Why Do Some Women Date Much Older Men?

After the wedding of a celebrity husband and his much younger wife, media coverage invariably focuses on the inappropriateness of the age gap. Whether it’s the new dad George Clooney (56) and his 18-year-younger wife, Amal, or Donald Trump (70) and his First Lady, Melania (age 47), commentators become psychoanalysts, suggesting that the younger woman is clearly seeking a father figure. Similar stories are triggered by the (much less-common) pairing of a younger man with an older woman, as with 39-year-old French president Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte, 64. The rarity of such weddings make them novelties, but not fodder for the same type of speculation.

It’s well known that men tend to marry women younger than themselves, a pattern that leads to increasingly unbalanced male-to-female gender ratios as you move up to older and older age groups. Men also have a lower life expectancy than women, leaving women …