- Moms are busy and confident, and don't demand commitment like younger, single women
- Young guys feel like a stud if they can sexually satisfy an older woman
- Mommy issues (sometimes)
The trend has been fast and intense: In the four years I've been dating as a single mom, there has been a steep uptick in young guys looking for older single moms.
- Why would an older woman date a younger man?
- Why would a young man date an older woman?
- What age difference is OK to date?
- How to start dating again after divorce as a single mom
Take it from me: all of the sudden they've started to approach me online dating sites. I'm 39 and these guys are in their 20s. Opening lines include:
“I'm a Columbia Law student, so while I might be younger, I'm clearly smart and ambitious.”
“You look like you're fun. Want to teach me something?”
“Open to fun times with a young stud?”
As well as perfectly thoughtful messages that remark about my profile, interests or photos. The gamut. If I respond, does that make me a cougar?
Bit of background: All the men I've been involved with in my life were my age or older (in one case, way, way older but I'll elaborate on that in another post).
Why would an older woman date a younger man?
Twice in my late 30s I dated younger men. I was involved for a few months each with men who were 3 and 5 years my junior, and in both cases they were really, really lovely people, hyper-bright, ambitious and both were about 700% better looking than me. Both were great experiences. Even if I would stare at them across the bar table or at their head on my pillow, rub my eyes and think WTF is going on here?! , my ego, I admit, was like a sow in shit …mmmmm … prrrrrr … meow … oink!
Reasons older women date younger men can include:
- It's a huge compliment when a younger man desires you
- You are both looking for fun, no commitment
- It's taboo to date younger guys — and that's exciting
- Weird kinks rooted in childhood trauma
- Mutual attraction, no need for explanation
- You fell in love, and love knows no age, honey
But what is unique is the increased number of younger men seeking to date older women.
What is significant about this trend is that a) younger men historically have not been interested in older women — especially moms. After all, youth in every culture is prized in mating, as biology favors young junk. b) The uptick in this young-dude interest is so swift – and the age gaps significant.
I'm not the only one to notice. A few weeks ago my friend Perri emailed me:
I have a question for you. I just joined a dating site, and love it. But why am I being contacted by so many men who are 21 to 28 years old? I'm 42! Can I date younger men in my 40s? Can I date men who are more than 10 or 15 years younger? It's crazy. I don't look my age but it's there in my profile, so no guessing is involved. Is this a dare to screw an old chick? That said, I'm meeting a guy tonight to play pool. He's great, makes me laugh, we have similar careers and education and the conversation is very easy and uncomplicated. But still – I'm perplexed!
I admit, I'm perplexed too. So I did some research. And by “research,” I started quizzing the Benjamin Braddocks who hit me up online.
Why would a young man date an older woman?
While younger man dating older women may be increasing thanks to changing social mores, there are many reasons young guys like older women:
- Older women aren't interested in kids, and unwanted pregnancy may not even be a risk
- Older women are looking for fun and pleasure — not just a husband and father material
- Younger men prefer dating older women because we are more experienced and confident about sex and our bodies
- Because we are more experienced, a young man who pleases us feels assured and confident in bed
The first one was a super-buff 24 year-old whose profile said he speaks English and Hebrew, works in finance and photos showcased him hanging with a dolphin and jamming at karaoke with his bros. His profile included:
Here's what this fine young man said:
Oh boy, that one wasn't too introspective — or maybe he was just really horny and desperate himself? Anyway, the next exchange wasn't terribly valuable for gaining insight (though note his comments about looking for someone independent). A dark, handsome 27-year-old with a scrubby face and almost zero info in his profile engaged me in this exchange:
Third one? A charm.
This 27-year-old advertising exec was again, super-cute, and his profile funny, smart and thoughtful. You know, the kind of guy I wouldn't think twice about dating. After he ‘liked' me, I jumped right to business:
What age difference is OK to date?
Are both people of legal age in your state? That is an important first question.
When it comes to what is a socially acceptable age difference, a rule of tumb is is the ‘half your age plus seven' rule. This equation is:
[your age] / 2 + 7
So, if you are 40, divide your age by 2, and add 7, to get 27 — the rule dictates it is reasonable to date someone aged 28 and older.
Some things to consider when it comes to age and dating, include:
- Do you care what others think?
- What is the goal of dating? Is it casual fun (in which case age matters little) or serious, long-term partnership? If the latter, then, a big age difference calls for discussions about:
- Desire for children, and how those kids will be cared for physically and financially if one person is very old
- Feasibility of conception as it relates to age
- The younger partner's interest in caring for an aged partner
- Likelihood of decreased sexual desire and function that may not be aligned
- How to manage any disapproval from family and friends
- Likelihood lifestyles and interest may diverge as time goes on
Read the comments. The 31-year-old and I are dating.
Takeaway: If you want to go out with a younger guy, go out with a younger guy. Maybe for a fun drink. Maybe for a hot roll in the hay — once or regularly. And who knows, maybe for the long term. The only rules about young guys looking for older single moms are those you make for yourself. Enjoy!
How to start dating again after divorce as a single mom
I'm a huge fan of online dating, which is where I met my boyfriend of 2.5 years.
eHarmony and Match.com are two of the biggest sites — and you can browse for free :) Elite Singles, which is focused on educated, professional members looking for serious, committed relationships, is a favorite. Read my Elite Singles review, or check out EliteSingles now >>
Here is my guide for how to choose the best photos for your online dating profile.
Matchmaking site It's Just Lunch— a 28-year-old dating service that claims more than 3 million first dates (!). It's Just Lunch packages guarantee a fixed number of dates, which you approve before you meet for lunch, coffee or drinks.
Not quite there yet? Consider therapy to help work through your confidence hang-ups, and get your power back. Online therapy is a great option for single moms: very affordable, convenient because you communicate with your counselor via text, phone or video, and its anonymous! BetterHelp has thousands of therapists to choose from. Check out my list of the best online therapy sites >>
Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, noted blogger, and bestselling author. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.