Like most women, most of my dating life, I've dated older boys and men. It's almost what you're supposed to do, right? Men mature more slowly, they're less ready to settle down, they're less self-confident when they're younger. Older man are supposed to be more settled, more confident, more mature, more relationship-ready. Well, I'm 30 and I'm calling bullshit on all those theories. At this point, some of the most fucked-up men, the ones who treated me the worst, were older than me — often a lot older. And maybe I'm getting less mature by the day, but I could give a shit right now if some dude is living in a group house or making no money or thinks fart jokes are hilarious if he's also smart, funny and treats me with the respect and, I'll admit it, deference I'm sort of into right now. And I'm just not getting that from the older guys.From the 43-year-old guy that used his terminally-ill brother as an excuse to regularly stand me up (but instead went out on dates with women he met online) to the 45-year-old guy who tried to pressure me into anal sex by claiming he couldn't orgasm any other way, to the 46-year-old guy who spent the entire time we dated apologizing for not being cool enough, I didn't get maturity, stability or self-confidence. And let's not forget my 50-year-old married stalker or the 60-year-old Congressman that I couldn't shake off my trail — I can't say any married guy who's ever hit on me was my age or younger. My last relationship ended after 4 years (when he was rounding the bend of 35) because he just wasn't in a place in his life to commit, and the guy I dated for 3 years before that went online when he hit 30 (I was 25) because he wasn't sure he'd slept with enough women to commit to a lifetime together. Each of these guys dumped enough of their emotional baggage on me from years of dating the wrong people and fucking up other relationships and getting dicked over by other women that I started to feel like I was not only having to be the normal variety of thoughtful and kind that I think dating (and general human interaction) entails, but as though I was having to atone for what life and women had supposedly done to them. And so, in about the last year, I've slowly weaned myself off of dating older men. The oldest guy I've gone out with all year was 31. And while I won't say — with one exception — that any of the relationships I've had have been emotionally intense or long-lasting, neither have I spent hours upon hours tearing my hair out or wondering what's wrong with me. By and large, the guys I've gone out with (all of whom were old enough to drink, thank you) have been whip-smart, funny, charming, respectful and genuinely interested in talking with me rather than at me or to me. There's been no sexual pressure, no attempts at coercion, no efforts to try to push my boundaries in ways I'm uncomfortable with. And, happily, there's been no need for Viagra, little interest in rolling over and passing out, and a hell of a lot more cuddling and general PDA than I've previously had in even long-term relationships. Hand-holding? Yeah, it's still fun, even at my age. I'm not saying I'd never go out with an older guy again, or that I wouldn't accept a date with a silver fox tomorrow. But dating younger men is one of the last taboos for women. It's always assumed — unlike older men with an "appropriately" younger woman — that it's about the sex or that it's a short term arrangement or that it's indicative of a fucked-up power dynamic. But as long as everyone's legal, why is it weirder or wrong-er for me to date a 25 year old than it is for me to date a 40 year old?
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