Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tallying the "how old should I date" responses

Recently I blogged that a friend thought I should search for husbands exclusively among those 10-12 years my senior. There were nine comments on that post. Usually I don't put comments in blog entries, but these are especially relevant.

1. (from Abandoning Eden): i say you can still try to find someone close to your age while being more open to men both younger and older than you. And don't let one person's horrific experience color your perception... i know 2 awesome couples who have a 12+ year age difference and who have awesome marriages.

Anyways all you would be doing is opening up more options, which is never a bad thing. It's not like you HAVE to marry a dude 10 years older than you if you don't like him. :)

True. I should try to be more open, and I don't have to marry anyone I don't want to.

2. (from my good friend DYS): I hate to say it, but he may be right. That doesn't mean you should give up on the idea of marrying someone your own age, but broadening your horizons may open up a much larger dating pool for you.

I still would recommend against dating guys 20 years older than you, but there are plenty of guys in their late 40's who are very youthful and in good shape. There are a lot more, unfortunately, who seem as old or older than they are, but by rejecting them all, you may be missing out on your match. You just need to be selective.

How about setting the cutoff at 49 so you don't have anyone in their 50's?

Don't get me wrong - you're a wonderful woman who deserves a guy closer in age to you, but the demographics and men's evotbiases work against that.

Don't know what an evotbias is. Evolutionary bias? But well put.

3. (from someone I don't know named Zev): How about not paying attention to age, and instead try to find someone who you like. Find someone who has emotional and intellectual qualities you admire. Talk to that person about everything you have ever dreamed of, and ask them about their dreams.

People are multi-dimensional. There is much more than looks and age that make up a person, and I think if you look for the qualities that actually matter, you will have a higher chance of finding a lasting relationship.

I probably do focus too much on age, and not enough on "the qualities that matter."

4. (from my friend Aaron): What you want is not as relevant as what you need. You need to have a loving relationship with a human, and to mother some younglings. You want it with a dude of age x, attitude y, looks z, etc. When you get what you need, you will be happy. Don't let what you want get in the way.

You and most of the hundreds of other singles I have met and befriended sing the song "I look so much younger than my age, so I should be able to date and marry someone younger than me" but since everyone sings that tune, including 50 year old guys, it cancels it out for EVERYONE.

You best bet is to date men who are around the age of 45, up to 50 and down to 38 - period. Use you flirting and chatting only on them! Stay away from younger time wasters. Find a man with old wrinkly balls!

I'm sorry -- you had me till "old wrinkly balls." Now I'm even more disgusted thinking about going out with older men.

5. (from Shoshana): I don't think you'll necessary HAVE to marry someone 10-12 years older than you are, but I don't think being open to the possibility is necessarily a bad thing either. For years I refused to consider men who were more than 10 years older than I am, and I dated quite a few who were younger than me.

A few months before I met my husband I decided that I needed to open my mind and age limits and I ended up marrying a man who is 12 years older than me. He's mature and responsible but a total goof ball and very young at heart. He had learned a lot of life lessons and totally knows the importance of commitment and putting effort into a relationship. And I would never have met him if I hadn't been open to men outside my typical age range.

I'm not saying that you should go out with every guy who is suggested if you really feels like it's not a good match but you might think about really looking at the characteristics that make a person a good husband, rather than just demographics.

Excellent point, from someone who's been there and happily done that.

6. (from Anonymous): I think that age should not restrict you either way. The right person for you MAY be 10 years older, the same age, or 10 years younger! The problem with great age difference is that people of different generations tend to have different expectations and goals. As long as your values, goals, expectations, and such mesh, don't worry about the age.

Okay. But I don't think I'll garner as much interest from the 10-years-younger crowd as the 10-or-more-years-older crowd.

7. (from Marni) I'm not a guy, but I personally think it depends on what the guy wants. If he is 40 and has never married and wants kids, he is probably going to want to get someone around 30 or younger even so that he doesn't have to "rush" into a marriage so that she can get preggers ASAP because of her age. He can take his time.

