Mars and Venus are millions of miles apart in our solar system. But when it comes to finding true love here on Earth, we expect human beings to find a way to come together. And not just come together, but stay together. Easy enough for some, perhaps, but factors like age and timing can be hurdles for others. Consider the challenges for guys dating women over 35….
The average age for first marriages has been on the slow climb toward 30 for over 70 years now. And the average age for first-time mothers has steadily increased since the early 70’s to reach a new high of over 29 years. First-time fathers come in at almost 30 years.
What does that have to do with guys dating women over 35? A lot, actually.
As millennials shrug off the urge to rush to the altar in order to go to college, build careers, and travel, some things don’t change. The most significant, at least with regard to advising men who want families dating women over 35, is the shift in fertility.
A woman is most fertile in her 20’s. Fertility begins to decrease around 30 and starts a sharp decline after 35. Another consideration is the increase in pregnancy complications after 35.
And men, before you think you can wait until middle-age or later to start having children, know this…. After 40, you have an increased chance of fathering a child with complications like Autism or stillbirth.
Granted, not every woman wants to have children. Some can’t have children of their own, and some have their hearts set on adoption. But women, just by virtue of being female, are usually quite aware of the “timing” in their bodies.
Unlike men, they can’t procreate forever. They know their limits. And those limits usually play a role in how women go about dating and planning their careers and lives.
Men have a biological clock, too, it turns out. But research shows that men’s desire to have children actually increases as they age and build families. Women’s desire decreases.
So, when it comes to dating women over 35, men need to be sensitive to this built-in difference in the sexes. That is especially true if you are both marriage-minded people and want a family.
Dating women over 35 may not seem like something that should be an issue. But when you consider the tendency for men to want to “play” in their 20’s and work in their 30’s, it is.
It’s not uncommon for men to think about settling down right about the time that women are losing their fertility. And even then they’re not wanting to rush into having children. They tend to want time as a couple first to travel and enjoy their newlywed year before starting a family.
Enter the age-old tendency for older men to seek younger women, especially when they want children.
Women, however, are more interested in men close to them in age (or younger). Think about couples who come together during their college years and marry down the road. They start out as friends and contemporaries and “grow” together.
Then think about couples who marry later in life or after a midlife divorce. The age gap between the spouses, on average, increases significantly, confirming men’s desire for younger women.
If you are dating in your 30’s, you know that it’s “just different” than dating in your 20’s. You have probably watched many or most of your friends marry and start having children. You probably feel as if the pool of worthy candidates for dating is drying up.
And, if you are marriage-minded, you have an underlying sense that there is no time to waste. You may have dated a lot of people at the same time in your 20’s and had a casual attitude toward dating. But now you’re aware of the speed of time. Suddenly quality matters more than quantity.
Now think about what it’s like for a 30+-year-old woman who wants to get married and have a family. She is going to be highly quality-conscious. She’s not going to have the time or patience for “playing games.” She’s going to be looking for a man who is authentic, honest, trustworthy, grounded. Basically, she’s going to be looking for the real deal. And she won’t be exclusive with you for more than 6 months to a year before expecting to be engaged.
Especially for you men dating women over 35, knowing your goals is imperative. You need to get real with yourself before you can get real with a woman. Do you want a family? Do you have a healthy sense of balance between your career and your personal life? Do you have time for a relationship and a family?
It’s important that you consider the needs of the woman as much as you consider your own. Thinking you can wait until you are in your 40’s and then find a woman in her 20’s to have your children is not realistic. You’ll be considered “too old” by most women of that age group.
A marriage-minded woman is going to be looking for an emotionally mature partner who will make a good husband and father. And if you want to have a quality woman who will make a good wife and mother, you will need to consider her goals, too.
She’s not going to “hang out” in a casual, non-committal relationship, especially by her mid-30’s. She will be very aware of her deal-breakers, and she will expect you to commit to your relationship or she will move on. (I know, I was one of those women!)
Meeting her family and observing how they treat one another will tell you a lot about her. Even if she came from an unhappy home, you can tell a lot about her from her closest circle of friends. Get to know them. They will be involved in your life if you and your partner marry, and they will become a support system for both of you.
Finally, spend the time necessary to develop a clear vision of the relationship you want. Share and compare your vision with the woman you are dating. And, if your key values and non-negotiables are in alignment, you have a promising base on which to build a blissful life.
Recognize what a gift it is to find and develop a relationship like that. Cherish it. Nurture it. Make it the real deal.