It's a question that arises in all areas of life, however is particularly prevalent with younger adults that find themselves attracted to older men, women, and other gender identities:
'Is there something wrong with me?'
Simply answering 'no' likely won't help address the issues surrounding this question for you. So let's explore the causes and and resolutions in more depth.
Why Do We Ask Ourselves Is It Wrong To Be Attracted to Older Men?
Throughout our lives we are on a constant journey of self actualisation and growth. Our sense of self and how we fit into the world around us is in constant reappraisal and development, gradually gaining clarity as we obtain experience. For those attracted to people significantly older than them (and/or being LGBTQ+), their true identity coming to light is a major period of adjustment that throws them off their expected path.
This diversion from our previously assumed trajectory - often: identifying as our born gender, having a cis partner of the opposite sex within a few years our age, marriage, home, children, grandchildren, etc - can cause a state of dysphoria within us. Our concept of self and our expectations (of ourselves and how we believe others to perceive us) gets thrown into disarray. Suddenly we're comparing our new identities to the ideals and norms we were brought up on.
From parents, friends, religious teachings, articles, films, advertising, even just walking down the street; for our entire lives we have been conditioned with words and images about who we should be, and who we should be with. The small amount of age gap relationships mean we're not just going against the grain, but against the entire field. As such these new thoughts, feelings and desires can feel 'wrong' by comparison.
Compounding this we have the concept that inter-generational relationships are not just 'not normal', but they are actually bad in nature.
Age gap relationships have existed for literally hundreds of years. Indeed it may be that royalty and the rich having concubines is the origins of the stereotype of younger partners seeking money and borrowed status from older men. Whatever it's beginnings however, dating an older man has become a stereotype of greed, that causes others to call into question the validity of the relationship. The concept of our feelings for another person being seen as invalid or incorrect by others, is another reason for people to call their desires into question.
N.B. It should be noted that 'sugar' based relationships are a totally valid type of relationship, and another that has suffered from negative stereotyping.
Because of the overwhelming amount of messages reinforcing stereotypical relationships, as well as the negative views and lack of prevalence of age gap relationships, it's unsurprising for us to question ourselves when feelings of attraction arise.
Attraction to Older Guys - Just One of the Peas in the Pod
Older generations are there to be obeyed and revered - you may have heard the phrase 'respect your elders' before. As a youth this makes sense. We are developing physically and mentally and the role of older generations is to nurture and advise. When we reach adulthood however, there is an assumption that we shall continue to hold those older than us at arms length, and continue with our schoolyard dating rules of only engaging with those close to our age. Autonomy is disregarded and #LoveIsLove ignored, in spite of arguments prohibiting such relations rarely articulated better than 'it's just weird'. However just as curses are often blessings, it is the societally chastised and unpredictable attraction that can ultimately bring us happiness.
Different cultures, religions, races, social demographics, and indeed, ages. Despite the narrow definition of beauty and rules of desire that the fashion and mainstream media would have us think, in reality attraction comes in countless forms. Dating sites may profess they have it cracked, but in truth their algorithms lack the ability to predict who we will fall for. Whilst some have stronger preferences for certain 'types' than others, as you can see here, many have had romantic relations with someone 20 or 30 years older than them. It is so prevalent in gay dating that the term 'daddy' has become a commonplace identity tribe.
Why am I Attracted to Older Men
For some finding themselves attracted to an older man, it may be that they are simply attracted to a specific person that happens to be older. For others they may more exclusively like older guys (the term gerontophile - being attracted to older people is sometimes used). This could be
- A physical based attraction. Just as some find themselves drawn to heavier people, taller people, some like the physicality of those of a certain age. Again there is nothing right or wrong with this, it simply is.
- A mental based attraction. It might be that you find someone you just click with mentally. You have the same interests, likes and dislikes. You may just be compatible, just the same as with any potential partner, regardless of age
- A mixture of physical and mental. This is most likely, particularly for longer relationships. You just happen to find yourself attracted to someone, and you get on really well. This is no different to just about any form of naturally occurring relationship. It's just not with kind of the person you expected it to be with.
Accepting That You Like Older Men
All this is to say that whilst it may not fit into the ideals we have been brought up on, ultimately there is nothing wrong with being attracted to older men. Whilst negative stereotypes exist, they do not dictate your reality. Attraction to an older man is simply another kind of attraction that exists amongst the many. Granted, being less common does mean it stands out, but the more that have the courage to live their truths, the more age gap relationships become be visible, and normalise the attraction.
It is easy to simply say 'learn to accept and love yourself and your attractions.' However be kind and give yourself the gift of time, as there are years of conditioning to work through to achieve this. However it's worth it, as to deny your feelings is denying your true self. By allowing yourself to love, you can gain the confidence to ignore the ignorant views of others and find happiness.
...and hopefully a date!!
x The Age Gap Guys x