Many men and women are seemingly rejecting those cougar and sugar-daddy stereotypes, as some experts are seeing that a substantial portion of middle-age and older singles are willing to choose partners who are younger than themselves. Data seem to support that idea: A 2003 AARP survey of about 3,500 single men and women ages 40 to 69 found about 66 percent of men want to date younger women and 34 percent of women want to date younger men.
Celebrities like actor and director Mel Gibson, whose partner Rosalind Ross is 35 years his junior, and director Sam Taylor-Johnson, whose husband, actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is 24 years younger than her, apparently agree with that notion.
But what might the real benefits of dating someone younger be? Turns out, experts say compatibility between two people who just happen to have an age gap isn’t as unusual as we may think. Also, many of the commonly held beliefs about dating a younger man or woman — for instance, that a junior partner may lack maturity — aren’t true, relationship expert and columnist April Masini told Fox News.
“There are plenty of younger people who are a lot more mature than older men and women, and who are such go-getters that they're more successful than people twice their age,” Masini said. “They're more ready to date an older partner than you guessed.”
If you’re thinking about dipping your pen into some younger ink, Masini pointed out there are several ways dating someone five, 10 or even 15 years your junior can be beneficial. Here are a handful of reasons how:
1. You may be more likely to find love
Dating a younger person opens an entire demographic that you may have been missing out on, Masini said. That’s especially true if you’re a woman, as trends suggest the dating pool begins to shrink with aging. “I hear from lots of people looking for love, unsuccessfully, that they’ve got a restrictive list of ‘filters,’ including age,” Masini said. “When you open your age range filter by including younger people among your possibilities, you’ve got a whole new group of folks to date.” Think of it this way: Tapping into that bigger pool may mean an increased chance of finding new love.
2. You may get a boost of energy
Unlike dating an older partner, younger partners may be less inclined to be jaded, and more likely to be open minded and energetic, Masini said. This type of mentality can not only be refreshing, but it also can help lay the groundwork for a creative and happy relationship. “For instance, if you want to move to Brazil, or adopt six children, or plant a vineyard on your property, or live in an igloo, someone with an open mind and less baggage may think this is a great idea,” she noted, “whereas someone who's older and more set in their ways may think you're amusing — and irresponsible, as well as wildly unrealistic.” Put differently, if you’re itching for adventure or simply a change of scenery, dating younger may be the way to go.
3. You may enjoy better sex
It’s a biological fact that younger partners tend to have more sexual energy and stamina in the bedroom, Masini said. “It can be nice to have someone who raises the bar and encourages your personal best in romance and your sex life together.” And, she added, “Many older partners find younger partners more attractive. If you can drop the judgment and not politicize this choice, and just see it as a fact, a younger partner has appeal that older ones don’t.”
4. You may gain a parenting partner
Believe it or not, younger partners may be more open-minded about the idea of lending a hand in step-parenting your kids, Masini said. Older parents who have their own children, on the other hand, may not want to take on a step-parenting role due to lifestyle preferences or a preoccupation with parenting their own biological youngsters. “A younger partner has more energy, and usually fewer or no kids of his or her own,” Masini said. Same thing goes for adoption: “A younger partner in an adoption situation is probably going to have more energy to devote to the ups and downs of that journey,” she noted.
If you’re a man who is trying to grow or start a family, being open to the idea of a relationship with a younger female partner may be a wise choice. That’s because it’s generally biologically easier for younger women to get pregnant and carry a child to term. If you’re a woman interested in dating a younger man, your partner may also be more open to using a surrogate, Masini said.
5. You may enjoy the power play
Having been out in the world gives older partners a cache that many younger partners love and seek out. “And in reverse, many older partners want a younger partner that they can teach and mold,” Masini said. The power play can also be appealing. “Many older partners enjoy being the ones to support someone, pick up the check, call the shots, and enjoy a relationship where the dynamic is more old school.”