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Gay Relationship Advice: Age Gaps in Gay Relationships

Gay Relationship Advice: Age Gaps in Gay Relationships

Many of my LGBTQ counseling clients ask me why they are only attracted to gay men younger than themselves. If you are happy dating gay men in their twenties, then this question is not important. It’s like asking “Why do I prefer blondes over brunettes?” My advice is to let yourself enjoy dating whomever interests you (as long as they are over the age of 18).

Age gap relationships are more common than you may realize. In western countries:

  • 1 out of every twelve male/female couples has an age gap of 10 years or more
  • that number increase to 25% in male/male couples
  • and 15% of female/female relationships

That same study indicated that age gap partners are more satisfied and more committed to each other than partners of similar age–though there is some research that points to a correlation with higher rates of divorce. Research also shows that couples with an age gap of less than ten years are happier than those with an age gap greater than ten years. You can find more details on these stats on this episode of the podcast I Love You Too, by Psychotherapist, Dating Coach, Couples Counselor Jessica Engle, here.

If you find 25-year-old-guys cute you probably will always find them cute. Your job is to accept your attractions rather than judge them. If they hurt no one then they are good.

As a gay man you have already spent years judging your LGBTQ sexuality. That didn’t make you any happier. You’ve probably already learned a lot about unpacking society’s arbitrary rules about attraction. Use those lessons to unlearn any self-reproach you have about whom you find beautiful.

Your job is to accept your attractions rather than judge them. If they hurt no one then they are good.

But What If I Don’t Like Dating with Age Gaps?

Some men find younger guys attractive but have been disappointed in finding a younger man who is also interested in a committed LGBTQ relationship. Finding a younger guy ready to build an enduring partnership is possible, but perhaps harder to find.

Gay men who want to increase their odds of finding a long term lover sometimes wish they could find guys in their thirties or older sexually attractive. They ask me: Is this possible?

If your attraction to younger guys is causing you relationship pain you may be able to expand your desires. That doesn’t mean that the 20-somethings won’t always be sexy, but perhaps some of the 30-somethings can also be enticing. Some of us can bend our attractions, but few of us can change them dramatically.

If you want to expand the age range of the people you date, and are prepared to consider this with self-compassion, then the following stories about gay men I’ve worked with might be helpful:

A photo of a young black man with locs holding his head in his hands on a couch across from a therapist.

“Alan” (all names have been changed)

Alan, a large man in his mid-forties, always hated his body and has struggled with his weight for his entire life. He had no trouble finding guys in their early twenties for hook-ups who were attracted to his big size and warm personality. But he found it difficult to find a young guy interested in a long term relationship. Alan longed for a partner with the emotional maturity and economic stability that he himself had developed at mid-life.

In LGBTQ therapy he discovered that his exclusive focus on younger guys was related to the shame he felt about this body. He bought into a cultural teaching that young cute guys are “the best.” He realized he experienced temporary relief from his inner critic when he was able to “bed the best.”

During our work together Alan began to heal his shame and learned to appreciate his own body. As this learning took hold he still found the young guys fun to look at, but less compelling. He is now actively dating guys in their thirties and enjoying them.

“Will”

Will is attracted to young, thin men who evoke an air of innocence. However, at age 60, he has no interest in being a “sugar daddy.” He wants a long term lover to share his passion for the outdoors, country music, and home remodeling.

In therapy he uncovered that inside he felt very young. He saw himself as “one down” compared to other adult men, and feared being overwhelmed by the power and needs of a more confident boyfriend. As therapy progressed he found his innate power and learned to express himself more freely in the world.

As his empowered self-confidence grew he noticed that the 30-somethings and even a few 40-somethings began to look increasingly hot.

Today he is in the second year of a relationship with a 38-year-old man who can meet him emotionally. While he is naturally more of a caretaker, he is now also letting himself be taken care of for the very first time.

“Jeremy”

Jeremy is a life-long guy watcher. He is a painter who loves beauty and will even take the time to drive around the block to enjoy the visual of an attractive young guy walking down the street.

He has always been attracted to younger guys physically, but emotionally he feels more connected and compatible with guys his own age of 50. His solution? He and his new 40-year-old boyfriend enjoy an active fantasy life. His boyfriend enjoys playing the role of the innocent young college student and Jeremy enjoys being the take-charge dominator.

Each of us is different. These stories may or may not resonate with you. Your attractions may expand or they may remain the same. What is most important is that you continue to deconstruct the “made up” conventions about age disparity in relationships.

When you learn to accept your sexuality you will find your relationships, sex life, and happiness improve. And when you build your inner resources, usually you get more of what you want in life.


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Mike
Mike
25/03/2021 2:19 AM

Thank you ,as a man who is attracted to younger guys .I found this very helpful .

Joshua
Joshua
13/04/2021 8:30 AM

I love me

Chuck
Chuck
18/06/2021 11:43 PM

I’m 50. Is it reasonable to look to meet men half my age. Where should I look.

