But this kind of thinking conflates practical responsibility with emotional maturity — which isn't really accurate.We might think that certain concrete markers of adulthood — a prestigious job; a working knowledge of personal finance; properly assembled Ikea furniture —signify a related degree of emotional maturity.
I also had a lot of friends who couldn't believe how dumb I was — didn't I remember how difficult it was to get a guy to commit at age 24? Of course, I didn't "go through that again," and five years into our relationship, no one really gives a sh*t about how old either of us are.But the experience has made me think about how women are discouraged from dating younger men — especially women in their twenties.When I met my boyfriend Jesse, I was 28 and he was 24 — not too much of a dating age difference in the grand scheme of things, but to hear some of my friends at the time tell it, you'd think we were Harold and Maude — or at the very least, Ashton and Demi.In the early days of our relationship, I got a lot of a lot of exasperated eyerolls, "you go, girl"s, and questions about whether I was technically old enough to be a cougar.
Which makes sense — in the course of 24 months, I transformed from a college senior who'd never lived on my own and subsisted primarily on bagels stolen from the school cafeteria to a financially independent adult who worked a serious job and subsisted primarily on bagels stolen from work.
I felt like I was racking up new life milestones every day, and couldn't imagine relating to anyone younger than me — and so I became fixated on dating older guys, because I thought it was the only way I could find someone who would be mature enough to make me happy.