Many of my clients are men in their 30s, 40s and 50s. I help them reboot their lives. Most had unfulfilling social lives during their younger years, and come out of my coaching as totally different people: confident, attractive, and ready to conquer the world.
One of the first things they want to do is expand their dating horizons by including younger women in their dating options. They always ask the question, to me and others in their lives: do women like older men?
They don’t always get an honest answer. Many people have a hard time with age gap relationships. They can’t accept the fact that some people of radically differing ages would want to date, even if the relationship is perfectly legal, appropriate, and consensual.
But, the answer to the question if women like older men, is definitely “yes.” The statistics clearly show it. But, there are some important details to keep in mind if you’re an older guy trying to date a woman 5 or 10 years (or more) younger.
Note: all statistics come from the source listed at the bottom, unless noted. However, other studies and surveys from other countries have similar numbers.
Most Women Like Slightly Older Men
All studies and surveys show that men have a preference for younger women in attraction and dating. OK Cupid’s raw data show men of all ages (18-50) prefer women around the age of 21. It doesn’t mean they won’t fall in love with someone older. But, it’s a near universal baseline preference for adult males.
While women aren’t as universally wedded to the idea of an older partner (pun intended), marriage statistics bear out that they typically pair up with older guys. Only 14% of married couples featured a younger man, while 53% had an older man.
In fact, one study called the whole cougar phenomenon (an older woman dating a much younger man) a myth. While there are prominent examples in the media, by and large, most younger men and older women weren’t looking to get into a relationship. Hook ups might be another matter, though.
While the majority of couples in the US are around similar ages (33 percent), the same amount (33 percent) have a gap of 2-5 years, all with an older man. So, it’s safe to say that women at least choose to settle down with somewhat older guys. So far, this information isn’t too surprising.
Large Age Gaps Are More Common Than You Think
You might know of women who are dating guys with much bigger gaps. Every now and then you’ll read about an elderly celebrity with an extremely young girl friend. These are not the majority, but they are more common than you think, even in marriages. 11 percent of all marriages have a 6-9 year gap, 4.8 percent have a 10-14 year gap, 1.6 percent have 15-19 and 1 percent have 20+ years difference.
These are fascinating numbers. It means that about 7.5 percent of women who marry have done so with a man 10 years or older. While that’s hardly a staggering number, it’s still a very large percentage and should be encouraging for a man (or woman) seeking a stable, age gap relationship.
The Blunt Truth About Dating Younger Women
Last year, a 28 year old friend of mine married a guy who was 55 years old. They are a part of the 1 percent of relationships with their nearly 30 year gap. If you want to date someone much younger, their story shows that it can happen. You might also think of examples of other older guys dating younger women like Mick Jagger or George Clooney.
However, the blunt truth is that if you want to date much younger women, you’ll have to be special.
My matchmaker friends had a 50-something client who wanted to be like George Clooney and date 30 year olds. They told this guy, who was overweight and poorly dressed with lousy hygiene, the honest truth: that he wasn’t exactly George Clooney.
Even though women like older men (sometimes much older), don’t think you can just show up to a bar or throw up an online dating profile and get women (of any age) pursuing you. If you want to date younger women, then you’ll have to be very attractive.
When women say they like older men, they may not mean you. There is a difference between a successful, fun-loving, charming, fit and handsome older guy who looks half his age and a bland, uptight, obese older man whose idea of fun is watching hours of TV and eating Doritos on his smelly couch. Sorry for the image.
The 55 year old my friend married looks 10 years younger, is a prominent and successful local DJ, has a great personality, and is more fun than most people her age (or any age). He’s a really cool guy. He’s a great catch and they are a great couple. If you aren’t anything like him and are having trouble dating, I have created dating tips for older guys to help you succeed with women, younger and otherwise.
Also, not all younger women will like older guys. People have their own preferences. So, don’t be some creep who pesters young women. If they don’t like you, get over it (and yourself).
Finally, if you do date younger women, expect to see some jealousy from others. Some older women get mad when attractive older guys go for younger women. They might feel like those guys are their “turf.” Also, younger guys can sometimes get hateful because they see you as direct competition (which is true). Just ignore the negative people. If you’re both legal, consenting, and in love, it’s no one else’s business. This goes for women who want younger men, as well.
I want to say a few words about women who date older men for the money. Older men typically have more resources, so they get women “dating” them only to use them for free vacations, jewelry, their bills paid, etc. Some even want their college tuition paid for!
Watch out for these gold digger types. There are women who will pretend to like older guys just to get into their wallets. Some are upfront about it. Others won’t be. If you’re comfortable with this arrangement, that’s fine. But, if you’re looking for love, just be aware some women don’t have the best of intentions.
So, in summary, yes, most women like older men, although not necessarily in very large gaps. However, there are a number of women who are open to dating and even prefer much older men. But, if you’re a guy looking to date a younger woman, you need to be a special person, whether it’s in your charm, personality, maturity, or wallet.
Source: “Married Couple Family Groups, By Presence Of Own Children Under 18, And Age, Earnings, Education, And Race And Hispanic Origin Of Both Spouses”. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement. 2013.