What is it called when an older man likes a younger woman

Why Do Older Men Date Younger Women?

Consenting adults come together for many reasons and age isn’t always a factor. Older men may fall for younger women and younger women may sometimes prefer to date older men.

While some people may believe the motives behind big age gaps in relationships are always sinister, older men may gravitate toward younger women for many valid reasons, and that may be the case for younger women dating older men, too.

Age and consent

This article discusses older men dating younger women where both partners are above the legal age of consent in their state.

If both partners are above the legal age of consent, it doesn’t mean consent is implicit. Asking for consent and both people being on the same page is key in any healthy romantic relationship.

If you’re below the age of consent and an adult’s behavior is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, help is available. You can:

  • Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 for confidential, 24/7 support.
  • Visit Stop It Now! for online resources or reach out to their helpline at 888-773-8368.
  • Visit Childhelp for resources to handle and report abuse or to chat live with someone who can help.

Why does anybody want to date someone else? There are infinite possibilities.

The vulnerability of young girls has made the older-men-dating-younger-women stereotype a predatory one.

While it’s true that some men may consider younger women easy targets for manipulation or control, there are less sinister reasons an older man may be drawn to someone younger.

Sometimes it just happens. You fall in love with the person and overlook their age. Other times, it’s actually the energy, appearance, and life perspective of a younger woman that may be attractive to an older man. In some instances, the intention may not be a healthy one. Every case is different.

Ancestral practices

A 2020 large-scale replication study examined mate preferences across 45 countries. Researchers found that most men placed a higher emphasis on appearance when it came to choosing a partner.

The reason behind it isn’t necessarily vanity.

Primitive humans seemed to have selected mates based on reproductive success. Features like youth, symmetrical bone structure, and wide hips in females were viewed as signs of overall health and vitality, which would ensure species survival.

On some level, the ancestral and instinctual attraction to such features may remain in both Eastern and Western cultures, as noted by a large international study from 2020.

This could be a reason why men, in general, may be attracted to younger women.

Long-standing traditions

Stephanie Juliano, a licensed professional clinical counselor from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, points out women haven’t traditionally had the benefit of equality.

“Men initially had more privileges, and so it was not unheard of taking a younger partner to take care of, and on the other hand, a young woman leaving home was being taken care of both financially and socially,” she explains.

While the adult-child relationship dynamic has been denounced in some parts of the world, there’s still much work to do in that respect. It’s also possible that these practices have influenced dating culture and there may still be an undercurrent of older men dating consensual younger women based on wanting to be their provider.

Entering crisis mode

It’s probably one of the most discussed reasons for older men dating younger women: The midlife or identity crisis.

Do older men mentally resist aging by dating younger partners? Is the midlife crisis even real? There’s much discussion but limited research on the topic. Some argue that this is yet another stereotyped cliche that doesn’t have much proof behind it.

How old is “too old” when it comes to an age gap in relationships?

According to data accumulated over the course of 7 decades, in developed countries, the average age gap among heterosexual couples is 2 to 3 years.

In these relationships, the data indicates it’s more common for men to be the older partner.

Age gaps are rarely discussed until they’re considered “too big,” but there’s no hard rule about when an age gap becomes significant.

Reported satisfaction in a relationship may start to see diminishing returns if the age gap between partners is larger than 10 years, suggests an 80-paper review from 2016.

In misogynist cultures, young women dating older men may be often accused of being “gold diggers,” or just in the relationship for financial gain.

Research, however, shows that when it comes to establishing long-term relationships, the majority of women, of all ages, are typically interested in older men.

A large study of more than 12,000 participants in Finland found that most women prefer same-age or older male partners throughout life, while men, regardless of age, tend to prefer women in their 20s.

While women may also seek older men out of long-standing provider traditions, there are other reasons this matchup might be appealing.

Emotional maturity

Research suggests men take longer than women to reach mental maturity, making it reasonable for young women to feel more emotionally compatible and secure with older men.

The father complex

Young women who grow up with absent, emotionally unavailable, or abusive fathers may develop what’s known as the father complex.

The father or Oedipus complex isn’t a recognized disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR), and it’s a controversial term. Originally a Sigmund Freud’s theory, the term and concept have been long controverted.

Initially, the theory described how children form a strong attachment with the parent of the opposite sex and start to compete for attention and love with parents of the same sex. This is part of the natural psychosexual development.

