Q: “I'm a 35-year-old woman who is doing great. I have a home, I travel and I have a great family. I'm totally self-sufficient but I keep attracting men in their early 20s who have less than me – they're trying to reach my level of success and I feel torn. I don't want to baby them, but I love their company. What does dating younger men say about me? Is there anything wrong with 'rocking the cradle' at my age?” -- Anonymous
A: I am sure that it must be a wonderful feeling to have achieved your goals and become totally independent. Congratulations! I am also sure that you had to work hard to be where you are in life. There is nothing wrong with dating a younger man but you must understand that he may not have achieved what you have. Given this, a younger man is also unlikely to have the resources that you have to enjoy life. So the question becomes: What are you willing to trade off? The tradeoff becomes having to pay out of pocket to have fun with a man with less resources or having fun with someone with equal resources that can pay for both of you, regardless of their age.
Having someone younger may sound exciting, but there is often a price to pay. I would not say dating someone younger is “rocking the cradle,” but you do have to ask yourself why you are hanging around the cradle. Sometimes women date younger men because it makes them feel in control and needed. You have to be honest with yourself and ask what message you are sending that attracts these types of suitors. Many times, relationships with younger men work out great. But sometimes they don’t due to a lack of maturity and age and developmental differences. It may be cute and fun when you’re 35 and he’s 25, but remember that the 10-year difference is likely to show up later. This is often most apparent when your body changes and your goals continue to grow while he may or may not change physically and/or develop goals similar to yours. So, if you can deal with everything the “cradle” holds, and he’s of legal age, enjoy! -- Dr. Sherry