What To Know About Dating An Older Woman

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated September 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Note: This article discusses age gap relationships taking place between adults, meaning people over age 18 who are consenting to these dynamics. 

You're not alone if you're curious about what it might be like to date an older woman or partner. You may have noticed the age gap in your favorite celebrity couple or feel romantically toward an older woman you know. These observations might make you curious about dating someone older than you. 

Many women date younger partners, and many age-gap relationships can lead to long-term connections. According to an AARP survey, approximately 34% of women between 40 and 69 have dated younger partners

Is The Age Gap In Your Relationship Contributing To Conflict?

Why Would Older Women Date Younger Partners? 

Various factors may come into play regarding age gaps in a relationship. For many, sex is a factor. Some older women may enjoy the increased sexual stamina a younger partner might provide. In addition, women over 40 may enjoy having a partner without attachments to previous marriages, such as children or divorce proceedings. However, many older women end up with a younger partner because they fall in love, not because they were planning to. 

Some individuals may find older women more appealing than people their age. According to Business Insider, older women are more confident and assertive than younger women. They may have had more life experience, discovered their needs, and learned to express themselves openly. They might also know how to care for their partner due to experience in past relationships, whereas younger women may be establishing their identities and preferences for a relationship.  

For some young people, these qualities might be attractive. In addition, if an individual prefers dating older women, they might find that older women can teach them lessons about relationships, life, and establishing a sense of self. Although it is not a partner's duty to teach or care for their romantic interest, growing together may be unique when there is an age gap. 

The Potential Benefits Of Dating Older Women

If you're considering dating an older woman, there might be a few benefits from the relationship, including the following. 

Older Women May Know What They Want 

Older women have had more time to learn about themselves throughout their life than younger individuals, potentially giving them a higher probability of understanding their boundaries, needs, and desires. They may be more direct in communicating their needs, which could be beneficial if you like a direct partner.

They May Teach Their Partners Life Lessons 

With an older partner, you may learn information about their life that serves you positively. For example, they might teach you what they've learned about sex, relationships, and challenges. You may find this information helpful if you enjoy learning about different perspectives. 

They May Be Emotionally Intelligent 

An older woman may have experienced several challenges in life and learned from them. Over time, they may have found ways to be emotionally intelligent and connected with their feelings. You may find this aspect beneficial if you want to date someone who is open about their emotions. However, people of all ages can be emotionally intelligent. 

They May Be More Independent 

For many people, older age comes with a higher level of self-sufficiency, emotionally and financially. These areas of independence may relieve a younger partner from the pressures of providing or needing to care for someone. However, relationship dynamics can differ across all ages, and many young women are also independent. 

They Might Be Interested In Casual Relationships 

If you're looking for a casual relationship with an older woman, you may find that those who have been through a divorce or left previous partners are not looking for a serious connection. In these cases, an age-gap casual relationship may offer the option of casual dating and fun without "strings attached." However, note that many older women do not have families or past divorces, and many older people are seeking long-term relationships. This factor can be personal. 

Potential Challenges In Dating An Older Woman 

Dating an older woman may come with challenges, including the following. However, note that all relationships are different, and what is a challenge for someone else might not be a challenge for you. 

You Are At Different Life Stages 

Many older women may have established careers, families, children, or financial responsibilities that may be their priority. In addition, they may have more financial assurance than a younger partner, which can sometimes be a source of conflict. If they are divorced, their past partner may be in their life to co-parent. 

If you're younger, you might want to explore your youth, travel, have children, or attend parties. If your older partner also enjoys these areas of life, you may find your relationship compatible. If not, you might face conflict in these areas. However, note that these are stereotypes for older and younger individuals, and anyone of any age can enjoy these activities or have significant responsibilities. 

Family, Friends, And Society May Disapprove 

You may face stigma around dating older women. For many, a significant age gap is a concern, and dating someone much older than you might cause people to ask questions, remove themselves from your life, or judge you. If you face these challenges, family or couples therapy might be beneficial to address them. 

They May Not Want Or Be Able To Have Children 

Although many women of all ages may not be able to have children due to anatomy or factors like menopause, these factors can be common in age-gap relationships. An older woman may have already raised children or might not be interested in the potential risks of getting pregnant at an older age. 

