EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com  (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION: I'm 30 years old and single, but all the guys who have wanted to friends with me, or have proposed to move our relationship up to the next level, have been younger than me by at least a few years. I don't understand this cycle. How can I attract men my own age?

HE SAID:

Should I presume you have not allowed your former friendships and relationships to develop due to the fact your suitors were younger than you?

Sometimes it’s difficult to look beyond those societally ingrained relational (and often superficial) parameters many of us have grown to accept – the woman should be shorter than the man (but not by a lot), the couple should be proportional to each other (or they’ll look strange together), the man should be older than the woman (but not by “too” much), they should be of a similar economic status (otherwise one is after the other’s money), etcetera, etcetera.

There’s also the consideration of maturity and “life-experience” level which doesn’t necessarily take into account “age.” 

Several of my married friends are coupled where the woman is older than the man, and their relationship seems to work just fine.  To make a general decision not to date a person just because he is a couple of years your junior seems limiting, especially as you get older.  

It can be difficult not to “listen” to the media tell us how to act or what a relationship should look like, but I have to question any non-Biblical advice when the “success rate” for marriages sits at fifty-percent (“Christian marriages” don’t fare much better, but that’s a whole another topic).

When it comes down to it (from what I can find), the Bible only speaks to the fact we should not be joined with someone whom we are not spiritually compatible.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Everything else is just society-accepted “rules.”

Having said that, “attracting men of your own age” may have a lot to do with perception.  How you are dressed, the activities you participate in, the manner in which you conduct yourself and your “passion” can all contribute to (or impact) those who are attracted to you.

You may want to consider dressing a little more “professional,” getting involved in church activities directed at an older audience or socializing in places where a more mature clientele frequents to attract men closer to your age.

SHE SAID:

Thanks so much for your question. Maybe you are attracting these men at first because you look much younger. So even after dating, your age difference doesn't matter because they like you as you are? Another reason could be that you come across with confidence, self-assurance, or independence. These may be qualities younger men are looking for these days. If you have your stuff together, own a home, have a good job, are maturing in your faith...all of these could be things these younger guys are looking for in a woman their age. However, they aren't able to find it so they are attracted to you. 

So how do you attract men closer to your age, or even a few years older? Well, I would first ask: where are you spending your time? If you are dating online, I simply would not respond to anyone under a certain age. If you are attending a small group at church, I would start attending a group that is older. I would seek out social groups where there are older men. Now realize upon doing some of these things you are now going to open the door to men in their 40's and older asking you out. 

So what is the best solution? Simply pray and ask God what he wants. Maybe God wants you to be with a younger man. Age to me is simply a number. It's more about your life-stage. You might find a younger man to be at the same life-stage of maturity, goals, and vision of where God has him and where God is taking him. Trust God to bring to you who He wants versus who you want.

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is … Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is the author of three books: Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment (co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources); From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life; and the most recent, Jesus, Single Like Me with Study Questions (includes a leader's guide and conference/retreat of the same name).

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!). 

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.

Publication date: December 27, 2012