Why Single Men Love Growing Old

Donkeys In LoveWhen I was younger I got my heart broken by an older woman. It took about two months to muster up the courage to ask her out and when I did, all she responded was, “Sorry, I don’t date sophomores.”

No matter what I said, or what nice things I did for Karen, she was out of my league since I was younger. Karen was a 17 year old junior, and I was an incredibly good looking and intelligent 16 year old. I’m not making this up. This is exactly what my mom told me every time I brought her cupcakes.

The rejection was devastating until a bright light named Stephanie joined my high school as a freshman. Stephanie was Karen’s younger sister and she was hot! In fact, Stephanie was even more beautiful than her older sister, and I just had to pursue.

For one semester, Stephanie and I had a frolicking good time. We hung out after school together almost every single day. She’d come watch my tennis matches and I’d take her to McDonald’s afterward for some hot apple pie and McLovin. Let’s just say that older sister Karen wasn’t very happy with either of us. ‘Til this day, I don’t know why! Ladies, please explain!

BOYS TO MEN

Women think men are immature. Perhaps it starts off in the 1st grade when we’re running around yelling with blue slurpee stains on our Sesame Street t-shirts. Or perhaps the perception starts in the 7th grade where we start snapping one too many bras. Maybe women think men are immature because even at 45, with our receding hair and ever expanding girth, we act like college dudes chasing tail even though we no longer have game.

Yes, men are immature, but only because women let us be immature. Being a goofball is the path of least resistance. Since we were wee lads, girls have always discriminated against younger boys in school. “He’s a freshmen? Gaawd, eww! So immature!” Oh gosh, how lame.

As a result of our consistent rejections by “older” women, we don’t like dating older women. We’ve been conditioned to be afraid, therefore we stay away.

Yet a funny thing happens as men get older. We get to date more and more women since there are more and more younger women to choose from! Meanwhile, as women get older, given they believe younger men are irrationally “eww”, their choice gets smaller and smaller.

Is the dwindling selection of men as women get older simply karma for rejecting us boys in school? Or is the supply shrinkage a decision by women to stubbornly continue to refuse dating younger men?

To answer these question, I surveyed roughly 25 men and 25 women ages 21-45 to get their viewpoints. Let’s go through some of the results.

Men Get Better As They Get OlderTHE GOLDEN CROSS OF LOVE

The Golden Cross Of Love happens for men at age 35. With 10+ years of savings and a career he is proud of, 35 year old men are feeling confident. Fitness levels are generally good given illnesses, sports injuries, and work haven’t had enough time to plague a body yet. The only thing missing from this single man’s life by definition, is a life partner.

By the time you’re in your 30s, you’re able to buy a comfortable car and a property to call your own provided you’ve been saving and working since college. It doesn’t mean you have to buy these things, but just knowing the fact that you can provides a 35 year old man a wealth of confidence.

Any single man in their 30s also has enough rejections from women to fill a notebook that could turn into a screen play. After a while, men become inured to a woman’s dismissal, which ironically makes them more attractive because of an added level of confidence, that leads to better dialogue and approachability.

Of the 25 single men I surveyed ages 30-40, they all agree that around 35 is the best time for a man to be single. One of the key reasons is because they find women ages 35 and younger to be the most ideal. Above 35 is less ideal and not bad so don’t be offended please if you are 36+. The 25 men simply admitted that they prefer women in this age range.

What about the Golden Cross Of Love for women?

Interestingly enough, the 25 single women surveyed ranging from 26-42 admitted that 35 is the age where it becomes less ideal for single women. In fact, a number of females responded that after 35, their dating lives fell of a cliff, partly because guys wanted to date younger women, which is consistent with women’s desires to date older men.

The Golden Cross of Love for women is scattered. Many said between ages 25-28 is the most ideal age for dating. However, some also said being 30-33 was also very satisfying since they felt secure with themselves. Nobody said over age 35 is ideal, although those above 35 have found loving older men as well.

