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By Alex Nelson

By Alex Nelson

FEATURES columnist

The majority of women find a certain appeal to dating older men. When we’re still in our teens, we look to older men to make us feel more mature and independent. If we’re underage, that special someone can take us out, get us into clubs and bars, and, most importantly, get us alcohol.

If we’re looking for something a little more serious, an older man can provide a greater sense of security. He has a full-time job and a place of his own. To a younger woman, this stability is quite appealing. An older man may have control of his life. He knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s already found himself, now he just needs to find you.

You may ask yourself: why does an older man turn to a younger woman? That’s a complicated question. A man might fall for a woman who just happens to be younger. On the other hand, some men actively seek out younger women who still hold the beauty of youth and vivacity of girlhood. But remember ladies: beauty is ephemeral. A man who is attracted to you only for your looks or youth will soon leave you behind for someone even younger.

How can you identify the intentions of an older man? It can be difficult at first, as it is in all relationships. Obvious signs that he cares about you are introducing you to his friends, taking you out on dates, expressing interest in meeting your friends, and actually meeting them. If you have an open relationship, chances are that his interest is sincere.

If you find that your man is truly interested in you for who you are, then kudos to you for winning him over. But keep in mind that there is still a lot to overcome. Dating someone of a different age presents many challenges. It is often hard to relate to one another, especially when you find yourselves at different stages in your lives. You will each have different goals and responsibilities. If these goals do not coincide, it’s often difficult to proceed as a couple.

Make sure you are aware of his intentions and he is aware of yours. How serious is your relationship? Where is it headed? Are you pursuing a fun spring fling or are you digging for the diamond? Whatever you desire, make it known.

But not all older men are sincere. If your man avoids being seen with you in public or introduces you as a friend while failing to mention any romantic interest or commitment, flashing lights should go off in your head. For those of us finding ourselves in this position, all hope is not lost. Although not all older men will be comfortable with a younger woman, there is still plenty of room for fun. Despite his attraction to you, an older man may not be looking for the woman of his dreams. He may just see you as a fun and flirtatious female to romp with and recollect his college years.

At first this may sound like a hideous position to be in, but consider the benefits of dating an older man. His extra years give him additional experience in relationships and life. This may mean two things: (1) they know how to get what they want from you, and (2) they have more experience in the bedroom.

This could help or hurt you depending on what you want from them. If you don’t mind being an older man’s sex kitten, take him... and take him again. But remember that this relationship is based solely on lust or, more plainly, sex. He might buy you nice things -- you gold digger, you -- but do not forget what he expects in return. The moment you enter into this type of “relationship,” you are accepting the fact that you’re using each other for sex (or maybe you want his money). At any rate, do not get emotionally attached.

Above all, these older men have been through more of life’s problems. They have already dated around -- they know what they want. A select few know how to treat a woman right, mostly because they’ve already been trained. If you find yourself pursuing an older man, make sure you know what you want out of it before you get in too deep. Older men come in different flavors, so depending on your mood, why not try one today?