Kevin
Kevin
30/01/2022 12:22 PM

I seem to be attracted to younger mature in thought and in business. I always figured this was some fetish I had not resolved however since my last three bf and ultimately my current boyfriend, I believe I am after the love and energy that he has. He has a confidence and an ability to have patience and love that I lack. I believe I have found the one man I can love and enjoy for a long time! I am 56 he is 25. We have loved , given up , shared and gone through many emotional adventures.. we come out stronger ! Am I being realistic? We have been together for over a year and a half and we still communicate multiple times a day… yea we are currently long distance…. Nit feels like we’re together all the time…

Last edited 2 years ago by Kevin
Kevin
Kevin
Reply to  Adam Blum
26/12/2022 11:07 PM

Follow up. We have been living together 8 months now! It has been amazing. We are in a monogamous relationship and we have been giving and taking in very positive ways. We have been really enjoying the time that we have and building a pretty good friend group.

Dane
Dane
26/07/2022 8:39 AM

I am 54 years old and looking for a LTR with a mature and monogomus person for life but its so hard to find a true and honest person. Why is it so difficult to find these qualities?

eric
eric
Reply to  Dane
08/04/2023 8:25 AM

Its even more difficult when your 55 and find yourself single after a 22 year relationship. I don”t know how to get past the anxiety and hurt when your happily ever after tells you he wants to be single. Bars, aps, are so unfamiliar to me. most friends dont practice monogamy and have open relationship. I am old school and just cant see that. Good luck to you and me!

Rob
Rob
28/12/2022 10:14 AM

I’ve always been attracted to younger Asian men. I’ve long ago stopped trying to figure it out. My boyfriend is 23 years younger than me. He’s not a gold digger; he is attracted to older white men and so it works beautifully.

Aaron
Aaron
Reply to  Rob
10/04/2023 9:22 PM

how did you two meet ? i also attracted to older white men

James
James
16/01/2023 3:38 AM

Lost my partner of 47 years to cancer last year.
Started chatting recently on FB.
All of a sudden multiple young men started sharing their desire to be with me.
Some were hustlers that were dismissed.
One in particular has captured my attention.
Have not met him yet, but planning to in the future.
I’m old enough to be his father.
He is beautiful, fit and educated.
He wants a commitment from me.
I would love to oblige, but need to met him first, take it slow.
This is the first romantic encounter since the passing of my significant other..

Attila
Attila
17/01/2023 7:05 PM

I m 54 married to a women for over 30 years lately I find myself super
attracted to younger guys
even hooked up with some on Grindr
I hate cheating in my wife but can’t help the attraction
Never in 50 years did I struggle with same sex attraction
Am I gay? Should I come out?

Last edited 1 year ago by Attila
Muhammad Ali Eesaa
Muhammad Ali Eesaa
Reply to  Attila
17/02/2023 5:25 AM

If you are married to the opposite sex & you are finding yourself being attracted to younger guys from the same sex I wouldn’t say you are gay but I would say that you are bisexual.

Last edited 1 year ago by Muhammad Ali Eesaa
Muhammad Ali Eesaa
Muhammad Ali Eesaa
Reply to  Attila
17/02/2023 5:25 AM

It sounds like you are bi.

Aaron
Aaron
10/04/2023 8:50 PM

As 28 yo it’s hard for me to find an older companion who willing to have relationship and struggle with depression it does not help me at all, but I’m still looking for my own happiness without killing myself at the end.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aaron
Ardee
Ardee
05/08/2023 12:42 AM

Is this someplace I might find someone to talk to in the following situation? I was 9 when some rather unfortunate stuff took place that may color the rest of this – you can probably guess, I’ll just say it was a friends dad, not mine. 16-18 I met a lot of people that were far older than me and things that shouldn’t have happened did. Then at 19 I met a 35 year old – we were together as a couple for 2 years. But we’ve continued living together the next 23. In that time I had a relationship for 8 years with someone one year older that was abusive and when he left, I hid from the world for a decade plus. A few weeks ago I decided to try getting out there again. Met an old friend 12 years my sr (so he’s 56, me 44.) and it seemed great until he starting calling me ‘boy’ that crashed it all down reminding me of when I was a kid and didn’t get to make any of the choices in that at all. So I abruptly ended that. And two days later a 19 year old set his sights on me. Now we’ve been dating 3 weeks. I have no issue with age gaps, but never expected to be on the high side of one looking across 25 years. We both have our baggage, but it goes well enough together that we get each other. Even friends of 30 years don’t seem to understand me as well as him. But I’m his first … everything. And that’s terrifying. I know how bad firsts can mess you up long term, and while I can’t possibly be as bad a first to him as what I was subjected to . (Seriously, I’m not going to hurt him intentionally, or not listen if he ever said stop/no/ or anything like. So it can’t be as bad as mine was. But that doesn’t mean I’m sure it will
Be a GOOD memory for
Him. I’m trying as hard as I can to ensure that, probably making him wait longer than he wants to for a lot of things. But I’m scared of getting it wrong.

