If you’re dating a guy in his early twenties there’re some factors you’ll need to keep in mind. This is a time of dynamic shifts for a young man. His whole world is opening up, and therefore, he’s unsettled.

He may have just finished college. Perhaps he’s getting his first apartment. He’s dipping his toes into the working world with his first job. Everything’s new and uncertain. The seduction of money in his pocket in combination with newfound independence can be heady for a young guy. Nightlife after work, especially in an urban environment, is enticing. He may feel the desire to touch, taste, and experience all that life has to offer a single young man.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I’ve interviewed young men in their twenties who’ve settled into serious relationships and taken on all the attending responsibilities. It’s not unheard of, but more the exception than the rule. Consider the early twenties a rocky time to establish a relationship—for a female of any age.

If you’re serious about a guy in his early twenties, be prepared to have patience. It’ll require an immense amount of emotional stability on your part. The more invested you are in your own life, the better you’ll do at this juncture. It’s not a time to assert control. All men, especially younger men, hate control. If you seek to control him, or convert him to the merits of your lifestyle, you’ll fail.

Younger men are absorbing all forms of new input; socially, emotionally and sexually. They need time to integrate all the new information they’re experiencing. They may make wild shifts in their attitudinal positions. What he thought (and often felt) last week may seem completely different in the weeks to follow. Take him lightly. Don’t listen precisely to what he says. He’s all over the map. His moods and goals can shift on a regular basis.

I’ve known far too many women who get hung up in this phase of their younger man’s life. The early twenties aren’t the best time to discuss the larger issues of commitment and children. Enjoy the experience you’re currently having with him, and allow it to be what it is. If you find yourself having deeper feelings, of course, speak your mind. But remember that he’s still in “the shift.”

His current view of his future life-plan may change. Take his words to be evolving, rather than definitive. Watch his actions. Assess his insertions. Look at the basic dynamics that signify his character. Those elements will give you a clearer vision of who he is now, and who he will become as he matures.

The benefits of a man in his early twenties are found in his sense of adventure. As an older woman, you’ll have an opportunity to expand your horizons. While each man contains his own set of variables, it doesn’t mean they can’t commit. It only signals they still have some “settling in” to do. Not only in terms of romantic involvement with you, but to life as a whole.

Enjoy the experience, learn from it, and give yourself permission to explore. The early twenties are the perfect time to jump-start your established view of life and infuse it with a fresh approach— while discovering your own emotional needs in the process.

His Mid-Twenties

By the time a guy reaches his mid-twenties, life begins to take on a sense of structure. He’s had a chance to date, probably had a relationship or two, and has a better idea of who he is and what he wants. He’s sensing stability in his work life, and now, is able to extend that stability to a relationship. He has more internal confidence. The little day-to-day things that were an issue in his early-twenties are greeted with a known game plan.

Much of a man’s identity lies within their job. Society places a premium on men’s worth, via who they are in the workplace. This is changing, of course, as the world advances in its understanding of roles for men beyond their title, and beyond status. But having centuries of this behind them to shape their thinking, most men still see their worth in term of accomplishment. It is in that way that they also see themselves as capable (and ready) to have a serious partnership.

Men have a peculiar twist on this, which women do not. While women are focused on their career, few would exclude the possibility of love in regards to timing. Men tend to look at “timing” as everything. They have been taught to be the breadwinner, even in the current climate of equal and shared finances. Men still need to feel ready. And, “ready” simply means financially ready.

This is where the mid-twenties improve for the women dating a younger man. At this age, as men gain their sense of economic security, they now feel ready to include a woman. Many of the previous fears of the early twenties have

The Magical Number 27

Ah, relief. He’s settled into knowing who he is in the world, and knowing what he wants out of life. He’s experienced the carousel of endless dating choices. He’s had short-term affairs and substantial relationships. He’s had the time and ability to weed out all the flash, and get to the heart of the matter.

He’s clear on what he views as his ultimate choice in partner. He knows more about his own issues, and has had the opportunity to work things out with other women. He’s had both good and bad relationships, and has mastered some form of communication style. He’s seen reactivity and he’s known ease. He’s challenged himself with stepping up to the plate and he’s exercised his options to leave an unworkable situation.

This is the best age for a relationship with a younger man. The thirties aren’t the only age an older woman can find love with a younger man; it’s just a lot easier. Ah, relief. He’s settled into knowing who he is in the world, and knowing what he wants out of life. He’s experienced the carousel of endless dating choices. He’s had short-term affairs, and substantial relationships.

He’s had the time and ability to weed out all the flash, and get to the heart of the matter. He’s clear on what he views as his ultimate choice in partner. He knows more about his own issues, and has had the opportunity to work things out with other women. He’s had both good and bad relationships, and has mastered some form of communication style. He’s seen reactivity, and he’s known ease. He’s challenged himself with stepping up to the plate, and he’s exercised his options to leave an unworkable situation.

This is the best age for a relationship with a younger man. The thirties aren’t the only age an older woman can find love with a younger man; it’s just a lot easier.