Relationships with an age gap are characterized by a skewed power dynamic that works in favor of the man.
The age difference when it comes to a relationship between two people has always been a topic of much discourse. More men in their middle age or older are dating women half their age. The imbalanced relationship status is concerning, if not uncomfortable, since some of the women the older men date could be young enough to be their daughter. Even though a woman older than 18 has a legal status to choose her partner, a relationship with a huge age difference has extremely skewed power dynamics, in favor of the older man. A study showed that many men, irrespective of their age, are likely to be attracted to women in their early 20s.
Other than trying to be in power, there are other reasons older men prefer younger women.
Men get a huge ego boost when they believe a younger person desires them or finds them attractive. They like to seem like the man who has figured out everything to a younger woman. Being the man who a young woman can turn to for guidance and advice provides much needed assurance in their success and experience. They cannot feel wanted the same way with women their age since they are grown up and have their own life experiences to fall back on. This protective instinct to have someone to look after makes younger women more attractive to older men and women their own age more of a reality check to their ego.
The desire to be young forever is not restricted only to any gender. However, men turn to younger partners as a means to feel young. Some would even get surgery to look younger in their quest for a younger partner, according to The Guardian. They think dating a younger person will, in turn, connect them to their youth, take them back to the time they had all the time in the world and potential ahead of them. They believe this is their second chance at youth, minus all the insecurities and financial issues that they may have faced in their twenties.
Some men just don't want to grow up and continue to have immature, childish behavior. Men who do not show any emotional maturity are said to have the Peter Pan Syndrome. With the same emotional maturity as someone in their 20s, these older men can relate to younger women more than they can to a woman their age. While they might assume this is because of their free spirit, a deeper insight will often reveal that they fear true emotional intimacy.
Older men may feel stifled by the demands of a stable and committed relationship that women their age might desire. On the other hand, they know younger women are open to a much more casual relationship and that they are open to exploring. Women their age do not want to settle for anything less and refuse to play mind games or waste time on things that are flighty. This makes the flexibility in a relationship with younger women more appealing to men who can't handle commitment.
Men find that it is harder to hold power over their partners when they are more or less the same age. In a healthy relationship, both the people in it are equals, and there is no one holding power over the other. But this may feel unmanly for some men who want to be in control. So such men try to seek younger women, who are still figuring things out and may find that men their age are mature good enough for them. They may even feel that the dominance of a man is how a relationship should be, given their lack of experience. On the other hand, older woman know what they want and find it a turn off to be with a man who constantly needs to remain in a one-up position.
Older men may find the free-spirited nature of younger women very attractive. Younger women tend to be more impulsive or spontaneous, which is exciting for men in their fifties and above. They believe this also makes younger women more sexually adventurous. As men age, they retain a steady interest in sex even though their performance declines. Being with younger women may feel like their sexual drive has a long way to go. What they miss to see is that as women age, they actually lose their inhibitions and begin to care less of what other people think. This can be a challenge for men who feel threatened by a truly independent woman who has experience and wisdom, too, on her side.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/(R) Stuart C. Wilson (L) Michael Loccisano