Older men are the stuff of high school dreams. I remember entering the halls when I was 14 years old, shocked by how good the senior "men" looked and knowing right then and there that my days of crushing on little boys were over. Older men could drive. They were going to college. They KNEW things. I was a goner.
I was not alone. The competition for older men was fierce in high school, into college, then for grad students (swoon), and even beyond. In fact, it wasn't until I was 23 that I EVER dated a man my own age. That man became my husband.
It seems I am not alone in my former obsession with older men. Jillian Levi, 36, of Phoenix, Ariz., chose to marry a man seven years her senior. A decade later, they are still going strong.
"I hoped that an older man would be bolder and more knowledgeable about the world," says Levi. "He'd be someone who could show me the world (very Aladdin, I know). Someone who could expose me to things I had never experienced."
And that's just it. Older men can open doors you've never even considered. If they're your thing, you're in good company. Here are 5 reasons to date and marry an older man:
1.) He can teach you things. Older people just know more. He's had 10, 20, or 30 years more to grow and change, and learn. That matters.
"One of the first things I remember him teaching me was how to send back food at a restaurant," Levi says. "It opened my eyes to a better way of living and not settling. It showed me in a very tangible way that I deserved what I asked for and that it could be excellent or better. And he loved me enough to want that for me, too."
2.) An age difference is not always such a big deal. While a decade may seem HUGE when you are 19 or 20, that fades. And quickly.
"I don't consider a 10-year gap to be significant, especially in middle age," says "Dr. Romance" Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist, and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. "Most women base their romantic relationships on emotional connection rather than physical appearance."
It's so true. Women I know who are married to men a decade older have no problem introducing their friends to their husbands, and he has no problem getting in the mix. Every month matters in elementary school, but it's just not true later in life.
3.) Your maturity levels match. If you get married young, the fact is, a 10-year age difference won't seem all that significant. Guys tend to mature more slowly than women, so a 35-year-old man might be ready for all the things that a 25-year-old man just wouldn't be. If you are looking for marriage and the whole package, an older man might be where it's at.
Most of my friends are married to men who are two or three years older. It's a small age gap but can feel enormous when it comes to maturity. One friend jokes that she and her husband never would have gotten together had the age difference not existed. He simply would have been too immature.
4.) The sex is better. Yes, I know this goes both ways. Younger men have stamina. But older men. Well, they've got years. And years count.
Writer Jennifer Leckstrom, who is married to a man 25 years her senior, said it perfectly in a Your Tango essay about her marriage: "Unlike with younger guys, the experience with Tom was more about the two of us than just him and his desires," she explains. "Maybe like a fine wine, men too, improve with age. With him, I felt like I went from virgin to vixen in record time."
5.) He's established. No one likes a gold digger, but looking for someone who's done his time in the early career years is not a bad thing. If a guy you're interested in is a doctor or lawyer, for example, getting him when he's older and past the associate or resident levels (which typically come with ultra long hours) is ideal. For many people in intense careers, things start to ease up in their 40s when they're more established. THAT is the time for families. So for women looking to settle down now, finding an older man can be perfect.
Age is just a number. Or so they say. Love is going to triumph one way or another, and while some may look down on a significant gap, plenty of relationship experts do not.
"As long as both parties are adult, and the couple have talked about the age difference and the future possibilities, I don't make judgments about their ages," says Tessina.
Are you married to someone older than you?