Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

His Take: “I’m 22 and Older Guys Don’t Take Me Seriously”

DW HIS TAKE LOGOHis Take questions are answered by our panel of smart, opinionated, and funny dudes.

I am a 22-year-old female. My parents had very demanding expectations of me, and as a result I finished high school at 16 and college at 20. I have been a professional for three years now.

I am not particularly interested in guys my age because marriage is the last thing on their minds. Many are in school and will be for the next few years, and many live at home or with roommates. We aren’t a good match because we are just in different phases of our lives.

Over the past year, I have asked a few guys out ages 28-31. The first few dates went very smoothly until they asked my age. Each date said “22? I thought you were 25-26!,” then never called me again. I don’t think a 6-9 year age difference is a big deal. It’s not like my dates were old enough to be my father. But they all got hung up on my age and I can’t figure it out.

In a guy’s mind, how big of an age difference is too big? Am I doomed to be single until I turn 25-26 because no one will accept me at age 22? — Old Soul

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 7.14.33 PMBrian: When I was an extremely attractive 22-year-old, having already landed a hotshot job working for the coolest writer in America and his editor, I thought: “Nobody my age can handle my unmatchable coolness and bank account approaching four figures. Perhaps I should try the older ladies. They’re more likely to appreciate my worldview and the excellence-by-association that is working for a guy whose books line their shelves.” (This is obviously back in the day when people owned bookshelves that were being used for something other than plants and dusty framed photos).

The problem with shutting yourself off from the immature 22-year-olds around you is that you are an immature 22-year-old. There is no such thing as a 22-year-old who is ready for marriage and that includes you and Brian Fairbanks at age 22, who definitely thought dating older women would allow him to simply fast-forward (yes, these were the VCR days too) through those ugly, drunken, hookup-filled, waste-of-space early 20s and cut to settling down. But I never got married and I wasted quite a few years with older women whose issues I overlooked because they were older, wiser, and hot. What they were not? The one thing I needed: someone whom I could grow older with because they had already been there in a lot of ways and patted me on the head like a child.

It sucks to be 22 and want to get married and to know that most guys are enjoying a culture that tells them not to get married quickly and to sleep with as many girls as possible until they get tired and plump. They will find that they missed 95% of the great girls out there, including you, because girls like you won’t be single for long. Not even till they’re 26.

So, go date. Date ’em all. Date the 22s and the 33s and (okay, maybe not) the 44s. If your guy friends are out playing the averages, going on 1,000 dates to get laid, then you go on 1,000 dates… to find someone who doesn’t care that you’re 22 because they’re only 22. Or 33… or…

AndrewDrew: I am not a licensed anthropologist. However, I am confident in stating that, throughout history, the male species has demonstrated an unequivocal willingness to date 22-year-olds. Maybe it didn’t work out for you with those few guys, but, if my unlicensed research is correct, you’ll have plenty more opportunities. So just try to enjoy yourself along the way. Also, in an attempt to be taken more seriously by the anthropological community, I have translated* your letter into hieroglyphics. This is what it looks like:

unnamed-2

*Unlicensed translation

unnamedGuy Friday: No, you’re not doomed to be single. But I also think you need to recognize that, just because YOU think you’re in the same “phase of your life” as these older guys, doesn’t mean they agree with you. I mean, I’m 30 now, and I’ve gone through several different “phases” since I graduated law school five years ago, and even more since I graduated undergrad nine years ago (and that’s the first time I wrote that out, so excuse me while I cry a little for my youth). And that’s OK; we all want what we want, and that’s life. But very few great life partners come before you have had a lot of unfruitful first dates, so keep the faith and remember that, while you may have been a professional for a while, you’re still only 22 and you have TONS of time ahead of you.