If he is 40 and is divorced and doesn't want any kids, or any more kids, then he might be willing to date someone closer to his age because he is no longer concerned about her ability to reproduce and is more or less looking for companionship.

Still I am sure there are guys who don't judge someone based on a number and are focusing more on the person. That is obviously the guy you want to be with and unfortunately, those are the ones that are few and far between.

Good points all, Marni. (It really is a man's world, isn't it?)

8. (from Anonymous) Not to be harsh, but I find it ironic that you want a guy who doesn't care about your age and sees it as just a number, yet you won't date a guy over a certain age. You often complain about your weight and want a guy who won't mind when you think you are too heavy, yet you refuse to date a guy who is out of shape. From your own accounts you are not always on your best behavior, yet your blog posts show you being very turned off by a guy who has any quirks to his personality.

Personally, I'm a 39 year old guy who dates women from 29 to 44. I've dated women who were nearly anorexic to women who are seriously obese. Giving people a chance doesn't mean that you have to date everyone who is interested in you, but you do need to be more flexible. Trust me, once I gave up on having a type or whatever you want to call it and I stopped ruling people out on very superficial things I was sometimes surprised at who I was most attracted to. Give people a chance and loosen up a bit.

Ouch. I probably do need to loosen up a bit, though. I wouldn't say I never date men who are overweight -- there's a difference between overweight and medically obese.

9. (from S.) Agree with Aaron and Shoshana, but here's my take on it: NEVER settle.

That doesn't mean you can't marry a guy outside your preferred age range. It just means you shouldn't force yourself to go out with someone simply because you want to be going out, or because you want to get married. Giving people chances is terrific. Downplaying what you want the most because you're panicking is a BAD idea.

Make a list of the things that are MOST important to you in a man. Can be 5 things, can be 10 things. None of them can include age. Now look at that list.

Number one, figure out your main priorities in a mate. Look for those qualities with all your might. Accept that the rest is preference and not necessity.

Number two... figure out what qualities you look for as most important in a mate. See how you can improve YOURSELF with regard to those important qualities. We can all use some personal improvement in middot, even if we are great people to begin with. And may that be a zechut for you to find a beautiful and holy neshama as your zivug.

Shana tova, gmar chatima tova, tzom kal and very best wishes from your fellow soldier in the dating trenches!

Thanks, S. Much food for thought.

I also got two emails on this topic from friends:

ET: I vote for 46/47 as your cut-off age, the same age you currently have. I think your current limit of 46 years old is about right on target, and I assume that is the "no" response to the question- "Should I give up trying to marry a man who is close to my age?" Assuming "close to your age" is within the general 36 - 47 year old range, that is what I would stick with in your position.

Spoken like a true engineer. Thanks, ET.

Mendy: It does not need to be an extreme choice.

You should be OPEN to meeting a man who is 10-12 years older. The differences really do mean less as you get older. Now everybody ages the same. And you... just... never... know.

"Giving up" is a negative expression. Somebody a couple of years younger seems wild about you... hey, it could, should happen. You have much to recommend yourself; I can see it. But be open, and objective. In that sense this blog is a terrific tool. AJ said that he was willing to consider you, but his motive was suspect. When you asked about kids, he said that he was open. I think that the answer that you're looking for, especially from a younger man with his smugness, is something like "Yes, but I am choosy about who I have them with."

Don't dismiss the geezers out of hand. There is an excellent chance that you will be loved and cherished by a man who thanks his lucky stars that G-d saw fit to let him win the Jewish lottery and send him a young, intelligent, beautiful wife. Such a man is unlikely to ever leave you. (Unfortunately, not a "given" today.)

Don't dismiss the young'uns either (which includes men up to your own age). Make certain that he will never come to resent you, or regret his choice. (Men can be so foolish sometimes!) Tick off objective factors that point to a permanent harmonious relationship.

I'm going to take a leap here... it's so clear, and so hard. Now is the time. You want to be married or well on your way by year's end. You need to keep your objectivity, and so does he, whoever 'he' is. You have nothing to prove to anybody; your native passion, libido, sexual uninhibitness and/or experience... any thinking man will not worry or even wonder. It scares myself to write this... but this may be the most useful MO for the current task.

