Why Is This Important?
Because it’s an ugly stereotype that we should probably retire.
Long Story Short
A new study published by the American Psychological Association finds that the idea of girls dating older men because they have “daddy issues” is a myth. Women dating men 10 years or more their senior were found to be just as secure in their relationships as women in similar-age relationships.
The idea of “daddy issues” is, to say the least, a sensitive topic. It describes the phenomenon of women dating men much older than them (say, 10+ years), with the reason being that they had a bad relationship with their father and seek to correct that with a stand-in. AskMen has published content on the subject before, which led to this Jezebel article that (among other things) labeled us as some kind of MRA cesspool. Like I said, it’s sensitive stuff. But is there any truth to it, women dating older men because of “daddy issues?” According to a new study published by the American Psychological Association, the answer is a resounding “no.”
For the study, the authors examined two groups of women: Those in similar-age relationships, and those in romantic relationships with men 10+ years their senior. While the authors hypothesized that the women in May-December relationships would be just as securely attached as those with similarly-aged men, if they were less securely attached it would suggest that those women choose to date older men for reasons other than romantic attraction (i.e., the daddy issues).
In the end, 74% of the women in age-gap relationships were securely attached, which wasn’t statistically different from the women in similar-age relationships. It comes as no surprise to the authors: Women have evolved to older men, and men usually don’t have a problem dating younger women. How much older is a different question, but the fact remains that even in today’s modern, comfortable environment, an older guy is going to have far more to offer a woman than a man her age in terms of money, culture, life experience and wisdom.
If that’s the case, why do we reactively label women who date older men as having daddy issues? My guess is that people like to blame women for their problems in general. If a woman finds that a competitor of hers has managed to snag the guy she had her eye on, it’s not unusual for the victor to be labeled a slut, or whore. Likewise, if a younger man “loses” a love interest to an older competitor, it’s a lot easier to blame his failure on the woman’s perceived psychological issues than to look in the mirror. As an added bonus, it allows him to continue the delusion that his youthful looks and vitality would count for just as much as the older guy’s money and experience, if only her dad had hugged her more.
Undoubtedly, there are a handful of women out there who seek out older men as a way to make up for their fathers’ sins. But even if that’s the case, keep in mind that, as Jezebel put it, the blame lies with her terrible father, not her.
Own The Conversation
Ask The Big Question
Are men accused of having “mommy issues” just as often?
Disrupt Your Feed
I have plenty of issues with my father myself, so it seems unfair to hold that against someone.
Drop This Fact
The average age difference for heterosexual couples is 2.3 years, with the man older than the woman.