One other thing though: It’s not like I’m offended, but I want to challenge your notion that people still in school or living with roommates aren’t in the “same phase” as you. While I was in law school, I was actively trying cases and working, as well as having classes, and I lived with roommates because I was single and frugal. Had I been in a relationship with someone, I’d have lived with them, but why pay more rent for less space than I could get sharing a 2-bedroom/2-bath? You might consider at least cautiously dipping your toe into the “people your own age” dating pool, because you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

If you’d like to ask the guys a question, email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

42 comments… add one
  • mylaray

    mylaray January 14, 2015, 8:18 am

    I think this is interesting. I also graduated college early at 20, and have been working for 5 years now. As a result I have friends who are all over the place in ages, which is great. My husband is 5 years older than me, and there was never an issue with the age gap. I did tend to find that dating someone older was more similar to where I was. But, I didn’t write off people my age. You miss out on a lot if you’re too selective like that. And like Guy Friday said, life phase is important. Sure my husband and I met when I was 20 and he was 25, but we were about in the same place in life. Especially at 22, you’re going to find older guys who just want to date a hot young thing for awhile and not be serious. It’s not that different from the stereotypical immature guys at your age. So cast a wide net, and then weed out from there.

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  • avatar

    d2 January 14, 2015, 9:02 am

    Being in the same phase is more important than to be at the same age, so you shouldn’t limit you dating pool simply by age. However, there are different phases to think about – the phase of your personal self and the phase of your professional self. That may (or may not) make a difference to you in compatibility.

    Weirdly, my personal phase and professional phase have not been in sync most of my life, so I have found it difficult to find a comfortable match. Or maybe my problem is that I’m just weird. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Jenny January 14, 2015, 9:05 am

    Drew’s hieroglyphics are everything.

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  • avatar

    Essie January 14, 2015, 9:08 am

    I think that part of your problem is that you’re treating being married, or at least coupled, as the next box on your checklist. High school – check, college – check, professional job – check, husband – check.
    .
    Lots of 22-year-olds think that’s the way life works. Lots of divorced 30-year-olds realize that it’s not. 🙂
    .
    Here’s how it really works. You start thinking about marriage when you’re in a relationship that so solid, so good, so RIGHT, that you realize you want to wake up next to this person for the rest of your life. That this is the person you want as your partner as you go through all the phases of your life.
    .
    You may meet this person when you’re 22. Or 35. Or 55. Or never.
    .
    Or maybe you’ll meet a guy who would be your best friend and life partner, the love of your life, and reject him without even getting to know him because he’s only 2 years older than you are, instead of 10.
    .
    Lose the timetable. Lose the checklist. Lose the criteria. Live your life. Meet people. Date people. Get to know people instead of measuring them against some arbitrary list of requirements. Stop husband-hunting and just live.

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    • kmtthat

      kmentothat January 14, 2015, 10:23 am

      This. LW, if you pay attention to nothing else….read what Essie said.
      .
      Also…I’m glad I didn’t settle down seriously with anyone too early in my career because it would have limited me. As a woman, it just tends to, because it seems to be that women are more often willing to move for their significant other’s job than vice versa. When I moved to Chicago, EVERYONE assumed it was to follow a guy. It was unfathomable that at 28 I was moving to a city 2,000 miles away where I knew no one for my career. Willingness to relocate, change jobs, etc. and answering to no one but yourself is HUGE in income potential. Also, pregnancy in the early (0-10) years of a growing career can really set you back (not always, planning and a great company really help). Maybe this is just from a personal and corporate perspective, but appreciate the time you have to build your career on your own terms.

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      • avatar

        memboard January 14, 2015, 12:39 pm

        That’s great advice but you are also trading off a family for it. There are real disadvantages of having a family later in life.

        I am not sure if kids are better later than earlier in a career. I fact I would go with an earlier rather than later. Early in the game you are junior enough that 1 or 2 years missed might not be a big deal. Later when you are more senior you just might mommy tracked to avoid the larger business impact of your maternity. It’s a tough call. (this presumes you are working a 40h job, not these workahoolic 70h/week schedules in which case friends with benefit should be what you aim at).

