You never know which man will be able to meet your relationship needs, so keeping your options open by dating older men is useful in finding relationship satisfaction. Some age differences are relatively insignificant -- such as two or four years apart -- however, the relationship dynamic can be significantly impacted by a 10 or 20-year age difference. While every relationship has its own unique characteristics, it's helpful to be aware of potential issues when dating an older man so that you can make an informed decision about your future romantic relationship.
Professor of psychology and director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University, Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., says that compatibility is necessary for the day-to-day functions associated with long-term partnerships. It's important to determine if you and an older beau are compatible with one another on an experiential level -- frustrations may arise if you and your mate can't relate to one another's cultural references, or if your partner treats you more like a student than an equal romantic partner, due to his vast life experience.
Meeting His Kids
If there is a significant age difference between you and potential partners -- about 20 years or so -- then it's possible these older men have children that are close to you in age. Consider whether you can realistically handle this family dynamic -- if a mate invited you over to meet his kids, would you feel comfortable? You should also consider how you would handle rejection from a potential partner's kids. If younger children are in the picture, ask yourself if you'd be willing to assume a parenting role in a committed relationship.
Maintaining Your Level of Maturity
In a 2010 CNN article, writer Contessa Schexnayder insists that you should not take on the role of a child in the relationship when dating older men -- and conversely, older men should not treat you like a child. Despite your age differences, you and potential partners are consenting adults who each deserve to be treated as such. Refrain from using older mates as father-figures or caretakers. This establishes an imbalance of power within your relationship, and can cause relationship turmoil.
If you and your older partner begin a long-term, committed relationship, starting a family will be an important consideration. It's possible that if your mate has already reared children, he may not be interested in starting a new family, so consider how this may affect you. Similarly, your potential mate may want to start raising children before you're ready to do so. For long-term relationships, it's essential that you are clear on where potential partners stand on this issue.
Aging and Health Concerns
When there is a considerable age difference between you and your mate, aging and health concerns should be considered. Two Of Us, a subsidiary of The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, an information resource for healthy marriages, says that having a long-term relationship with a significantly older partner presents the possibility that you may outlive him. Additionally, there is the chance that your mate may develop chronic or terminal health issues that would require you to take on the role of caretaker, which, according to Paula Span in a 2012 New York Times article, can take a heavy emotional and psychological toll on you.