If older men are better romantic partners than younger men is a question that sparks regular debates amongst women. While some women swear by older men and would not even look at men in their age brackets, some other women would never date men who are more than five years older than they are.

As a woman who has dated a man within my age group and also dated an older man, I did not find many assumptions women have about dating older men to be correct, and I wanted to see if my experiences were unique to me. Therefore, I decided to speak to women ages 22-29, who have been with men on both sides of the divide about their experiences. I asked that they compare their experiences with the older men and their experiences with the men of their ages. For this piece, I interviewed a total of seven women and as a bonus, I spoke to two men about their experiences dating younger women and dating women whose ages are the same or very closer to theirs.

There are many misconceptions about older men and what kind of romantic partners they are to their younger partners. For instance, many women believe that older men are, as a rule, more mature, tolerant, and generous but in my experiences and from speaking to these women, I realize that these assumptions are generally untrue. I dissect some of these assumptions:

Older men are more mature and patient.

While it is true that people do become more mature as they age, older men do not necessarily behave themselves more maturely in romantic relationships with women than younger men. They may have more experience in dealing with women than the latter but these experiences do not necessarily make them more patient or mature partners. Women have reported dating older men who were incredibly insecure, petty, immature, and bratty. The older guy I was with was mature but he didn’t exhibit special maturity or wisdom, he was just as mature as the younger guy I was with. Three of the seven women also admitted that the older men they were with had more immature attitudes than the men in their age group. The four other women said the older men were not immature but they demonstrated no special maturity compared to the men of their age.

As for patience, I found it interesting when five of the women revealed that men in their age brackets were more patient with them than the older men they went out with. The other two also said that the older men had no extra patience than what the men of their age exhibited. In my experience, the man I dated that was in my age range was a lot more patient and understanding as he related well to my experiences at the time.

Why do women believe older men are more patient?

This belief is inspired by the notion that the older a person becomes, the more likely they are to be tolerant of shenanigans associated with younger people since they have been in their shoes. The reality, however, is that people grow old, and oftentimes, they forget what it was like when they were younger. They become very critical of younger people and hence, their impatience with them (it is why every generation thinks they are better than the generation after them.)

Older men are more generous with money.

This is one misconception I had the deepest urge to clear because many women cite this as an advantage of dating older men. Are older men generous or do they just tend to have more money?

“In your relationships with men from both sides, which of these men would you say was more generous? Generosity, in this context, does not mean the amount of money given, but how much the amount given was in accordance to their worth”.  

I asked the women and all seven of them affirmed that in the relationships they have had, it was the younger men that had open hands, they were the ones that were willing to give a big chunk of their worth to girlfriends. I used to believe older men were more generous with money too but upon reflection on my past relationships with men on both sides, I realized the partner that was my age gave me more than the older guy ever did. In both the actual amount given and how enormous it was per their financial ability, I got more monetary gifts from the younger guy and interestingly, the older man was significantly richer than the younger man. Before speaking with these women, I had assumed my experience was unique and was surprised to find out that other women had the same experience.

The two men I spoke to admitted to more generosity in their relationships with women of their age than they were with women who were significantly younger than them. “It seems like I was more generous because they had the same spending power as I did”, one of them said. The point of this is that people tend to do more for someone when they are trying to impress them and people tend to work harder to impress a person who already has their stuff going on for them. An older man is hardly trying to go out of his way to impress a younger woman he knows is dependent on him. If however, the younger woman does well for herself financially, she might receive more generous monetary gifts from her older partner. Although, this is not usually the case.

The misconception that older men are more generous with money has stayed for so long because we expect that since they have more money, they will be more generous with it but older men generally give a very tiny percent of what they have to their younger partners. It may be a huge deal to the younger woman who probably doesn’t have anywhere as much money but it is usually not that big a deal to the older man. While older men are found to be wealthier than younger men, when they give, they give considerably less than they can afford compared to the latter. Also, some of them believe younger women only date them for money and secretly resent their younger partners for it, this resentment results in them being tight-fisted in the relationship. Do older men generally have more money? Yes. But it’s not about how much money he’s got but how much money he’s willing to give you.

Older men are better lovers because they are more experienced, sexually.

