Dating as an Older Man
Dating as an Older Man
By John R. Ballew, M.S., L.P.C.
When I was first coming out, I had a particularly passionate fling with another guy my age – about 20, as I recall. One afternoon he asked if he could take my photo. He took the Polaroid (this was way back in the 20th century), then filed it away in a little box. What’s up, I asked? He confided that he wanted to preserve the memory for later in his life – when he was 30 and too old to have sex anymore!
My young buddy had fallen prey to the idea that growing older meant being alone and being sexless. I hope life has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for him in that regard. But too many of us find ourselves battling misleading notions around getting older. And that may be especially true for older men themselves. (What’s “older?” That’s for you to decide for yourself.)
Men who are very young can sometimes rely on the beauty of youth alone to attract interest from other people. Those who are beyond the blush of youth need to find other resources within themselves that appeal to others. That means starting from a place of being realistic and self-aware.
First, understand the hard truth that no one owes you anything. You do not have a God-given right to stroll into a bar catering to men a generation younger than you and expect to have them hit on you. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen; plenty of younger men find older men attractive. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by being unrealistic.
Most of us find men close to our own ages most attractive for dating purposes. If you don’t find men your own age attractive, it’s probably because of how you feel about yourself. This is not “ageism.” Stop thinking of yourself as a victim and work this through. If you find yourself unappealing, you’re not likely to attract anyone to you, regardless of their age or your own.
Second, understand that self-confidence is attractive. As a guy who has lived life for a while, you’ve gained valuable experience about the world and how it works. Don’t underestimate this. You’ve developed interests and knowledge that other men are likely to find appealing. Cultivate your strengths and put yourself out there.
If your realistic self-appraisal is that you are pretty boring, do something about it: take classes, volunteer to make the world a better place, go places and do things.
Third, take good care of yourself physically. Think healthy and fit rather than plastic surgery and liposuction and Botox. A guy who has a fit body and who cares for himself can be sexy at any age. He doesn’t have to try to look 15 years younger by dressing in ways that don’t fool anybody and too often look a little ridiculous.
Finally, being friendly and outgoing without coming across as pushy is a big plus. An easy smile and genuine manner are appealing to most of men. Be generous – not with your money, but with your time, skills and experience.
And what if you’re a younger guy who is afraid of getting old yourself? Do yourself a big favor and find some older men you can enjoy and admire – men who are enjoying life and living well. The best thing I’ve done for myself in the past decade was to develop friendships with men much older than myself who are enjoying their lives and challenging the myths that old means gloomy.
John R. Ballew, M.S. is a Licensed Professional Counselor based out of Atlanta , Georgia. His clients are busy professionals, people of varied ethnic and racial backgrounds, LGBT men and women and clients from age 18 to 70 or more.
You can learn more about John and his practice at http://bodymindsoul.org/