As all of us Girlfriends wrap our brains around entering our fifth or sixth decade of life, it’s helpful to remember that our male counterparts come with their own set of over-40 issues. So I did a very scientific sampling of men in this age group (meaning I talked to all the guys in my office, at school drop off, and at every party I attended this past month) to find out what men over 40 would like women over 40 to know:
THEY DON’T ALL WANT A YOUNG TROPHY
Whether you’re dating or married, it’s hard not to think that the guy who holds your heart would trade you in for a newer model if given the chance. And while there are those men in their 40s who seem to prefer dating women 25 and younger, the truth is that most men are attracted to one thing over everything else: Confidence. And for a man over 40, it’s hard to find the kind of self-knowledge and life experience that leads to true confidence inside of a woman who’s only entering her 23rd year of life. And while we’re on the subject of confidence, let’s also talk about insecurities. Uncomfortable with parts of your body that used to be higher and tighter? Yeah, so are they. And sure, like you, they can appreciate a well-worked-out, hot, young thing. But being with someone who doesn’t look so obviously out of place on their arm and in their bed helps them to feel great about the body they’re in (note double entendre).
A LOT OF THEM NEED TO TAKE A PILL AND THAT’S OK
Ever notice how many Erectile Dysfunction treatment commercials tend to air during televised sporting events? That’s because advertisers know their audience, and the most common users of these medications are men over age 40. Erectile Dysfunction, or ED, is the constant or occasional inability to keep and maintain an erection. And it’s more common than most men might want to admit. In fact, by age 40, about 40% of men have had some sort of ED and the frequency only increases the older they get. The good news? Once you’ve ruled out other possible causes like diabetes, heart conditions or certain medications (to name a few), men can continue to enjoy an ED-free sex life thanks to the magic of modern pharmacology. This of course requires a bit of timing and may suck the spontaneity out of your sex life, and it’s important to be understanding and supportive. There’s plenty you can do to occupy each other while waiting for that little magic pill to kick in… or up.
THEY ARE ALL GOING THROUGH MIDLIFE TURMOIL, JUST LIKE US
Be it a thoughtful assessment or a full-blown crisis, most everyone in their 40’s or 50’s is taking a midlife moment to reflect and regroup. For some men, this can mean a difficult period of realization and regret. Perhaps they need to come to terms with probably never achieving a certain long-held goal. Perhaps they have regrets and can see that in retrospect, they may have made some poor choices. While some are fortunate to experience midlife as a time of self-acceptance, some experience profound feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. And when that happens, just like with us, it can drive a person crazy (to quote Stephen Sondheim). The trend with many hetero couples, especially those with children, is for the woman to swallow a lot of these feelings while men tend to act out. Of course, that’s not going to be the case for everyone, but She Who Multitasks stays distracted the longest. And He Who Sits On The Couch A Lot tends to brood. Try to be supportive. Remind your guy about all the things he has to be thankful for (um, like YOU!), and plan some fun things to look forward to. The more you can look forward and the less you look back, the better the chances of surviving a midlife moment.
THEY ACTUALLY VALUE A GOOD DEED OVER A GREAT ASS
Not that your average man over 40 can’t appreciate a well-supported tush, but men who are real adults are able to see a little deeper. The reality is that selfishness, pettiness and inconsideration are turn-offs while virtue, self-awareness and compassion for others can make someone seem very sexy to a man of a certain age. Just like us, as men grow older, they start to become aware of the inevitable need to have someone take care of them. Even the most independent person has at least emotional needs that require tending, and there is comfort and pleasure that can be derived from the company of a person who possesses a quality soul. In other words, feel free to lead with your heart and not your (insert fave body part).
One of the 40-something men I spoke to was able to sum it all up for me. “I think we all just want a true partner,” he said. “I’m getting too old to try to pretend I’m anything I’m not, and I’m too tired to deal with someone pretending to be something they’re not.”
Everyone needs a girlfriend!
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