Yes, men over 40 are more confident, more connected, and even more fun. — Alex Daniel
It’s no secret that Hollywood casting agents love to pair older men with younger women. From 51-year-old Tom Cruise fighting aliens in Edge of Tomorrow alongside 31-year-old Emily Blunt, to the 36 year-old Ryan Gosling dancing with 28 year-old Emma Stone in La La Land, to Scarlett Johansson’s, well... her entire career, it’s become something of a cliché that, as the male leads get older, the female leads get younger. (Seriously: who can't forget the most egregious age gap of all, when the white-hot 30 year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones was paired with a 69 year-old Sean Connery in the otherwise forgettable 1999 film Entrapment?)
Now, we at Best Life definitely aren’t saying that the perfect real-life relationship should mirror any onscreen trends. And God knows there’s plenty of evidence that women can happily find romance with younger beaus. (Just look at Amy Schumer, Julianne Moore, Katie Couric, Kate Hudson, and countless others.) But the reality is that numerous studies—including a recent Finnish study of more than 12,000 people—have revealed that a lot of younger women do in fact prefer their romantic matches to be older.
"When it comes to mating, women control the market," the researchers write. "Women, on average, are interested in same-aged to somewhat older men than themselves, and this pattern displays itself across the entire lifespan." (Meanwhile, men are attracted to younger women as sexual partners, the scientists argue, for fertility reasons.)
Beyond the science, there are plenty of great reasons why women should find dating men above their age bracket more appealing. In fact, there are 15 that immediately come to mind. And whether you're dating older, younger, or someone born the exact same day, don't miss out on the 40 Best Things You Need to Do In Your 40s.
1. Older Men Are More Confident
Older guys know who they are. They’ve gotten over youthful insecurities and are more likely to exude that easy comfort that creates a fun atmosphere and boosts the confidence of those around them, including the women they date. A five-month study by dating site WhatsYourPrice found younger women to have a high interest in older men because of their higher level of maturity—and that's just one of the benefits of being north of 40.
2. They’ve Got More Time for Fun
There’s plenty for a woman to love about an ambitious young man, but not if he’s so busy building a career and impressing his superiors that he has little time left over to enjoy himself. A man who’s further along in his career isn’t having to put in 60 hours or more a week. He can cut out of work early on a Friday for an impromptu weekend getaway or take a leisurely lunch with a date without having to worry about a boss breathing down his neck. He's also, when he wants to be, really, really good at acting like he's in his 20s.
3. They’re More Established
An older man is way more likely than a young guy to have a condo or house, a car, maybe even a vacation home and boat. He’s spent years establishing himself and surrounding himself with nice things—which a woman who he dates can enjoy along with him. A 2010 study from Scottish psychologists found that even financially independent women preferred older men in part because they had more time to accumulate wealth. (For our essential wealth-building rules right now, see here.)
4. They Have Money and Know How to Spend it
An older guy has saved money for years, and learned how to be smart with it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans’ average net worth skyrockets from ages 35–44 to 45–54 (and jumps again the next decade). On average, an older guy can afford nice gifts and to pay for trips without blowing up his credit card bill. If you're lucky he could also be well on his way to early retirement.
5. They Know Stuff
Whether they’re avid readers, casual TV viewers, or simply experienced in the game of life, older guys have had more time to soak up knowledge and are happy to share it. Going out with an older man, a woman’s going to learn something new—a good joke, how to order a great cocktail, or some weird fact they didn’t know. He also knows the things he needn't waste time worrying about at this stage of his life.
6. They’re Better Communicators
Some guys are naturally great communicators, but the rest of us have to learn the art of listening and connecting through experience. And older men are the most experienced when it comes to carrying on meaningful, memorable conversations whether flirting at the bar, on dates, or in a long-term relationship. Women responding to that 2010 Scottish study stated that they were attracted to older men because they were more likely to be “emotionally stable.”
7. They’re Better at Relationships
Just as older men have learned how to interact with the opposite sex, they’ve also gotten past the amateur mistakes that younger men make in relationships. They know to be honest about their expectations from the start and to respond to the wants and needs of the women in their lives. If something is not working, an older guy is going to address it, and if things are working great, he’s going to move the relationship forward without needing to be pushed. They are also more interested in starting a family: An analysis of 10,000 men and women found that men who had partners six years younger than themselves had the greatest number of children (an average of 2.2 children per couple).
8. They’re Better at Sex
Even if they don’t have the youthful energy of their juniors, older men know what they’re doing in bed. Chances are they’ve had a lot more sex in their years and have picked up a few things that younger men are still learning. (They may have even been boosting their sex lives with yoga.) Older men are also less likely to be in it for their own pleasure. They’ve had plenty of sex and are more interested in pleasing their partner. As Laura Lifshitz writes in Popsugar about older men and sex, “He’s had years to perfect, fail, attempt, and succeed enough to know what exactly will make your toes curl…or not!”
9. They’ve Got a Clear Sense of Style
A woman doesn’t need to teach an older guy how to tie a bow tie or help him figure out his suit-jacket size. He knows his style basics, and what clothes best work with his look. He’s got his favorite clothing stores and probably a favorite tailor or two who customizes his wardrobe the way he likes it. Cultivating all this takes time and experience few young men have. If you want to know if a man is really wealthly, he's probably wearing clothes like these.
10. They Have More Sophisticated Tastes
Crummy beer and fast food lost their appeal to an older guy many years ago. He’s had time to develop his palate, discerning which wine pairs best with a particular meal, which whisky he prefers, and the nuances of a terrific steak. Unlike a younger guy, an older man can also afford to take a woman to fine restaurants and buy the best stuff on the menu. He also probably knows all of the fine-dining do's and don'ts.
11. They Are More Cultured
Just as their taste buds are more refined, so is their sense of quality culture. An older guy has seen his share of films and theater, and knows his way around a museum (even if he’s not exactly sure what the difference is between post-impressionism and art nouveau). This culture extends to his home, where his polished tastes can be seen in the furniture, décor, and art in his abode.
12. They’ve Kicked Bad Habits
It’s not unusual for guys in their 20s and 30s to still be working through a smoking habit, having trouble cutting the extra sweets out of their diets, or catching themselves gawking at beautiful women on the street. But by the time men get a bit older, they’re more likely to have gotten a handle on their bad habits, whether because they’ve seen the negative long-term impact they have or have simply matured a bit. They also know the foods not to eat and the best ways to stay young.
13. They’re More Chivalrous
They aren’t old enough to have lived through the days of knights and maidens, but an older guy has learned about the value of a chivalrous attitude toward the women in his life. He doesn’t just open doors for his lady and offer an umbrella when the rain comes down, he has cultivated a respect for a more traditional approach to relations between the sexes—and an appreciation for the romance it creates.
14. They’re Connected
An older guy won’t have you waiting in line outside the hot new club. He’s learned that you don’t show up to a party without making sure your names are on the list and knows who to call to get access to the VIP section. Over the years, he’s made friends in the right places and knows when to call in a favor. These are things only experience teaches, and that’s what an older man has in spades.
15. They Aren’t Looking to Change a Woman
A man who has had a few relationships, perhaps a marriage or two, knows that he’s better off finding a woman who fits his life, rather than trying to mold a woman into his life. Younger women will find that older guys are often less controlling, less critical, and more likely to delight in them for who they are. As one woman told Cosmo when asked about dating older men: “I've found that most guys my age have trouble dealing with strong-willed, smart-mouthed girls, even though we are supposed to live in an age of feminism and all.” If you're still on the market, don't miss our roundup of the Best Dating Apps for People Over 40.
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