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      • kmtthat

        kmentothat January 14, 2015, 1:20 pm

        Yeah there are many perspectives on when the right time to start a family is, but I do not think my advice means you are necessarily trading off a family.
        .
        The advantages for waiting: I have significantly more financial security now as 30 year old than I had a few years into my career, which I think is HUGE in raising a child. Additionally, I have more money for childcare/am closer to my parent’s retirement age so my mom could be a potential nanny, whereas earlier in my career I would have paid a lot in childcare when making considerably less or had to take a year or two off and depended on a significant other’s salary, and then try to jump back into a role that still has a lot of competition (junior level roles tend to have more applicants).
        .
        Also, I have more seniority at a better company than I did at that age, so I could actually take 4 months of paid maternity time versus the no paid time at the job I had then, though there is certainly no guarantee everyone will end up in a supportive company. I work for a Big 4 firm and have seen women in top positions that weren’t mommy tracked and were given a lot of flexibility because they had proved themselves to be valuable in the long term to the company (versus someone who has only a few years in). The first 5-10 years are often the big push years (really proving yourself, longer hours) and when you get to a more senior position you have more leeway to balance work to fit your schedule. However maybe that’s the exception, and again, I am speaking from a purely corporate perspective, but in my world I think it makes a lot of sense to wait.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 14, 2015, 1:45 pm

        I’m glad you addressed this comment in a well thought out way.
        .
        Frankly, I’m not sure what the trade off is? There are advantages and disadvantages no matter what age you have children. It really depends on the two people having the children and what they’re comfortable with.
        .
        As for this LW, if she wants to start a family now… ok… fine… BUT what I think EVERYONE is telling her is to not focus on age so much in the men you date. That’s ridiculous. Also, don’t worry about the checked boxes, which it sounds like she’s doing. It’s silly to rush things just so you can say you’re married and are ready to start a family. That’s why there’s a hell of a lot of divorces, IMO. Isn’t it better to take your time and partner up with the right person? Your potential children will have a lot better parents for that reason alone.

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        Taylor January 14, 2015, 3:37 pm

        Well said. I really disagree with this “There are real disadvantages of having a family later in life.” There’s a different set of pros and cons having a family later in life. It’s tough having kids anytime. Personally, I am way better suited to being a mom at 35 than I was at 25. Professionally, personally, and physically (I was not a healthy 25 year old!)

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover January 14, 2015, 2:14 pm

        I had kids later and I think my career was better off that way. By the time you’re in your 30s the trajectory of your career is very clear. Everyone has decided if you’re a rising star or not. Everyone knows what you’re good at. Leaving isn’t a big deal. If I had left early in my career, I think it would have stalled it. You’re at the point where you’re still moving around a lot, figuring things out, finding out where you fit. You’re building a network and getting to know the business. Leaving at that point could be quite an interruption to all that.
        .
        Of course everyone’s mileage may vary, but that’s my perspective. I was 37 when I had my son, and that’s really too late to be mommy tracked. Everyone knew who I was and what I was capable of, they weren’t re-forming their opinions of my abilities based on the fact that I now have a kid.

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    • coconot

      coconot January 14, 2015, 10:58 am

      Excellent advice! LW please heed.

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray January 14, 2015, 11:10 am

      What Essie said!

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    • Portia

      Portia January 14, 2015, 11:17 am

      This. I have too many friends that need to hear this advice…

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    • avatar

      Amy January 14, 2015, 4:07 pm

      Oh this is so good! Lots of 22-year olds think this way and lots of divorced 30-year-olds realize that it’s not. This is SO SO right! Lose the checklist and lose the time table and you will be SO much more happy!

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  • avatar

    zanderbomb January 14, 2015, 9:09 am

    It might also be worth some internal reflection. Like Drew said, men like 22 year olds. I also know a lot of men in the age range you stated who are NOT looking for marriage right off the bat. Patti Singler (?) would also tisk you for asking the men out (not saying I agree, but it is her job.) It could be if you are doing all the asking your picker is a little off. Are you looking at a specific type of man? And you seem very goal oriented. Why do you think you’re ready for marriage? Because its the next level of achievement? I just think you need to ask yourself a lot of honest questions before assuming its just a number.

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  • avatar

    Jenny January 14, 2015, 9:13 am

    Now that I’m done marveling over the hieroglyphics, my advice to LW is: pump your breaks! You’ve achieved a lot and that’s admirable, but that doesn’t mean you need to start looking for a husband at 22. It sounds like your young years have been spent being quite busy…have some fun!! Life isn’t a giant to-do list with items to check off. And I’m kinda a hypocrite because I got married at 23, but I was just a regular dumb kid up until that point and had a few years of being young and carefree. So go out and have fun and maybe along the way you’ll meet the right guy.

