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Why You Shouldn’t Write Off A May-December Romance, According To A Relationship Coach

It might just be the hottest sex of your life.

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images

So, you met someone you’re interested in dating, but they happen to be younger than you... like, considerably younger. Now what? Most men who pursue May-December romances are often just dubbed, well, "men," while most women get labeled as the unfavorable term that also happens to be John Mellencamp's middle name. Ugh.

If you've ever felt a spark with a younger man, you may have felt unsure whether you should do anything about it since we're inundated with so many societal judgments, tired tropes, and cliches (Stifler's Mom, anyone?). But according to love and relationship coach Chantal Landreville, author of Raise Your Love Signal: A Guide to Attracting and Keeping the Love of Your Life, age *can* just be a number.

"Age doesn't guarantee emotional maturity or wisdom," she tells Scary Mommy. "A younger partner isn't automatically naive, and an older one isn't necessarily a sage. As long as there is transparent communication about intentions and goals, as well as acknowledgment of the pros and cons depending on the age gap of the relationship, everything is possible. There are exceptions and anomalies to everything."

While dating someone younger might bring its fair share of unique challenges, the refreshing dynamic could be exactly what the love doctor ordered. Here's some expert advice on how to navigate dating someone in a lower age bracket.

Why You Might Want to Consider Dating Someone Younger

If you need an excuse to add a little adventure and fresh perspective to your dating life, dating someone younger might be what you need.

Landreville says youthfulness, enthusiasm, and "having someone push you to try new things, and on the other side, you get to show them things they haven't experienced yet" are just some of the reasons why you dating someone younger could be something amazing.

Additionally, if you're looking for someone without a trail of broken hearts, exes, and more children, younger partners often come with less emotional baggage. "It's like a clean slate, free from the complications that can come with more experienced companions," Landreville says.

Plus, "There's also this innocence and untamed energy that can be downright refreshing. Having a younger partner means you get a fresh take on things — a different angle that keeps things interesting," she says, adding from her personal experience that "younger men tend to treat older women better because they see this as an opportunity to learn from someone and not deal with the immaturity of someone their own age."

Why Someone Younger Might Look to Date Someone Older

Maybe you're into someone younger but struggling to accept that they could be into you. However, everything you've earned over the years — like emotional maturity, stability, and a clear understanding of personal identity — is exactly what they'd be most attracted to you for, says Landreville.

"Typically, when we are older, we are more comfortable in our skin, we know who we are, and we know what we want and don't want," she explains. "We are more stable financially and professionally. We generally have gone through experiences that have taught us lessons, which we can apply to new relationships."

In other words, your life experience is like catnip to an eager younger partner.

The Pros of Dating a Younger Partner

Some of the pros of dating a younger partner, according to Landreville, include:

  • They bring lots of excitement and energy to the relationship.
  • You get exposure to a younger group of people, which might introduce you to fun activities and experiences that you would otherwise not consider.
  • You can help your partner go through their life experiences by sharing the wisdom you have built through your own life experiences.
  • It forces you to think, act, and be young, thus getting you out of your sedentary ways.
  • They may have a point to prove, in a good way. "From personal experience dating a younger man, they aim to please in order to prove they are a man worthy of dating an older woman,” says Landreville. “They tend to put your needs first as they want to please."

The Cons of Dating a Younger Partner

Some of the downsides to dating a younger partner, according to Landreville, include:

  • You grew up in a different era. So, there might be a disconnect when you reminisce about your youth, including communication styles influenced by generational and cultural factors. (Cue your inner voice saying, “WTF am I going to talk to this person about?!”)
  • They don't have the life experience you have, so they might not understand how you deal with certain issues.
  • Their priorities and yours might not align. They might have goals such as having a family, and you have already been through it. They could want to have their kids even if you thought that chapter was behind you.
  • Age-related health issues could become a factor. Depending on the scope of the age gap, it could cause the younger partner to (eventually) become a caregiver.

The Important Questions to Ask Before Dating a Younger Partner

Like any relationship, it's always a good idea to communicate your intentions to your younger partner, whether you're looking for a fling or something more. Landreville suggests asking and discussing the following questions:

  • What does each person want from the relationship?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to have?
  • Do you want to have kids?
  • What are your long-term aspirations?
  • Do you understand that our age gap means we'll have different physical capabilities and limitations as we age?

As a side note, Landreville says it's also crucial not to treat your younger partner like you're their mother (even if you are the same age as their mother). "It's important not to emasculate them and treat them like they are not as smart," she says. When the time comes for a deeper conversation, have confidence they'll be able to match your level of interest and depth. They might surprise you.

And who knows? You could end up having the time of your life.