The women in their mid-30’s said they mostly dated men in their 40’s, which begs the question: What happened to the men ages 35-39? Nothing happened to them, as it goes back to the Golden Cross Of Love at 35, where men have been condition to date younger women. The 35-39 year old man is dating the under 35 year old woman.

Other Points from the Survey

* Whether a woman is 24-29, it doesn’t matter. A 29 year old is just as attractive to a man as a 24 year old. The 24 year old has no competitive advantage over the 29 year old in other words.

* There is a perception difference between a 29 year old and a 30 year old woman, even if it’s just a one year difference. At age 30, women and men are viewed much older than the one year difference. Men do have a slight preference for the 30 year old than the 35 year old, all else being equal due to the optionality of having kids.

* There is a lower limit ideal age for men. The formula men like to use is half his age + 7 i.e. a 36 old prefers to date women 25 years old or older.

* Some women don’t care about age, just like some men don’t mind dating older women. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but they are a ~20% minority. Women respond by saying that “So long as there is chemistry, age doesn’t matter.” Men, not so much. Men focus more on the age given there are enough women ages 21-35.

* At 60 years old, the activity for men drops off a cliff since 60 is the age women surveyed would be the limit in terms of dating since the oldest woman I surveyed was 42. However not all is lost. Many say that 60 is the new 40, so perhaps in 10 years, women will decide that it’s OK to date younger men, and all this nonsense will be for not!

MEN LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING OLDER

Thanks to women only wanting to date older men, and to fantastic comments from self-proclaimed attractive women in their 20’s and early 30’s who say they enjoy dating men 10-15 years their senior, men look forward to getting even older than 35! Can you imagine the Golden Cross of Love being 35, where you get the most selection, yet attractive women pine for men in their mid 40’s as well? Fantastico!

Instead of harboring resentment for women who rejected you when you were younger, like they rejected me,  you should embrace the rejection and be thankful. Nobody really looks forward to getting older because that’s just one year closer to death. But thanks to women, single men everywhere are looking forward to getting old so they can play the entire field!

Readers, why do you think women are so focused on dating older men?  Is it really an immaturity thing?  Do you think 35 years old is the Golden Age of Love for men?  What do you think it is for women?  Does dating activity really drop off for women after 35 in your experience?

Why do women bash men who date younger women, when women reject younger men?  If you are woman, what is the widest age gap you’ve ever had with a man you’ve dated?

What Is The Golden Cross Of Love Age for MEN?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What Is The Golden Cross Of Love Age for WOMEN?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Photo: Donkeys In Love, Santorini.  SD

Regards,

Dr. Sam Love

If you enjoyed this article, please sign up for my RSS Feed or E-mail Feed to keep in touch!

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter

Comments

  1. says

    Hah! I keep telling my single girl friends to go for the younger men since women live longer than men, but alas most of them like older men claiming the whole maturity thing. Not that I’m one to talk, my significant other is older than me by 3 years :D .

    • says

      Thankfully, I haven’t had to wait till my 30s to find the love of my life. I know for a fact, however, that if I had met my now fiancee a few years ago she would have cast me aside. My maturity was definitely lacking. God has great timing for sure! Intriguing article!

  2. says

    You must have done your research in your hometown where there is a lack of available single men because I don’t know where else in America women in their 20’s want to date a man who is 10-15 years her senior. Here in Thailand the girls don’t focus so much on age as they do on citizenship. A U.S., U.K., or Australian passport gets you the pick of the litter. Alas, but I am already spoken for and have to get my dating thrills vicariously. Thanks for the insights Dr. Sam Love!

  3. says

    I never really had trouble dating but I am a hopeless romantic who got his heart broken a few times. One relationship took me 5 years to completely get over and I was dating a lot back then. The heart doesn’t lie.

  4. says

    I started dating my husband when I was 20 and was married at 23, so a lot of this probably doesn’t apply to me.

    However, I have always been drawn to older men and I don’t know why. (My husband is my age though.) I think it is because older guys don’t seem as involved in ‘games’, they have some confidence, and I am sure financial security can be an attractive asset also.

