We hear this question perhaps more often than any other — at least once a day, sometimes once an hour, and never, ever, in jest. We hear it from men and women young and old, from divorcees and widows, from single mothers, lonely dads, and those hoping to find a Happily Ever After that keeps them from becoming one of the above. We hear it… all the time.
There are a lot of reasons someone might want a younger spouse; beyond the superficial, men tend to point out the desire for fertility in women (funny we’ve never heard that one before guys!), and women tend to point that men don’t live as long as they do, so each gender can certainly make a valid point. But most of the time that we get asked for an introduction to someone younger, age actually has very little to do with it. Most of the time, people aren’t looking for someone young. They’re looking for someone youthful, and they’re hoping to go on a date with a man or woman who is willing to exhibit real, unbridled enthusiasm; they’re looking for a date who is excited about meeting them.
For those of us who’ve been dating for longer than we’d like, or who’ve cycled through the same three first date restaurants far too many times, we can start to think that every first date will be just like those that didn’t work before. We already know where we want to sit, what we’ll likely order, and how bad or good a particular waiter might be. We can fall into a familiar routine far too easily, and treat our dates like they’re part of a longstanding pattern that he or she did nothing at all to establish. In fact, it’s OUR responsibility to try to break that pattern; after all the only common link in all of those failed first dates is… us.
Try to remember that it’s not your date’s fault that you already go to Left Bank with your friends every Thursday night. Don’t talk to the guy across the table from you about all of your ex’s past sins. And please, please, don’t tell the woman you’re trying to court all about how you “destroyed your ex-wife in the courtroom.” Young people think a lot about the future; older people think a lot about the past. Which one do you find more attractive? And which one do you think you want to be? Age may dictate lots of things about your body, but it doesn’t have to play any role at all in your attitude; you may not always be young, but you can always be youthful.
We do our best to rise to the challenge when our clients ask to meet someone younger, but more often than not, we know that an age gap isn’t really the solution. Our clients quickly realize it too, but instead of understanding that the difference in age is too big, they usually decide that it simply isn’t big enough. When we’re really, really lucky, they finally admit that they might be better off taking our advice about the men or women they should date. And in the very best cases — when we’ve met people who are optimistic, full of life, and looking toward the future — we’re able to say to our clients “We happen to know an incredibly warm and youthful person you should meet… and the two of you happen to be about the same age.”