When I was younger (in the 1990s), a family friend went through a pretty bad divorce. My small town community tried to be helpful and she kept busy by attending local events. I’ll never forget the reactions when she, a late 30-something women, walked into a church ice cream social with a young guy of about 25 hanging on her arm.
Everyone looked shocked and several of the older ladies rolled their eyes. She was the subject of negative gossip for weeks until she eventually either dumped the younger man or stopped bringing him around.
Dating a younger man after divorce, or thinking about dating one, happens more than you think. There is even a term for the people in these relationships. The older women are called cougars and the younger men are called cubs.
This article will discuss the reasons why women might want to date a younger guy following the end of a marriage, as well as ways to make it work.
Why Date A Younger Man After Divorce?
I first want to touch base on why you could date a younger guy and why this might happen following a separation or divorce. If you’re reading this because of someone you know, I hope this section gives you an idea of why your friend or family member might be attracted to a younger guy.
People are complex and there could be many reasons, so these aren’t the end of the conversation. But, in my research and experience with clients, women will date a younger man following a divorce for these 3 reasons.
If you look at movies and other aspects of popular culture, you can tell this fact: youth rules. And, when many people get older, they feel like recapturing their youth to a degree. You can see this in guys, in what is typically called the midlife crisis.
Since men and women react to events differently, some women will often have their “crisis” by reliving some of her younger days. This might include hitting clubs, acting more youthful, and, yes, dating a younger man. Nothing makes you feeling younger like hanging out with younger people! By the way, we argue that having a midlife crisis is a good thing for most people.
Prove You Still Got It
Let’s face it, the end of a relationship, like a divorce, can be difficult even if you initiated it. You might have questions about your own attractiveness and how you’ll succeed in the dating game. Even if you have no intention of marrying a younger guy, many women find dating one a huge self-esteem boost. Perhaps you just want a quick fling to prove something to yourself.
I’m not arguing to lead anyone on. But, if you and the younger guy can get on the same page, it’s no one else’s business to question your consensual relationship.
Because You Can
When the men and women judged my parent’s friend, it had to have been depressing. After all, you want approval of your peers, but you also want to be happy. However, it’s a fact that many people don’t marry for love.
Perhaps that was you. You did everything that friends, family, and popular culture told you to do: settle down with a “safe” guy who checked off all of your boxes, even if you thought he was boring as a post and you felt little spark.
However, after a divorce, you probably don’t care about the expectations of others. You finally have decided to live life the way you want. In that case, you date a younger man for one reason: because you can. And, if anyone has a problem with it, they can go jump in a lake.
Tips For Dating A Younger Man After Divorce
If you’re a woman looking to date a younger guy after your marriage has ended, you might wonder if it’s for you and how to even go about it. These tips will help you navigate the process of dating in an age gap when it might seem foreign.
Ignore the Haters
If you break any sort of dating taboo, you will get looks, sneers, jeers, and haters. In the past, this happened to gay and interracial couples, for example. While those romances are, thankfully, largely accepted today, age gap relationships typically aren’t. And, since an older woman younger man age gap is even rarer than the reverse, you might get the most hate of all for becoming a cougar and going after a cub.
My best advice is to ignore the haters and live your life the way you want. My experience has been that most haters are actually just jealous. After all, if your best friend is unhappily married and feels trapped with an old, boring, unattractive husband, it would be hard for her to accept that you are free to date a good looking, younger man.
Act Your Age
If you decide to date younger, just remember the years of wisdom and experience you’ve accrued. In other words, while being a cougar can be healthy and fun, acting like you’re 16 when you’re 38 isn’t all great.
In other words, don’t party every night, go to work with hangovers, and so on. You can and should recapture the positives of your youth: excitement, energy, fun, joyfulness, and a carefree attitude. But, don’t embrace the negative sides like irresponsibility and recklessness.
Hang Out Around Younger People
Most individuals tend to segregate themselves by age bracket. That means you might not have any idea where to even find a younger guy. The key is to go where younger guys are. Find venues, clubs, events, and other places where younger guys are more prevalent. Also, certain online dating apps like Tinder skew younger. Just make sure to set your age range to what you prefer.
I’ve typically enjoyed the presence of younger people ever since I entered my 30s. It hasn’t been out of any desire to recapture my youth. I’ve just found that my interests (fitness, creative projects, contemporary music, etc.) tend to bring me around a generally younger demographic. Plus, I was never happy with the average lifestyle of older men and women (work all day, watch Netflix, sleep, go to kid’s soccer game on weekends, repeat until death) that many people my own age embraced.
I have found, however, that most younger people I met liked me for me. They didn’t care so much about age as much as my ability to relate to them. If you are a cool, fun person who shares their interests, you can definitely get along with younger guys without having to pretend to be someone you aren’t. If you want to date younger guys, don’t think you have to be a fake or even try to be!
So, this article should help you if you want to date younger men or help you understand a friend who is dating in an age gap. Above all, embrace happiness, whether for yourself or for those in your life.