Don't Be Afraid to Date a Younger Man

In Essence, Nathan Hale Williams advises his sister-friends that dipping into the fountain of youth every now and again isn't a crime. Just make sure you realize how your beau's age may come into play in your relationship.

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Most people are familiar with the term "cougar," but many don't realize that, despite the stigma, dating a younger man or woman might not be so bad. Essence contributor Nathan Hale Williams writes that if you take the proper precautions and take your younger date's life experiences, or lack thereof, into consideration, you might be able to build an actual relationship.

Recently, one of my sister-friends came to me with a similar real-life dilemma. She'd met a man on one of the popular dating sites, but he was 13 years her junior. She'd gone on a date with him and was very interested. Yet, she couldn't get over his age. "He's the same age as [her younger brother], that's gross," she said. "But, sweetheart, he's not your brother," I replied. I'm always have an expansive view on dating and love, so I really didn't see the problem. If the man was mature, made her happy and could hold his own, then his age really shouldn't matter. We all know plenty of "forty-somethings" that act their shoe size and not their age.

Moreover, from what she described the guy had his life together -- a great job; no kids; a strong family background. And, by her account, he was fine. My only caveat was that although he might be mature on paper, and during first impressions, if she were to enter a long-term relationship with him, she would always have to take his age into consideration when judging his actions.

Read Nathan Hale Williams' entire piece at Essence.com.

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