Well said. What I get from all of this:

1. Be more open to men up to 10 years older than I am.
2. Look for essential qualities I like and relate well to.
3. Don't feel the need to prove how sexy I am.

Here's hoping... I did get an email from SOS, who had to postpone our first date due to a friend's wedding:

I look forward to hanging out the evening of 10/24/09 -- this may be the longest-awaited first-date in history. ;-)

After knowing what my friend thought of him, I was just a little curious. Is this going to be the longest-awaited cup of coffee and hourlong chat in history, or something more? So I sent back:

It probably is the longest-awaited first date in history. What are we going to do?

So I know what to wear, right? ;) He responded:

I'll find us something enjoyable to do (and am open to ideas from your side, as well). How you contain your excitement -- between now and then -- is up to you. ;-)

Naughty! ;)

Surprise me! ;) I'll focus on work to contain my excitement. Not hard to do, since my caseload is supposed to be 20 and is actually 31. Have an easy fast :)

I guess we'll see after 10/24/09...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. You should know all men have wrinkly balls, duh, I am starting to think you are a virgin :)

  2. I'm not sure what evotbias is. I probably typed "bias" then thought of putting in "evolution-driven bias", and got interrupted while typing & then clicked submit without noticing.

    Or I'm channeling something very deep.

  3. Hello, I was the "not to be harsh" anonymous and I didn't want to be mean, I just wanted to be somewhat blunt and maybe mildly shocking to help get attention. Well, re-reading it, it is mean. I really do apologize.

    What I wanted to say (but in a way that really would catch your attention) is that it is probably best to pre-judge on as few criteria as possible. Once I loosened up a bit and basically gave everyone a chance (i.e. if there was chemistry I'd give them a chance, I didn't look for age, physical type, or any other somewhat superficial trait) it was surprising sometimes who I found attractive. The more artificial limits you place on your dating life, the harder it will be (obviously, I waited too long myself to make this change given that I'm still single and 39).

    It is natural for us to ignore or downplay our own negatives, and it can be easy to see them in others. No one is perfect, yet it can be easy for us to look at someone else who isn't quite what we pictured in our fantasies of who we would marry and think they aren't good enough.

    I'm a very observant person, based on your blog, and the fact that we are both on Frumster, I figured out which was your profile there (I wasn't trying to, don't get worried). You are a very pretty woman (or at minimum, you do well in photos) and from what I gather from your profile there and this blog you are an interesting person. You also aren't someone who will be for everyone. You may find someone with a personality that is a good match, with great middos, who will be a great father and husband, but maybe he's 48, or he doesn't make a lot, or he is overweight, or...

    As others have said, you may need to make a list of 4 or 5 traits that you MUST have in a shidduch. Try to keep the more superficial stuff out as much as possible. Then, look just for those things that are most important. Be open to guys at the margin of what you may be attracted to physically (general looks, weight, height, whatever). Ignore age (within certain boundaries). Ignore money, assuming he makes enough to live fairly comfortably (I am assuming that you aren't primarily money motivated given that you became a social worker). Pick the most important things, and ignore those things that don't matter towards those 4 or 5 things. I'm not saying go out with a 400LB gorilla, or someone who makes $20K a year, or a 50 year old man, or whatever, but you may need to stretch your limits a bit.

    By making some relatively minor changes you may see some major changes in your luck.

    Well, its getting late so I guess that's it. Have a meaningful and easy fast and I hope to hear some good news for you in this blog over the next year.

  4. LOL @Aaron's comment... that's what I was going to say, actually. Sugar, you do know they're ALL wrinkly, right? :P

    On "Anonymous"... I'm sure you mean well, but your general approach is rather negative and depressing. I'm really, really glad you've never had the opportunity to evaluate me as you did Ayelet, and sum up my entire self with a few short, unkind sentences... what a terrible feeling that would be, and I'm sure you didn't do Ayelet any favors either. In the future, you may want to consider the well-worn maxim: If you've got nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.