Six of the seven women said they enjoyed sex better with men in their age brackets. Only one enjoyed sex with the older man she was with just as much as with the younger man. When asked what it was that held them back from enjoying sex with the older men, two of the women said that it had nothing to do with the men’s experience or ability to perform sexually but they were just more comfortable expressing their sexual desires and were freer with men of their age. I was, also, more at ease with the guy my age than with the older dude.

When it comes to sex, women tend to believe that it is better to be with someone who is more experienced than they are. Some women do not have any sexual experience but they often say that they could never have their first sexual experience with someone as inexperienced as they are, and would rather be with someone who has more sexual experience. Sexually inexperienced women however find that they enjoy sex better with someone who is just as inexperienced as they are, or has little experience in action. Women can be intimidated by a sexually experienced man and a man who has a lot of experience may not pay attention to the unique needs of the woman he’s with. However, when it is with a man who does not have as much experience, women tend to be more relaxed and free to explore with him.

Older men do not get intimidated or threatened by a woman’s success.

We assume that the chances of a man who is older, richer, and probably more educated being intimated by a woman’s success is lower, compared to a man who is of her age and is as successful as she is. This assumption is sponsored by the mindset that people who are richer or older cannot be intimidated by people who do not have as many achievements under their belt or as much money. Unfortunately, the feeling of emasculation doesn’t possess men based on age. The issue is not always that women have more money, education, and success than them but women have these things at all. It is not uncommon to see a rich older millionaire that is bothered about his younger partner owning a thriving business, even if the business isn’t worth up to half of what he’s worth. The fact that his younger partner is achieving what he was not able to when he was her age could be an intimidating factor.

The general disadvantages of dating older men:

I asked these women what issues they had to deal with dating older men and they all made similar complaints.

They often forget they are your lover and try to play “big bro”

In my experience, the older guy I was with was dedicated to micromanaging my life. It did not help that he was in the same profession as me; I got bombarded regularly with unsolicited advice and predicted endings. While I appreciate advice and guidance from someone who had been there, having someone who regularly forgets that he was my romantic partner, not my mentor or big brother got on my nerves. It also bothered me that he always told me what to expect and that took away the excitement of wondering and the element of surprise of the profession. The fact that most of our conversations always ended with a story or an experience I could learn from became tedious. At first, I was excited about learning, I don’t handle mistakes well so I was always eager to learn, but I soon got bored and frustrated because our relationship became akin to a mentor-mentee situation.

Two of the women I spoke to mentioned that the older men they were with often tried to micromanage their lives too. One of them expressed how infuriating it was, even though she admitted that most of the time, he was right. “If I had listened to him, my finances would have been in a much better place now”, she admitted but quickly added that she learned from her own experiences anyway, and she would not have had it any other way.

They are hardly ever in love with you

Your chances of experiencing genuine love are higher when you’re with a man within your age group. Older men have often experienced first, second, and third love and are usually jaded by the time you meet them. They go into relationships with their younger lovers more calculated and practical and less driven by love. You may be in love with your older lover but the chances of it being mutual in the way you desire are very slim. I did ask all the women who they loved intensely and felt were more intensely in love with them, and they all confirmed that it was the men within their age groups. If you want to experience the type of romance that exists in Harlequin and Silhouette novels, you may want to look in the age-bracket section. The truth is your chance of experiencing Harlequin and Silhouette kind of romance is low because of how unreal the situations are and the fact that they may never apply to us in real life but your chances sink beyond low to obscurity when you depend on an older man.

They can be controlling

Let’s face it, the reason some of these old men seek younger women is that they believe it would be a lot easier to control a younger woman. If the older man you are with falls in this category of men, best believe you have got huge problems on your hands. They are usually the ones who never respect their younger partners’ opinions or even listen to them. They also tend to be condescending and disrespectful towards their younger partners. Men who fall into this category tend to be abusive.

This is beyond being a mere disadvantage though and it’s why it’s the last on the list, it’s a bright, huge red flag, waving at you and hoping that you would see it and run. There is a conversation to be had on men who deliberately target younger women for predatory purposes but that’s a whole new conversation and the problems associated with being romantically involved with these men are not minor issues that can be placed under the “disadvantage” umbrella.