When a person stays psychologically stuck in this stage of development, they may experience challenges in adult relationships.

When it comes to younger women dating older men, some people refer to the complex as “daddy issues,” a gendered stereotyping term.

Only a mental health professional can accurately determine if a younger woman’s attraction to older men has roots in unresolved childhood conflicts.

What about older women and younger men?

A double standard may exist in some cultures that accept older men dating younger women. Older women dating younger men may not be seen so kindly, although it could be explained differently.

Mary Mimi Schultz, a licensed professional counselor from Houston, explains this is often because the component of vulnerability is missing from this dynamic.

“When a younger man dates an older woman, it is more accepted because she is not in the relationship for money, typically,” says Schultz.

In a chauvinist culture, an older woman may still be seen as the weaker one in the relationship, not the one taking advantage of a younger partner, which may happen to older men dating younger women.

When two people genuinely love one another and have built that love on commonalities, companionship, respect, and trust, a relationship can work — regardless of the age gap.

Patricia O’laughlin, a licensed marriage and family therapist from Los Angeles, says relationships with a large age gap may be wonderful opportunities for personal growth.

“There can be significant differences in beliefs between generations. It’s a real chance to learn how to consider multiple perspectives on an issue or experience,” she says.

Schultz adds these types of relationships also tend to have high levels of maturity, which can mean a lower chance of settling for less than ideal circumstances.

“Typically, an age gap difference means one is in it for the love and relationship,” she says.

Any relationship can face challenges, but research suggests age gaps like those in relationships between older men and younger women have been linked to:


As partners age, the older partner may not be able to meet the energy levels of the younger partner, or may feel inadequate.

Depression in older adults may also be linked to experiences unique to the age, like losing close friends and retirement, something a younger partner may not be able to relate to.

Infidelity and lack of relationship commitment

Although not a rule, it’s possible that younger partners may gravitate back toward people their own age, particularly if the older partner doesn’t have the same sex drive.

Infidelity isn’t exclusive to relationships with age gaps, though. As in any other case, trust and open communication are key to managing this challenge.

Lower relationship satisfaction

Many factors can influence relationship satisfaction. With a large age gap, partners may experience stress or anxiety from:

  • social stigma
  • different priorities in life, or goals that don’t align
  • power dynamics
  • clashing social circles
  • age-related health challenges

How to manage challenges

Experts cite communication as critical for the success of relationships between older men and younger women.

Juliano recommends open communication about big life questions, right from the start.

“Are there common interests in life goals, religion, family, where do you see yourself, what do you want in the next 5, 10, 15+ years?” she suggests you ask yourself.

O’Laughlin explains that figuring out these questions and creating plans to address them can strengthen your relationship and decrease resentment and conflict.

If you’re unsure where to start, a relationship counselor can help you and your partner identify areas of concern and possible solutions.

Why would older men date younger women and vice versa? As with any other relationship, there are many factors involved. Emotional security, maturity, common life perspectives, physical attraction, and chemistry may be involved. Instincts and culture may also play an important part.

It’s also possible in some cases that unresolved relationship challenges with father figures or traumatic experiences may be at play. Only a mental health professional can determine if this is the case.

Having a big age gap doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is bound to fail. Open communication about life goals and expectations can help you and your partner build a foundation of trust and respect.

9 Reasons Why Older Men Might Like Younger Women

Feelings may or may not have reasons to suffice.

Image: Shutterstock

The love stories of celebrities like William Shatner and Elizabeth Shatner, Beyonce and Jay Z are well-known. In most of these relationships, the male partner is several years older than the female partner. There are several other couples like them with a significant age difference between them. So, what attracts an older man to a younger woman? You must have thought over it.

Keep reading to know about the most common and possible reasons that can make a man fall for a woman much younger than him and why there is a possibility that things might just work out in the right direction for them.

Related: Why Older Women Like Younger Men: 12 Possible Reasons

Why Do Older Men Like Younger Women: 9 Possible Reasons

Here are a few possible reasons that could attract older men towards younger women.

1. They bring out their sense of youth

Image: Shutterstock

Not every person likes the idea or the realization that they are getting old and gone are the days when they were youthful. Thus, some older men like to be involved with younger women as it helps them participate in more youthful activities and be a part of new trends. It makes him feel revitalized and younger at heart.

Point to consider

For some men, having a young attractive woman by their side at social events is a matter of pride. Being desired by a younger woman makes them a subject of admiration and envy amongst other men.

