Because I do dating profile critiques and edits, I have multiple profiles on a few different sites. Since most of my experience revolved around OK Cupid, I decided it would be smart to get a feel for what Match.com has to offer. A few months ago I created a profile on Match to get some more first-hand experience of that site. I received the same poor quality messages and came across an abundance of poorly/barely written profiles. But what really surprised me was that, like on OKCupid, my profile was rarely ever viewed by men 40 and above in Manhattan.
I considered the possibility that selecting “Probably Not” in response to my Offspring Status was a contributing factor. I don’t want to have children of my own. But since I am open to dating men with children or foster parenting, I changed that option to say “Someday.” Yep. That did the trick. Somewhat. My views from men in NYC proper ages forty or older went from one in every eight to four in every eight. Apparently, to a 40something man in Manhattan, women who don’t want to sire them an heir have little value.
I really should have known that women in their forties who used Match were probably going to have an uphill battle. Their mobile app home page is devoid of any face that looks older than 35. Again, much like OKC, my views, winks and emails are mostly from men from other states or guys in the suburbs. So much for paying for better quality matches. I’m thoroughly unimpressed with the Match.com experience. I received twice as many emails from guys from out of state on Match than I do on OKC. Go ahead, guys. Whine about how women get more messages.
To be fair, I constantly hear women my age say they don’t wish to consider dating men over 45 or 50. That’s “too old.” These women want someone vibrant and active. Translation: they want someone young. So women are just as ageist. I’ve always said that I think the desire to want someone “active” is just code for saying you don’t want to date within your own age bracket. It’s one of those indefensible arguments often offered to justify someone’s own ambivalence and fear that comes with aging. All of this got me to thinking about why so many men and women in their late thirties and older seem to refuse to even consider dating someone their own age.
Well, allow me to be servicey here. The following points are some of the benefits of dating someone over 35.
1. They have similar frames of reference for things - Being able to quote “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or reference the media meltdown that occurred when “Thirtysomething” aired a scene of two men in bed without having to explain why or how it was so controversial just makes conversation easier and helps people to bond. You and your partner also possibly gained similar insights or POVs by experiencing similar world events.
2. They’ve become comfortable with being alone and are independent - This one is a double edged sword, of course. It’s very easy to become too comfortable being alone and set in your ways. You’ve been single off and on enough that you don’t panic at the thought of your partner going out without you. You’ve crafted a life full of interests and hobbies that keep you pretty well entertained. Not only that but you let go the fear that comes with worrying that your partner might go to a bar with friends and meet someone else. Another benefit is that you don’t need to spend every waking moment with your mate. After spending years living with roommates or in a house with our spouse and kids, we learn to appreciate the value of alone time.
3. They no longer select partners based on the opinions of their peers/family - By the time you hit 35 or so, many of your friends have paired off or settled into a very content life of singlehood. Spending less time with them forces you to carve out your own life and become responsible for your own happiness. That means that you become less dependent on their feedback. In return, there’s less pressure on you or your partner to pass the tests of certain friends. Not only that, but the older you get the less your parents and siblings approval matters. Most of our sisters and brothers are now too caught up in raising their own family to care who we date. And our parents, if they are still with us, just want to see us happy.
4. They’re more tolerant of certain limitations and behaviors – Growing older teaches us that we don’t have to show up for every fight. You still want to hang out with that one friend who always has a problem or who likes to get drunk three times a week? Go ahead. Not going to fight you on that. Something are just part of the package. We did the thing where we hoped for near perfection. It didn’t really work well for us.
5. They understand the concept that we don’t live forever - As we age, we experience loss. Nothing makes someone more starkly aware that our time here is limited than having to bury a loved one or friend. Experiences like this encourage us to appreciate those who are in our lives as well as face our mortality.
6. They are proactive about self-care and maintenance - Those who are wise beyond their years start this from a young age, and kudos to them for it. But if you’ve ever woken up and felt a little stiff or looked in the mirror and saw a gray hair or wrinkle that wasn’t there before, you know that that’s all you need to serve as a wake up call that you can no longer just expect your body to perform. We pay more attention to our health because we have to. Regular doctor visits and exams require us to develop an understanding of our body so we can note when something seems off. That in turn will help us ward off or manage any possible threats to our health.
7. They focus more on companionship than commitment - By the time you reach your late thirties or older, you’re slowing coming around to accepting that long term commitment or marriage and kids might not be in the cards for you. You’ve also become comfortable with yourself. You decide that you don’t need someone to complete you or your life, but you wouldn’t mind a little companionship along the way. Without that internal clock ticking away, you can sit back and enjoy a relationship as it unfolds and appreciate it for the company it provides.
8. They’ve honed their skills - Folks over 35 have dated enough that they’ve learned a thing or two about how it all works. After years of dating, we learn the right and wrong things to do and say and pick up tips on how to grease the wheels and get what we want with less conflict. Of course, that also means that we’ve been around the block and know the tricks. One of the reasons why I find dating younger guys so fatiguing is that they’re still using the same lines and lies on me that they use on a woman with less experience. They’re still in defensive mode, making certain conversations unnecessarily difficult.
9. They know what they don’t want - People over 35 aren’t as forgiving or willing to invest time in something they know is going no where. Less time invested means more time to pursue someone with whom you are compatible. It also means less money spent.
10. They have a good relationship with money - Understanding what you’re taking in versus paying out becomes more important when you’re the sole person responsible for paying bills. By 35 or so, retirement and savings become more of a focus as well. Years of supporting yourself without relying on parents or roommates makes someone more self-sufficient. It’s also easier to merge lifestyles with someone who has their finances in order. The other added benefit is that people over 35 are less caught up in traditional gender roles where money is concerned.
I could include a number eleven and go the whole “older women are so much more confident in bed/with their bodies” route but chose not to. I kind of hate the way women in their late thirties and older are fetishized in that way.
Of course, there are people under 35 who possess these traits, too. It’s just that sometimes, strictly because we’re over 35, these characteristics are often considered null and void by many just because of our age.