I’ve been seeing this lovely man for about a month now. The thing is, he’s 34 and I’m a 23 year old woman. I personally think there is no imbalance in the relationship in terms of intellect or anything else and although we aren’t exclusive or extremely serious (yet), I’m definitely interested in seeing where things go. I know there’s that albeit very silly “rule” of half your age plus 7 is the youngest you can date, so his youngest would be 24. I’m happy but a lot of my friends are really quite judgemental about it. One set of my grandparents are 12 years apart and the other are 18, so maybe I’m just desensitised to it.
What do you all think about age gaps? How old would you date and what is the largest gap that you would be comfortable with? I do really like him and intend to keep seeing him for now, but I wonder if it’d be easier to date someone around my own age so I wouldn’t have to deal with the judgement.
Age gaps are such a huge topic when dating is concerned! We talked about similar concerns a while back in this thread if you’d like to have a look!
I think as long as both people are consenting adults, age doesn’t really matter at all. For me, 5 years either way is my limit. Definitely I take someone’s maturity into consideration (if dating younger especially) but if I really vibe with someone, age just doesn’t come up at all.
Thanks @tea for your opinion, and I completely agree about the whole consenting adults thing just as long as there’s no power imbalance or strange dynamics going on (unless it’s in the bedroom – sorry just had to say it!) I do think we vibe and things are going well. It’s just hard when most of my friends are 23-25, fairly conservative and still dating their high school boyfriends/girlfriends or have met someone in their social group the same age.
I think age gaps in relationships can be a complete non-issue if you feel you’re both on the same page emotionally and intellectually. That power dynamic you mention is actually really important @Purple, in my opinion.
In my past relationships, most of the men I dated were approximately 10 years older than me as well, and as much as I do believe most of them loved and respected me, some of them definitely tended to take control of things a little more, in ways that I didn’t really even notice until I reflected upon them months, or even years later. I’m not saying that that will always happen with age gaps, but its definitely a potential hurdle. None of those every worked out long term, but whose to say it was because of the age. My current boyfriend is the same age as me, which is a big change, but it’s very clear that the power dynamic in our relationship is much more even than in past relationships. But that just because I’ve picked a better guy? 😀
I guess the biggest thing about age gaps is where you’re at in your life, in a grand overall scheme of things kinda way. My last boyfriend was pretty set in his career at 35, and couldn’t understand why I wanted to go back to uni at 25, because for him it was a kind of spanner in the works of how he saw our future. That wasn’t the reason we broke up, but if other reasons hadn’t driven us apart, I suppose it could have been.
So I guess you just have to go with your gut. No relationship is easy, but if it makes you really happy and its what you want, you’ll find a way to make it work and block out the haters/judgement 🙂
Like you mentioned in your post, age gap only becomes an issue if there’s a mismatch of intellect (I also think maturity levels need to be on par). Anything bar paedophilia is fine by me.
Personally, I’ve only ever dated guys who are older (all of the guys I’ve been with have been exactly 4 years older, which is kinda weird). Having said that, I’m 22 turning 23 and the oldest I’d be open to is probably 28, 29?
Hi @MintMilano thank you for sharing! It’s still early days but I haven’t really noticed him taking control of anything, although you are certainly right about the different stage of life thing i.e. I am still studying and he’s a successful businessman and has his life sorted out. Anyway, only time will tell!
Such a fascinating issue! Thanks for posting it @Purple and for sharing about your situation. Sorry your friends are being close minded about it, hopefully in time they’ll get over it, I think they usually do! If you’re comfortable sharing, what are his friends like about it?
I am in the same boat as @MintMilano that whenever I’ve been in a big age gap relationship (at least 8 years) there has pretty much always been a power dynamic that I often wasn’t aware of till it was over. That has changed since I’ve gotten older, I think the power dynamic has been less of a thing but I think it was still present.
I don’t think I have a limit, it’s weird now that I can’t really imagine dating anyone younger than me, certainly not like 18 (though it’s fine if people do) and then I think about the older men I dated at that age or even 16 and I’m like “wtf were they thinking?”
Good question, indeed. I think the age gap is less of an issue when you get older. I’d find it disturbing if you were underage, but since you’re 23, it’s up to you to decide whether this age gap is acceptable or not. I don’t think you should worry too much about being judged either, it’s your personal life here. Btw, I find it interesting that most people are ok with an age gap when the guy is older, but less forgiving when it’s the woman who is much older in a relationship.
Hi @HoneyPot thanks for your response! That’s another concern I have actually, introducing my friends and how they’ll act around each other. I don’t know what it’ll be like if say for instance I want to go to a gig and I invite him along. I think once they meet him and see that he’s really nice and cool the judgement might go away, often people initially judge but once they understand the circumstances they’re more understanding. He told me he’s told his best friend about us and the friend was pretty shocked but said he trusted his judgement and that age was just a number. So true, I definitely wouldn’t date anyone too much younger than me, and probably not older than this guy I’m currently seeing.
@mistified good point, there is that stigma when the woman is older and lots of shaming language around it (cougar, cradle snatcher etc). It really shouldn’t be there at all.