What is an acceptable age difference?

The acceptable age difference between a man and a woman is one of the classic arguments in the whole foreign dating/marriage arena.

In the west (North America, Western Europe, Australia, etc.) it has become increasingly rare that you'll see a couple with more than a few years age difference between them. And the increasingly feminized culture in these areas enforces this narrow age spread between men and women.

But there is widespread disagreement about the situation in Ukraine and Russia. Some say that it's not very different from the west - that a man shouldn't be more than a few years older than a woman and that women won't accept a man more than a few years older unless she has ulterior motives.

On the other side are those who claim that a large age difference between a man and woman are normal and perfectly acceptable and that women don't really care at all about a man's age.

So what's the REAL story on this subject?

Sources of opinions on age difference

The information you'll hear about age difference depends heavily on the source of your information. Tell me where you heard it and I'll guess what you heard :)

Pay-Per-Letter Sites

Think of sites like A Foreign Affair in this regard. If you sign up there every day you will receive messages from some of the hottest women you have ever seen. And no matter your age, looks, condition, or finances, they will be as young as 20 years old. And even right in the subject line of many of their intro messages they will mention how you are the PERFECT AGE for them. Even if they are 19 years old and you are 78 years old they say this!

Whether these kinds of sites are factually correct about acceptable age differences, they clearly have a strong motivation to make you agree with them. If you believe this story you might spend the $8/letter (each way).

Brick-and-Mortar Agencies

Some on-the-ground agencies that don't engage in pay-per-letter fraud swing to the other end of the spectrum. They push the notion that Russian/Ukrainian women do NOT wish to pursue relationships with men much older than them. They'll typically say the max age difference women want or will tolerate is 10-15 years.

Their reason for believing this is twofold.

First, in the matchmaking business less than 5% of their women get 95% of the attention. Most of the women who get all the attention are YOUNG (under 30) and most of those who get no attention are over 40. So it's a simple inventory problem.

The minute a young, attractive client signs up she has 20 meeting requests and often finds someone very quickly. But for every one of those there are 20 "older" (i.e. over 30) women in the 6-7 range that no one wants to meet.

If they can convince men to that a smaller age difference is better it is good for business.

Their second reason for believing this is that they are the ones that meet their female clients and ask them what age range they prefer for the men they want to meet through their service. Perhaps you will find it surprising for me to argue that this is not a good source of information. I'll explain that in the next section.

The Women

What do women REALLY think about the age difference between a man and a woman (or about any subject)? Here's the most accurate answer I've seen:

How many women have you known who describe rigid requirements for the man they wanted only to end up with a man who matched NONE of those requirements?

This phenomenon is even more pronounced in the online world where everyone is in "shopping mode". In the U.S. in a dating profile a woman will write "I want to meet a 1970 or later model with low miles and well maintained... He should be at least 6 ft tall, athletic/muscular build, successful in his career, loves traveling, and enjoys the finer things in life... BLAH, BLAH, BLAH..."

This kind of "shopping mode" brings an unnatural element to the process. [Side note: Men really are no different, but women are the subject at hand]

So any dogma built around asking women their age preference in men is built on shaky ground from the start. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT OR HOW TO DESCRIBE IT.

Advice/Opinions from Women

It makes a certain logical sense to obtain information about how women think by asking your female friends. They're YOUR friend, so they'll let you in on the insider secrets, right? And they're women, so they have access to these insider secrets, right? Well, not so fast...

The whole idea of getting dating/romance advice or opinions from women in the interest of hearing from the "other side" is usually of very limited value.

NOTE "usually" and "limited"... sometimes useful insight can be gleaned from hearing how a female friend analyzes a situation, but you must be very careful in that area.

For example, if you're interested in a girl and you've been out a few times, but it doesn't seem to be progressing in a direction or pace you'd like, the kind of advice a female friend might offer would be "Treat her to a special romantic, candle-lit dinner" or "send her flowers at work".

But in such a case you must PRESS this female friend about how she would really react to that kind of move. Ask her "So if you had seen a guy 2-3 times and weren't really that excited about the prospect of getting in deeper with him receiving a delivery of a dozen roses at work would really change things?"

No freakin' way!

