Older Men & Younger Women

For some older men, younger women are the coveted ‘fountain of youth.’ Especially for a man who has reason to try to avoid the ‘work’ required to maintain a growing together, fixing problems, learning how to communicate to each other relationship. Some men think that finding a younger woman will remedy all that and be generally a easier time. Maybe, maybe not.

The inevitable age difference will influence your love relationship, you can count on it. The question is are you ready for it? You may be thinking that a younger woman will give your life quotient a boost. We’ll see how you do.

In the meantime, you’ll have to figure out why this younger woman has chosen you. If you ignore that question, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be forced to answer it one way or the other.

Is she there for your money? With age comes the possibility of accumulated wealth. She might think you’re a great meal ticket at least for a time, a ‘sugar Daddy.’ That would mean you’ve made a less than conscious agreement to make money available to meet the cost of available companionship and sex if needed.If there is sufficient chemistry in such arrangements the relationship can grow a feeling of comfort and even friendship over time. But it will come to a predictable  ending.

Is she there for the learning? If you’re wise and you’ve got the diplomas and position to prove it, you might attract a younger woman looking for a chance to develop herself. Getting involved with you can feel like an internship of some kind. Your obligation is to teach, to mentor, and guide your young protege in the arts of life and love. You get the coveted youthful affection and admiration you seek with ‘benefits’ for your efforts.

Generally, this kind of teach me for love arrangement eventually leads to a feeling of frustration that the level of interaction is too superficial to be fulfilling in the long-term. It’s either that or she leaves you after filling up with whatever knowledge and experience you possessed that she wanted for herself whether or not you’re ready to let her go.

In this later situation, you end up with the distinct feeling that you’ve been used. Of course, you might not care. You might have anticipating the course of events. You went along for the ride.

If we take this sort of love union to the psychological depths, we get to the despicable phrase ‘father-figure.’ The assumption here is that a younger woman seeking an older man will always have father issues at least in the background. Something like, a father who abandoned the parenting of a young daughter or remained in her life but would not or could not love her.

Father issues translate into a need and effort to get the love she didn’t receive in childhood and/or adolescence. The idea is, to resolve a loss by arranging a ‘substitution.’ You be my Daddy now so that I won’t feel the loss of my Daddy when I was young.

The sad part about this is, it always ends up being hurtful and a grand waste of time. Especially if the motivation to find someone to act this out remains fixated and doesn’t evolve into other more useful relationships. Another way to say this is, finding a substitution may have been the original reason for seeking out the relationship, it just can’t stay that way. If it does, disappointment is inevitable. The worst kind of disappointment too. The kind that gets mixed up with old hurts from the past.

Assuming that the young woman is not there for money or tutoring, the only real chance an older man and younger woman have of making love work and last is to find their way out of this effort to redo the past in the present. To acknowledge to themselves and each other that they are together for the ‘chemistry’ that emerged regardless of their ages.

The beautiful thing here is the way in which love surpasses even age. Remember, love is that unpredictable and uncontrollable emotion that can show up anywheres between anybodies. Not even age differences can stop it. If the two people are ‘prepared’ for that love they are both feeling, love has a chance to grow.

What happens when this illusory effort to redo the past gets frustrated and undone? After a little grieving a loss, you get a chance to really grow up and be the adult person you are. No more looking to fix the past. The point of adulthood is to enjoy the fact that you’re where you are now. And of course your capacity to take care of yourself and others is there for you too. You just have to use it to make it a regular and sturdy part of your life.

So neither you nor your younger lover get to rework the past. What you can do is enjoy the fact that love showed up unannounced in the present.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan









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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.


  1. Lassie on March 15, 2013 at 4:26 am

    I am perplexed by this phenomenon. Evidently even the most enlightened, equality-minded men can be lured into the older man/younger woman scenario. A man who I was serious with in my twenties, and who has remained a friend for the last 30 years, at 59 is now “engaged” to a 31 year old who he has had only a long distance relationship with for the last year. He’s proposed and she is moving across country to live with him.

    I try to understand him doing this. He lost his wife 11 years ago to ovarian cancer at the young age of 46. Since the, has dated a few women ….serial monogamy. The last relationship was with a woman in her 40s, also long distance, but it ended as he was the “other man” in her marriage.

    In this new relationship the young woman isn’t in it for the money; she is wealthy, he not. Maybe her wealth was a lure to him, as she apparently has a large trust fund. On her end, she more likely idolizes his intellect, charm (not looks) and aura as a novelist. Obviously his interest is her youth (not beauty), “adventurousness”, the sex, and her idolizing him on a pedestal.

    I thought he was far above this sort of pairing. He even admitted that she is not so intellectual as she is “sweet”, however boasted that she appears 19 years old.

    It disturbs me. This sort of relationship as an affront to vibrant, intelligent, attractive mid-life women. Could he really not find a woman closer to his own age, if not geography?

    What’s become apparent is that many mid-life men decide, after divorce or death of the wife, to lower their expectations for a mate. They often want a woman who is inexperienced in life so she idolizes his accomplishments and presents no competition to his work/career. Intellect in the woman, even for an intellectual man, is distant second to her enthusiasm, support, companionship and willingness to have frequent sex.

    I thought him above this; his first wife was beautiful, smart, an attorney and his intellectual match. The new woman seems half-baked, neither terribly smart nor beautiful nor accomplished.

    While one can understand the reasons two people may get into such an age disparate relationship, is this ever fair? When the girlfriend will be 50, more self-developed and in the prime of her adulthood, he’ll be 78 and taking naps. I am a 57 year-old, very vibrant, energetic woman. I can’t imagine being paired with a man of 85, to whom I would play nursemaid, never mind give up many social activites.

    This aspect is barely touched on when evaluating age discrepant couples. At some point, the older man will be OLD, when the wife is still young. What then?

    • Dr. Jordan on March 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you Lassie for your comment. I enjoyed reading your analysis of this phenomena. In my mind it was flawless. I would add or simply emphasize that sometimes when an older man loses his wife of many years, grief unresolved is the underlying motivator of subsequent behavior. Taking flights into this or that, including younger women who cannot be as intimate for whatever reason is I believe inherently a defensive action meant to keep painful grief (for loss and the passage of time) at bay and protect against any future disappointments in love. Other than that, you sound like a wonderfully delight and intelligent person and I am appreciative of your interest in my blog. I’m also hoping (if you are looking for love) that a handsome, equally as intelligent, sophisticated gentleman comes along and discovers you. Thanks again for visiting my blog and I hope that it continues to be of interest to you. Dr.J.

      • louis on December 31, 2015 at 9:43 pm

        Come on doc. Lassie”s bitter because the old guy drop her!!!

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