2. They make them feel wanted

Younger women tend to feel more attracted to older men because they make them feel safe and secure both emotionally and physically. At the same time, it makes the older men feel wanted, which is an attractive attribute for a relationship.

3. They like to guide

Image: iStock

When partners are of the same age or have a minimum age gap, they may not like to have someone who is always preaching. But younger partners would want to learn and would not deny listening to practical lessons for life. While on the other side, older men feel good about sharing their experiences and guide their younger partners on the right path.

4. They get a chance to cope with their mid-life crisis

Men in their mid-40s and 50s could be susceptible to going through a midlife crisis. It is a time when they look for someone at their side who can make them relax and have fun in life. Hence, being in a relationship with a significantly younger woman brings them a sense of satisfaction that they still have their charm, which also is a big boost for them.
Most men who get into a relationship with younger women have either been through a rough divorce or had a bitter fallout with their significant other. Thus, dating a younger woman is kind of a rebound to get over that bitter experience.

6. They are open to experimenting

Image: iStock

If a man is looking forward to experimenting, there is a high probability that he would choose to spend time with a young girl as she is lively, carefree, and most probably open to trying new things in life.

7. They do not bother about commitment

Some men believe in the ideology that young women are more inclined toward short-term relationships and do not expect much to come out of them. Thus, if he is not so serious either and finds a young lady on the same page, then indulging in an affair would be ideal.

Point to consider

Commitment-phobic men may believe that older women are focused on getting married and having a baby as their biological clock is ticking. Younger women still have time so marriage and kids may not necessarily be their priority.

Related: 75+ Inspiring Quotes About Commitment In A Relationship

8. They let their partner pilot the relationship

Image: iStock

Older men have had their share of life experiences and relationships and have a clear idea of what to do and not do in a relationship. Younger women tend to admire this trait in them as it brings in a sense of security and assurance. Hence, it is a win-win situation.

9. They may want the control

Image: iStock

With partners of the same age or less age gap, it might be tricky to have control over the relationship. However, with a younger partner, the older one tends to have command due to their age and experience. So, if the older man looks forward to a relationship wherein he can be the dominator, he would like to have a younger woman as a partner.

Related: 8 Signs Of A Controlling Relationship

It is essential to mention that not all older men dating younger women have the same outlook or the exact reasons for their actions and decisions. When in love, age is a mere number, and it is the feelings and emotions that matter the most. Younger women are attracted to older men because they have a planned life and are mature, while older men like younger women because they bring the excitement and spark back in their regular mundane lives.

Key Pointers:

  • Physical needs, excitement, and youthfulness are joint driving forces in older men falling for younger women.
  • Young women also add a touch of delight and adventure to their daily monotonous lives and spark their interest.
  • It is also vital that you assess your feelings thoroughly and think about your decision before committing to a relationship.

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Siddharth holds a certification in Relationship Coaching and a masters degree in communication and journalism from the University of Hyderabad. He has around six years of experience in various fields of writing and editing. As an associate editor at MomJunction, Siddharth writes on Relationship and edits the writers' articles to meet the website's editorial standards. Previously, he worked in the...
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Jessica Jefferson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified perinatal mental health professional trained to help clients suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. She graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Miami, a Masters in Psychology in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Masters in Family Therapy from Nova...
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When a woman chooses a man much older: what does it mean?


Man and woman Know thyself

Everyone remembers from school days that girls develop faster than boys physiologically and, as a result, psychologically. While classmates awkwardly pull their pigtails and defiantly communicate only with each other, a good half of the girls are drowning in romantic dreams about Seryozha from 11 "A".

This trend persists until about 23-25 ​​years old: peers are not very interesting, and girls choose older men. However, when the age difference is 10, 15, or even 20 years, the reason lies not only in physiology.

According to Freud

Sigmund Freud also wrote that parents become the prototypes of the partners we choose. Boys fall in love with girls who look like their mother, girls fall in love with men who look like their father.

Many women instinctively look for older men because they did not receive father's love, care and attention in childhood. There are many options, but perhaps they were not told in childhood: “I love you” or “You are my princess.” Or maybe the woman grew up in an incomplete family, where for some reason there was no father.

Another sad story, when the father was physically present, but emotionally he was not. A prime example is alcoholism. You cannot rely on such a father and get support. At the moment when he is most needed, he goes on a binge. And the girl is desperately looking for love, understanding and care from others and most often does not find it.

