Men Who Marry More than 20 Years Younger: What’s it about?

Men Who Marry More than 20 Years Younger: What’s it about?

They say that love has no age and that age is a number, but do such sayings really hold true when it comes to relationships?

Further, what about the moralistic aspect or the question of compatibility? Are such intimate arrangements even healthy?

One article published by The Good Men Project discusses whether such an engagement is healthy and mutually beneficial. It relies on the motivations behind the same. This brings us to the question: why do men fall for and often marry women twenty or more years younger than they are? Let’s explore this.

The Psychology Behind Older Men Marrying Much Younger Women

As a therapist, I have come across men in their forties and fifties who are romantically engaged with and sometimes married to women twenty or more years younger than they are. As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I have also provided couple therapy to various couples between whom the existing age gap was two decades or more.

In my years of working, here are some general realizations about why older men become drawn to women so much younger. Do remember that these are just some potential frameworks. As human beings, we are all different and operate in varying ways personally.

Mid-life Anxiety

One reason that many older men take to marrying or getting into relationships with women so much longer is due to what I like to call midlife anxiety. It is a point that comes in the lives of many men where their mortality dawns on them in a sense. This leads to a subconscious need to reconnect with a more youthful and vibrant side of themselves.

This is done in many ways. With successful men, this might manifest in the form of grandiose spending on luxuries such as sports cars or even real estate. It may manifest in changes in behavior, becoming a little easier going and even partaking in activities one might have given up on earlier in life because they seem to have been outgrown.

Mid-life Anxiety

Such mid-life anxiety is common in men who settle down into stable family lives too quickly in a sense. The feeling of losing some of one’s best years sometimes adds to it.

Finally, this may manifest in seeking a partner that fits right into this eternal youth narrative. Is this healthy? Not exactly. This attraction is rooted in a need to feel confident about oneself, not in appreciation, admiration, or respect for the other.


Another slightly more sinister reason why some men might engage with women a lot younger could be a thing of power play. They might feel inadequate, emasculated by partners their age or older, or simply insecure about who they are and what they are about. This may be particularly so concerning their competence as romantic suitors.

Such men may often gravitate towards, and in a sense, rope in women who are young and might lack the exposure and foresight an older woman would possess. This allows them to be romantically engaged with women who might never have given them a second thought had they been closer to the same age.

Again, this is rooted in the motivation to make oneself feel more competent and adequate, even if the motivation is subconscious. This does not take away from the tragic fact that, as before, the attraction has little to do with genuine appreciation for the other or what they are about.

Love Has No Limits

Though rare, there are instances where the attraction that exists across generations is simply due to a deep appreciation for who the person is. I have worked with men whose partners were far younger, but their love was authentic and healthy.

Such people often live on the fringes of mainstream society, and the relationships they forge with those far younger are rooted not in a need to feel better, more youthful, or secure. They are rooted in commonalities such as interests, socio-political views, and approaches to life and living.

If a relationship is based on respect, appreciation, compatibility, and valid common ground, then age, though still relevant and playing a part, may take a bit of a back seat!

Making Sure You’re Doing the Right Thing

If you’re an older man considering marrying or settling down with someone much younger, chances are you must be conscious to ensure your actions are okay. You want to ensure you won’t be doing something for the wrong reasons, as that usually ends in hurt and heartbreak. We recommend that you work with a professional therapist before you take steps.

Premarital counseling, couple therapy, or counseling in general is always helpful in such instances. If you’re located in Palo Alto, schedule an appointment with us. Remember, if that relationship is healthy and meant to be, it will!

  1. Cindy Peterson says:

    Why does this happen so much more frequently with men marrying younger women…male privilege?

  2. jeff says:

    i ru8n away from much younger women, been there and done that but not anymore

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