Double Standards: Ageism in Dating


Perhaps you’re not too familiar with the world of politics. If that’s true, let me give you a quick update about the country of baguettes, cheese and wine (= France): they have a new president. Emmanuel Macron won the elections but he’s considered slightly controversial due to his marriage. His wife is 24 years his senior and used to teach at his school. I will not comment on the appropriateness or lack thereof of relationships between students and teachers. Perhaps she’s a bad apple among the educators, but it’s not the main source of controversy and mockery. The main reason is the new First Lady’s age.

Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine you should know because of the infamous shooting that took place in the magazine’s headquarters. Recently published a cartoon of the new French president with his pregnant wife with a caption “He’ll do miracles”. It’s so funny, you see, because Macron’s wife is 64 years old and therefore most probably can’t get pregnant. That the cartoon is in poor taste is undeniable. However, it also brings our attention to a much bigger issue, which is double standards when it comes to an age difference between partners.

A 20 year age gap isn’t a novelty. We all know middle aged men going through a life crisis who decide to exchange their aging wife for another woman half of their age. We also know the women that are simply into older men. This is a worldwide phenomenon and so is the acceptance of the fact that it’s okay for a man to date someone who’s much younger than him. If the situation is reversed it causes outrage. Demi Moore’s relationship with Ashton Kutcher was criticized in a way, particular for her gender. After all she’s a cougar on a prowl, a female who deserves nothing but pity and contempt and don’t we all know that the boy didn’t love her anyway, but just wanted her money? At the same time no one used similar accusations against her ex husband Bruce Willis, who also dated a much younger woman.

This brings us to the underlying issue which is the fact that the qualities that are valued in men are different than those valued in women. Even in modern times a woman’s beauty, freshness and fertility are considered to be her biggest assets. These qualities fade with time which is the reason why women are believed to have an expiry date and those above the age of thirty are often referred to as being “over the hill”. This is because, unlike men, women have limited time to reproduce. Doctors started to move the “safe motherhood” boarder to 40 but it is arguable. Because of this reason especially the men who want to have children go for younger partners and as unfair as it may seen, it’s also understandable. The real problem is, however, putting females beauty above her other assets. A friend shared a cartoon on Facebook recently, saying that a reversed version of “Beauty and the Beast” would never happen, because no one tells a man to date a woman just because she’s nice. Unfortunately, this is true.

Perhaps aging is a process that treats men slightly better than women, but no one will tell me that they prefer 70 year old Harrisson Ford to the younger version of the same man. And yet, older men rarely have trouble with finding a second partner when children are no longer the case. Women do. This is because a man is cherished for his kindness, his wisdom and last but not least his financial situation and back in the days, all this came for a man with age. Women were therefore just getting older and less desirable. These days, however, with a woman’s age a career, financial security and wisdom comes too. The problem is that the world didn’t catch up with this change and still values women for what was traditionally considered to be their assets.

If a young woman can be impressed by a father like qualities in a man, a man shouldn’t be judged for similar longings. Dating an older partner has its challenges, but men shouldn’t be in addition judged for their choice of an older partner. Women in such situations shouldn’t be judged either.

Tell me what you think, Rinsers! Set your keyboards on fire with how fast you type!



  1. “Maturity isn’t a byproduct of age…but of personal growth”

    How two individuals align within any relationship is much more about their ability to relate to life experiences and perspectives rather than birthdate?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I partially agree, but I think it’s not an overstatement to say that the older we are the more experience and wisdom we have. Of course, there are exceptions. Ability to relate to individuals is one thing but the fact is that there exist certain difficulties with dating someone much older/younger. Having said that I don’t think dating an older woman is any different to dating an older man and it wouldn’t be if not for the fact how harsh people are towards women.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you even read my comment? I didn’t say or imply anything you rambled about in response to my original statement. Humans grow at different rates, and experiences contribute to, but don’t absolutely define any level of maturity. Therefore, an older person and a younger person my share in common more or less than what’s represented by age alone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did reply to your comment and then went on in a different direction so that the comment isn’t interpreted in the wrong way. I said I partially agree with you. People do grow at different rates but I wouldn’t say that exceptions can make a rule. In other words, surely some twenty year olds have lots in common with forty year olds but most don’t which is the reason why such relationships are more challenging.