Fear of separation from parents

When a woman has not achieved full autonomy from her parents, she seeks to return to this relationship. She is afraid to lose the parent-child connection forever. It is cozy in the parental nest and I want the man nearby to become a senior comrade or guardian who will provide financially and help morally. Such a woman cannot (and more often does not want to) solve financial issues on her own and feels uncomfortable without support. She is very afraid of being alone.

Family scripts

Children are unconsciously passed on generic life scripts that are reproduced from generation to generation. A striking example is when all women in the family are unlucky with their husbands: they drink, beat or gamble, but their hands are “golden”. And women endure, raise children and pass this script on to their daughters.

In such cases, they say that it is “written by birth”. And if “it is written in the family” for a man in a couple to be older than a woman, he, obviously, will die earlier. And the woman will need to cope with this situation, survive it psychologically.


A man chooses a woman younger than himself also for a reason.

These relationships are often based on inequality, since parent and child are, by definition, unequal. The reverse side of security and comfort is the dominance of a man, in which a woman has to sacrifice her own "I", push it into the background.

A man can consider a woman as a material from which he molds an ideal partner. He can be annoying with constant instructions and moralizing. Considering himself more experienced and wise, he will single-handedly make important decisions for both.

It is very difficult to get along with such a person. Especially if he is jealous of his young and attractive wife, while he is rapidly aging. Then the desire to limit the communication of the partner with the same age will be added to the moralizing.


At the same time, a mature man is a reliable rear behind which a woman feels good for many reasons:

  • Material benefit. A financially accomplished man is a reliable support for a family, in which a woman can take care of the house, hobbies and raising children without needing anything.
  • Interesting personality. An adult man is a person who has seen and knows a lot. Of course, it is more interesting with him than with a peer who has not yet decided who he is and what interests him.
  • Emotional support and care. With age, men begin to understand women a little, or at least pretend to. They know how to listen and support in difficult times, which can be difficult for young couples.
  • Reliability. A mature man has already "worked up", he knows what he wants. It is not scary to create a family with him, you can rely on him.
  • Sexual life. Experienced knows how, how much and what a woman wants, and is not obsessed with her sexual success.


  • Different values ​​and interests. Partners listened to different music in their youth, read different books, watched different films. On the one hand, this can be a problem, on the other hand, on the contrary, it increases interest in each other.
  • Unflattering comparison with previous wives and partners. There is a risk of getting taunts about culinary abilities, habits, skills. The main thing here is to gently but firmly make it clear that you are you. What he was used to was left in the past, with which he himself decided to part.
  • Reluctance to have children. He has children from previous marriages and wants no more. He, as they say, "ate" and wants to live for his own pleasure, while the young woman is ripe for the family.
  • Disharmony in activity. An ideal weekend for a man is at home on the couch, and his partner misses skiing. Here it is important to negotiate, find compromises and spend leisure time both together and separately from each other. For example, one weekend you stay at home, the second you spend in nature, the third - the husband lies on the couch, and the wife goes skiing with her friend.

The chances of a long-term relationship

If the parent-child relationship suits both, the chances of the couple staying together are high. What is important is not the age difference as such, but how old each of the partners is. With age, we better understand who we need, learn to build relationships, discuss problems, instead of slamming the door, and try to be more condescending to each other's shortcomings. It all depends on the emotional maturity of each of the partners and the desire to be together, despite the differences.

About the author

Olga Kuznetsova is a psychologist, author of the Zygmund Trend channel.

Photo source: Getty Images

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20-year-old girls explained why they like mature men

Scientists from the University of Colorado tried to decipher the phenomenon of relationships between young girls and mature men - and found that such romances are involved not only in sex and money. To verify this, Gazeta.Ru talked to 20-year-old girls who met with accomplished people and talked about why today no one is embarrassed by “over 30”.

To denote the relationship between a young girl and an adult man, it is often customary to use the offensive English wording "sugar daddy", which is translated into Russian by the equally unpleasant word "daddy". This type of relationship suggests that a woman is at least financially dependent on a man - it is also believed that a man raises his self-esteem by having an affair with a pretty young girl.