    If I had to start dating suddenly at 44, I don’t know what in the world I would do…

  5. says

    I am older than my husband by 4 months. I’ve been with him for over 15 years so I have no real experience dating anyone who’s older or significantly younger and at my age (almost 35), I don’t know what I’d think about age if I became single. I do know a lot of couples who are representative of that 20% minority you mentioned, where the woman is older than the man by several years. Those relationships work really well.

    I wonder what the results would have been if you had surveyed different people or had a larger sample size.

  6. says

    I think it comes down security for women, even if it is on the sub-conscious level – they are always looking for security. The good looking guy who’s super-confident in his early twenties gives the ladies the impression that he is going somewhere, where as the dorky 20something is still trying develop their confidence in other areas of their life.

    The time fellow number two is in his 30s, he is more confident and secure with himself. I believe that comes across and makes more women interested.

    Just my two cents. The good news is I am happily married, so I don’t have to figure this out anymore – ha ha!!

    AG

  7. Rachel says

    As a woman who dates older men, I’ve always assumed it was because I was used to associating with people who are older than I am. I’m very close to my brother who is 10 years older than I am. I’ve never made a decision to not date a guy based on his age (well since high school that is). I just seem to be more attracted to older men.

  8. says

    I dated younger men. Twice! :) I was in my early thirties, and they were in their mid twenties. Some younger guys are mature enough to handle an older woman. Some are not. I think age does not matter. What matters is maturity, confidence and sophistication level.

  9. says

    I dont think its an age thing after college per se. But I do think that 35 is a great age to be single for a little while. You have 25-45 range that most of my friends date. Of course I think when you are younger it is about age. Freshman dating a Senior female. But when you are older its more security for women. If you are 25 with a good job and great life style and can provide a woman with a sense of security I dont think they would have a problem. But many will she see is a gold digger and wouldht have date him if not for money. Doesnt really matter to me much since I am married and havent hit 35 yet.

  10. says

    My wife is 8 months older than me. Does that mean I’m in that 20% minority?? :)
    Really, it makes more sense for an older woman to date a younger man given the difference in life expectancy. But I doubt that factors into many people’s decisions :)

  11. Untemplater says

    “Yes, men are immature, but only because women let us be immature.” Really? Oh Sam, sorry but that’s just not true. Science shows that girls develop and mature faster than boys. :) Of course there are always exceptions. I met a 21 year old guy last month who ONLY dates older women and at a minimum of five years older than him. He runs his own company, and has his head together a lot more than the average 21 year old guy. He even dated a woman who was 33 with two kids.

    • says

      Oh Sydney, men are very, very good and making women think in different ways.

      Also, think about that 21 year old guy ONLY dating older women…. who is he preying on? The single mom with 1 kid who is in her 30’s looking for love? Oh, just read your comment. Two kids I mean.

      Good for them for finding each other. But, your 21 yo guy is an ANOMALY!

  12. says

    Woman are on the clock if they want children, so they are in more of a rush to settle down.

    Somehow I managed to beat the odds and rejection by marrying an older women. My wife is a whole 11 hours my senior. It still counts though.

  13. says

    I was a freshman in college and my wife-to-be was a senior there. She is actually only 2.5 years older than me, but it seemed like more back then.

    I think 30 is the new 20 in this economy, and people are taking their time exploring life before creating it.

  14. says

    My son is getting married next year and he will be 35! He has been dating his fiance for about 5 years. I think people are waiting to get married because they can live together and even have children. Why get married?
    Women date older men for security and money! Older men are usually more stable and have more money. Women find that very attractive.

  15. says

    This reminds me of that saying, “College girls: you get older, they stay the same age.” Insert whatever you’d like – 20-something MBA grads, successful late 20s women, whatever. It all works out.

    I think there’s more to your poll than just the simple answers. In an earlier post about how men have their “to-do before I’m 30″ lists, I think 35 just makes for a comfortable age all around.

