Dear Matchmaker Rabbi:
I’m 43 years old, recently divorced, and have joined Jdate after being out of the dating scene for over a decade. A man wrote me recently who is very attractive, has a great bio and was very warm and personable in his e-mail. But I was totally taken aback to see that although he is 45 years old, he has listed his desired age range as 28-40. Twenty-eight! I can’t believe it! What person in their 40s would want to date a 28-year-old?!? One part of me wants to write him back but the other part is totally hung up about this. I’m equally annoyed he only wants to date someone younger than himself, not older. It’s just so hypocritical. What do you think?
— Stumped in Philly
I don’t blame you for being annoyed. There was nothing I found more annoying during my years of dating than all the guys who were looking for women younger than themselves — sometimes even much younger — and who were unwilling to date someone even 3 or 5 years older. It’s not just hypocritical, it’s vain and even sexist.
That said, you should really try not to disqualify someone for one tiny detail written in their profile that you don’t like. You never know the back story. Maybe he filled it out without really thinking about it. Maybe he really would date someone older, if it were the right someone, and he just hasn’t been faced with that situation.
And, while I agree that a 17-year age difference would potentially create many problems in a relationship — different maturity levels, life goals, energy levels, etc. — this, too, is impossible to generalize. Some people are able to create happy life partnerships despite big age differences (look at Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford; or Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher). So, while most 45-year-olds are totally ill-matched for most 28-year-olds, that’s just a generalization too.
Don’t be too quick to judge. If everything else is a “go” — give this guy a chance. Worse comes to worse, you’ll have a nice night out on the town.
— The Matchmaker Rabbi
Joysa Winter, aka The Matchmaker Rabbi, knows all about how hard it is to find lasting love. It took her 17 years to find Mr. Not Wrong! In that time, she tried just about every singles site, dating club and Matzah Ball known to humanity. Now in her fourth year of rabbinical school and the mother of 1.5 kids, nothing brings her greater joy than officiating a wedding. She is finishing a book on her dating adventures called Chasing Cupid, Tales of Dating Disaster in Jewish Suburbia. You can follow her on Twitter at @wanderinghebrew.