Researchers this week stated that there is much more to the relationship between "daddies" and young women than the primitive exchange of money for sex. Maren Skull, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, Denver, said that the few US scientists who have tried to find a scientific justification for this phenomenon "most often describe it as a type of prostitution." Her own analysis was carried out on the basis of 48 interviews with various respondents, and in the end it became clear that such relationships can be very diverse and often tied to various psychological and physical reasons.

The idea that girls who have just come of age are actually exchanging sexual contact for goods and money is outdated by Skull.

To test the researcher's calculations, Gazeta.Ru discussed relationships with a noticeable age difference with young girls, for whom the security of an older partner was not a key factor. Muscovites in the age category under 25 talked about what attracts them to relationships with men over 30 and about how mature men are better than their peers.

The interest of one of the interlocutors of the publication “in particular to men” is almost of a sporting nature. According to her, dating people 10-15 years older than you is a special skill: it’s easy to communicate with your peers because you think the same way, but it’s quite another thing to “get the attention of an older person who knows more than you, interest him and support him. the level of communication is at its bar.”

Another 22-year-old Muscovite is dating a 31-year-old man and says that she always had a goal of dating someone more experienced, because they "are not old yet, but they already know something. " And peers at the university and at various events after that do not attract the girl at all.

Muscovite Anait is 24 years old, and her boyfriend Tigran is 30. She says that her previous boyfriend was two years older than her, and there is a difference. “Next to Tigran, I feel much safer, there are global topics for communication. Since we are Armenians, we don’t have a sexual life before marriage, so I can’t share anything here yet, but I think that there are no reasons for concern.”

Anahit notes that her lover had no problems communicating with her parents because of the small age difference. “He is 15 years younger than his mother, and 18 years younger than his father. Therefore, he calmly communicates with them on“ you ”, addresses them by name and they consider him not a child, but equal to themselves,” the girl noted. She also stressed that the man was the first to whom she wanted to "obey, trust his views, life experience and so on." According to Anahit, the only disadvantage in more serious communication with an adult man is his elderly mother and father: "old school".

Everyone interviewed by Gazeta.Ru noted the broader horizons and determination of mature lovers and made unflattering comparisons with young people under 30 who "do not know what they want." It is significant that all the interlocutors of Gazeta.Ru resorted to the last wording.

The story of the parents of 22-year-old Kristine, who also had a big age difference with her lover, gives a slightly different view on the topic, although the girl herself considers the beginning of a relationship a bit “mercantile”. “My mother was 16, he was in his 30s. My mother said that she came out from somewhere, and he was standing in a tracksuit next to a sports car, and this attracted her attention.” Today, the girl is firmly convinced that her father performed a parental function for her mother: “After 23 years and after 10 years of their life together, I can say that it was he who raised her.”

“The manner of communication, behavior, statements, attitude towards oneself and other people are absolutely identical, they almost call people names with the same words,” Kristine explained and added that her mother still denies this.

For 21-year-old Arina, a man who is over 30 is, first of all, a person whose life experience allows him not to say “obvious things” aloud, because he, guided by his knowledge, can draw correct conclusions .

In general, young women who have experienced relationships with mature men agree that such an affair is a valuable and enjoyable life experience that helps them develop, on the one hand, and relieve themselves of responsibility for their lives, on the other. .

“I was in a relationship with a 34-year-old man, and it was probably one of the most pleasant experiences in my life, because with no one else did I manage to feel like such a little princess, whose problems automatically fall on the shoulders of a strong person."

The girl emphasized that the sense of security that the companion provided made it possible to understand that he was not going to assert himself at her expense, as was the case in previous and subsequent relationships. However, complexes and unresolved psychological problems do not have an expiration date, so she was probably just lucky.

Another girl, Alexandra, admitted that this experience was a new starting point for her. “You finally see how your relationships with men should be arranged, and this is not that eternal nightmare when you both do not understand what is happening,” she said.

In conclusion, the girl said that these healthy relationships increase self-esteem, which in turn allows you to move on with a completely different attitude towards love and life in general.

Today, many representatives of generation Z quite calmly choose people at least 10 years older, and here you can argue that most of them grew up with parents who survived a divorce - and they lack the father figure. But one fact is indisputable - when the door is opened to you, not because you cannot do it yourself, but purely out of habit, it is easy to get used to this, like any good thing. From all of the above, the conclusion follows that if a girl is not embarrassed by a small amount of gray hair, then the position of young competitors, whose emotional solvency and financial capabilities can be called into question, is, to put it mildly, unenviable.

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