What Dating An Older Man Taught Me About Myself And Relationships

If you’d told me a year ago that I would reconnect with a family friend, eventually date, and fall in love with him, I would’ve thought you were pulling a prank.

By Gwen Farrell3 min read
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Shutterstock/Zadorozhna Natalia

My boyfriend is one of the most special people in my life, and in a year of COVID, family deaths, unemployment, and uncertainty, he’s become my rock and the man I look forward to spending the rest of my life with.

I always get a few raised eyebrows when I mention he’s almost 10 years older than I am — but it doesn’t bother either of us, and we even tease each other about it. 

There are so many things about this relationship that are new to me, though, and it’s effectively changed the way I view my romantic relationships. Here’s what I’ve learned.

The Right One Doesn’t Make You Compromise

I’ve known that I want to be a mom and a homemaker from an early age, and I noticed that at 23, that’s often differentiated me from some of my close friends and social groups.

Dating in college is not exactly the place to bring up stretch marks and mortgages, and that environment more or less silenced me from discussing the things that are most important to me and what I truly want in life.

What’s worse, when I did bring them up, I felt guilty for doing so. The mantra among Gen Z today seems to be “have fun now, settle down later.” I’ve since realized that you can have a career, new experiences, and travel at any age — but you can’t say the same for kids.

Older guys, for the most part, are established and know what they want.

In past relationships, marriage and kids have almost seemed like a negotiable or something I had to work my way towards getting in the long run.

It was never my intention to date someone who’s substantially older than me. But when I did, I found out that the things you want are not negotiables. You should never have to talk your partner into doing something that’s truly important to you.

Older guys, for the most part, are established and at a comfortable point in their lives. They know what they want and aren’t afraid to say it, and what’s more, they don’t make you feel guilty or deter you from wanting certain things because you’re young.

He’ll Help You See What He Sees in You

I came into adulthood with many of the same anxieties and worries I had as an insecure teenager. Unfortunately, I brought them into most of my relationships too.

I’ve always been insecure about my physical appearance or of seeming weird or misunderstood. I’m also extremely sarcastic, hyperbolic, and energetic — leading one of my exes to tell me I was “a bit much.”

Dating an older man has helped me find a confidence I didn’t know I had.

But the right guy doesn’t think I’m too much. In fact, he likes me exactly the way I am.

Dating an older man has helped me find a confidence I didn’t know I had. When you love someone who’s sincere and emotionally intelligent, you feel more comfortable and less insecure. Additionally, when you feel truly cherished, it helps you to recognize what they appreciate about you. 

Boys Are Noncommittal, Men Are Intentional

In the past, I dated guys who were very different from one another. While this isn’t meant to be a smear campaign against those guys, they all had one thing in common: immaturity.

It’s common knowledge men take longer to mature than women (years longer in fact), and, as a young adult in the dating world, I’ve seen this firsthand. It’s one thing to have a goofy sense of humor and a carefree attitude. But it’s another thing entirely to have immaturity so debilitating it harms your relationship.

A man is intentional with everything — his time, actions, words, finances, etc.  

The question of why men are afraid of commitment is a tale as old as time. And when it comes down to it, the “big stuff” is a conversation you will have to have with your partner if you’re serious about each other.

In the early days of any relationship, the getting-to-know-you phase is exciting and addicting. But months or even years into a relationship, the guessing game stops being fun.

A man — as opposed to dudes, guys, bros, and boys — is intentional. Here’s the best part: he’s intentional with everything — his time, actions, words, finances, etc. There’s no guesswork involved in what he’s thinking or feeling about a future with you, and to me, that’s been the game-changer for my own relationship.

Closing Thoughts 

When I came into this relationship, I was admittedly concerned about how our age difference would influence our dynamic. But it doesn’t hurt us at all — in fact, I think it makes each of us better in different ways. 

These past months have been a learning curve for me, but they’ve also been the best of my life. Sure enough, as I anticipated, people are eager to critique what they don’t understand or offer unsolicited advice. All things considered, I’ve met the person I plan to grow old with. And I like my choices.