October 20, 2017

Before I start, I want to make it clear that when I speak of dating older men, I am speaking to those over the age of 18. I was not dating outside my age bracket before I turned 18 and I would not advise anyone under 18 to do so either. I know at a young age we like to think we are mature enough to make decisions about our bodies and sexual relations but in reality and according to the law, you are still a minor. The older person in the situation should understand this as well and take it upon themselves to not engage in sexual activity with a minor. Understand that it is an offense and you are considered a predator. Read up on Canadian Age of Consent to Sexual Activity Laws here. Please know your rights and stay safe.

When I turned 18, I made the decision to start dating a little older. And then it became a lot older. Why? Because I realized that guys my age didn't want what I want, (which was a committed relationship) and made the assumption the men older would probably want what I want. However, in a way, I was wrong. 

When I say "a little older" I am speaking towards men 2 to 4 years older than me. When I was 18, I dated a lot of 21-22-year-olds and then I came to the realization that the mentality of a 22-year-old and an 18-year-old are not entirely that different. I made the jump to guys 6 to 9 years older when I was 19, I had been seeing a guy 8 years older and the intellect and chemistry were present but the fact that I was 19 seemed to freak him out which annoyed me so I ghosted. I was in a relationship with a guy 7 years older soon after which I feel we jumped into way too quickly and while it was committed (on my part), it still wasn't quite where I needed it to be mentally and the chemistry was often forced.

How old is too old? Well, [as long as both parties are over 18], it's hard to really say how old is "too old." How you feel about a person doesn't always have a lot to do with age, however, I do have personal boundaries. I usually stay within the 5-7 year ballpark, but 10 years my senior is my absolute maximum. That might be absolutely too much for some and that may work for others. It really depends on the person and your own personal boundaries. Personally, I don't feel I would have much to talk about with a 35+-year-old about and a 40-50-year-old really has no business talking to someone below the age of 25. I prefer to stay away from men with families (children) especially if their children are within 5-10 years of my age. Y'all got no business talking to a girl your child's age. Nope sorry, but you can run me with that allowance money though since you wanna be messing with children!

But in all seriousness, I have 3 older sisters aged 28-37 and I am very close with all three of them, however, I feel that I have more in common with my sister that is 8 years older than me than the one who is 17 years older than me. I kind of feel the same way when it comes to dating. It just wouldn't feel right to be with someone 15, 16 years older than me. And understandably, what they're looking for at that point in their lives, I probably wouldn't be able to offer.

I've always been brought up by the mentality that I will always feel I have to reduce myself to people my age. Which is true, my parents ran a tight ship. All four of us (I have 3 sisters) were brought up to be beyond our years. Acting your age was embarrassing. Being told someone thought you were older than you are was a compliment. Maturing was an accomplishment. As not only women but black women, we had to be wise beyond our years. We had to work twice as hard and be twice as smart. 

My parents are 10 years apart. I've been brought up to aim for older because that's where your maturity level will meet. But I was always reminded older men will try and test me. "They will make you feel dumb because you are small [young]." My mother would tell me. And nothing has ever been truer. I was always wise beyond my years until we got into an argument. "You're immature. You wouldn't get it, you're a baby. When you're older, you'll understand. I thought you were more mature than this, I guess I was wrong." I'll be the first to admit, I have a lot to learn. I don't know everything, I've barely entered my 20s. I have so much life ahead of me. I'm one to joke around and call a dude I like an "old man" (which is honestly a compliment coming from me, don't ever catch me calling you young.) We'll go back and forth about how old he is, how young I am. However, I never tolerated using my age to degrade or take advantage of me and that's something we need to be mindful of when dating older. 

This is a form of manipulation a lot of men will use on younger women they date because it's what many of them expect when they date younger. They assume older women will not succumb to their desires as easily but with the right tactics, younger women will. And often, that is the case. I see this used a lot during sexual advances, she doesn't want to do something, he tells her she's immature for it, and she does it even though she's uncomfortable because she feels she has to "prove her maturity" to him.

I have fell victim to this many times before. I'm usually one to stand my ground, but sometimes, guys can be forceful. About a year ago, I had two horrible experiences that caused me to be extremely cautious when dating older. The second that, "You're a baby/I thought you were mature" BS comes out, I'm gone. 

I want more girls to understand you have nothing to prove to these men. There is not much you can do to prove maturity besides having conversations. Refusing to engage in sexual acts is not immature, but being a little bitch about it when a girl doesn't want to get physical with you is. Most of the time this isn't about you and the guy doesn't really think you're immature, he just wants to get what he wants.

Please know it is never immature to refuse to do something you are uncomfortable with. To me, that's the epitome of maturity. Being in touch with yourself enough to know when you're uncomfortable and being strong enough to voice it and say "Hey, I'm not cool with this."

Now, my unfortunate truth is most older guys aren't looking for that "committed" relationship in a 20-year-old. It sucks, but it's what it is. I can't count the times that a guy has said the words, "Maybe if you were older." or even "Maybe when you're older." My reaction to the former was usually a disappointment, too often it's been "You're great, you're perfect, but the year you were born..." But my first reaction was always "Dude, are you dumb?" - maybe when I'm older, so you can be older too? Age doesn't work like that. 

I get myself stuck in situations where I will be seeing a guy for months (or even a year) just hoping and praying he will want to make it official. Eventually, I will bring it up myself just for him to say "I like you, but you're too young." My question to men that use this line is "Too young for what, exactly?" She's not too young for you to lay it down with, she's not too young for you to like her. She's not too young for you take out, invite over and spend your time with but she's too young for a label? She's too young for you to commit to? Too young to be your girlfriend? 

Ladies, get out of these situations. I'm not in anyway condoning R. Kelly's whole "age is just a number" thing, but if you are both of age and you've been seeing each other but he says the only reason he will not be in an actual relationship with you is because you're too young, let that man go. It is BS and a waste of both of your time. 

Dating older isn't for everyone. But it also isn't a bad thing and it doesn't have to be toxic, but (as with any encounter) it is important to be cautious. 

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