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  • avatar

    Kate January 14, 2015, 9:29 am

    I can’t tell from your letter how much, if any, dating or relationship experience you have. You may feel mature and ready to settle down at 22, but the problem is marriage isn’t just about “settling down,” it requires an important set of skills that most people don’t have at your age. That’s why something like 75% of marriages under the age of 25 don’t work out. Combination of not knowing what you don’t know and hence picking the wrong person and, if you do pick a good one, knowing how to make it work over time.

    I was one of those 75%. Sure, I was adult enough at 20/21 to physically get married and live a life with my husband, but he was my first boyfriend and NOT the guy I should have married, nor did I have enough emotional maturity, skills, coping mechanisms, etc. etc. etc. to effectively deal with the problems we had.

    All these people are right, let things happen organically and don’t rush things toward an end goal.

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  • lynn

    lynn January 14, 2015, 9:52 am

    Age truly isn’t an issue. Trust me. I don’t have a ton of ‘boyfriend’ experience, but I’ve gone out with plenty of older guys, and I definitely did a lot of that when I was 22. Like others have said, it’s just a matter of meeting and finding guys who want to be serious. Granted, I wasn’t looking for anything serious then. When I was 22, I had been out in the real world for a year, as I already had a position waiting for me upon graduation, and I dated a guy in my apartment complex for a couple months. He was 31, so 9 years older than me. He chased me for a few months before I gave him a chance, and we actually really liked one another and went out several times until his work transferred him to a new city a few states away. But, we remained friends, and he calls every once in a while to catch up on life.

    On the flip side, also when I was 22, I went out a few times with a guy who was 20 years older than me. We met out and about one day… I was silly and thought he was much younger than he was, and he pegged me for about 28-29. He later said I looked young, but acted much older. Anyway, we were out at dinner one night, and it was the first time we brought up age. He began telling me about his kid, and I panicked a little bit, and asked how old his kid was… Turns out his kid was 15, and at that point, I asked him if he knew how old I was and vice versa. So, we had that conversation and whatnot, and I told him I wasn’t comfortable dating someone that much older than me. Great guy, a lot of fun, but I definitely wasn’t mature enough for a potential relationship with him.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope January 14, 2015, 10:08 am

    I would focus less on the demographics and more on the individual. Life is not linear.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray January 14, 2015, 10:12 am

    Drew is legitimately funny!

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster January 14, 2015, 12:14 pm

      HA!
      .
      Seriously, though, that drawing is legitimately funny.

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  • avatar

    csp January 14, 2015, 10:12 am

    LW, While others have said not to focus on marriage, I think it is fine to date with intention. I do fine that you need to re-frame your approach. You hate being judged for your age but seem to judge men for their age. I would really look at goals and ambitions. I met my husband at 23 and we were married a 25. Now in my mid 30s, I can tell you that we have friends that still don’t have their act together. we have one friend who has never moved out of his parents’ house. I would try to find a man that has the same value systems and go from there. I would date a bunch until you find the right guy because there are going to be a bunch of guys that will be wrong for you. IT is a numbers game so keep fighting the good fight.

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    • coconot

      coconot January 14, 2015, 11:00 am

      Yes, I agree, don’t assume that a 27/28 year old has his sh*t together. My now husband certainly didn’t at that age (but thankfully does at 35!).

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray January 14, 2015, 10:13 am

    “… bank account approaching four figures …” Bri Bri makes me laugh, too.

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  • avatar

    ktfran January 14, 2015, 10:22 am

    Wow LW, you and I are in the same boat. I only date 28 to 31-year-olds too, but I turned 35 today. Wait, I will go down to 27. So there’s that.
    .
    Totally kidding, although I did date a dude six years younger than me and he acted a lot more mature than me.
    .
    Don’t pigeon hole people because you’ll likely end up with someone you have lukewarm feelings for instead of someone awesome.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy January 14, 2015, 11:04 am

      Happy birthday!!

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 14, 2015, 11:25 am

        Why thank you!

