When we were younger, most of us were dying to get in with the older men. From the seniors we swooned for our freshman year in high school to the grad students we lusted after when we were undergrads, older guys always seemed to have a lock on all the things we wanted -- maturity, sophistication, the right booze ...
Somewhere along the way, though, that changes for many of us.
"I got tired of dating jaded older men when I hit 30," says Lindsay S., 35, who married a man five years her junior when she was 31 and has been very happy ever since. "The guys over 30 were all either already married and bitter or weird. Go younger, ladies. You won't regret it."
She isn't wrong. As writer Rebar Niemi said in his XO Jane essay about older women overlooking younger guys: "The primary weakness of men in their low-to-mid-20s is also their greatest strength: Age has not yet sunk its bony teeth into them."
Exactly. Here are 5 great reasons to marry a younger guy:
1.) They have more stamina: To be sure, this is a cliche. The younger guy who can go all night, right? And honestly, who REALLY wants a guy who does that anyway? But the thing is it's not just about sex. Younger men make great dads because they have the energy to chase after toddlers and rebound more easily after late nights changing diapers.
In an essay for O Magazine, Lynn Snowden Picket, an older woman married to a much younger man, says:
Some women—and nearly every older man—scoff at the idea that when it comes to sex, youth beats experience. Well, it does. First of all, the techniques necessary to please a woman are things that can be taught, and, more important, learned and mastered fairly quickly if one has a willing and interested partner—and a younger man is the very definition of willing and interested.
More from The Stir: 9 Tips for Dating a Younger Guy
2.) Their expectations are different: Jennifer D., 37, married a younger man three years ago after dating older men and men her age for years. A very successful journalist, Jennifer was sick of men being intimidated by her career. "They [younger men] are much less likely to have traditional expectations about what women are/are not supposed to do," Jennifer says.
It's true. If you date a man 10 years younger, he's likely grown up in a world that was very different than the one in which a man in his 40s was raised. He probably saw his mother working full-time and thinks nothing of it. Additionally, a younger man may not be so far along in his own career but won't feel as badly about that as a man who is much older.
3.) They are more fun: "Younger men are playful," says Lindsay -- and it's the truth. And they are MUCH less likely to have been divorced, which can make a big difference.
Plus, in my experience of 11 years of marriage, the biggest gap between happy marriages and unhappy ones is laughter. Does he make you laugh? Is he funny? Silly? Sure, older guys can crack you up (hello, Louis CK), but most of them have lost that puppy-like attitude that can be so endearing in more boyish men.
4.) They are not as cynical: "When you have two people in their mid-30s who are divorced or never married, things can get pretty dark," says Jennifer, who dated her fair share of broody, depressive types in their 30s. "Younger guys are more likely to have a lovely optimism toward dating."
A man who is 25 has about a decade of experience dating. A man who is 45? Has three decades under his belt. Chew on that difference. Thirty years of bitterness can look pretty unattractive on a dude. Just sayin'.
5.) There is less fear: Ever date a neurotic man who overthinks everything? Most women in their 30s who are still on the market have. It's exhausting.
Younger men haven't been around the block as many times. They don't have as much fear -- "the fear that comes from knowing how things can turn out badly," says Jennifer -- and THAT is a beautiful thing.
There used to be a stigma with being with a younger man, but no longer, says Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka "Dr. Romance"), psychotherapist, and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. "Chronological age doesn't always reflect either physical capability or emotional maturity," Tessina says. "Sometimes an age difference is a mentoring relationship."
And sometimes it's just ... HOT!
Did you ever date a younger man?