After reading this article about women in their 40s and 50s and their dating experiences, I had to seek out one of the mentioned sources – The Plankton: Life at the bottom of the sexual food chain. It’s viciously pessimistic, funny and insightful. I’m not convinced by all of the author’s opinions, but I don’t discount the veracity of her experiences. What follows began as a comment on one post that, on reflection, I wanted to amend.
Leaving aside many of the complexities of contemporary heterosexual relationships, I think the author of Plankton is wrong about the common age difference phenomenon between men and women in relationships, where men supposedly always prefer younger women and, as they age, lose interest in women their own age.
I also think she is unfairly negative about men. All men are not the same. I think there is a fundamental double standard in society about age differences in relationships. It is obvious that men have long had relationships with women significantly younger than themselves, whereas women have not, until quite recently, enjoyed the opportunity (the social freedom and economic power) to have relationships with men significantly younger than themselves.
I find it particularly unreasonable when women accuse all men of only wanting younger women, and when women attribute all responsibility for the older man – younger woman relationship on men. From my experience, women perpetuate the older man – younger woman partnership as much as men do.
On their profiles on dating websites, most women do not appear to be looking for or want attention from younger men. They list their age preferences for their own age – older. Rarely do they seem accept or initiate contact with men younger than themselves.
As a tertiary educated, professionally employed and financially independent man, I prefer relationships with similarly educated and cultured partners and I often feel women older than me are socially the best match. But I find it very difficult to meet them, either in the real world or online.
In my early to mid 30s I had a couple of relationships with women in their mid 40s. More recently I have had relationships with women very close to my own age simply because they appear to like themselves and want to communicate and flirt to establish a new partnership, whereas women in their mid – late 40s dismiss me.
So many women seem neurotically insecure and self-doubting and simply can’t or won’t believe that a younger man is genuinely interested in them. It’s frustrating and insulting therefore to be told that this is my fault. I think many women simply don’t give men a chance before rushing to stereotype them.
Age may be an important indicator of compatibility, but I think social status and personal values are even more important.