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  • avatar

    Eve January 14, 2015, 10:42 am

    I agree guys in their early 20s are generally immature, don’t know what they want out of life or out of relationships. But hear this.
    I have a friend who is turning 30 this year. He will definitely fit your set of criteria as he has a good career as well, he’s mature and funny and has a nice car. However, he seems to have some serious commitment issues which is why he primarily dates girls your age and mine (22). Girls our age don’t start pestering him about living together and having families and huge commitment words like women his age do, so he has his fun with younger girls and then moves on without committing to anything.
    I’m telling you this because you can’t just find your marriage-material guy by judging people based on their age and career and that’s it. Someone may be in the right phase in life in terms of his career, salary, property, etc, but that doesn’t mean that he is in that stage of life to commit to you or to anyone at all… (the same works the other way round).
    Also, I may be wrong but if i was a 30 year old guy at the stage of looking for the woman of my life to have my kids and build a home and family with, I likely will not be looking at 22 year olds…. I think men at this age (30) know girls our age have a lot of growing up and learning to do about relationships and life. The general perception is that at this age instead of starting families, we are supposed to be dating around, getting to know ourselves better, the relationship scene, getting to know guys and what we want from a relationship, what our priorities are, and I think that’s what you should be doing.
    Just because you’ve got your high school and college degree earlier than most and have been a professional in a certain field for 2-3 years, doesn’t mean that you have all of that sorted as well. This comes with experience by dating different people. Finding the One or whatever doesn’t happen using a checklist, like graduating from college and getting a good job.
    My advice is to enjoy your early 20s with like-minded people you enjoy spending time with, what’s the rush to get all settled and married and have 3 kids by the time you’re like 25 ?! Is there some pressure upon you to have everything “settled” by a certain age (like, 25)?
    Seriously, you need to stop trying to control literally everything happening in your life and just let loose, have fun with friends, get to know people from different backgrounds and age groups, you don’t know where your next boyfriend will come along. You can’t predict everything which will happen in your life, if so far you have – good for you, but it doesn’t work this way when it comes to relationships.

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  • avatar

    RedroverRedrover January 14, 2015, 10:59 am

    I work with a team in China and one of the guys came overseas to work locally with me for awhile. He was 25 and his wife had just had their first kid. At the time, I was in my mid-30s and just planning my wedding. I told him how great it was that he met his wife and had kids so young. His response? “Yeah, but I feel like I’ve accomplished everything. I graduated university, got a great job, got married, bought a house, had a kid, all in 2 or 3 years. My next big accomplishment will be becoming a grandparent”.
    .
    My point is, don’t rush. Why do you want to be “done” so soon? I guess if you have kids early it does make it nice to travel in your 40s and 50s when you have more money. But travelling young is great because it’s easier to do hostels and that kind of thing. If you feel like marriage is your lifelong dream and what you truly need to fulfill you, then that’s fine and that’s the answer to my question. If that’s the case then sure, keep looking for marriage. But if not, then relax and just date for the fun of it. Make an adventure out of life. Enjoy yourself without having marriage as the end goal of each first date.

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  • avatar

    Eve January 14, 2015, 11:07 am

    I really love people’s comments here, so well put together!

    On a totally separate note, I seem to have always had older guys asking me out (like up to 10 years older than me), no idea why lol .. something about the vibes I send to them.
    And some of them turned out to be total creeps. So yeah, don’t judge people by their age. Be more open-minded.

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  • coconot

    coconot January 14, 2015, 11:12 am

    Just a thought, but maybe the guys are getting scared off because of your obvious focus on marriage and not your age? Almost no guy, whether he is 22 or 32 or 42 wants to get too serious straight away, and honestly you shouldn’t want that either. I did happen to get married very young — at age 21 — but was definitely not looking to do so. My plan was always to get married after grad school at 27-28, but after 2 years of dating my now husband, I couldn’t picture a life without him, so I threw my life plans to the wind and got engaged. 5 years later, I am still very happy with my decision and wouldn’t change it for the world, but I am sometimes sad that I didn’t get the chance to date around into my 20s. There are so many awesome guys out there to experience!

