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Dating the age gap. Older men dating younger women and older women dating younger men always stirs the pot.

By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50

In last week's newsletter about the 25-year-old woman lawyer who is dating the 40-year-old man, I asked for your comments. I got an earful.


A few of you took me to task, and in retrospect, rightly so. You said my comments were snide, almost sarcastic. Some felt the lawyer was not "full of herself," as I had stated.


Many felt that the 15-year age difference wasn't monumental and shared their similar age-difference experiences.


Thanks for being honest and for keeping me in line. I let my personal feelings get in the way of objective journalism.


Some women who had married men 15-to-20 years older said they had wonderful marriages but were widowed earlier than they had hoped. One woman stated she'd like to meet someone who was 1/2 the man her deceased husband was. And some said they would not accept that great of an age difference with a man now that they are older.


A surprising trend surfaced. Several women said they are attracting considerably younger men. For example, Janice commented, "I get a lot of offers from 35-45 year-old men, and probably should be more open-minded about dating them, but at this point in my life, would just like to find a nice guy fairly close to my age who enjoys some of the same things I do."


Ann said, "I'm 72 and for some unknown reason, I attract younger men. I am asked to dates, and have received two flower arrangements in the past two weeks. I try not to be too involved at my age because I know the great chance of making a mess of my life.


"If I was to date men my age, 72-82, I'd be taking my life into my hands every time they drive. Some of them can't drive late at night, but they insist on having two-three drinks with the evening. Sorry, I like my life and don't want to end up dead or in a wheelchair.  


Of course, there were several comments about the preponderance of older men asking out younger women. And the majority did not side with the 25-year-old.


Lillian wrote, "I have noticed men my age prefer to 'court' women much younger. I feel a bit discouraged because I'm attractive and a pleasant woman. When I attend singles gatherings, men my age seek out younger women in the group. Of course, the ratio of women to men around here is about 3 to 1."


One woman emailed, "I think I got this off the Oprah Show. If you want a good relationship, 'Get someone your equal or better.' This pertains to financially, emotionally, education, etc. Find someone with good energy who is able to shine in a social situation. I might have to date an older man to accomplish these objectives.


"At 68, I am having a terrible time finding someone because I have to consider other things like liveliness and heath."


Mary Jo has been on both sides of the age gap question. She emailed, "I have had experience with both older men and younger men. I was married to a man 20 years older and lived for 15 years with a man 22 years older. My last boyfriend was 23 years younger than I, so you see I am not biased. I think it depends on the persons.


"I did come to a place where I wondered if I had what it took to care for an older partner, though I was married to the one when he had a triple bypass and found my matter of fact "You've been mended" approach was the right one for him. The only person I would be actually willing to care for in a time of age and disability was the last guy. It had nothing to do with his age, but the depth of my love for him."


For me, the important lesson learned from last week's responses is to control my opinions and be more objective and understanding. Still writing about dating the age gap is a topic I love to tackle—because the opinions are all over the place.

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