    Frankly, I think it also comes down to expectations in the female department, too. It’s almost expected of women to “marry up,” so to speak, especially if the future mother in law has anything to say in it. (Old traditions and views shine through.) Marrying someone older is an easy way to “marry up,” given that 5 years’ time extra for the man in the relationship is enough buffer to provide for a very big financial difference between a 30 year old woman 8 years out of school, and a 35 year old man 13 years out of school. Then again, I think there’s some pre-feminist primal instinct in men that drives dudes away from marrying someone more successful than they are. That certainly cannot be removed from the equation.

    Interesting post, as always.

      • says

        I have only anecdotal evidence, but I definitely think so.

        A friend joked with me one night that going from a sophomore to junior was the best thing to ever happen to his “game.” A sophomore premed student is expected to dropout. As a junior, obviously he’s going to be a doctor. Now a senior who will graduate this May, it’s even better he says.

        First impressions matter, if nothing else. You run into some hot chick at a party. One of the first things she asks is where you go to school. You say you’re a junior premed student at one of the better undergraduate schools. Sold!

        Money doesn’t keep a relationship together just like a firm handshake doesn’t keep you in a job. That definitely does not mean they’re unimportant. A firm handshake opens more otherwise closed doors, as does money. If the doors are opening, then clearly some particular trait is desired by someone, or many people.

    • says

      You mean Matthew McConaughey? “That’s what I like about high school girls: I keep getting older, they stay the same age.” Dazed and Confused

      Nice… now I have to re-watch it, heh.

  16. says

    This is fascinating. I had some ideas about this, but never looked at any research on it. Since graduating from grad school, I have been on dates with girls ranging from 22 to 39 while I was in my mid-20s.

    Something happened to me recently (around my 27th birthday) where I decided I was old enough to stop wasting time on relationships that I knew would be a dead end. I am okay with a maybe, but feel like I am too old for a sure failure.

    I am well below your 35 number, but I feel like I could settle down and pick one girl if I find the right one. I don’t want to settle when I find her or settle down with her, I want to find someone amazing that wants to do exciting things. I am not in a rush, but my thinking has moved that way recently.

  17. BD says

    I’ve never really seen women reject men. Usually, it’s the other way around. There are tons of single women (in all age ranges), and not so many single men (in all age ranges).

    I’m 40 now, and throughout my entire life, men always seem scarce, and usually taken. The men who are single always seemed to want a gorgeous super-model, which left me out. I’ve been rejected by men so many times, based on just my looks.
    I’m still single, and have never had a real boyfriend. I dress nicely, smile, have good personal hygiene, and am thin….but cannot afford plastic surgery for my messed-up face. Ah well. One day maybe a good guy can see past my looks.

  18. says

    I think I’d agree that 35 is probably the “golden cross” for both sexes. However, if I were single I’d go for younger guys (although, not too young!) I don’t see an issue with dating someone a few years younger than yourself if the chemistry is there. You make a good point about men getting rejected in their early years from older women and therefore avoid them as they get older. But, as men get older, I think society focuses so much on younger women (just check out magazine covers!) that they think that’s what they’re suppose to date and marry. Thank goodness there are beautiful older women out there like Judi Dench and Helen Mirren to look up to! :)

    • says

      You’d really go for younger men? Come on now! You serious? Guys in their 30s are immature, don’t trust em! Shoot for the 50-65 range. Some good ones there.

      I prefer Catherine Zeta Jones for the older woman example. Not bad!

  19. Mike Hunt says

    I think it has to do with your peer group. I was 34 when I got married and was the last of my friends to get married- so that felt like I was a bit behind the curve. But if you want to have children the starting a family late can be tough- am nearing 40 and no kids yet so if kids come into the picture I’ll be in my 80’s when they are 40- quite a daunting thought!

    -Mike

  20. says

    This is hysterical. I told my husband that he is at his peak of singleness and better get out and get ‘em! He scoffed at me. I met my husband when I was 19 and he was 24 – he thought I was around 22-23. He would never have talked to me if he knew how young I was. It’s been 11 years…

    I think the immaturity of males is something that is ground into our society. When I was looking into preschools and admissions for regular schools for my son, it turns out that girls are accepted into programs on average 4 months earlier than boys are. For certain programs, girls are accepted at 20 months old while boys have to be 24. For admissions to private schools, boys have to be born by the month of June, while girls have to be born by the month of Sept.

