“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
The question is simple, as life expectancy goes up and people take better and better care of themselves, do traditional notions of appropriate age differences in relationships matter? Are we just making it harder on ourselves by refusing to consider potential partners who are outside our age limits? Or are the cultural similarities that occur between people of similar ages important enough to be deal-breakers?
Of course, if having children is in your plans and you’re a man, the age of your partner matters. There are certainly ways for older women to conceive children, but most men who want families tend to try and date women who are younger than 40.
Aside from that scenario, however, is there any reason that a 30-year-old woman can find love with a 37-year old and not a 44-year-old? How about a 50-year-old? Knowing that there are men of that age who are in great shape, physically attractive, interesting and successful is there a reason to categorically exclude these men?
Men often pursue younger women, even if they aren’t interested in a family. The typical reason being, “that’s who I’m more attracted to.” But again, the “sex appeal boundary” gets pushed out further and further as women in their 50’s and 60’s find themselves as public sex symbols. Kim Catrell of Sex in the City fame is 55. Jane Seymour is 60. Jaclyn Smith is 62. And while most people aren’t as attractive as these, it is certainly possible to meet someone significantly older who is sexy and attractive. Is having a policy against it a good idea?
Women in their 50’s will often narrowly restrict their dating range because they have a fear of meeting and falling in love with an older man – and then having to deal with his health issues. Men certainly have a shorter average lifespan than women, but this doesn’t tell you anything about a particular guy. Is it wise for a woman of 55 to consider a relationship with a man who is 65 or 70?
Finally, there’s also the impact of “the marketplace”. Like it or not, there are ages and individuals who feel that their value in the dating world is so high that they can have success with a very narrow set of criteria. It might be easy to think of a very attractive 25-year-old man or woman saying, “I can date whomever I want, and I only want people who are within two years of my age either way.” While any person is free to do what they like when looking for a relationship, is it to the benefit of the searcher to cast in such a narrow fashion?
These are all interesting questions that reflect a real change in the way people age and date. What do you think?