Many successful relationships have been formed between women who were five or even 10 years older than their partners, but not all women find it easy to date younger men. If you’re currently crushing on a younger guy, consider all the potential ups and downs of such an age gap before you decide to pursue him.
1. YOU’LL PROBABLY BE MORE MATURE.You’ve probably heard that women tend to mature quicker than guys do, and this is often true even in adulthood. Lots of women go for older men specifically because they feel that the maturity gap is less dramatic, but if you’re looking to date a younger guy, the reverse can easily be true. If you fall for a younger guy because he’s “fun” and has more energy than men your own age, just be aware that those positive qualities can accompany signs of immaturity that he hasn’t grown out of yet.
2. YOU MAY BE IN TWO DIFFERENT PLACES IN LIFE.It can be hard to relate to someone who’s just graduated college when you’re a few years into your actual grown-up career. If you date a younger guy, remember that you’ll also be dealing with his comparative lack of life experience. Sometimes this can be refreshing and take you back to the days when you were so young and had so many choices ahead of you, but it can also make it harder for you two to relate to each other.
3. HE MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR A SECOND MOM.No adult man ever says that he wants his girlfriend to replace his mom, but a lot of them sure act like it. It’s not some weird Freudian fetish—it just goes back to the maturity disparity. Younger men often seek out older women because they like being taken care of and they might feel that women their own age can’t satisfy that need for them. If you like constantly cleaning up after your boyfriend and doing his laundry, great; if not, make sure you get to know his self-care and cleaning habits as a single man before you jump into something serious with him.
4. EVEN IF HE’S MATURE, HIS FRIENDS MAY NOT BE.If combining your social circles is important to you, be aware that your younger partner’s friends may truly act their age (or younger than their age). There are plenty of younger men who act like grown adults and are drawn to older women because they feel a deeper connection with them than they do with women their own age. But if you decide to date one, just be aware that his friends won’t necessarily be “old souls” as well.
5. YOU MAY HAVE AN UNFAIR STIGMA ATTACHED TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP.No one thinks twice when a man is in a relationship with a women five, seven, or even 10 years younger than him, but women who date younger men aren’t always received with such a carefree attitude by society. Even if you’re still pretty young yourself, you might still be labeled as a “cougar,” and your friends and family might assume that you’re immature because you’re dating a younger man. This may not be remotely important to you if you don’t care what others think, but if approval from others is necessary for you to be happy in a relationship, this is definitely something to think about.
6. HE MAY NOT BE READY FOR BIG LIFE AND RELATIONSHIP MILESTONES. If you’re ready to settle down, get married, and have kids, a guy in his early twenties might not be your best match. Many women who feel that their biological clock is ticking run into relationship problems when their partners want to spend a long time together before proposing or becoming parents, and if a guy is a few years younger than you, he may be in even less of a rush to hit those milestones. Of course, this “problem” might not be a problem at all if you’re also in no hurry to settle down and have kids with the guy.
7. HIS IDEA OF A SOCIAL LIFE MAY BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM YOURS. Yes, there are women in their thirties who still party like they’re in college, just like there are men in college who prefer a quiet night in with a drink or two and a few good friends. Most of the time, though, younger people have more ambitious social lives that quiet down as they get older. That’s not to say you’re a boring hermit, just that you should make sure your idea of “going out” matches his before getting too serious.
8. YOU MAY HAVE A HARDER TIME TAKING HIM SERIOUSLY.Sometimes the problem may lie not in the guy you’re dating but in your perception of him. Even if you don’t consciously think about your age difference all the time, you might end up having a “mom” moment of your own during arguments or discussions. If you start thinking (or saying) things like, “You’ll understand in a few years” or feeling like his age is getting in the way of your ability to have a balanced conversation with him, the power dynamic in your relationship may be more skewed than you think.
9. HE MIGHT HAVE LESS RELATIONSHIP EXPERIENCE. In some ways, this can be a seriously positive trait—younger guys often come with way less baggage than older men who may have already had multiple serious relationships (or even a marriage) go down in flames. This can also mean, however, that the guy you’re seeing has less knowledge of how a healthy relationship should work. He may struggle with things like conflict resolution, commitment, or jealousy simply because he doesn’t know what’s considered “normal” in an adult relationship.
10. HE MIGHT STILL BE GETTING ON HIS FEET. When you’re young, it’s acceptable to have low standards when you go to a guy’s house. When you have a car, live on your own, and pay all your own bills, however, it can feel like a serious downgrade to date a guy who doesn’t have that level of independence yet. Dating a younger guy may very well mean having to be quiet during sex (on a bed that may or may not have a bedframe) so you don’t wake his roommates up or having to resign yourself to the fact that his parents still pay his phone bill every month.