As men get older, what they want in a partner changes.
By Ossiana Tepfenhart — Updated on Apr 14, 2023
Photo: AnnaTamila/ Shutterstock
If you’re like me, you’ve started to notice that the things that attract you aren’t always what they used to be. For example, you might have liked goth guys in college, but now might find the idea of dating one pretty cringey. This is totally normal, and it’s actually a sign that you’re maturing.
Obviously, guys tend to have their tastes in women evolve, too. However, unlike women, who tend to start looking for men who are more career-focused and family-oriented as they get older, men tend to look for more personal qualities. Here’s what men look for in a woman and everything you need to know about the evolution of men’s taste as they age.
What men look for in a woman drastically changes over time
From what I’ve personally experienced, men in their 20s do not know what they really want. Most of the time, the number one thing on their mind is looks and appearance. I have seen so many men this age turn down good women for not having the right waist size or hair color, it actually put me off of dating altogether.
Part of the reason guys are so looks-oriented is that men tend to try to be players at this age. Like many women, there are a lot of men who feel the need to “sew their wild oats,” and get that out of their system before they can commit. For many of them, it’s what makes them feel like a man. It’s a matter of conquest.
Another part of this is that guys don’t really understand women as a whole or even themselves at this point. Many are driven by this made-up idea of “what a man should do,” or “what a man should want.” They also tend to be insanely insecure at this stage, primarily because they may not feel like they have much to offer or because they faced a lot of rejection.
As a result, there’s often a disconnect when it comes to what men look for in a woman and what really goes on in a healthy relationship. They often will assume that a conservative-looking girl won’t cheat, but won’t actually bother to dig deeper to see their personality for what it is. However, they’ll cast aside someone who’s too quirky because they “aren’t presentable enough” to be serious with.
Not all men will ever get past this stage. In fact, from what I’ve seen, most don’t. Even those who do will still care about looks. Some personality traits do go far with younger guys. More specifically, they want a girl who’s fun, honest, caring and lives an active life. If you have that, you’re probably going to be able to find an LTR as long as you look fairly decent.
Something tends to happen in men around their mid-20s to early 30s. That thing is what I call “the switch.” All of a sudden, guys stop caring about sleeping with every girl imaginable. To a point, this could be caused by confidence, but in many cases, it’s because they are bored with the dating scene and realize that shallow flings aren’t really rewarding.
They start realizing that all the cool toys they get from working aren’t too cool without someone to share them with. They start noticing others pairing off and going their own ways, and then they start looking for a connection that’s a little bit more than just looks.
This is about the time that men start looking for companionship. They want someone to be with long-term. If they want kids, this is going to be the time when they start to really think about getting someone they would want as a mother to their child.
Men also start to look for stability around this age, which means that they will be more likely to pay attention to their careers. If you’re broke, there’s a good chance that men will not want to be serious with you at this point. However, there’s a big caveat to this. Many men feel it’s their job to support women, so it can depend from circle to circle. As a result, many guys start having more of an emphasis on comfort and compatibility now.
By this time, most men who are still on the market either have major issues dealing with women or have been divorced. It’s very unlikely that you will meet someone who has stayed single all these years without reason.
That being said, almost all men in this age group start really emphasizing the importance of a relationship-minded woman in their lives. There are many reasons why this is the case, but by the time they start to hit 40, being alone really starts to be a painful experience. They may feel rejected, alone, isolated, or even just “passed over” if they are single at this age.
Many men also will start to emphasize a woman’s career even more so during this time. The reason why is that many single men in their 40s will have had financial problems due to divorce. In many cases, they want to know that they aren’t going to have to foot the bill entirely for lifestyle. Basically, they often want to see something stable and consistent.
If a man already has kids, a woman’s motherly side will also come into play. This is also true if he’s still looking for a woman who will have his children. Men who don’t have kids and don’t want them to tend to look for kind, honest women who are child-free by choice.
If men have had serious problems with women, they over become embittered or commercial in the way they deal with ladies. This is why you see a lot of older men buying affection, and why you occasionally see a lot of men who try to talk about the money they make to dates. For some men, it’s the only way they feel they can provide value. Most men like this want a girl who is insecure, and meek, and will provide them validation.
Research shows that most men in their 50s want romance and relationships, along with some financial stability. Things like a woman’s maternal side, her appearance, and even the career she chooses will be less likely to matter to them as they once did.
Basically, the older a guy gets, the more he cares about a woman’s personality and financial situation.
If you aren’t financially stable, or if you don’t have a good personality, he’ll be way less likely to date you as time goes by. Though all men still love looks, they do care about what’s inside. That being said, it seems like every man wants a full package for his wife. So, if you cultivate yourself, you’re more likely to snag a guy.
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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others