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Read Letter

The Pros And Cons Of Dating An Older Woman

Dear Jack, 

Of course you can date an older woman! But there are realities that attend to such decisions. There are pros and cons.

Here are the pros: An older woman is matured, seasoned, experienced. Her maturity will temper the relationship and if you’re an old soul, you can relate to such maturity. She will have a more realistic view of life unlike a younger woman who’s embryonically processing herself through life. If she’s professionally advanced her network will serve you well in your business or career. If she’s well-off her, her contribution will lessen the pressure on you. And she’ll be more understanding and able to give you mature comfort when you’re faced with life’s challenges. An older woman is a well seasoned cooking caressed by the flames and heat of life. Her counsel and knowledge of the world will prove invaluable in tough situations.

However, dating an older woman has peculiar challenges. These challenges you can’t deny or ignore. There are societal challenges, family challenges, cultural challenges, conceptual challenges, biological challenges. The most significant challenge of all is how much both of you can cope with the salient fact that she’s older than you. It can be a psychological mountain that grows more daunting as you ascend the slopes of time.

If she’s a cultural conservative (and that’s not always obvious until life asserts pressure), she’ll resent your lesser age. In a relationship, a culturally conservative woman defers to the man primarily on account of age. If you don’t have means and you date an older cultural conservative, you will have significant respect problems. Within that context your achievements and youthfulness will be despised by her. (These issues are buried in time capsules). An older woman will of course be more assertive on a timetable for marriage. That’s understandable. (You don’t go into a relationship to play Ludo if you’re an older woman; unless of course she has no interest in marriage).

Now you have society to contend with. The more glaring the age difference, the greater the societal reaction. If she’s not blessed with the fountain of youth and you’re not blessed with a mature visage, society will talk. You must be able to brush off those talks but to be honest with you, they can be cruel. If there’s such a wide disparity in age and she’s successful, your motivation for dating her will be questioned. Her motivation will also be questioned. She may be accused of desperation, or sourcing for a sex toy.

You also have your family to contend with. What will your father say? What will your mother say? Can you handle her objection? Not many young men can face their mother. She’s emotionally formidable, her defensive capacity unquantifiable. If you’ve not fought the war of independence, you will prevaricate over her strenuous objections. You must be clear about your decision and be sure of what you’re doing, or you’ll crater someone’s hopes and dreams. Your mum will naturally be concerned she’s “taking advantage” of your “inexperience”. It’s the way mothers think and it may just be affection and attention competitiveness. And she may be right. She’s an older woman too you know! Her objection may also be cultural. Traditionally, the man is older in a relationship. Why must her son be different? Your mum will also worry about control. Will she listen to you? (Some older women date younger men for control). A wise older girlfriend will seek to assuage these fears. She’s her potential mother-in-law afterall.

But there are also biological considerations in dating older women. She has a relatively advanced biological clock. Because she’ll reach menopause earlier than a younger woman, you have to configure this into your planning.

Like I said, there are pros and cons. But you must also be clear about your motivation. If you must buck the trend, you owe yourself self examination. Some men have messiah complex. They want to “rescue” older women, though from what I’m not exactly sure. Some are attracted to successful older women because they want an easier ride in life. They want a shorter cut. If you’re a successful younger man, the dynamics of course will change. If not, you have to work hard to earn respectability. And your girlfriend’s intention must not be a desperate grab for marital status. That can end a marriage after the wedding. Status accomplished!  

So can you date an older woman? Again I say yes, but… Reason through before taking a decision. (Just as you must in any other relationship). Note that in the western world some of the challenges identified are less powerful and less inhibiting. But I’ve contextualised the advantages and challenges for you.

Like I always say, what you do with knowledge is really up to you.

Your mentor, LA


©Leke Alder 2013

Tags : Dating, Older woman

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