Does Age Matter_Header

On JDate, there is a search category entitled, “age range.” This is there for a reason. I’m not discounting anyone for giving it a shot if you are out of the person’s desired age preferences, but the chances of you receiving a response are small.

I had a man contact me once who was in his mid 50s. I’m in my mid 30s. At first I did what probably most people do: I didn’t write back. Then the emails and photo comments kept coming, so I politely told him I am looking for someone closer to my age, but I do have a friend who is in her early fifties and I would love to introduce them. He said, no thanks, as he wanted to start a family and therefore was searching for a woman in her thirties. Even after all this, he still hoped to go out with me. Part of me understands where he is coming from, and I’ve heard of people with huge age differences who make relationships work, but as harsh as it sounds, I was thinking, “Too bad buddy, you missed the boat!”

I’ve always said that a ten-year age difference should be the max in dating and pursuing a serious relationship. It comes down to life experience. Are you really going to be able to relate to someone just out of college if you are already established in a career and have experienced more struggles and achievements? Relationships are built on so much more than similar tastes in music and movies.  You also need to know what you each want out of life in order for the relationship to progress. If you go out with someone much older or younger than you, you may not be looking for the same things.

Granted there are exceptions to every rule, but one of the most important elements of a healthy relationship is being upfront with each other at the beginning. I met a very nice guy recently, but I had a feeling he was a good deal older than me – even though he had a somewhat younger look and personality.  I asked him twice how old he was and he switched topics immediately both times. When he asked me to go out again, I said no.  If the two of you can’t be upfront with each other at the beginning, the foundation for a good relationship is not going to be there.

Dating is difficult enough.  Be sure to set realistic expectations. If you spend your time going after what could be a very small minority of people who would actually date you, you are just going to be wasting your own time. And if you are still in your 30’s and 40’s, take a lesson from those older than you and realize time does not stand still. Set priorities and date for marriage. As the song goes, “Desperado, you better let somebody love you before it’s too late.”

Based in New York City, Michelle Jerson is a radio talk show host, reporter, and founder of the travel site  She recruits for a matchmaking service, and is currently seeking a few good men to join for free!  She is also available for profile and dating consultations.  Contact Michelle at
  1. I am 45 years old and I am one of those guys who is also looking for a younger woman for the purposes of establishing a family.

    I was not able to do this earlier because I had problems with employment for much of my young adult years. Most women understandably, want to marry a man who is employed, so I was not able to do that before. I now have stable employment for the past three years, but now my age is what is bothering many of the women that I am targeting. Most of the women in my age group are divorced, single moms and definitely out of child bearing age. I do not feel that I have to make due with them.

    I can’t speak for other guys, but I don’t think there would be a problem relating to a younger woman because I have never had a wife or girlfriend before, and I do not have any children. So any woman that I marry can be assured that we would be starting fresh.

    I hope that the women here on Jdate will give me a chance and look beyond the age differences and see what a good guy I really am.


    Mark Price

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Great reply from Mark– I would like to add my perspective. I agree that men should not pester you after you’ve said, “No.” On the other hand, your position seems unnecessarily absolute, and maybe even a bit counterproductive for yourself (could be that you were just very frustrated by one disrespectful guy!).

    In my life, I have almost always been surprised at who I found myself attracted to– older than my assumed preference, much taller than me, different cultural background, etc. So, is it possible that you might be missing your boat by reflexively telling a guy he has already missed the boat? Also, while in some cases an age difference might make it hard to relate, in others it might lead to complementary qualities. Picking up on Mark’s theme, there are all kinds of good reasons why an older guy might still be single (sometimes even looking much younger than your age can be a dating challenge for a guy!).

    Best regards,

  3. Mark’s comments hit fairly close to home for me, but my situation is a little different.
    I’m divorced after a long marriage – I’m not looking to get married again nor have more children.
    I have been ‘blessed’, however, in terms of health, vitality, athleticism and interests, and frankly, I’m much younger than my chronological age of 61.
    I find that women in their mid-forties are a much better match for me in terms of health, activity level, interests and, yes, sex drive, than women nearer my age.
    But I have found that if I list my age accurately, I can’t get any response from women who would be most compatible – because right off the bat I’m ‘too old’ for them.
    So I’ve adjusted my age down 5 years, but that bothers me, and as the article says, that’s not a good premise to start from.
    It would be nice if there were a way of not listing age at all, just like in the days before online dating, when you met someone attractive and questions of age, marriage and children didn’t arise until much later.
    Since there isn’t, what do I do? Adjust my age down further so I get looked at, and near the end of my profile admit my real age with an explanation of why I did so? Or explain it in my initial message? Neither of these seem like it will have the desired results.
    This has become a real dilemma!

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