There is a common adage that says that as people mature, they become less flexible, more stubborn and more set in their ways. I think it is safe to assume that for the most part, this is largely true. There is a corollary to this that says that as single people age, their uncompromising ways begin to affect their ability to develop serious relationships. They become less accommodating to new people and less able to share their time and space with another human being. When you are in your early 20s and single, you will go out practically anywhere with practically anybody who invites you. When you are in your 30s or beyond, you are less likely to take chances on new people and new situations unless they fit into your neatly defined status quo of expectations.
Many times, these single people are misperceived as old. This isn’t the case at all. They can party just as hard as those in their mid-20s. In fact, I would argue that they party better. They know how to pace themselves, they know their tolerance level and can avoid getting brutally drunk and they have enough cash flow so they can get their drink on with things other than Franzia and Popov. That extra decade of experience doesn’t mean that they are geriatric, it means they know what they like and what they don’t like.
But when it comes to actually dating someone who is a bit older, even though they still know how to have a good time, they will also more likely be inflexible. Even though they could be the person of your dreams, there may be some difficulty in fitting yourself into their already fixed life.
Unfortunately, I find that this is the case more often than not when dating guys of a certain age. Rigidity usually starts to set in their early/mid thirties and only worsens with time. It is harder to find shared interests when you are 27 and he is 42, even if he is the best guy in the world.
But that doesn’t mean all is lost. In my opinion, what is necessary to overcome these potential difficulties is the guy’s self-awareness. If he is able to see how his rigidity potentially affects the relationship, then he should be able to make changes to accommodate. If he is able to look at his life in an objective manner, then he should be able to make adjustments to his day-to-day.
And this is ultimately my point: Self-awareness is one of the most underrated qualities to look for in a potential mate and also one of the most difficult to spot. You will never get into his head, but there are some signs that indicate if your potential guy is cognizant of his place in a relationship. One of the best proxies is if he is able to admit his mistakes. A person who is able to admit they are wrong must be conscious of their errors, and therefore will be more self-aware.
So if your potential guy is a little older, or even if not, it is important to see how in tune he is with his role in your blossoming relationship. A guy who is self-aware will better accommodate your Venn Diagram of interests. A guy who is less self aware may not even realize that you are a factor.