Dear Victoria, I’ve just turned 40, been separated from my husband for over a year now and have three boys who all live with me. I suppose you could say that my husband was my first boyfriend and we married in our early 20’s.
For the first 15 years things were great but as my husband became more successful in business my feelings for him died. To the point where I just couldn’t stand being with him for another minute.
Following our separation I focused on building up my social life by going out with friends and having fun. Then, after about six months I decided it would be quite nice to start dating again. I’ve met many men out on nights out, through speed dating as well as online dating and it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t really attracted to men my age or older.
So rather than settle for second best I decided to date several younger men, not at the same time, in their early 30’s. In the first months of dating these younger men things seem to go well. Then as soon as I tried to move things forward by suggesting we spend more time together it always went wrong. No string fun was fine, but none seemed to want to make any real commitment. The last man I met was very happy to go out and have fun on his terms, but as soon as I suggested meeting up on a weekend he made all sorts of excuses why it wouldn’t be possible.
Is there some sort of unwritten rules when it comes to dating younger men that I’m not aware off? Surely it’s possible to have a meaningful relationship with someone fit and attractive, or are all men just shallow?
I think you can't jump to conclusions of what a man wants based on his age. Some men are looking for a serious relationship, some men are just looking for something casual, while many men are happy for things to start of casual but if they met the right woman, they would want more.
It would be simple if you could go out on a date and ask the man in question, right at the outset, if he's up for a serious relationship. Real life doesn't work that way. You have to allow time for feelings to develop and people don't like to be pushed into a corner. A first date isn't the time to be making a commitment.
Do men in their 30's want commitment? Not all do, but if you had to pick an age group who would be most likely to be looking for a serious relationship, it would probably be men in their 30's. A small minority of men that age are specifically looking to date an older woman. More than half of men say that age isn't particularly an issue. And there's no reason why a 5 to 10 year age gap would in itself be a problem. The only issue that I could foresee is if a man that you date wants to have children. If you do have teenagers or grown up children, you may not want to have more children. It's not really a topic for sparkling first date dinner conversation, but it's something that would probably come up in the first few weeks or months of a relationship.
My advice would be simple. Don't get hung up on age. To completely rule out any man on the basis of being over 39 seems excessive. To only want to date men 10 years your junior also seems extreme. If it's a serious relationship your looking for, then be on your guard enough to spot the players or the ones who just aren't into you. If a man openly says he's not looking for anything serious, take him at his word. If he seems to be dating other women, if he's evasive in between dates, regularly doesn't return texts until the next day, or he seems to take his time working out if he wants to see you again – don't waste your time. It's better to judge someone by their words and actions and how they make you feel, rather than on the basis of his age or by asking him to express his intentions on a first date.