A widow named Jackie approached me recently and asked: “Does age matter in dating when it comes to women being older than men?”

I asked Jackie why she asked that question.

She explained that at her 50th high school reunion, she met a classmate. After a year of dating, they married. Two months later, he was diagnosed with cancer. Five months after that, he passed away.

“I don’t think I could willingly go through that again,” Jackie said. “At my ‘young age’ of 72, I’d want someone younger.”

Older dating younger has always been a hot-potato topic with my readers. When I’ve written on this subject, I’ve been dragged over the coals by young women, older men, older women, bitter men, and opinionated women.

In society, older men dating younger women seems to be acceptable, whereas women dating younger men raises eyebrows and can bring forth disparaging remarks.

A Canadian dating website is credited with coining the term “cougar,” which describes a woman who dates younger men. I don’t like the term; I think it’s demeaning.

Jackie is not the only widow who feels she doesn’t want to experience widowhood again.

I fixed up a widow, age 60, with a male friend, knowing they had similar interests.

She asked, “How old is he?”

“Late 60s, early 70s,” I guessed.

Two days later, I saw them enjoying a beverage together at a local restaurant. I thought to myself, “Bingo. A good introduction and possible match.”

Not so. The following week, she told me she found out he was 75, and she didn’t want to take the chance of becoming a widow again.

I asked four other senior women their opinions about dating younger men.

Ann said: “If I were to date men my age, 72-82, I’d be taking my life into my own hands every time one of them drives. Also, some men that age can’t drive at night.”

Lisa wrote, “Age is less important than someone’s level of maturity, outlook on life, and health and activity level. I have dated men older and younger. I will be 72 in February and am dating a man 60.

“When I’m on dating websites, men who are older than I seem so ‘old.’”

Greta commented, “Age has nothing to do with it. Compatibility is what’s important.”

Margaret shared, “I’ve dated men 15 years older and 20 years younger. Some younger men were more mature than older men — a few who behaved childishly. If you enjoy each other’s company and have fun together, age doesn’t matter.”

At what age difference do critics of older women dating younger men start rolling their eyes and making snide comments? Five years, 10, 15, 20, and 25-plus; it doesn’t seem to matter.

I see nothing wrong with women dating younger men. The women should be aware, however, that there may be challenges, especially if the age difference is 10 or more years. If either person has children, that may muddy the water as well.

And there could be negative comments from nosy acquaintances. Imagine a friend seeing you in a restaurant with your younger man. The friend might say, “Hi, Ellen. I didn’t know you had a grandson!”

Ellen smiles, her stomach churns; she mumbles something like, “Yes, isn’t he darling!”

Everybody’s different. There’s no right or wrong. Mature singles must enjoy life while they can. It’s nobody’s business what the respective ages are, except the two people involved.

So, go for it, Jackie. Check out those younger men.


For dating information, previous articles, or to sign up for Tom’s complimentary, weekly e-newsletter, go to www.findingloveafter50.com.

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