As of now, your dating life may not have expanded much beyond your year in college, peers at work, or the parameters you’ve set for yourself on Tinder. But if you’re unhappy with your current dating pool, or feel stuck or misunderstood, it could be a sign you’re meant to be with someone older. Going up a few (or many) years on the dating scene will not only expand your options, but it might even introduce you to someone who feels like a better fit.
Keep in mind, though, that age isn’t everything. “What you need to do is to ask yourself what it is that you want out of a relationship and let that be your guide,” psychologist and radio host Dr. Joshua Klapow tells Bustle. “There are many older men and women who are chronologically older and yet do not have the social, emotional, intellectual, or intimate maturity you are looking for. So signs that you need ‘maturity’ or ‘experience’ are probably a better way to figure out if you need someone different.”
If you feel disappointed by everyone’s antics online, or struggle to find common ground with younger coworkers, maturity may be just what you need. So allow yourself that wiggle room and expand your search to include people you might have deemed too “old” in the past. They’ll likely bring to the table all sorts of wonderful qualities, and be quite the refreshing change to what you’re used to. Read on for some signs this is exactly what you need to do.
- You’re Tired Of Drama
While dating someone older won’t guarantee a lack of drama — since that’s up for grabs at any age — it may increase your chances of finding a partner who can handle their emotions. “Older [partners] are typically past the point of game-playing because they’ve hopefully already been in a serious relationship and have learned how to be vulnerable,” says author and life coach Kali Rogers. And that can be quite refreshing.
2. You’re Attracted To People Who Have A Past
Dating an older person often means being with someone who’s already been married or had kids. So if that doesn’t bother you — or it seems like a positive thing — it may make for the perfect partnership. Rogers warns situations like these can erupt in jealousy, though, so make sure you’re cool with exes and whatnot before jumping in.
- You’ve Always Been An Old Soul
If you scroll through Tinder and feel like everyone seems so much younger than you, it may be the perfect time to increase your dating age range to include someone who’s a bit more established in life. “If you aren’t quite fitting in with your peers because of a difference in interests, you are probably meant to date someone from a different generation,” Rogers says.
4. You’re Had Quite A Few Life Experiences
If your life experience has caused you to grow up fast, then you might feel more comfortable with someone’s who has been there, too. “For example someone who has been on their own earlier than usual,” says relationship expert Dr. Venessa Marie Perry. “The woman that leaves home early, whether by choice or circumstance, is going to be more mature and seek out a older partner.”
- You’ve Always Had A Crush On Older People
If you’ve always had a crush on your boss, or the parent (instead of the hot son or daughter) on your favorite TV show, counselor David Bennett tells me you might really enjoy being with someone older. You’re likely attracted to their maturity and wisdom. So why not give it a go?
- You’d Like A Partner Who Has “Been There”
There’s something very attractive about a person who’s experienced life’s ups and downs, since it often means they’re full of good stories and sage advice. As Klapow says, “You want someone who has experienced multiple life transitions. [Someone who has] gone through tough times and figured out how to come out OK on the other side.”
7. You Connect With Older People
Take a look at your friend group, as well as who you get along with best at work. “You tend to connect with people who are older than you on a daily basis,” Klapow says. If your social circles are made up of people who are older than you, then you’d likely do well with an older partner.
- You Feel Frustrated By Your Peers
Again, it may be worth going up a few years in the ol’ dating bracket if you’re consistently frustrated by the people in your dating pool. “You have a hard time relating to … people in your age range,” Klapow says. “You have different goals, desires, dreams, and fears.” And different hobbies and interests.
- You Aren’t Afraid Of A “Real” Relationship
If you’ve only been with people who want surface relationships, then I know you’d appreciate being with someone who can handle something real. “You are ready to look at the good and the bad of a relationship,” Klapow says. “You want to explore the emotional nooks and crannies of your relationship with a person who is comfortable and willing to go there.”
10. You Feel Stuck
If you constantly look for someone between the ages of 22 and 26, then you’re really limiting yourself in terms of dating opportunities. Don’t be afraid to expand that age range up a few years, especially if you feel stuck. As Klapow tells me, this may be the perfect remedy if you feel tired of your age group, or stuck, plateaued, or bored.
- You Want More
Hey, if you’re curious, go ahead and date someone older. If you feel stuck, do the same. If you want to expand your horizons, do so. Age is just a number, and it shouldn’t hold you back when it comes to who you do or do not date.
So get out there and see how it feels to be with someone older. It doesn’t matter if they’re three years older, ten, or more — they still could be your perfect match.