In this counseling answer:
“Proceed if this is simply who you are, but do not marry a “father”. Marry a spouse.”
As-Salam ‘Alaykum Sister,
My answer will not be typical of most western practitioners. No need to jump to any conclusions about why you are attracted to “older men”. If you are attracted to a man’s paternal qualities, that is not negative.
It is perfectly all right if you are old enough to know who you are and what you want. When it comes to marriage what is important is compatibility. So, if you intend to marry a man who is more than 10 years older than you, keep in mind that his cohorts (the peers that he experienced a certain time in history with) will be different than yours.
When people with more than 15 years age difference marry, they are sometimes not prepared to find that some simple things need to be taken into consideration. Ultimately, the souls will want to be unified and to do that, you will need to be co-partners in the marriage.
A good way to look at this is the same way you look at marriage to someone from another culture. If you marry an “older man,” you will marry a man whose societal expectations were different than yours and who may even speak a different language than you. But if both of you go into the marriage with the intention of sharing each other’s life experience with the other, you can be successful.
I will share with you that I am from a family whose norm is to marry men more than 10 years older than the woman. My father was 13 years older than my mother, and their marriage lasted a lifetime and continues. They had great communication and appreciated each other a lot. My sister’s husband was 15 years older than her. They always seemed to be on the same page. These men were not anymore a father figure than I see in marriages where the ages are closer.
Indeed, we marry our father/mother, sister/brother, soul mate/lover; our life partner becomes all these things in a natural and loving marriage. Your “motherly” qualities will no doubt be activated from time to time with the man you marry, even if he is 15 years older than you; so will the little girl in you, the sister in you, the friend in you. You get the point. So, please no worries.
Keep in mind, however, that if you marry a “father,” you will grow out of that relationship. It is better to get “parenting” type guidance from a “surrogate” male whom you can trust to provide you with a mentor type relationship, where you are the student and he is the teacher. You are the seeker and he is the guide. This can work well, and it is expected that you would grow out of this relationship. You hope to marry a husband and have a marriage that you grow into, with, and through, not out. Just food for thought.
Your husband needs to be just that: a life companion you share experiences and grow through life together with. Thus, I encourage you to answer your own question. Proceed if this is simply who you are, but do not marry a “father”. Marry a spouse.
I pray this is helpful to you. Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.