09/27/2013 04:49 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2013

Life After Divorce: Is Age Just a Number?

Cougars, sugar daddies, and everything in between -- people are obsessed with their ages, especially when it comes to dating! But relationships work, or don't work, for a number of reasons. These reasons usually have nothing to do with age. If you're on the market again after a divorce, avoid the prejudice of ageism and go with your gut! There are amazing men out there, everywhere you look, and if you waste your time guessing ages like a carnival worker, you could be missing out on the love of your life. In defense of the age gap, I want to tell you why age is just a number.

Age doesn't count for much. While life experience can certainly be a valuable tool when it comes to growing up and maturing, it can't be measured in years. Consider the man who spent years traveling through southeast Asia. He's volunteered in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, and now he's working in NYC. Sure, he's 35, but he's learned more about life than any 50 year old man on Wall Street. Or what about that beautiful older woman you've seen in your office building? While a younger woman may be stuck in a superficial stage of her life, she's been living on her own, working her way up the professional ladder, achieving personal and professional success -- how sexy is that?!

When you're meeting a prospective new partner, look at his life experience, not his birth certificate. Look at how she handles herself when meeting new people, when she faces hardship and struggle. Look at how he faces rejection (hopefully not from you!). You can tell a lot more about a person by watching how they live their life, than you can from counting candles on a birthday cake.

Consider the pros of dating younger. If you're feeling exhausted from your recent divorce, a little bit of youth can serve as an excellent refresher on what it means to live life freely. In this situation, you might serve as the teacher, the mentor, and you can see yourself through their eyes: as more mature, experienced and sophisticated. In a league above the 20-somethings squeezed into miniskirts or drenched in cologne and hair gel, you have plenty more to offer. There is no shame in dating younger, and if you allow yourself to fall victim to these stigmatized rules about age, you're keeping yourself from truly living your life.

And what about the stone cold fox? He's got a silver mane, a rugged face, and a few well-placed laugh lines. Or that stunning Heather Locklear lookalike jogging through the park? What's the harm in dating up? An older woman who knows how to take care of herself, or that older man who's an amateur wine expert... these often overlooked "diamonds in the rough" could change your life for the better, they could teach you lessons you didn't realize you should learn. Forget ageism and take a chance on dating someone older than yourself.

The point is, age doesn't count for much. Once you can get into a bar without being carded, the rest of the birthdays just aren't as significant. And if you dictate your dating life post-divorce based on when someone graduated from high school, you're selling yourself short. Take this time in your life to explore a new chapter, go out and meet people unlike any you've ever dated! Older, younger, in between... all that matters is that you two connect and bond, and if you've got a few years difference, you can only stand to gain from each other's experiences. Get out there, and get dating!