I remember when I would go on a date with an eligible 30 something when I was in my mid 20’s and think wow this guy is great. The date would go well, and at the end of it all he wouldn’t want to see me again. Sometimes he’d just ghost me. Other times he’d be sweet and complimentary, but would give me some sort of explanation about our age. Feeling more mature than my peers I’d become frustrated that a number was what was pushing me out of the eligible category for these men.
Now, as a 30 something, it’s eye-opening to look back to my younger self, and realize more-so what these guys meant.
Yes, I was more mature than a lot of my peers, and yes I’ve consistently dated older as I find I connect better with older men. When you’ve had a lot of life experience it makes sense that you’d look for someone who has also been through things, but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve fully understood what those guys meant.
Sure, I was ready for a relationship, but I wasn’t ready for the type of relationship those guys were ready for. To be honest, I think a lot of this does have to do with age, but also it doesn’t. I think a lot of men say they want one thing, but then realize they want another. I think that when you sit down face-to-face with someone you see possibilities. Sometimes those possibilities are sexual, sometimes they are romantic, sometimes they are friendly, and sometimes they are relationship driven. You really can’t know until you feel the vibe or the chemistry.
As I continue my journey in life, and as I mature and understand how ready I am for a real long-lasting relationship, I realize that my equal probably won’t be someone who is in their mid 20’s. Yes, these guys are incredibly attractive, sexy, and sweet, but there’s just a lot of life these guys have to live still. I think back to how I felt when these older guys would ask me out, sleep with me, or whatever else and how disappointing it was when it would just end. It’s still a shitty feeling when these things happen, but as you get older you can smell the bullshit a little bit better. You aren’t so quick to build an unfounded narrative around someone you barely know. You are more aware of how many different types of guys exist out in the dating world. Ultimately, you just have more experience.
For a long time I’ve said I don’t believe anyone is truly ready to get married until they are 30. This is purely my opinion, and many people will disprove this. However, I think something happens to you when you turn 30. You reflect on life a little more. You care a lot less about what other people think, and you hopefully stop bullshitting people and letting others bullshit you.
Thinking back to being 24, and remembering all the feelings I used to feel, many of which I still feel, but many of which have evolved, I’m reminded of why it is our job as the “older guys” to be honest, kind, and thoughtful to these beautiful younger souls. Yes, it’s our responsibility as men that are dating to be frank and upright about what we are looking for, and even more so to not lead on hopeful younger guys.
I say all of this because I’ve found myself looking, not desperately or crazily, but mindfully and maturely, for my partner. I’m looking at life through a new lens. I’ve gotten to travel the world, see incredible things, and build a career. I’ve dated, dumped, and been dumped. I’ve taken risks, moved to other countries for love, and still I find myself looking, but through it all I’m reminded of what it was like to be that younger bright eyed guy, who was so excited to meet someone who appeared to have their shit together, and because of that I think it’s even important to date mindfully and respectfully, especially if you are someone who is going after younger guys.
Ultimately there are no rules when it comes to dating, but I think we all have a role to play in how we shape gay culture. If nothing else I hope to spark conversations with topics like this, so if you’ve found yourself at this point then please feel free to share your opinions, ideas, and concepts around dating, whether it be gay or straight or whatever.
And for all those still also in search of their partner, remember to keep taking care of yourself, do the hard work, and when the time is right, someone will find you and it will all make sense. The say the best time to work on your marriage is before you are married, so make sure you are doing just that, and truly working on you.
Being the “older guy” should be a beautiful experience. You should find yourself with new realizations, understandings, and habits, so embrace it, and be the change you hope to see out there in the world.