Millennials are out there just like everyone else, trying to find love in all the wrong places. They might have bad luck in both finances and their jobs, but their love lives are under fire too. You may be under the impression that millennials are just looking for casual relationships, but that’s not always the case. In fact, you might be surprised what science is saying about what millennials are choosing in their partners.
Growing up we all got stories from our parents about Happily Ever After, but the world has changed and millennials are finding it harder to date in an era where technology has taken over. Ty Tashiro wrote a book called The Science of Happily Ever After and throughout the process of writing the book, he met a lot of people who weren’t even sure that love existed.
We can’t blame people for questioning true love; half of all marriages are ending in divorce, and don’t even get us started on dating apps. Sometimes it feels like a jungle out there whether you are a millennial or not.
If you are a millennial looking for love, we may have some answers for you. Here are 20 things that make women more appealing to men, according to science.
If you are a young woman and you are finding it difficult to date, it may be because a lot of millennial men are opting to date women over 35.
A Badoo database revealed that out of 10,500 people, 26% of millennials were interested in dating someone over the age of 35.
Abbie Moujaes, Badoo’s in-house dating expert says, “Millennials are looking to date someone who is older; as with age comes maturity and also the connotation of having your life together,” Moujaes said. “Dating someone older can be seen as a fast-track route into leading a stable life, which for a lot of millennials is enticing.”
Women are being seen as equals more now than ever before in history, meaning men are jumping onboard. And when it comes to dating, millennial men want someone who they can talk to about anything. “Millennials want someone to be their equal and their partner in every way,” Tina Wie, matchmaker and COO of Three Day Rules says, “They have very high standards around this.” That means we’re past the point of playing dumb on dates just to impress guys; science tells us it won’t work, anyway. This is an even better reason to just be your regular brilliant self.
Kindness is probably something that men of all ages are looking for in a woman. So don’t think that it’s overrated, no matter how society seems to value women who play hard to get or play games. During a Chinese study of 100 people, the group rated attractiveness based on photos with a descriptive word attached to them.
Men in the study chose pictures of women who also had desirable character traits like kindness.
“Even though beauty is an assessment of fitness value, there is no reason why assessment of fitness needs to be purely physical,” says psychologist and writer Scott Barry Kaufman at Greater Good.
It’s not surprising that a young man would want his partner to have a sense of adventure. But it doesn’t mean that you have to be okay with going sky-diving, just that you are open to new experiences. If you are too set in your ways, then you probably won’t appeal to a millennial man. “We see this in the types of dates they prefer,” Tina Wie says. “Millennials don’t want to just go on a regular dinner and movie date. They prefer museum dates, hiking dates, dates where you learn a craft, etc. There are even a lot of apps out there for millennials that focus on travel buddy dating.”
That may be another reason why millennial men are dating older women because they like the fact that they can take care of themselves. After all, a mature woman likely won’t be looking for a guy to look after her.
Older women know what they want, they’re immersed in their jobs, and they typically deal with problems on their own.
“My fiancée is a full 20 years older than me… She owns and rents out a house, and when there’s a plumbing problem, she fixes it. If we have to build a fence for our house, she builds the fence,” one guy told Mel Magazine.
Millennial men find passion in a woman very appealing. They really like to see you excited about something in your life. Wie says, “Millennials value partners who have genuine interests, hobbies, and passions that they follow whether it is activism, or a strong belief in something to make the world a better place (i.e. protecting the environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ activism).” You may think that millennials are just interested in casual relationships, but it’s not true. “I’ve never been in love, but I one day hope to be, and I think a lot of millennial men feel the same,” one guy told Thought Catalog.
Yet another reason why millennials are looking for women over the age of 35: substance.
Not to say that a young woman can’t have a deeper connection, but a woman in her 20’s is still discovering who she is.
“I find older women are often looking for a deeper, more intellectual connection, whereas the women my age tend to only want the most attractive guy. Older women also tend to put less pressure on the relationship. With women my age, I feel like I need to text them constantly; I never feel that obligation with older women,” one guy told Mel Magazine.
These days the status symbol that millennial guys are looking for is authenticity. Wie says, “It’s understanding and embracing what makes them unique. It’s being authentic to who they are and following their own hopes and dreams. It’s less about climbing the corporate ladder and more about carving their own path, which feels good to them and their own values. It’s their distinct individualism.” Now is the best time ever in the world to just be yourself because the guys out in the dating pool are much more accepting of your quirky and oddball characteristics than ever before.
You can be a free spirit at any age, which is good for the young millennial ladies.
Whether millennial men are looking for older women or not, one thing is clear: they want someone special.
“I’ll be the one sitting home on a Saturday night, and she’ll be texting me how she’s on her way back because she’s always out at social events. She’s a free spirit, and even at her age, she still always manages to see the good in people. In general, she’s just a very loving person with a fantastic heart,” one guy told Mel Magazine of his more mature gal.
