Dater X: Do I Really Have To Date Older Guys?

What I didn’t tell you last week was that I was dating someone.

He was a 25-year-old who recently returned from Europe where he lived as an expat for almost a year, met a girl, fell in love, then got his heart broken before he returned. I asked him multiple times if he was ready to date again. Each time I asked, he assured me he was totally ready to move on. We only went out a few times, but those instances were enough to feel a connection. Conversation was easy, the attraction was certainly there and I felt like I could be myself with him.

His only obvious pitfall was that he wore skinny jeans — a style he adopted during his stint in Europe. While I love to admire the male physique, I feel there are some fashions that are better suited for female humans. Besides, I felt like the tight pants distracted from his gorgeous hazel eyes and rugby player good looks.

Crotch-hugging pants aside, I was really excited about Skinny Jeans and the possibility that there might be something there. At least until he called me up and told me he was having money problems and wasn’t sure he could “give me what I deserved.” Then two days later he changed his tune telling me he wasn’t over his ex and couldn’t continue to pursue something with me because he “didn’t realize he wasn’t emotionally over his last relationship.” Typical. I have no idea if he was being honest about his feelings or just politely brushing me off, but I’m not about to date someone who’s clearly not over his ex.

My mom listened sympathetically as I recounted the sordid tale of Skinny Jeans and then gave me the same piece of advice she always does: “You need to date someone older.”

I hate when she says this because I’ve dated a bunch of men in their early 30s  — the oldest being 32 — who’ve all exhibited the maturity of a 15-year-old in his first sex ed class. I’m well aware that men mature more slowly than women, but am I missing out on finding my soul mate because I need to expand my age range to, say, 36? That’s almost 40 and I’m sorry, but 40 creeps me out. I worry that a major age gap would be more than just a number— it would be a lifestyle gap.

Here’s the thing: the last time I dated an older guy I realized our lifestyles were totally incompatible. He was a very sweet guy with a prestigious job, his own house, a dog and a brand new car. A real adult! But on weekend mornings, he liked to wake up ridiculously early to walk the dog, read the paper in his man slippers and do yard work. This wasn’t what I had in mind. My typical Sunday morning consists of rolling out of bed around noon, hungover, to watch “Friends” reruns with my roommate and stalk people on Facebook. I ultimately had to end things with the 30-something because I always felt five steps behind him, which was five steps too many for me.

At 26, I know that I want to wait until I’m at least 30 to start poppin’ out kids. That means I still have four whole years of Friday nights spent drinking my weight in Pinot Grigio and dancing to Miley Cyrus songs until the bars close at 4 a.m. Thirty used to seem so far away, but it’s slowly creeping up on me like a silent Facebook stalker. I’ve always thought I was mature, but it’s becoming more and more evident that I might not be. Simply put, the thought of an “adult” lifestyle freaks me out. And dating someone older would only force me to face all the real-life things I’m still fairly content to avoid. Like yard work … and babies.

I’m starting to get what my mom’s really been trying to say; not that I should date older, but that I should get older. Gulp. I think she might be right.

[Photo from Shutterstock]