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In your twenties, especially in the years immediately after college, an age difference of just a year or two can make you feel like you're a world apart from someone.Which makes sense — in the course of 24 months, I transformed from a college senior who'd never lived on my own and subsisted primarily on bagels stolen from the school cafeteria to a financially independent adult who worked a serious job and subsisted primarily on bagels stolen from work.We might think that certain concrete markers of adulthood — a prestigious job; a working knowledge of personal finance; properly assembled Ikea furniture —signify a related degree of emotional maturity.And sometimes, they do; sometimes someone who is older really is more emotionally intelligent. Hell, we've even developed a terminology to describe people who look like adults on the outside, but are basically middle schoolers on the inside — that'd be that scourge of the dating world, the "man-child" or "woman-child."In my own mid-twenties, I dated a 30-year-old, expecting to find someone ready to get serious sheerly based on his age and professional accomplishments; instead, I found an immature trainwreck who made rude comments about my weight and cheated on me basically every time I was out of earshot.I'd just gotten out of a long-ish relationship with a guy who was fixated on achieving "appropriate life milestones" — marriage, kids, stable jobs — and the experience made me realize that I wasn't on the same page about that kind of thing as a lot of people my own age.
So if you're thinking about getting together with someone younger, don't listen to anyone who uses words like "cougar," "cradle robber," or "Samantha Jones;" instead, consider the five points below.
But the experience has made me think about how women are discouraged from dating younger men — especially women in their twenties.
Although the idea of a "cougar" who dates much younger men has a certain cultural cachet, being a woman in your twenties who simply chooses a partner who's a bit younger is often viewed as weird, desperate, or deluded — basically, anything besides what it is, which is totally normal.
Every time I meet a guy I’m interested in, I’m quick to text my friends a gleeful, exclamation-point-filled message about him, and they’ll tell me about their crushes in return.
We trade heart-eyed emojis and encouraging words often without even seeing the mystery man or woman in question.
I felt like I was racking up new life milestones every day, and couldn't imagine relating to anyone younger than me — and so I became fixated on dating older guys, because I thought it was the only way I could find someone who would be mature enough to make me happy.