    This is absolutely something I do not believe, and I tire of hearing people telling me “boys mature slower than girls”. Basically, boys are deemed more immature than girls from before they are born (literally. the mommy competitions begin in the womb). I’m sorry for it, and I will do my best as a mother of soon-to-be-two boys to combat these stereotypes, just as much as I will teach my sons to respect women.

    • says

      I will tell you a secret. He definitely knew you were 19 when he was first pursuing you! But, as ANY man can attest, pursuing a woman under 20 is hard to publicize, unless he himself is also 19.

      It’s so funny how boys are given an immediate tail-start in the maturity perception game. Glad you are going to change things around!

  21. Kathryn C says

    I’m so *not* focused on dating older men. A lot of time they try to boss me around and it’s really annoying. A friend just tried to set me up with a 47 yr old and he talked to me like I was his kid.

    Aside from the fact that his comb-over was on par with Donald Trump’s, he was a good reminder as to why older men aren’t the best way to go for women in their thirties.

  22. says

    My significant other is quite a bit older than I am, so I guess we prove your theory. We were best friends for years before anything changed.. it certainly wasn’t that I went out in search of an older man. Though I can certainly agree with many of the points you made, Sam.

  23. says

    I try not to think about my age. I realize if I don’t like getting older, the alternative is worse! I figure if I keep happy on the inside and keep in shape, give back to others, then that’s what matters. After all, I can’t stop time.

  24. says

    My husband is 2.5 years younger than me. We got married at 27 and 29, and it was never an issue. I would imagine as you get older, the gap for women decreases. If you are a 45 year old woman, is it really a big deal to date a 40 year old man? On the other hand, beyond the obvious, I always wondered why a 40 year old man would want to be with a 25 year old woman.

  25. Darwin's Money says

    I think a lot of this “old men chasing young women” thing is more perception than reality. As men age, stuff stops working. That’s unattractive to younger women who could easily land a guy their age. I know a few situations where a younger woman has married an older man and the women are already voicing their discontent, that they’re married to “an old dying man”, etc. If you don’t mind your young wife being disappointed and perhaps looking elsewhere for someone her own age as you age, go for it. Personally, I think people are more compatible when closer in age (+/- like 5 years).

  26. says

    It’s funny we were just trying to setup a pair of friends from different circles the other day and the female was very interested until we mentioned that the age of the guy. He is two years younger than she is, and is remarkably mature for his age. I will never truly understand dating and mating psychology. I am just extremely thankful I found the love of my life at the young age of 21. I am also thankful I had plenty of time to get into trouble in a “target-rich environment” while living in residence at university for several years. I guess I got that whole “wild oats” think out of my system earlier than most, and ran into the perfect girl at the perfect time!

  27. says

    I look at a single 35 year old male like I look at a resume with gaps the employment section…very cautiously!!!!

    In my opinion, there might be some economic advantage, but not enough to outweigh the other red flags. Relationships are time consuming and involve much self sacrifice. If a man is not married by 35 or has had at least one long term relationship, I question is “need” to be married…needing to have that deep personal connection to someone and be willing to put that relationship before your own personal needs.

    He might like the idea of having a wife, but has no idea how that will affect his day to day activities. By the time someone is 35, he has spent his entire adult life focused on his needs, his activities, etc. He may not realize how much he may need to change his activities to obtain a successful relationship.

    I always think of this Jack Welsh story. Jack and his first wife had divorced. He was introduced to Jane (now a former wife). She was an atty who worked every weekend. They started dating and Jack wanted her to go away for the weekend. She basically had to “sell her soul to the devil” to get away for that weekend. She did.

    On Saturday morning, when she awakened, she saw that Jack was leaving to go golfing…she was flabbergasted. She had to jump through hoops to get away and he was going golfing? His response “but I always go golfing on Saturday mornings”….not anymore Jack if you want a successful relationship.

