite yet. People in their late teens and early twenties are still undergoing enormous development and change. People in their late thirties and early forties, not so much. Again, this may not matter if the relationship is short-term, but if it turns out to be a lasting one, it might be. He will be essentially the same person at 44 that he was at 40. You will not be the same person at 24 that you were at 20. The 20-year-old and 40-year-old versions of the two of you may have an excellent relationship, but that says nothing about how the 24-year-old and 44-year-old versions might get along.

    Just a couple of things to think about, and as I said, they may not matter in a short-term relationship.
  • tom1944tom1944 Registered User Posts: 6,013 Senior Member
    My advice is always go slow
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,033 Senior Member
    I can't see how a 40 year old man could find a 20 year old girl intellectually stimulating.
  • natmicstefnatmicstef Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    It's extremely comforting and exhilarating being admired by an older man but it speaks to what you are missing in life (being looked after and admired) and what he is missing (youth, being attractive). I know I am generalising and I also don't see anything wrong with continuing with the relationship but see it as one of those that is in your life for a reason or a season...as to other people's assumptions...try to remember what you would previously have thought seeing a 21 year old with a 41 year old.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,126 Super Moderator
    I dated a much older woman when I was around your age (I was 23 and she was 43). It was understood it would never evolve beyond the dating phase...and it didn't. Since that was the case, we could not care less what other people thought.

    If your dating this older man is temporary and restricted to just dating, don't overthink it and have fun.

    However, if it is to evolve beyond merely dating and turn into a long-term relationship, then you have a great deal of thinking to do. Most of what the posters above said is true. Two people at such different stages in their lives will constantly face issues, from professional demands, to children, to retirement etc...

    For example, when I was 22, I used to work 80-100 hours a week, including weekends. I also only took 2 weeks of leave. Now that I am 35, I work more like 40-50 hours a week, almost never on weekends and I take 6 weeks of leave. It's not that I got lazier, but I have paid my dues and I now want to share more of my time with my wife. Had I not made the sacrifices I did when I was 22, I would probably never have progressed in the professional arena. So that's already one major difference between 22 year olds and 40 year olds. That is not to say that 40 year olds do not work hard. Some people never slow down. And that is not to say that all 22 year olds are ambitious. some 22 year olds have no long term career goals. But in general, career-minded 22 year olds and professionally/financially-established 40 year olds have very different approaches to their schedules.

    Another issue that could emerge in time is retirement. He will perobably retire by the time he is 60. At that time, you will be just 40 years old. He may want to travel the world while he still can and relive his youth. You will probably not be in a position to follow without making serious sacrifices.

    Another important issue to discuss is children. Does he want them? If so, is he in a rush
    (as most 40-year olds are) or can he wait? If he is in a rush, are you willing to accommodate or, like most 20 year olds, are you inclined to wait a few more years to have children?

    Again, many of those issues may be easily worked around, but they need to be addressed...assuming this is to be more than just a "dating" relationship.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Registered User Posts: 19,053 Senior Member
    I dated a much-older man in college. It was a fabulous relationship, and we almost married. But then I became concerned with how his life was so established -- house, car, motorcycle, boat -- and here I was a college senior (by the time we broke up), and I just grew increasingly concerned about the disparities in our lives.

    I agree that there is something appealing about someone who's more sophisticated and worldly. I don't regret my relationship in the least. But you are right to be concerned about the inequality of power. As long as this guy isn't a professor or an authority figure with power over you, I don't see a huge problem, as long as you don't read too much into the relationship. Your post hits repeatedly on a sexual attraction/looks so see it for what it is.

    People are talking about what he'll be like when he's older and what about kids, etc. Who says you'll ever get there? Proceed cautiously, enjoy it for now, and if the relationship continues then come back and ask us about having kids. :)
  • younghossyounghoss Registered User Posts: 3,025 Senior Member
    Funny, but I don't see it as a big deal. I think those who are concerned about his interests 20 yrs from now well, don't think like I do.
    I see dating as going out with someone, learning about one likes and dislikes, and the same of the dating partner. Maybe its intimate, maybe not. 5 dates with 5 different partners in the same week means nothing to me- remembering I said dating and that dating does not require sex. If one adds in sex, then that is different.
    My son at 20 defines dating as I would have defined "going steady" when I was his age. That definition could come into play for op. Son might go with a girl to a movie, but not say they're dating. I say- "you mean she paid her own way?" to nag him. At your age I'd recommend you go out with him if you enjoy his company, but make/expect no exclusitivity comments.
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Registered User Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    Lots of good advice here. As an older male I cannot see myself dating someone half my age. I would quickly tire of someone who would not be an equal partner.
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,470 Senior Member
    I would wonder why women closer in age to him, say w/in 5-8 years of his age, do not want to date him? Is there something they know that you have not yet discovered?
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Registered User Posts: 19,053 Senior Member
    Somemom, funny you mention that. The guy I dated was quite sedentary in his life. Interesting, funny, smart (he had been a NMSF!) but just didn't present much of a spark. Then I came along and jumpstarted his life. We went dancing with his co-workers, went to parties, etc. He was being seen in a whole new light.

    Months after I broke up with him, he began dating a woman he'd known for years through a work connection, but there had been no spark at all previously. But I guess I came along and showed her and others what a live wire he could be! They eventually married and had kids, plus he adopted her son from a previous marriage. I like to think I was as good for him as he was for me. :)
  • jessiehljessiehl Registered User Posts: 3,328 Senior Member
    Wow...there is some good advice in this thread - I agree with some of the warnings, especially about power balance - but also a lot of assumptions being made.
    I can't see how a 40 year old man could find a 20 year old girl intellectually stimulating.

    That's pretty demeaning to 20 year-old women. Who is to say that a 20 year-old woman can't be as intelligent and intellectual as a 40 year-old man?
    I would wonder why women closer in age to him, say w/in 5-8 years of his age, do not want to date him?

    Did the OP ever say that this man couldn't get women his own age? Maybe he prefers *her*. He's not necessarily desperate.
    ...but it speaks to what you are missing in life (being looked after and admired) and what he is missing (youth, being attractive).

    That's quite an assumption about both of them. Not every woman who dates an older man has daddy issues or is insecure, and there's no evidence provided that what you're saying about the older man is true.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Registered User Posts: 19,053 Senior Member
    I agree, jessie. Is this likely to be a lifelong relationship? No. But does a second date mean either of them has deep psychological issues? Also no.

    OP seems to be going into this with appropriate skepticism ("I'm especially concerned about having equal power relations ..."). I don't know enough about arugula to say whether she (assuming this is a female poster) is looking for a father-figure, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    I'm also laughing at myself that I can be so open-minded when it's someone else's daughter!
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,033 Senior Member
    I also don't think a man twice of her age is looking for platonic dating scenario. Many people wouldn't want their high school daughter to date a college guy for a very good reason. I don't see how this is that much different, except the guy is twice as old, and just makes it that much creepier.

    I see a lot of couples like that in my business. I have also tried to engage on some small talks with those women at various cocktail parties, and intellectual discussion is not something they could provide. I would certainly hate to have people look at my daughter like that.
This discussion has been closed.