Is there any future in dating a younger man?
Dear Doctor,I have been following your blog for months now and am happy to report your advice has paid off!! Being a single woman in my mid thirties, I finally learned to be less cynical and more forthcoming and now find myself, unbelievably !! dating a younger man of 24 who is very handsome and up and coming. He is very affectionate and attentive and traveled interstate on two occasions to be with me. We have known each other over a month now. He messages me constantly and speaks to me almost every night for an hour or more.The only glitch is he wants to get married in two years and wants to marry someone his age, not me; plus he has a history of flings (which I do too actually). Though I love what is going on, I wonder about the future and how much should I invest in such a guy and how seriously to take him. He is a good decent guy, and a little (too?) happy go lucky. Already I can visualize his interest waning and all this fizzling out. Would really appreciate your perspective on this and how I should approach this please.
I am glad to hear I have been helpful to you in some way.
In our culture it does not seem strange when a man is in a relationship with a woman who is ten years younger. But when the woman is ten years older than the man, many people regard the relationship as suspect. I can think of no good reason for this attitude towards dating a younger man. I can imagine the fellow you know wanting a big family and worrying about whether you could still conceive children five years from now; but I doubt if that is what he is thinking. It would seem that because women outlive men there would be an advantage in men marrying women who were somewhat older; but that is not what either of the couple thinks about when they get married. Unfortunately, these social stereotypes are a powerful influence on everyone. Having said that, though, I can think of at least three long-standing marriages I know of where the man was about ten years younger than his wife.
The question you ask is really part of a more common question: will the person I love and who seems to love me want to marry me despite his having one misgiving or another. I think only time will tell. I would not take as definitive anything he says about this matter. People do not know themselves well enough to predict how they will feel down the road. Since you seem to want to settle down, you will have to decide at some point whether you should begin dating someone else. There comes a time when it is reasonable to issue an ultimatum. “I want to have a family. I would like to have children with you, but if that is not going to happen, I think I have to stop seeing you and date others.” Some men respond to that by wishing you well and saying goodbye. Others come to understand that losing you is more important than other vague considerations and then come around to considering marriage. I think it is hard to predict which outcome is more likely.