    • says

      Haha, and so you and every woman should look at a single, dashing, rich 35yo male cautiously!

      I don’t think any man “needs” to be married” like a woman “needs” to be married. More and more guys don’t really care as much anymore.

      Nice story on Jack Welch! I had no idea. Men can’t be that clueless, can they?!

      • says

        My husband and I were in hysterics watching Valentine’s Day commercials…did you see the one for the 4 1/2 foot bear? The women are looking all sexy with a bear? A stuffed bear? A 4 1/2 foot bear will not spawn romance…

  28. says

    As a 35 yr old, if I really want it, I know I can get it. As a 25 yr old if I really wanted it, I knew the older guy next to me could get it.

  29. flagger says

    When I was a teenager, I wanted/dated older boys for their muscles and maturity level. As an adult, I found that younger men were not ready to settle down, and older men were. There is this secure “taken care of” feeling with older men.

  30. flagger says

    Older men who have never been in committed relationships are an exception since they can be more difficult in personality.

  31. MrPositive says

    Case in point, you are in Thailand lol A completely different culture and set of social values. I know tons of younger women dating older men here in the states, and don’t even know 1 where it’s the opposite. I’m 38 and I still have yet to date a girl in her 30’s yet, not even once. Most of the girls I’ve dated came after me as well. I frankly don’t want a girl that has no chance for children and that’s that. My early years [20-30] were spent as most young guys spend it, looking for the next thrill per say. I’m over it, hence why many women have that desire for an older aged man. Is this little survey for everyone? Of course freakin not. The majority of young people still find someone in a smaller range of age, but it doesn’t discount that younger women still desire older men a lot of times.

    • says

      It’s interesting across cultures isn’t it? So many folks like to blame men for only dating younger women, when it is the younger women who are chasing after older men! Why not just blame the younger women, or women talk to other younger women how it’s not good to go after a stable, wealthy, good looking, mature 35 year old? Makes no sense!

  32. Zah says

    Uhmmm. I am 22 and the oldest man I have dated was 15 yrs older then me. Generally I do date older men simply because of that maturity perception. I have dated guys my age and it was horrible however with my last boyfriend- who was 15 yrs older then me- I realized however that boys will always be boys regardless of their age. I am not against men dating younger women obviously nor am I against women dating younger men. In my experiences dating someone older does have its advantages but there tends to be some sort of power imbalance, with the older much more experienced person in the relationship being at a slight advantage. I remember that being one of the problems in my last relationship.

  33. Dave says

    I tend to agree here. At 34, I’m playing the field like musical chairs and having fun. I’m established, fit with decent looks. My life is settled and I’m having a blast! I don’t think I’ll ever get married. Its nice to come home to someone when I want to, stay out as late as I want and travel wherever, whenever.

  34. MsX says

    Funny – I’m a 36 yr old woman, and I think my best dating years were 30-34.

    After I entered my 30s, I got a lot more offers (since men in their 40s started becoming interested in me, and men in their 20s were still interested), and the offers were more serious. Men suddenly wanted to get married and have kids, which rarely happened in my 20s.

    It may have dropped slightly the last couple of years, but my dating life is still better now than when I was in my 20s.

      • MsX says

        Now is fine, like I said still better than in my 20s.

        About dating with a huge age difference: I prefer dating someone closer to my age. Usually I would consider a guy who is more than 5 years older than me too old.

        I have dated a guy 10 years older and I have dated one 10 years younger, but I have found that the age difference is just too big. Both in terms of looks (the guys 10 years younger will remind me of my kid brother and the guy 10 years older will just have too many wrinkles!) and in terms of where we are in life.

        A guy 15 years older is way too old. He could be my dad!

        All of my friends feel the same way. So I don’t think you should wait too long, Sam! :) If a 32 year woman is very attractive, she can get an attractive 35 year old man – so why would she choose a 47 year old guy?

  35. The Real Truth says

    As a single man right now, i would certainly hate to grow old alone by myself. And looking for a good woman nowadays is very hard for me, and i would really hope that i will find that special woman for me since i hate being alone and having no one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *