9 Reasons Why Young Women Should Avoid Significantly Older Men At All Costs

If you’re a heterosexual woman in your late teens or early twenties, you have no business being with a man significantly older than you. I’m talking about 10 years and more. Though, if you’re under 20, that number should be reduced by at least half.

This issue is not just about the age gap — it’s specifically about older men seeking out much younger women and vice versa. With the help of modern technology, this is happening every day on social media, dating apps, discussion websites, and so on.

There’s a reason why the relationships between older men and much younger women are considerably more common than ones between older women and younger men, and the older men in question are often resourceful and the younger women are attractive but not the other way round.

It’s because this type of relationship is intrinsically linked to the deep-running sexist and patriarchal cultures, characterised by many superficial and harmful values such as those placed on youth, beauty, and excessive wealth. While women might benefit from such relationships, they’re not designed to serve women — especially in the long run.

Now, I could write an article addressing these older men who themselves are aware of the inappropriate age gap and their predatory position but abuse their power and target women half their age anyway, and those who — for that same reason — often feel the need to use manipulative PUA techniques and controlling tactics to simply get a date and maintain the relationship. However, I don’t have the time nor respect to make space for them here.

So, echoing my previous essay about the importance of setting boundaries to protect oneself from bad treatment, this article encourages young women to recognise the issues with dating significantly older men and draw their boundaries to avoid getting into damaging situations that might leave them with permanent consequences.

Dear young women, you’re powerful and have plenty of options to choose from. Here are 9 reasons why you, as a young woman, should avoid significantly older men at all costs.

1. The power dynamics is skewed

When you’re in your late teens or early twenties, you’re most likely still in school or at the beginning of your career. You have limited life experiences and disposable income — you’re dependant on many things around you and, most often, insecure about yourself.

Meanwhile, these older men have their career, their money, their social status, their decade-long experiences in all sorts of areas — way ahead of you. It’s unlikely they’d ever see you as an equal partner whose career, ambitions, life goals deserve the same level of respect and priority as theirs.

Notably, studies on “male gazing” have found that women who are made to feel self-conscious become less able to act for themselves; instead, they take on the submissive role and react to others.

In a relationship with a significantly older man where the power dynamics is heavily imbalanced, you will subconsciously fall into this submissive role. And thus, you’ll be extremely vulnerable to manipulation and abuse. It’s seriously dangerous.

2. You can’t be true to yourself

When you’re with a significantly older man, there isn’t just an age gap — there are also gaps in maturity levels, lifestyles, perspectives, and life stages, to name a few.

To bridge these gaps, it’s often you — the woman — who has to adjust yourself to fit with the man, who feels the pressure to position yourself as “more mature than the girls my age”, to accelerate your life and prove to him (and mostly yourself) that you’re grown-up enough to be dating him and deal with his issues while, in reality, you’re not at all emotionally or psychologically ready.

You don’t have enough security — both emotional and financial — to challenge the status quo and stand up for yourself when your interest is at stake. You’ll likely find yourself trapped in a relationship that’s set entirely on the man’s terms, which will gradually destroy your self-esteem and self-respect.

3. The relationship is set up to fail

If you specifically seek them out because they’re older than you, or they seek you out, this relationship is predicated on superficial factors related to age.

You might not know who they are as a person outside of the “older man” persona and they might not be able to see beyond your youthfulness — what happens when all he has left is his old age and you’re no longer youthful?

The relationship might be smooth sailing in the beginning as you get carried away with all the so-called “benefits” of dating an older man, but true differences and incompatibility will become obvious as the relationship progresses.

In the next five or ten years, you’ll change dramatically while he will be set in his way. Two common possibilities: He will stunt your growth and traumatise you in the process, or you will grow apart from him and want to leave — either way, it’s doomed.

4. They don’t care about your intelligence

One of the tactics these older men use to lure much younger women into their arms is to make the women feel like they value them for something other than their youthful beauty.

They will choose intelligence as they know that the much younger women who are responsive to them are likely to have troubled relationships with their parents and are hungry for approval.

Here’s the truth — they don’t care about your intelligence. Your intelligence doesn’t have value to them unless it’s part of your sex appeal to them.

When they say you’re smart, they actually don’t mean you’re smart — they know if you’re really smart you would not want to have anything to do with inappropriate men like them. They know you’re insecure and they want you to get addicted to their validation.