    Since you are young and have lots of time, try to just enjoy dating until you find someone you can’t live without, rather than looking so pointedly for someone to marry. I can say with certainty that I would never have even started dating my now husband if I was pre-screening him as marriage material — he didn’t meet the check boxes I had in my head at the time. Our first date was meant to be hanging out with friends, our first week was just hooking up, and we sort of accidentally fell into a relationship. What I am trying to say is that it is possible to miss out on a great guy if you are focusing too hard on marriage, since you don’t always know ahead of time what you will want, especially if you are young and don’t have a lot of dating experience.

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    • coconot

      coconot January 14, 2015, 11:14 am

      Oh and FWIW my husband is 9 yrs older than me, but we were both in school for the first 2 1/2 yrs of dating. I agree with LW that looking for someone in the same “life phase” is important, I just want her to stop looking specifically for marriage!

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  • Lyra

    Lyra January 14, 2015, 11:26 am

    I get the vibe that you’re judging these guys on their age even though you don’t want to be judged yourself. I get that you are mature for your age but in my opinion you need to chill out a bit. I was actually the same way when I was 22 –anxious to get married. Let me tell you, I wasn’t at all ready for marriage even though I thought I was. I recommend that you go out on lots of dates with lots of guys. Kiss a lot of guys. Figure out what it is that you are looking for. What do you have to lose? There will be immature guys at every age and that’s just a risk you take sometimes. Broaden your horizons and you may be pleasantly surprised.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki January 14, 2015, 11:36 am

    It’s ok to date with *intention* to get married, but I agree that maybe you’re coming off as a bit overzealous about the whole settling down thing. I don’t know that I agree that all guys in your age group are immature and unable to even be options for marriage, just like not all guys 5-10 years older than you are mature and ready to be married. Marriage should occur because you love someone and can’t imagine life without them, you have had a chance to get to know them and you are both on the same page and ready to make a legal commitment to one another. Marriage should not occur just because its the next item to cross off your to-do list in life.
    .
    I don’t necessarily think that 22 is too young to get married (I got married at 22). I think that the tone of your letter tells me you’re not quite ready yet. I think you’re focusing too much on age (which doesn’t matter) and not enough on experiencing life. Date around, ignore the numbers (unless they’re under 18 – in which case its illegal) and eventually you will find the person you are looking for. He might be 22 or 25 or 30. Only time will tell.

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  • avatar

    acastil5 January 14, 2015, 11:44 am

    I will say dating someone who is focused on just marriage or finding “the one” can be incredibly unattractive, coming from experience. Maybe that is why they are moving on, and your age is a convenient excuse. I say there is nothing wrong with acting 22…if you are 22. Enjoy it! Go out and have FUN. You probably have the MONEY to enjoy yourself…something I definitely didn’t have at 22. Open yourself up to new people…and experiences…because you sound sort of judgmental of other people’s choices and lifestyles and you could probably use it.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 14, 2015, 12:15 pm

    My first thought when reading your letter was that professional maturity and emotional maturity are two different things and just because you have one doesn’t mean you have the other. You say you completed your degree so early because your parents pushed you. Your parents controlled your life. So you were 20 when you graduated and 22 now. Are your parents still controlling your life? If they are you aren’t anywhere near ready for marriage. Are you wanting to get married because you want to get married or do you want to get married because your parents say you should? If you want to do this for your parents you aren’t ready for marriage. You can’t have a time table for when you get married because you can’t control when you will meet the right guy. I think it is good to know what your deal breakers are and to be picky when selecting who you will date but many people your age don’t yet have the right deal breakers. I would personally consider it a deal breaker if someone was living their life to make their parents happy. Take your time. Participate in activities that you enjoy because you are most apt to find someone similar by doing something you like. All of the professional criteria is nice but it doesn’t mean you are an emotional match. It doesn’t mean you have similar values or sense of humor or life goals. It doesn’t mean you would like spending time together. Find someone who has something in common with you by doing things you love. If all you do is work and getting ahead financially you may be boring and need to find what it is you like beyond work. What do you like to do to relax? What do you like to do on weekends or on vacation time? Find you joy in life and that’s where you are also likely to find a partner who is similar to yourself. I met my husband by joining a chemistry fraternity in college. We both socialized through the fraternity and had fun together. If your joy is your profession then look for social outlets that incorporate your interests.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom January 14, 2015, 12:21 pm

      I also want to add that you can rush a degree but you shouldn’t rush a relationship. Let it take as much time as needed to make sure it is the right relationship before you get married. If it will last a lifetime it will last a few years before you get married. Rushing to marriage is a good way to end up divorced. Especially take it slow if you’ve never had a serious relationship. The less relationship experience you have the more apt you are to miss red flags because you won’t realize that what you are seeing makes the two of you incompatible. You can fall in love with someone with whom you could never be happy.

