Many of us look back on our dating past and wonder how on earth we could ever have considered romancing men so incompatible.
But new research has found that this is perfectly normal, revealing that women’s tastes change as they get older and proving that there is indeed a ‘perfect man’ for every stage in a woman’s life.
From bright young things on the hunt for a hunk to ‘later daters’ looking for a cerebral soulmate, the research shows that a woman’s age will often dictate the different characteristics they look for in a partner.
Men of all ages: The new infographic reveals that there IS a perfect man for each stage of a woman’s life
The research in match.com’s annual LoveGeist report, which tracks the nation’s changing attitudes towards dating and relationships, also disproves the notion that standards drop later in life, as women over 55 were shown to be most picky about who they date.
- First and foremost, young women want a man they can show off to their friends. 47 per cent said they would look for a relationship with someone their friends would approve of
- They are also suckers for a six-pack: 18-24s are most willing to date a man in better physical shape than them
- Shared tastes in music, films and books are far more important at this age than later in life
- As they forge ahead in their careers, women at this age begin to take a more long-term view, but are still susceptible to a dashing man; physical attraction is more important than ever
- Sexual compatibility is more important to 25-34s than at any other stage in their lives
- Ambition is also important, with almost two thirds citing this as a key trait in a man
- As they look to settle down, women aged 35-44 are most likely to have their head turned by an older man. 73 per cent would be willing to date someone more than five years their senior
- Social graces are also an absolute must-have at this stage in life. Less than 1 per cent of the females surveyed said they would date a man with bad manners
- Security is a key concern, with 95 per cent looking to find a partner with whom they felt secure
- Finding a man with a high income is as important to this age group as any other
- Women in this age range are less picky about who they date than any other
- In contrast to those just a few years younger, women aged 45-54 are most likely to consider dating a younger man. 54 per cent would be willing to date someone more than five years younger
Silver fox (left): Women between 35-44 are happy to date someone five years older, Brad Pitt fills this age gap perfectly. Cougar (right): Women over 45 are likely to opt for a younger man, just like Courtney Cox’s character in Cougar Town
- In later life, women look for more cerebral delights. Intelligence and shared values are more important to the over-55s, as is sharing a similar sense of humour
- But they don’t drop their standards as they get older. In fact, those aged 55 and over are pickier about who they romance than at any other age
- They also continue to value sexual compatibility: 45 per cent strongly agreed that this was an important factor when forming a relationship