By 40, many women's ability to get pregnant is compromised, with menopause often beginning between 45 and 50. If you want to have a family, you might consider adopting or another route of having children. If you're a same-sex couple, these may already be considerations regardless of age. If one or both of you is trans or you're a woman capable of gestation, you may be able to conceive via fertility methods. 

They May Not Understand Your Generation's Culture 

Many generations have different references and ideas of popular culture that you may not understand. This generational gap could cause differences of opinion in your relationship. For example, your partner might partake in a "social norm" that isn't common in your generation. 

There May Be A Power Imbalance 

Power struggles may stem from differences in income, career roles, life experiences, or how much one can provide and contribute to the relationship.

Lifespan Differences 

Although it may not apply to all age gap relationships, older people may be more prone to health concerns, which could shorten their lifespan. If you're dating someone past 70, you might feel fear or sadness about potentially outliving this person, as the average lifespan in the US is 76 years. If you're living with this concern, consider contacting a therapist to discuss how this impacts your relationship and how you might proceed if it occurs. 

Stigma And Double Standards When Dating Older Women 

Although society may be open-minded in some areas, many individuals have opinions on relationships with noticeable age gaps. If you decide to date an older woman, you may face stigma and unkind looks or statements from others. You may also find double standards in certain relationships. Older men may not face as much stigma about having a younger partner as older women dating a younger partner do.

However, younger generations may be more open-minded regarding age differences in relationships. Remembering that your relationship is between you and your partner can be beneficial. If you are happy, healthy, and respected, your relationship may be healthy and a positive force in your life. Note that this only applies to relationships between two adults; consent to this dynamic is essential.  

Although stigmas exist, studies show that 74% of older women in age-gap relationships are securely attached, meaning they show traits of a secure attachment style. Studies like these can show that dating younger partners may not be associated with unhealthy relationship patterns.

Tips For Dating Older Women Healthily 

If you have fallen in love with an older woman or are in an age-gap relationship, consider the following tips: 

Avoid Focusing On The Age-Gap

Focusing on the challenges of age-gap relationships may lead to resentment or fear. Many couples have fulfilling and happy marriages and relationships when there is an age gap, and there are many celebrities with long-term age-gap relationships, like Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor.

Communicate Clearly And Healthily 

Older women may communicate more clearly, so try to communicate your needs and don't use passive aggression. Relationships often thrive on communication and healthy forms of expression. You may also benefit from talking openly about your emotions and expressing your desire for your partner. 

Don't Make Assumptions 

Try to keep an open mind when dating an older woman, and don't make assumptions about how she "should" act due to her age. If you have a concern, it might be beneficial to ask her about it instead of assuming. 

Talk To A Professional 

If you're struggling to navigate an age-gap relationship, a licensed therapist may be able to offer support. They might guide you in improving your relationship and overcoming challenges you may be experiencing. Couples of any age can also see a therapist together in a non-judgmental environment. 

Is The Age Gap In Your Relationship Contributing To Conflict?

Counseling Options For Age-Gap Couples 

If you're in an age-gap relationship and don't have time to see a therapist, finding someone to talk to can be difficult. For couples whose schedules don't align or people looking for a discreet option for treatment, online therapy can be beneficial. 

Many people find that online therapy has benefits over in-person therapy, including the ability for couples to attend sessions from separate locations over an internet connection. In addition, you can use a nickname through many only platforms and choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions for a discreet option of care. 

Online therapy through platforms like BetterHelp for individuals and Regain for couples has shown promise compared to in-person therapy. In a study involving 60 participants ranging from ages 21 to 69 years old, researchers used an internet-based couples behavioral education program. Results showed that the participants experienced significant improvements in overall mental health and relationship satisfaction with online treatment compared to in-person therapy. 

Takeaway

A relationship between an older woman and a younger partner can be as fulfilling as other relationships. If you are both willing to commit to the relationship and put in the work, it may be possible to have a healthy connection regardless of the age difference. If you're facing unique conflicts due to your age gap, you can also contact an individual or couples therapist for further compassionate guidance.

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