This leads us to the next point…

5. Their validation is meaningless and worthless

Their compliments might make you feel good momentarily, but they don’t mean anything because they’re not real — they’re part of an agenda.

Nothing they say to you has any value when their perception of you is tied to your gender and age and they can’t see you as a whole person who doesn’t just exist to boost their ego and satisfy their desires.

If anything, they’re likely to assume you’re naive and have low enough self-esteem and standards to accept them without questions and overlook their flaws which women their age don’t put up with.

They’re not a prize — they’re in no respectable position to give you validation.

6. They objectify you

They don’t simply want you for who you are — they want you for reasons that have everything to do with themselves.

Being with you would first serve as an ego stroke —they feel younger, more desirable, more fun, better than the other guys who aren’t in the company of young and beautiful women. They can also get away with their Peter Pan syndrome and commitment fear as they think much younger women wouldn’t want to get married anytime soon.

In a more creepy and predatory fashion, they might be obsessed with infantilisation and get off on you looking young and vulnerable. Either way, they don’t respect or value you, and they’re gross.

7. They’re not the solutions to your inner problems

If the reason why you are drawn to relationships with significantly older men is because you lack parental figures growing up or you don’t feel secure about yourself, these men won’t solve your problems.

They will amplify your pain when they fail to show love and care for you, or worse, make you feel abandoned. You’ll think it’s your fault and you’re not good enough while, in many cases, these older men are just emotionally inept and empathy-deficit.

The love and care you crave from your parents can’t be found in the relationships with older men.

Even though they might be as old as a parent, they’re not your parents, they don’t have caring responsibilities for you, and they don’t love you “just because”— they have romantic and sexual intentions with you. And again, their validation is worthless — it won’t fill you. You have to do it yourself and elsewhere.

8. You’re not equipped to deal with their issues and character flaws

When you have limited life and dating experiences, you’re not prepared for all the psychological issues a significantly older man might have or his manipulative tactics to trap you in the relationship if he wishes to do so. You can’t see through him like you do a college boy your age.

You might not even have the financial resources needed to leave the relationship when it turns abusive.

When the power dynamics is skewed, you will struggle to call him out and set the terms of the relationship to meet your boundaries and standards — you might not even know your boundaries and standards yet.

You can easily get gaslit and be made to feel crazy because you simply haven’t seen any better. You might even hide the relationship from everyone because of the stigma associated with the age gap and so you’re isolated from friends and family.

All in all, it’s a recipe for disaster.

9. Your brain hasn’t fully developed yet

If you’re under 25, your frontal lobe which is responsible for rational thinking hasn’t fully developed. As a result, your decisions might not be as foresighted and beneficial for yourself as you would like.

You’re more focused on living in the moment, you don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of your actions, you take emotional pain much harder at this stage.

Who you are around 20 and who you are at 25 will be drastically different and you don’t want to be dealing with permanent consequences for the rest of your twenties then.

A relationship with a significantly older man can leave a long-lasting impact on you. If it goes horribly wrong, which most likely will happen for the aforementioned reasons, it can wound you for many years and give you a damaging view of romantic relationships.

Take my words — this relationship is above your paygrade and, for what it’s worth, it’s a waste of time. It’s the beautiful, transformative years you could never take back.

The key takeaway

If you’re in your late teens or early twenties, you should avoid significantly older men at all costs — they’re not good for your well-being or development, and they don’t come to you to give you a quality, long-lasting relationship on equal terms.

Here’s a recap on the reasons why:

  • The power dynamics is skewed against you.

  • You can’t be true to yourself being with them.

  • The relationship is not built to last.

  • They value you mostly for your youthfulness and don’t really know who you are as a person.

  • Their validation is meaningless and worthless.

  • They objectify you.

  • They’re not the solutions to your inner problems.

  • You’re not equipped to deal with their psychological issues and character flaws.

  • Your brain hasn’t fully developed yet.

It might be flattering to have the attention of the men who come across as mature and well-put-together, but the flattery doesn’t last while emotional wounds will do. Their reality is often much uglier than what they make you believe. In this time of social distancing and restrictions, you might receive more direct messages and Instagram comments from older men than usual — block them.

P.s. If this article applies to your sister(s) or a young woman you know, share with them. We’re all in this together for the welfare of women.

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