AYI (Are You Interested?), one of the world’a largest websites and apps designed to help people find mates, studied the profiles of 36,000 of its users and made an interesting discovery. In what may potentially be yet one more result of more women in high-earning positions than ever before, AYI found that women, aged 30-49, are five times more likely to show interest in men five years younger than those who are five years older. Unforch, 42% of men from from the same sample group wouldn’t even consider dating an older woman.
As to why women are into younger men lately, AYI analysts suspect that women in their 30s and 40s “are inundated by requests from older men and while that might once have had some appeal — in a marrying-for-wealth sort of way — it simply doesn’t anymore.” That goes back to our discussion about the effect of women’s higher salaries on the marriage rate. Women simply don’t need men as financial providers in the same way women did fifty or forty or even thirty years ago. And as more and more women become the primary breadwinner in relationships and families, it makes sense that they would start pursuing younger men in much the same way high-earning males have pursued younger women since forever. Interestingly, a 2008 study published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly found that “women who are 10 or more years older than their partner report more satisfaction and relationship commitment compared to women who are the same age or younger than their partner.”
Researcher, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University wrote in his blog: “We don’t know for sure, but it may be because when the woman is older, it shifts the traditional heterosexual power dynamic toward greater equality. We know from a lot of research that greater equality tends to make couples happier.”
I will be interested to see what the studies say about this kind of relationship dynamic in 15 years or so. I’m especially curious about the dynamics of couples where the women are in her mid to late 30s and the men are in their mid to late 20s when they get together. If the couple wants children, do the men resent the loud ticking clock? Do the women come to resent the lack of experience and perhaps maturity in a 27-year-old man vs. a man who’s closer to her age? I can see how the power dynamic, and certainly, the physical attractiveness, of a younger man would be appealing to a woman of a certain age and success level, but I just wonder if that appeal is long-lasting and if it can over-ride potential feelings of resentment that may arise over time.
Any women readers with men significantly (more than five years) younger? What are your thoughts and experiences regarding the dynamics of your relationship?