I am a 54-year-old woman who, after a long marriage and unavoidable divorce, is ready to date.
Sorry you went through that. The divorce could have been avoided by choosing wisely and treating kindly. Choosing wisely, thought, can be difficult if someone hides who they really are before you marry them.
I work out daily, am active in my church, take classes, and socialize with women and married couples. I'm in excellent shape and am told I'm attractive and fun.
All good things.
There are few available men my age (or a little younger or older) and almost all of them seem to be looking for women in their 40s, 30s or even 20s.
This is true - that there are few available men, since almost all people get married. A heterosexual man that age is likely to be married or remarried, or divorced at least once.
Here's the heart of this letter:
Why are men my age so unwilling to date women their age?
The short, brutal answer is: Because they don't have to. Men tend to gain money, power, and fame, as they get older, and that makes them more desirable to women. The more of these things a man gets, the more and hotter women he has available to him. Sure, women appreciate hunks, but the bottom line is that the kind of women these men want (young women who will provide sex for little effort/time/money invested) are usually going to choose the guy with money/power/fame over the younger, hunky guy who is living paycheck to paycheck. These men have those women available to them, and they are going to pick those women before picking you.
"Hotter" for most men often unavoidably means "younger", because men are visual creatures who prefer tighter, perkier, less damaged/aged female skin.
When these men get older, they may look or a woman who will be able to take care of them in their old age, but for now, they want sex with hotter women. A lot of them have been married before and it isn't what they want right now, or, even if they are looking or a wife, they want her to be hotter and deferring to his age and experience.
They don't want another friend. They don't want someone with whom they can discuss politics or deep subjects. They want a younger, hotter, fresher body.
I write all of this as a guy who, during my wayward younger years, thoroughly enjoyed the company of a woman your age. The older women I dated were attractive, sexy, and a lot of fun and could carry on an intelligent conversation. But I wasn't looking to marry any of them, or travel with them, or anything like that. It was conversation, perhaps a movie, perhaps dinner, and most definitely about fornication.
Am I destined to spend my life without romance?
There is probably a man your age out there who is right for you and wants you. Maybe you've ignored a few of them already because they are "boring". Chances are, though, he'll be of modest means because the guys your age who are better off do have the option to go younger. If it really is romance you want you'll increase your odds if you are willing to date men significantly older than you or to play the cougar by seeing younger men… who can't find women their age because they are dating the men your age. If you want a husband it is going to be difficult, but not impossible, to find someone your age; it will be nearly impossible if you expect him to be much better off financially than you.
Dear Abby responded:
I can't speak for "all" older men, but many of them in our youth-obsessed culture look for women considerably younger because it helps them fool themselves into thinking they are younger than their years.
That might be the way a woman thinks, but not the way a man does. It really is as simple as younger generally = hotter. Yes, there are unattractive 20 and 30-somethings, but few women have hotter bodies at age 54 than they did at 34 or 24. Like it or not, a man's ability to attract someone in the dating world tends to increase as he gets older (to a certain limit) and a woman's tends to decrease. This is one of the big reasons why marriage "protects" women and is advantageous for women.
When you're 54 and you’re with your husband of 20+ years, he has that love and bond and history and experience and memory and vows with you. Your body turns him on in part due to these factors. That isn’t the case with the unmarried men who are strangers to you, who will have a more difficult time being turned on by the mere sight of you across the room. It is easier for them to be turned on by looking at that 20 or 30-something they don’t know either, and that makes them more likely to approach that other woman rather than you.
You are physically, socially and intellectually active, so stop allowing yourself to be marginalized and consider dating men who are younger. It worked for Demi Moore.
Not a bad suggestion.