Since I came into the consciousness of dating, there has been an ingrained principle linking the healthiness of a relationship to the wideness of the age gap between two participating parties. It led me to question the root of this societal norm. Where did age gaps originate from? Are they a social construct supported by the patriarchy or an inescapable element of evolution? How wide can an age gap be to be acceptable? Of course, the acceptability of the age gap has always been dependent on the genders involved and the sexual advancement present in the relationship.
As much as I want to stay non-judgemental about certain choices, I find that I am extremely sceptical about an older man’s desire to seek the companionship of a younger woman. When I received the question “I need some advice on Nigerian older man. Doctor 44 a Lil spicy has a fem touch. I’m 25 what is he after? Will he really take care of me?” I immediately calculated the age difference. Now, why is it that as a 44-year old doctor, you are still single and outside enough to meet and pursue a 25-year-old? Then I thought about him having a fem touch, was he another man looking for a younger woman he could deceive into a being a beard? Seriously, a friend of a friend told me about her gay uncle who flaunts a new young girlfriend every other month in an attempt to distract from his closeted sexuality, but I digress. Around the same time, a friend in his mid-30s boasted to me about his ability to attract women aged 25 and younger. When I asked if he would consider dating an older woman or a woman closer to his age he had an adverse reaction to the suggestion, claiming that his preference is dependent on his wanting to have children and the female biological clock. In my opinion, that’s probably the politically correct reason he’s carefully conjured for sceptics like me and will probably be in his 40s still dating 25-year-olds. In an attempt to understand the reasoning behind our two case studies, I did some research on Reddit to see what men had to say about the reasoning.
“Younger men not approaching women their age doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to. They might not quite have the confidence and experience to be at ease doing it yet, which men often develop as they get older. As to the question of why an older man would go for younger women instead of women his age, younger women are in their prime with regards to physical beauty. It’s not like a woman suddenly gets ugly past the age of 30 but she’s probably not as physically attractive as she used to be.”(https://www.reddit.com/r/AskMen/comments/1f87r5/comment/ca7qddu/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 )
“It’s partly about younger women being more attractive (as are younger men of course) but it’s also about stroking our egos and showing off to our friends. If an older guy at work is dating a much younger woman, I can assure you we will all know about it very quickly. There is also the issue of children. If an older man seriously wants to have a family, he would never date a woman his own age. You can call it hypocritical but it’s just common sense. If your goal was to be a stay-at-home mom and live in a nice neighbourhood with a great school district, you wouldn’t marry a dishwasher no matter how great of a guy he may be. That’s not being a gold digger, it’s being realistic.”(https://www.reddit.com/r/AskMen/comments/1f87r5/comment/ca7rwjr/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3)
So to answer the question, it’s all about power and control. Maybe men who date significantly younger are simply going where they will be celebrated and not tolerated. I do encourage women (a.k.a myself) to date older, only because I’m assuming maturity comes with age, but that’s not always the case. Maybe it is silly altogether to make age such a central factor when selecting a partner, especially because the survival of a relationship is really based on compatibility. Some people will always be weird about dating, it’ll always be about power dynamics and not companionship, legacy and love. I guess the only solution is to discover what a potential wants before investing time into the relationship. If he chose you because you were 25, in 10 years will he choose you? To be stuck in a system that constantly seeks and celebrates youth, when we are all subject to time, seems like a path to disappointment.