MAYBE that would have a positive in some other circumstances, but when a girl is either not very sure about her intentions with a man or if she's already feeling like he likes her more than she likes him, roses/etc will usually have a VERY adverse effect!

Your female friend KNOWS this in her HEAD, but if you don't present the situation to her very skillfully her emotional/romantic fairy tale thinking will take over and you will get VERY BAD advice.


Then of course there are the cynics. They'll say that no woman wants a significantly older man unless he's wealthy.

Whatever. I've addressed their issues in greater depth at Cynical Men.

And these opinions are not entirely unfounded. YES, a YOUNG, HOT girl will be much more likely to be open to a large age difference IF she is a gold digger or scammer AND doing most of her shopping online.

But even this statement with all it's qualifiers is misleading... In such a case the girl doesn't care about age at all. She cares about MONEY. If you're young and appear to have money or old and appear to have money she'll be interested.

The real answer on age difference

My own observations on the ground here in Kiev (where I have been living for over two years at the time of this writing in April 2019) are exactly what I would expect: There really aren't any "rules" regarding the age difference between a man and a woman.

I know many 45-60 year old men who regularly date women 25-40 years old. I know one 50 year old American guy who dated and MARRIED a 25 year old girl. NONE of these cases were initiated online at a dating site or agency, but in the natural course of life.

That's the KEY: Natural course of life!

When you meet via apps, agencies, or websites, the story is a little different. There people don't get to know each other NATURALLY, and since the FIRST things a girl knows about you are your AGE, NAME, and PICTURE. AGE is the first impression.

But when you meet people in the natural flow of life, whether it be in America or Ukraine, age difference becomes much less a factor. In real life the big factors are your personality, character, and CONFIDENCE. Of course if you LOOK and ACT like you're 98 years old, that'll probably work against you.

But if you're 54 but have the health, fitness, energy, look, mind, and personality of a 42 year old man, then a 28 year old Ukrainian girl probably won't notice or care. If you are in such a situation, meet naturally (OFFLINE), and spend meaningful time together she won't notice or care about the age difference.

I know that cynics, skeptics, and critics will try to misunderstand what I'm saying here, so let me be a little redundant to make it clear.

I'm NOT saying:
  • An older guy should target much younger women
  • Younger women are LOOKING for much older guys
  • That a big age difference is GOOD
  • A big age difference doesn't present challenges
I AM saying that there aren't any hard and fast rules on the matter, and that in "real life" it is less significant.

The risks with a big age difference

Obviously there are risks and challenges involved with a large age difference between a man and woman.


Let's say you're 58, unfit, overweight, earn less than an average income etc. You post a profile on a big pay-per-letter site like AFA (LoveMe.com) or AnastasiaDate.com and you don't even include a photo. Women from those sites ranging from 19 to 35 WILL write to you. And I don't mean they will REPLY to you writing them. THEY will initiate contact.

This is 100% fake. The girl's pictures, age, name, location, etc., are accurate. But it isn't real. EITHER they are PAID to write you (since you pay to read/reply) OR the agency is writing on their behalf. You are never really going to date or marry these girls.

The same principle can be applied to other contexts besides just pay-per-letter. When a very young woman shows an interest in a much older man it's always possible that his money is the real target.

A younger woman could show interest in a wealthy older man and lure him to visit so that she can potentially receive nice gifts, dinners, and maybe even exotic vacations.

Gold Diggers

A younger woman can also be interested in a much older man for material reasons... aka MONEY.

If you are wealthy and find much younger women attracted to you, your wealth may be the reason. It may be "real"... she may really be looking for a long-term thing, and may actually like you, but she may be more interested in your money than in you.

If you're OK with that, then have at it. Maybe your wealth attracts her then while you're together she falls more in love with you than with your money. MAYBE.

If you're not OK with that, DON'T LET WOMEN KNOW YOU'RE WEALTHY.

I know this sounds a lot like the "Scams" subsection above, but there is a slight difference. In what I call a "scam" usually the perpetrator isn't really interested in a relationship at all. The whole show is for the purpose of material benefit.

But the gold digger is actually looking for a REAL relationship and will even get married, but she has high expectations of material benefits.

Either way it's not good.


It seems somewhat obvious that your chances of building a successful long-term relationship with a 21 year old woman are far less than your chances with a 38 year old. And this will be true whether you are 25 or 55. The stability factor isn't about age DIFFERENCE, but about the girl's ABSOLUTE age.

