Dating Young, Really Young

blog post Julie dating younger

I’m on vacation dear readers and have a treat for you – a guest blog post by *Julie Weinberg.

I met him on a golf course and he was 21 years younger than me, only 14 years older than my oldest child. It raised a few eyebrows. We walked into it with eyes wide open, each knowing the other’s age. At first, I thought it was just a lark, a notch in my belt I could talk about for years to come; but it turned out we really liked each other. We enjoyed each other’s company, had so much fun together and laughed like crazy all the time.

This fling turned into a yearlong relationship, and my friends grilled me with questions. The most common was, “What do you talk about?” As it turns out, lots and lots. Eighty percent of what anyone talks about with a partner — regardless of age — is the day in, day out minutiae of life: What happened at work, a TV show you watched, a funny interaction you saw at Starbucks.

Yes, awkward moments occurred when (gasp!) he hadn’t even heard of The Breakfast Club and didn’t know a single Billy Joel song. I had never used Napster or played a game of Texas Hold’em (which I now love). And then there was the time he laughed until he cried when he saw I bought Age Defying toothpaste. A bit embarrassing, I will admit.

I concede the first time we stepped out together and held hands it felt awkward. I wondered if everyone was staring and judging the inappropriate age difference. However, we didn’t care what people thought. We felt comfortable with each other. I also suffer from a strong defiant streak that’s not tempered by other’s opinions.

Over the course of the year, there were only a couple of times that someone (a waitress or store clerk) hesitated, trying to peg the relationship, “Would you and your, uh, um, friend…blah blah blah.” No one ever called me his mother, which of course, would have been the pinnacle of embarrassment.

“But you can’t learn anything from him!” those who loved me admonished. Not true. I learned about hobbies he enjoyed (e.g. Texas Hold‘em) and places he’d been that are now on my bucket list. The Rap music he listened to was new to me, but maybe a guy my own age would be into Country or Jazz and I’d be newly exposed to that. There was plenty to learn.

Plus, he had a youthful attitude and outlook that was so contagious. Let’s face it, life is hard and makes one jaded, but it takes years and years for that to happen. Dating someone much younger reminded me how great things were when I was less cynical and more open to new things.

Ok, but since we’re being honest with one another here, I’ll fess up that some things he wanted to do bored me or required more energy or interest than I had — but doesn’t that happen with anyone? His problems and worries sometimes made me want to roll my eyes because I’d gotten through similar situations many times over the years and knew now that it wasn’t worth the angst.

And yes, how I looked now became a “thing.” I never before cared much about a new wrinkle or sagging skin; now I lamented how quickly I seemed to age compared to him. This worry just made me work out more and dress more carefully, which were both overall good consequences to my general well being.

The hardest part for me, as the older one, was that he wasn’t a real partner. He could and did come to me for advice on everything, yet when I started looking into retirement investing, his wide-eyed stare let me know that he knew nothing about this, didn’t wish to learn about it at this stage in his life, and “Please could I change the subject?”

Financially, he had great earning potential but that was down the road, while I was already comfortable. Kids were the biggest stickler, as I already had two almost in middle school. He loved them but wanted some of his own and that wasn’t going to happen with me.

So the “fling” ended. I celebrated one of those Big Momentous Birthdays and he had one coming up the following year. We agreed he needed to find someone more appropriate and start that family he wanted. It ended quite amicably and we are still in touch.

Overall, I would say dating a younger guy is really not much different from any romantic involvement. All relationships have good and bad parts, ups and downs. The bottom line is if you like the person, there’s mutual attraction, and you seem to enjoy each other’s company, why not?

*To learn more about Julie, visit her website julieweinbergbooks.com or purchase her book, I Wish There Were Baby Factories.  

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

A Change in Dating Tactics

blog post woman chess

Online dating and dating apps are not working well for me. In the spirit of “I’m not giving up yet,” I decided to change my approach to meeting men.

Have some cheesy rice with asparagus and I’ll explain my reasoning.

I am frustrated with the caliber of the men who reach out to me. With apologies to Lady Liberty, don’t give me your tired, your poor, your uneducated, unkempt, and uninformed. Do give me an age appropriate educated man with a sense of humor. Age appropriate is difficult to find.

I believe – and my single friends will back me up on this – that the men about my age who are online are reaching out to much younger women. Some of them try to get away with this by lying about their age. I have caught men in an age lie (e.g., a reference to a 50-year-old son by a man who is supposedly 60). Sometimes all it takes is a close look at the guy’s photo to know the age on the profile is inaccurate.

My profile has my real age and perhaps that is the problem. If most of the men are lying, I sometimes wonder if I need to shed some years to be competitive with the younger women they are pursuing.

I recently met with a matchmaker who confirmed the ageism reality of online dating. When a man plugs in his search criteria – or just browses online – he may disregard women in their 60s, even though these women may be in great shape and able to pass for women a decade younger.

If that same man met an attractive 60+-year-old woman in person, he might ask her out without even knowing her age. I believe age discrimination may also explain why a man who matches me on Tinder immediately unmatches me. My guess is that he selected me based on my – recent – photo but balked when he saw my age.

We all know that people age at different rates.   Appearances aside, many “baby boomers” have a young outlook on life, are active, social, interested, and interesting.   Jumping down now (despite my aging knees) from the soapbox.

My new approach involves a combination of stepping back from online dating, embracing in-person opportunities, and, in a case of turnabout is fair play, seeking out younger (not crazy young) men who appreciate a woman of a certain age. Like many of my about-faces, this approach may not last long.

How will I put this strategy into action? Here’s my plan:

Online Dating Pullback:

I’m on a lot of sites and apps. I won’t be checking these sites as often and I’m considering hiding my profile on a couple of them. I also will stop going to the online dating sites on weekends. Some dating coaches recommend a temporary total break from online dating and I may try that at some point.

For my no online on weekends experiment, the traditional dating sites (Match, OkCupid, etc.) will be off limits between Friday at 6 p.m. and Sunday about 5:00 p.m. Not only will this give the impression that I am dating up a storm all weekend but it will also give me a break from the tedium of the online experience. To feel like I’m doing something proactive, I will still swipe on the Tinder and Bumble apps. These apps require less work and no one can tell when you were last on them.

Meeting Men in Real Life: 

In recent months, I’ve been gravitating toward meeting men in the wild – going to a Match happy hour for example. The matchmaker I recently met thinks meeting men in real life is my best tactic. It’s a work- around men who search for younger women and won’t consider someone their own age. Pros: I will know if there is in-person chemistry and what the person really looks like. Cons: I’m shy in certain social situations so this will be tough for me.

To implement this approach, I signed up for memberships in the Smithsonian (classes, films, concerts, and trips) and the Phillips museum (events, concerts). I also joined The Writer’s Center (classes and events).

I’m already in a number of Meetups and have met some great women friends. I plan to seek out new groups that offer more potential for a romantic connection.

Younger Men: 

Let me start by saying I hate the word cougar. I think one of the male equivalents – manther – is just as bad. Let’s just call it what it is – dating younger.

On the dating sites, I see 60-year-old men seeking women 30 to 45. I’m not that unrealistic and that would be too much of an age gap for me. However, I’m o.k. with a 10-year-difference give or take a few months.

Apparently, there are a number of women who don’t mind a substantial age gap. I’m currently reading Raven: My Year of Dating Dangerously by a 60-year-old woman who has a wild time with men several decades her junior.

The Raven’s experience aside, I doubt I will have the same success as 60 something men who wish to date 50 something women. But if I strike a 54-year-old’s fancy, I’m open to dating him.

Wish me luck dear readers and let me know how your dating life is going.

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia