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Why More Latinas Are Open to Dating Younger Men

Latinas Are Challenging the Taboo of Dating Younger Men and Finding Success

For centuries, women have been shackled by double standards in love: men are celebrated for dating younger partners, while women face scrutiny and judgement for doing the same. This pressure is particularly amplified in Latine communities, where cultural expectations and outdated beliefs often dictate who is deemed "suitable" for a Latina. Over the past few years, however, the tide seems to be turning. From Hollywood powerhouses to everyday Latinas, women are challenging those taboos and embracing their right to love freely — regardless of age.

Recent data confirm that love knows no age. Dating apps like Bumble have reported a surge in age-gap relationships, with many women seeking younger partners. This trend speaks to a growing societal acceptance of defying traditional norms.

"Traditionally, we found it hard to accept or even be open to dating younger, but as we navigate dating now, I think that we're being more open-minded to all the possibilities that dating has to offer regardless of age," Spicy Mari, a relationship expert and the founder of The Spicy Life, tells PS. "Studies show that our happiness isn't necessarily determined by our age anymore and we actually can be happy and satisfied with younger men."

"Studies show that our happiness isn't necessarily determined by our age anymore and we actually can be happy and satisfied with younger men."

The demonization of women who date younger men stems from deeply ingrained misogyny. Marriage long served as a financial transaction, and women were seen as a commodity whose value diminished with age. Throughout history, women have been viewed through a patriarchal lens, their value often tied to their perceived ability to fulfil specific roles, like childbearing. Men, on the other hand, have been praised for their pursuit of younger partners; they're seen as having "experience" and "maturity" to offer. This patriarchal framework continues to influence societal perceptions, despite lacking any basis in reality.

"We date at the level of our self-esteem, and while before it was seen as, 'Oh my gosh, this girl is robbing the cradle,' now it's, 'Wow, she's owning her age, she's empowered,'" Spicy Mari says. "When we stay true to our values and honour our nonnegotiables, we're not letting age be looked at as a weakness, it's more like she's got it going on and able to pull someone younger."

Latine communities often exacerbate this double standard. Traditional gender roles place immense pressure on Latinas to marry when they're young and prioritise family life — expectations reinforced by dating an older man. Latinas dating younger men often spark disapproval and whispers of "desperation" or "sugar mama."

But things are changing. Latina celebrities like Eva Mendes, Sofía Vergara, and Shakira have led the charge and have proudly defied expectations by dating younger men. Their visibility shines a light on the hypocrisy of the double standard and is encourageing other Latinas to follow their hearts.

"I had never dated anybody younger than me," says Laura Massiel, 36, who is currently in a relationship with a man seven years younger than her. While she was initially hesitant to date anyone under 30, their undeniable connection became apparent. As she grew closer to him, she discovered they were remarkably compatible. They enjoyed shared hobbies like hiking, had aligned goals, and she found him to be more mature than many older men she had encountered. Because of these factors, the age difference has never played a major role in her relationship.

"At first I thought, 'Oh, he's just a baby,' but it's very rare when I feel the age difference because he is very emotionally mature and that helps a lot," she explains. She also acknowledges that at first, she was unsure about some of the financial expectations that can come with dating a younger person.

"I thought maybe the roles were supposed to be reversed, where since I'm the older one, I'm supposed to be balling out, but he paid for things because he said I deserved it," she says.

Massiel adds: "Sometimes you don't know what you need. You may want something, but it may not necessarily be what you need."

That resonates for Delmis Lopez, 51. In her 30s, she crossed paths with a man a decade younger than her, when such age differences were less socially acceptable. The relationship faced intense scrutiny from family, forcing her to defend their connection constantly. But they started their own family anyway.

"When people would find out about our age gap, they judged me, but I didn't think too much of it because we shared a love for the same music and had other similar interests," she says. "What mattered was that I was able to have fun and be myself."

As the number of women married to younger men continues to rise, they continue defying the outdated narrative that women become less desirable with age.

"As you get older as a woman, you begin to appreciate the things that make you different, and one of the reasons why you can date younger is because you don't go looking for those things in another person," Jacqueline Fardella tells PS.

Fardella, 38, is embracing love on her terms. She is currently dating a 21-year-old man, whom she initially did not consider developing a romantic connection with. "We met at work, and because of the age difference I never looked at him in that manner," she says.

Torn between the connection she felt and her internalized beliefs about age differences in relationships, Fardella found herself searching for reasons to avoid pursuing a deeper connection. "I was hesitant at first because I was used to the man typically being older because in Latin culture it's associated with providing and being in charge, but just because the man is younger doesn't mean they still can't fill those traditional roles. It's just a new way to do it," she says.

Normalizing women dating younger men isn't just about individual choice; it's about dismantling harmful stereotypes and creating a more equitable dating landscape. It's about challenging the notion that women's worth diminishes with age and recognising that love and connection can blossom regardless of societal expectations.

"As a culture, it is celebrated to see women with older men because it's an automatic assumption that if he's older, he can provide," Spicy Mari adds.

"We're taught that an older man will allegedly be ready to be a family man, but it has more to do with the person who's been doing the healing and self-work. Maturity doesn't come with age but with what that person has done for their own personal health and self-love."

By embracing diverse relationships, Latinas continue to break free from the confines of tradition and are empowered to choose their partners based on genuine connection, not outdated societal norms.

"I think Latinas are willing to wait a little longer to find the right person because it's more important to us to make healthier choices and be in happy relationships," Spicy Mari says, "and being with a younger man is something we can be flexible with."

Image Source: Getty / Alexander Tamargo Patricia J. Garcinuno/Design by Keila Gonzalez
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