Dating and Relationship Advice

Experienced, adept, and distinguished — if you've ever watched anything to the likes of Pretty Woman, then you've definitely heard about the appeal of older men. While we might have the impression that dating an older man means financial stability or emotional maturity, these could sometimes result in power imbalances.

Each of us might have our own preferences, but you should consider a few key things before getting involved with an older man.

1. What Stage(s) of Life Are You at?

You may have heard that dating an older man generally gets less taboo the older you are. This advice isn't really a numbers game; instead, it comes from the knowledge that life experience tends to vary more greatly at a younger age. For instance, a 20-year-old college student and a 30-year-old working professional would likely have a significant life experience gap compared to a 40-year-old and 50-year-old, even though both couples may have the same age gap.

Your stage of life can determine whether you and your partner are able to work towards common goals — this could range from something as small as figuring out where your next date will be to something as big as buying a house. Experiencing friction in a relationship is often much more common when your goals don't align.

2. Does He Use His Experience to Put You Down?

When I was seeing an older man just as I was starting out at college, I often felt like he would belittle my struggles because he had already been through them. There was an undeniable power imbalance  that I struggled with, which I thought was natural at the time, given our age gap. However, when this started to alter my self-confidence, I realized it was a toxic relationship.

While not every age-gap couple shares my experience, I can see why it's easy to hold onto the mindset that your partner should be able to overcome their struggles since you also went through those phases previously. At the same time, this neglects the fact that everyone has different coping mechanisms and experiences, even if their struggles may be similar.

3. Are You Okay with His Past?

The older you get, the more experience you accumulate. This means that dating an older man could involve past relationships, partners, or even kids. It's important to be honest with yourself when determining whether you are genuinely okay with your potential partner's past life and whether you would also be happy being involved with people from his past if he wants to include you.

4. Do You Feel Comfortable Integrating Your Lifestyle with His?

People who are more experienced tend to be more set in their ways — this ranges from knowing what they want to understanding their sexual preferences to being comfortable with their friendships. As a younger person, you may still be exploring yourself and the life you want to lead. This is why it's important to dig deeper to discover whether you are comfortable meshing your needs with his while also determining the things that both of you could explore together.

5. Are You Able to Openly Communicate Your Needs?

All of this being said, the most important aspect of any relationship is open communication. If you can communicate your insecurities and feelings with your partner without fear of being met with resistance, then that undoubtedly trumps everything else.

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