We have all heard that millennials are hard to date, that all they are interested in is shallow relationships. But millennial men don’t see it that way. They just have high expectations, and a woman that has everything together in life is very appealing to them. “I’ll want to keep my options open, and in that way, I fall right under that millennial man stereotype, but I think the reason I keep on searching instead of settling down is because I haven’t met someone who I feel has been worth it. It’s not that I’m trying to play the field and hook up with as many women as I can, it’s just that I want to find the right one, and I haven’t yet.”
When it comes to the millennial man, he doesn’t just want arm candy. He’s looking for a range of qualities that make you a suitable partner rather than a casual lady friend.
A modern guy wants to know that you have other things going for you like a sense of humor, motherliness, intellect, and so on.
“I know there are a lot of levels and beliefs when it comes to God, but our beliefs must complement each other,” says Aaron Perkins. “If you’re going to replace my mom, the first love of my life and take care of our kids, you gotta have some motherly instincts.”
A millennial man finds a common connection appealing in a woman. And you are more likely to find your match at a place where you do something you enjoy like a sports team or event, a hobby, or just going for a run. “I use dating apps because the anxiety of talking to strangers is real. They suck, though. I’d say you should meet people doing activities you like,” says Rene Polanco. “That way, you don’t have that dating app question of, “Are they just here for [shallow dating]?” Plus, you’d know for sure that you have at least one thing in common.”
There are guys out there that love when a girl asks him out, but not every girl is comfortable with that. If you aren’t bold enough to ask out the guy you’re crushing on, just make sure that you are still giving positive signals to the guy you like.
If you don’t appear open and welcoming, a guy might be too intimidated to approach ask you out.
“I think a woman should wait and be pursued, but she also has to be sure that she’s making herself approachable or available if she’s actually interested in having someone pursue her,” says Jalen Anderson.
When you are interested in a guy, it’s always best to play it cool. A millennial guy wants someone who is in his league and if you appear too thirsty, he’s going to get turned off by that. Guys like Byron Khalil are breaking down what they consider to be thirsty. “So, ‘thirsty’ to me is when a person is doing way too much to get the attention of another. The person receiving the attention has to make it clear though that the attention is unwanted. Once they’ve made it clear and the person is still trying to woo them, that’s when I would call them ‘thirsty’.”
Another thing that a guy likes in a woman is when she is clear and focused.
This is yet another reason why younger guys may be chasing after older women.
“When I meet a woman over 30, she’s usually very clear and focused. She knows what she wants in life and it makes being with her so much easier. I look at a lot of my friends who have girlfriends their age and younger and the problems they have struck me as ridiculous. They frequently act foolish and immature. I don’t have time for that behavior—that’s why I like mature women,” one millennial dater told Today.
Guys get a rush out of meeting and spending time with a woman that can teach them something. Whether you are older than him or not, there’s more to you than what you look like. If you are knowledgeable about something and you can bring that into your relationship, then all the better. “Just the fact that there’s so much to learn from an older woman, that they have so many more life experiences to draw upon, is an adventure to me. It’s like a rush.”—Vincent, 31. We’re not lying when we say that millennial guys really like older women.
No guy wants to date a girl that just tells him what he wants to hear all the time. Not good guys anyway.
Millennial guys love hearing a new perspective on life, and knowing that you have an opinion of your own is very appealing.
“She offered me the opportunity to see another perspective on a lot of different issues. I mean, older women think differently on certain issues and they’ve got more experience. I grew up a lot with her. Yeah, definitely, she helped me to grow up. She made me realize how important I could be in making someone else happy. Not that I was doing it for her, but just being with her.”—Art, 27.
Guys may say that they like the crazy, wild girls, but that’s not always the case. Especially for millennial guys who are ready to settle down and stop dealing with the game playing that many younger ladies seem to like. Emotional stability can go a long way when it comes to a guy that wants a healthy relationship. “Emotional stability. Need I say more? There have been nothing but positives in my relationships with two older women. They were able to see things in me that I could not see in myself. Also, there were levels of honesty, unlike anything I’ve experienced even with best friends.”
Maturity is a big deal for serious relationships. However, you might ask yourself how a young man can even claim to want someone more mature when he’s just in his 20’s himself.
But millennial men have already stated that they aren’t rushing to settle down with just anyone.
One guy noted, “The way mature women carry themselves shows they know who they are. It equates to stability. They’ve already figured out who they are. Maybe not all the time, but a lot more often than younger women. They are all-around much more attractive to me.”
One more claim that goes towards the benefit of dating an older woman is the fact that men find them to be “calmer.” Older women know themselves and they don’t have anything to prove. “The main thing that attracted me was the overall calm of an older woman. There is a frenetic energy with a younger woman that can be very exciting and very cute, but not for my personality. Neither of my relationships was about being mothered. Both women were professionals, very focused on their work lives and extremely confident and sure of themselves. That was very attractive to me.”—Lenny, 38.