Y me? Age is more than a number

Posted 8:40am on Wednesday, Aug. 08, 2012

A buddy of mine only dates women who are much younger than he is, and he's constantly surprised and heartbroken when the relationships don't work out. He's in his mid-30s, and I don't think he's dated anyone older than 25 for several years. He's not a wealthy guy, but he's well-established in his career and, his disastrous love life notwithstanding, is generally good at life. He's also one of those people who defines themselves by who they are with, though, so when one of his young chicks bails, his ego takes a big hit.

His cradle-robbing relationships typically end because the younger woman wasn't ready to get serious, or because he couldn't keep up with her partying lifestyle.

Personally, I couldn't see myself dating any woman younger than 25. It's not that I don't find them attractive, it's just that they typically don't have the life experience or layers of neurosis needed to relate to me. I mean, what would we talk about?

My friend keeps making the same mistakes, so I thought I'd list five reasons why going young for romance hardly ever works out long term. I hope he'll read this and think about some of his decisions.

In no particular order, here is a short but compelling list of why you should avoid robbing the cradle:

1. Twentysomethings are not fully formed adults: Legally they are, but emotionally and intellectually, most men and women in their early or mid-20s are still learning what it means to be an adult. They live in that awkward space between reshaping their world view and convincing themselves they have a well-formed identity.

2. You have to adapt to her lifestyle: There's no way she's going to want to stay in every night and watch baseball with you. Young people do young people things, and most of those involve Jägermeister and loud noises.

3. They've seen too many sitcoms and movies: This is true for a lot of women, not just the young ones. Relationships are not like an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which no one ever farts or gets in a bad mood. If you're having a bad day, a younger woman is more likely to take it personally -- especially when their mere presence doesn't lift you out of your fog.

4. You're just standing in for her father: Men who seek younger women aren't the only ones with issues. The young women who are attracted to older men may be dealing with big-time daddy issues. If you're just a stand-in for dear ol' Dad, she'll eventually rebel against you, too.

5. She's going to leave you: If she's smart, she'll realize that she has a whole lot of living to do and that she doesn't want to be tied down by some elder albatross. If you're ready to settle down, then dating a younger woman is just a heartbreak waiting to happen.

This list might be a wee bit cynical, but it generally holds true. Of course, there are exceptions. Two close friends of mine are more than 10 years apart in age, but they've had a long marriage and two great kids.

I have a five up and down rule. I will only date women who are either five years older or younger than me. Of course, I'm a miserable, lonely wretch, but I don't think that has anything to do with my age rule. That's solid.

If you have a good or bad experience dating outside of your age range, Y Me would love to exploit it in print. E-mail him dating@dfw.com, or like him on Facebook.

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