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  • avatar

    arod11 January 14, 2015, 12:40 pm

    I am torn over this! On the one hand, I think it’s admirable to have your shit together at 22–and despite the rhetoric that she may not be THAT mature at 22, I think it takes a LOT to enter college at 16 and cope sufficiently to graduate within 4 years AND go straight into a career (something that many students graduating on a regular timeline can’t seem to manage). On the other hand, I was set up really well at 22–career job, grad school, paid my own rent and bills AND was in a long-term, live in relationship for a year already with my now husband, who was in grad school for his doctorate and is 2 years older than me. But I look back and I’m glad we waited to get married for a few more years–not because it made a huge difference in the choice I was going to make, but because there was so much we had to work out about our expectations for a relationship before we were ready to make that kind of commitment. Like, I always knew that was the direction it was headed in, and maybe that’s what the LW is looking for (???) and we’re just misunderstanding? That she wants a relationship headed towards marriage but not necessarily to get married right now, this second. This is a lot of pressure to put on herself, a guy and their relationship, but at the same time, she has to be honest about what she wants to give the guy an opportunity to bow out if he’s just looking to have fun and doesn’t see himself settling down for another 10 years. I think looking for guys who are a few years older is a good idea, and it seems weird that so many guys would write you off as too young if things were going well otherwise. The LW just shouldn’t depend on age as the be-all, end-all indicator of maturity and readiness for “the next step.”

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    • Lyra

      Lyra January 14, 2015, 10:32 pm

      To me it has sounded like she’s REALLY focused on marriage. Not necessarily serious relationship leading to marriage, but she has her end goal in mind all the time. “I am not particularly interested in guys my age because marriage is the last thing on their minds.” She literally doesn’t mention anything about serious relationships at all. Quite honestly I think that’s why she’s scaring off all these guys. I don’t think we’re misunderstanding it at all, I think she comes on really strong and focused solely on getting married.

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    Sunshine Brite January 14, 2015, 1:37 pm

    The only 22 year olds I know in a similar fast tracked to career situations haven’t had much other experiences that people in their early 20s/late teens have had to develop their personal identity yet. Given my experiences, I wouldn’t date someone in that age bracket in a similar position. Maybe down your age bracket a little where it’s still older, like 25 instead of 28. It’s a surprisingly huge difference.

    I wouldn’t cross a guy off just because he’s living with roommates! It’s a great way to save money and be future focused if a person can stand roommate living. Just keep dating around and having fun. Like others have said, let go of the timelines or they’re going to make you feel like something’s wrong with you when there doesn’t seem to be.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny January 14, 2015, 1:40 pm

    I totally agree with everyone above! I will say that, when I was in my early 20’s I always dated older guys. Not by preference, it just sort of worked out that way. I dated a guy who was 29 when I was 21. And a guy who was 28 when I was 23. It was fun. But I also wasn’t marriage minded and neither were they. Like others have said, there’s no checklist to life, and just because someone may be 25 and still in college doesn’t mean that they are not interested in anything serious. Frankly, I find that presumptuous and a little insulting to people who aren’t on the “traditional” track of- high school-4 year college-career-marriage-babies. There’s no “right” way to do life. And there’s nothing wrong with living with roommates or even living at home- 36% of millenials (age 18-31) live at home. (Including myself, for the present time.) Does that mean I’m not interested in getting married or whatever? Not at all. Speaking for myself, I’m very interested- but at the moment I’m saving and paying off my student loans, plus I live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. My point is- looks can be deceiving. What you *think* you’re looking for is not necessarily what you’re going to find. Be open to the possibilities!

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 14, 2015, 11:10 pm

    Bittergaymarcius says: Many a wise man will date a 22 year old,
    but only the fool will marry one.

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