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Older Men and Younger Women: The Brutal Facts

Recent letters from women who were dismayed by men who ignore them and pursue women a decade or more their juniors prompted me to ask male readers for their points of view. Why do men who ardently courted their contemporaries during high school and college now barely give these same women a glance?

A man in Southern California gave a brutally frank analysis of why this is so. He prefers to remain anonymous, and it is easy to understand why when you read an excerpt from his controversial letter. He writes, “Many single women face the reality that men their own age are not interested in dating or marrying them after about age 30, but few ever get to hear some of the reasons why this is so.

“If single women can be made aware of the many reasons why a significant portion of available males feel this way, it will help them conclude more quickly that their opportunities for finding a mate of an age and quality similar to themselves are probably very limited.

“I have been single for six years after a 15-year marriage, and have spoken to hundreds of single men and women. I find that there are many reasons why men seek younger women. To begin with, men want more in a partner than just an adequate personality. So they don’t count personality alone as special. Men are more attracted to physical appearance or give it higher priority. And since, to paraphrase a famous author, ‘beauty is youth, youth beauty,’ men tend to chase the youngest partner available to them.

“Most single women over 30 are divorced, and they are often bitter about the way they were treated in their marriage. The older the woman is, the more she feels wronged. This makes her more bitter toward her next partner than a younger woman who may believe that marriage is not forever. The more bitter a woman is, the less giving and more vindictive she is in her relationship with men. Men don’t want to buy into this kind of situation if they can avoid it, and so they have another reason to search for a younger woman.

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“Most older women have had children. This creates several problems. First, her body is usually less attractive. Second, because women do most of the child raising, they are more worn out than men the same age. Children never really leave their mothers. Thus, a man coming into a woman’s life always has to share the woman with her children.

“As a man gets older, he doesn’t want ‘problems.’ When you add it all up, the woman must be really special for a man to give all of himself to get only part of a worn-out woman. (I know that men wear out too and may not be such a bargain, but I am writing from the man’s point of view, and that is what women are up against.)

Hard-to-Swallow Thoughts

“I recommend that older women who want to find a partner realize that they are not attractive to the group they belonged to when they were in high school. If they want a lasting relationship, they may have to settle for someone less educated or who earns less money, has coarser habits, has some chronic ailment or disability, or has a job requiring travel or frequent relocation. These facts are not easy to swallow for a woman who has a reasonably high sense of self-worth. But these are the facts, and the sooner they are recognized as facts, the earlier in life women can present what they have to offer cheerfully to someone who will cherish them.”

Whether you consider the sentiments expressed in this letter laudable or despicably self-centered, I have no doubt that its contents reflect the thinking of many older single men. In part, the “marketplace” has created this situation--there are simply many more available women than men as you go up the age scale. But do all older single men feel this way? I’d like to hear from men who have a different view. I imagine I’ll hear a great deal from women who disagree with the ideas in this letter.

Questions about the singles life may be addressed to Howard Halpern, On Your Own, Care of Special Features, Syndication Sales Corp., 200 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10166.


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