What are the pitfalls of dating out of your age bracket? Do cougars have it right? In some ways, they might. One study out of the University of Texas suggests that women aged 27 to 45 not only have increased sexual fantasies, but have more sex on the whole than their younger counterparts. This can prove beneficial to certain relationships, especially those in which an older woman dates a younger man. But what happens after the excitement of a sexually-charged relationship fades? For couples with a significant age difference between them, it can be particularly challenging to stay strong for the long term. “Dating more than 10 years out of your age bracket is a significant jump,” says Lisa Steadman, a relationship expert and bestselling author. “It can create significant barriers in a relationship.” So, can a relationship with someone significantly older or younger ever really work? Experts say the chances are slimmer, but it’s possible, as long as expectations are set and extra challenges can be met with solidarity.
Different Life Stages
“You’re not necessarily going to grow together,” Steadman says. “You might be starting your career while someone else is winding down. Don’t expect to be on the same page about everything.” This can be difficult in terms of relating to one another.
While relationships shouldn’t necessarily be determined by external opinions, disapproval by close family and friends can add additional strain to a pairing. “What if your friends and family think you’re insane?” Steadman says. “What if they judge your choices?” Furthermore, mixing the two groups can be even harder. “Friends around both parties might have difficulty relating to one another,” adds Matt Titus, a relationship expert.
A huge factor in any successful relationship is having common goals. This can be anything from starting a family to career ambitions.
Women hit their sexual prime later in life, usually in their 40s, whereas men hit their peaks earlier-in their 20s and 30s. In cases where the woman is older than the man, this can be the main motive for the relationship. “Sexual chemistry can be a draw for a younger man dating an older woman,” Steadman says. “Both are in their sexual prime, so this can be fun.”
while every relationship can be exciting at the beginning, Titus wants people to be mindful of the evolution down the road as a couple. “After [the excitement] wears off, you’re left with who each other is,” he says. “You’re left with life experience.”