  3. I am that younger man who has been in a relationship with a woman 18 years his senior for the last 20 years. Once one can see past the Darwinian survivalist urge to chose a mate based on fertility, there is every reason why any woman has the same range of sexual and life partners as a man. It is notions of sexism which see Emanuel Macron get caricatured for choosing an older woman. It is also envy, on the part of both men and women, that Brigitte Trogneux has pulled herself a magnetic younger man, when society rejects women who are sexually liberated. Sex, for the older woman, freed from restraints of procreation is always more liberating and what better way to enjoy it, than with a hot vigorous young piece of flesh!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well said, thank you for your comment. Of course, it’s sexist and of course a lot of people really only have a problem with a woman being as free as a man.


  4. Honourable Zloteroony

    I disagree with your analysis. It’s all about our seed. Pre-menopausal women are desired for their fertility. Middle-aged men are sought after for their demonstrably durable genes. There’s a lot of research on this, it’s pretty uncontroversial by now.
    Of course, we don’t *explicity* seek our partners on those bases, but it’s these genetic incentives that generate the “ick” from Mrs Macron and a swoon from Grandpa Ford.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Would you mind sharing the research you’re referring to? More and more people decide not to have children. Outside of the reproductive context there’s no reason for such preferences. The reason why people are upset with Mrs Macron is because 1) they don’t like the idea of female unrestrained sexuality (men) and 2) they’re jealous (women)


  5. I personally find it fabulous and a sure sign of true love when age is not a barrier in a relationship. I come from a society where age doesn’t really matter, yes you have the older MARRIED men seeking younger flesh for sexual satisfaction, you also have the older men seeking a younger woman for reproductive purposes. Then the flip side there’s the older women seeking a young buck that she can groom or mould for a better word. I’ve always been attracted to older men for some reason, for me they just know what they want, men my age always had some drama going on in their lives. Now that I’m older though I do find my eyes wondering to the younger bucks in the heard. Don’t ask me why, maybe it’s some instinct there kicking in that I am oblivious to! My husband is 6 years older than I am, my first was 10 years older, I was 16 he was 26 when we met( he tried moulding me and it didn’t work, which is why he’s my ex)-LOL!. I’m 48 now and people think I’m in my late 20s or early 30s so my husband and I are ALWAYS getting the side eye from both men and women when going anywhere, not sure what they think about my 21 and 18-year-old, probably think they’re my sisters. So I pass no judgement on the age difference between a man and woman whether it’s a younger man with a considerably older woman or vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Age doesn’t matter that much. One can only be jealous that you look so young! I miss the times when people still asked me for my ID and I’m not even 30 😉

      I do feel a big age difference can be challenging, though (bigger than with you and your husbands). Say you’re 20 and dating a guy in his 40s, obviously different social circles and ages could make it more difficult to enjoy socializing together. At the same time all relationships have its difficulties and we make our own choices. We shouldn’t be judgmental (even if sometimes it’s difficult not too ;)).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree on the socialising part. But my way around that is to maintain your identity, being in a relationship married or not doesn’t mean you have to always socialise as a unit. I’ve always have my social events and he has his. On the rare occasion we do socialise together I don’t mind suffering for an hour or two and neither does he.

        The whole point in being in a relationship with the HUGE age difference is understanding and laying the ground rules from the start. I think this is where many relationships fall short, whether you’re in the same age bracket or not!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh sure, I think people should definitely socialize separately too. At the same time it’s nice to have friends the company of whom both partners enjoy. It doesn’t mean it must be everyone’s way but I would be sad if I couldn’t “share” some friends with my husband 😉 As you say, the rules are important and if both partners agree on separate socializing it’s fine too. Once that’s done you want be upset that your say 50 year old husband prefers to go to an art gallery, when the 18 year old you’d rather get stoned 😉 At the end of the day it’s the relationship between the people that matters. If it’s truly working for them, it is working for me.

        Liked by 1 person

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