I’m not a social step up, nor really a financial one. I do have a house and it’s free and clear paid off, but that’s about the only thing going for me that way. So when he says he likes me for me, I have no reason not to believe him. I know we both don’t see ourselves the way we see each other. We both have our insecurities but don’t understand the other having them because we think each other about perfect. He wants a long term relationship- and he knew early on he likes older guys. I ended up with older guys but I always just was trying to make someone happy if they paid me attention and weren’t trying to harm me (that I knew ) – but I saw him trying to meet older guys and he approached me – and at first I just wanted to tell him how to be careful so he didn’t get himself into dangerous situations like I did. And sort of realized i could be the older guy. And I could protect him from what I wasn’t protected from. Or even warned about. And I want to – and my closest friends both think I’m happier than they e ever seen me and this has to be a good thing. And one takes every opportunity to tell me how it’s doomed. And it’s starting to mess with my head.

is this a topic you can help with? It’s not like there’s niche experts in this, but this was the closest I’d seen while googling.

Rob
Rob
22/08/2023 6:55 AM

I find it interesting that so many people talk about overpowering. #1 I am a bottom, #2 I found a younger man who I actually share a real love bond with who is more than half my age. (Don’t worry, he’s 25. Lol) For me if anything I find myself trying to encourage him by empowering him. Yes, we have been through all of the struggles of concerns about financial abuse and sexual exploitation and spend what seemed like forever talking through our inner feelings and broke up a thousand times but in the end what came up was we actually love each other and really care for each other. It feels so amazing. I feel like if anything he holds the power.

dart
dart
29/08/2023 7:38 PM

Very cool that you are here and can help with this. I come from a trauma background. CSA age 3 (deduced from behaviour changes described by my sister) CPA (flashbacks) and CEN folowed later.

My T thinks my psych development stalled in mid teens. I like young people, their energy, their ideas. I made a successful career teaching high school — and remaining a gay virgin.

I only became aware of my trauma recently — about 1.6 years ago. Abot that same time I finally admitted to myself I was gay.

But while I’ve learned to flirt, I haven’t carried through yet.

Romulo
Romulo
12/09/2023 4:21 PM

I am a 60 yo that was outed 5 years ago by my wife then ginding out I was with a 29 yo guy that I just fell in love with…5 years later I can say that I love younger men, and have accumulated severely relationships with men half or more my age…the issue is that most of them are bi or in the closet and despite the fact they say they fall in love, they eventually just disappear…I usually think is that I scare them because I am very passionate and romantic from the very beginning and reached a peak of interest very quickly, I thing I just scare this young guys…there is still one that hangs there, but he is not willing to go out of the closet for family and tradition issues…what should I do?

Kevin
Kevin
29/09/2023 2:21 AM

I am dating someone 22 years my senior, he is 51 and I am 29. Our interests are different and my references to pop culture completely flies over his head. I sometimes worry that it’s not a good sign.

John Kai
John Kai
09/01/2024 1:58 AM

I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this page! Really helpful to read the article above and the various comments sharing their stories. I think I relate to Alan in the article above – I’m in my early 40s and have always been sexually and physically attracted to guys in their 20s. In terms of conversations, emotional and intellectual connection, obviously guys in their 30s or even early 40s are much better. I have been in a relationship with a hot guy 15 years younger than me for the last four years, which unfortunately is probably about to end. In terms of values and interests, we are completely different, so we were probably never going to work out. But throughout, I kept dragging it on because somehow I felt that I was so “lucky” to have a handsome guy in his 20s who likes me and that I would struggle to find another guy like that if we broke up. Also, my bf has said that he feels I’m not willing to fully commit to him (eg move into a house or different city or even tell my family) – he is partly right because at the back of my mind, I always feel that this relationship won’t last. I’m reasonably attractive for my age and actually quite successful professionally and financially, and I think I’m attractive to guys my age, but i keep looking longingly at the handsome guys in their 20s. Now it’s gonna be even harder to find one that is willing to commit to a relationship with a 40+ guy. Really sad.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Kai
Daniel
Daniel
16/02/2024 5:11 AM

I recently came across a young man, he’s 26, I really enjoy being with him, but the problem is I’m 64. I see my young friend intermittently, he still lives with his parents and I suspect that he has not told them that he’s gay. He’s come out to me, and as a more mature individual I need to allow him the opportunity to explore his own life. I think my best option is to let him make the next step. If he decides that he wants to be with an older man he’s free to do so, and if he would rather have somebody a little younger than I am, that’s okay too. Last thing I want to do is put pressure on this young man.

Derek
Derek
25/02/2024 8:47 AM

I’m 17 my boyfriend is 30. this is really comfortable relationship,but sometimes i worrying about age gap

Anonymous
Anonymous
08/04/2024 5:21 PM

I think I’m falling for an older man. I’m only 20 but I feel like I truly want him and I want someone for the long haul not just to fk around for a little while.

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