Part of this can simply be attributed to immaturity. Just think of how you viewed the world when you were 19-22 compared to how you view it now. Additionally, the younger someone is the more widely varied the possible directions they can develop.

It's just obvious that a woman of 38 has gone through more big life changes than a woman of 22, and consequently there will be fewer earth-shaking changes remaining.

Can a large age difference be the real deal?

An attractive 28 year old Ukrainian woman CAN sincerely be attracted to a 57 year old American/European guy, and it definitely can become a long-term success story. But there should be an identifiable reason for the attraction, or at least a PLAUSIBLE reason.

So if you're 57 and a 28 year old girl is showing interest, YOU MUST ASK YOURSELF WHY? What do YOU bring to the table?

There may be a valid reason, but you MUST ask (yourself, NOT HER!). It may very well be that you are interesting, charismatic, entertaining, charming, or just fun to be around. Maybe your quirks line up well with her quirks.

But if you can't come up with a reason that at least convinces you, maybe it would be wise for you to consider that something isn't right.

The Bottom Line

* "YOUNG"... just to be clear we're talking about fully legal aged ADULT WOMEN here. In this context "young" usually means under means under 30, but MINIMUM 21 years old. [I just don't want the authorities to be alarmed!]

Despite the hissing from our culture of feminized political correctness, the indisputable hard-wired fact is that MEN are more attracted to YOUNGER WOMEN*. It has always been the case, and always will be the case.

If you've applied all the common sense described above and still come away with a preference for significantly younger women (and who could seriously fault you?), THEN GO FOR IT.

And DON'T give the chickified culture a vote. In American culture the older women like to try to shame men for being attracted to young, slender, attractive women. Many men join in this manipulation in order to win the favor of the social "ruling class" (older, fatter, unattractive women).

I've heard all kinds of ridiculous reasons a man shouldn't date or marry a younger woman. "What do you have in common?", "It will be uncomfortable for her because people will stare", etc.

I'll take a stab at some sample answers to such objections:

"What do you have in common?" Well, one possible answer would be "We like each other and are attracted to each other. We have our CURRENT experiences in common, and we will grow together from this point on."

"It will be uncomfortable for her because people will stare." Men will stare because they are jealous. They resent you because you had the cajones to pursue your desire without concern for the scorn of the chickified culture when they didn't. Women will stare because they hate you for threatening their monopoly by "shopping the competition".

Although not dealing with any international element, this hilarious clip from Two and a Half Men vividly illustrates the kind of scorn women heap upon men for being attracted to younger women.


Most of the answer about whether a girl or a relationship with a large age difference is "real" or not is mostly the same as the answer about whether ANY girl or relationship is "real".

The only difference is that it is a little more unusual for a much younger girl to be very interested in a much older man, so it is a little more important to pay attention to any potential ulterior motives.

Think about it. If you're 57 and she's 53, is already a U.S. citizen, already has wealth and lifestyle comparable to yours, etc., then it's hard to see any reason for distrust based on your demographics.

It doesn't mean she isn't batshit crazy and will drain you of your whole life's savings, but nothing in the stats of the story introduces reasons for concern.

But if you're a 57 year old American man and she's a 24 year old Ukrainian woman, you MUST ask yourself WHY she is OK with it.

Hopefully you have acquired a healthy amount of self-awareness by this time in your life and can recognize when something is "real" after you've had a fair amount of experience with someone.

And that "fair amount of experience" is a non-negotiable here. If you're 57 and in communication with a 24 year old, but you have never spoken by phone, Skype, or in person, then you haven't had a "fair amount of experience" with her to allow your "self-awareness" to kick into gear. Actually this is true regardless of the age gap.

And if you haven't had this level of exposure it doesn't really matter WHY you haven't. It only matters THAT you haven't. You simply cannot get a real feel for where someone is coming from and their true motives without direct exposure.

And all this is even less risky if you met in the much more natural offline world. I know that's not nearly as practical as online when dealing with international relationships, but it is possible. And if you meet a much younger woman in a somewhat normal walk of life where age isn't stamped on your forehead, things can develop more naturally.

*** Written April 2019 ***