Can There Really Be TOO Many Years?
Age difference in a relationship is always a contentious issue.
How much is too much of a gap?
Is it okay to date a man who is old enough to be your dad?
Or a woman who is old enough to have been your teacher?
How do you avoid being labeled a cradle-snatcher, a cougar, or a sugar daddy?
The classic rule of thumb for working out if it’s ‘okay’ to date someone younger is: half your age plus 7.
The resulting number is the lower limit that you can acceptably date.
- So, if you’re 30, no younger than 22.
- If you’re 40, don’t go below 27.
But, of course, it’s far more complicated than that.
There are all kinds of factors involved in relationships that can’t be calculated into a simple numerical equation.
Here are some of the things to consider if you’re thinking about dating a person who is much older or much younger than you.
Are your lifestyles in sync?
Younger people can have mature tastes and interests; older people can be young at heart.
Make sure that you and your prospective partner enjoy the same day-to-day activities and that no one will be frustrated by the other’s habits and daily routines.
Meeting someone through online dating is a perfect way to eliminate these worries.
You can compare your interests first, instead of getting into a relationship and finding yourselves incompatible.
What are your life goals?
If you want to get serious with someone who is a very different age from you, long-term plans are even more important to consider.
You’ll need to cover bases like kids, retirement plans, travel ideas and career aspirations.
In many ways this is the same in any relationship, but an older partner may already have a family or be getting closer to retirement age, and a younger person might want to take off backpacking around the world.
You may have to negotiate how these different stages of life affect your relationship.
Again, if you meet people online, you can be matched according to compatibility so this worry is eliminated.
Do they get on with your friends and family?
While the most important thing is that you’re happy, many people don’t want to cause friction with their families or friends.
A younger partner might have difficulty integrating with your friends; your parents might have difficulty accepting a partner who is closer in age to themselves than to you.
You may have to explain to those close to you why you want this relationship, or you may have to learn to live with their disapproval.
Can you deal with misunderstandings?
You may find in a relationship where there’s age disparity that you get misunderstandings, funny looks or even outright disapproval in public.
These potentially awkward situations or this negative attention could have repercussions in the relationship, so be sure that your skin is thick enough to take it.
Do they make you happy?
As already mentioned, if you’re happy in the relationship then none of the above matters. If you don’t notice the age difference, or don’t care, then that’s all that really matters.
You don’t want to regret passing up a great relationship just because of the opinions of friends, family, colleagues or strangers.
Speak Your Mind Because I Know You Have One
- Should age really make a difference in dating?
- What is the age difference between you and your partner?
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15 thoughts on “Age Differences: How Much Is Too Much?”
These post are very old so I don’t know if any of you are still around but this subject is one that I’m involved in.
My 2 children and I were surprised by an affair and divorce after 22 years 4 years ago and it has been a roller coaster ride for all of us, the ex included.
The ex re-married to the man in the affair shortly after the divorce and as you can imagine it was tough for everyone but mainly the kids as they had to still see their mom, by my orders. I told them that good people make mistakes and that was their mother and she loved them. NOW did I want to say that really, of course not, I was hurt and angry but I am a father and that is true and the right thing.
Anyway, the kidos still have problems but they see their mom and spend time with her and it’s a good thing.
Boy this story is dragging on, sorry.
So trying to shorten the story, it’s 2 years later and I’m on a bus with a basketball team that I coach and I’ve decided that at 51 I really don’t need to be in a real relationship any more other than dinner and a movie or whatever.
There is a woman on the bus that no one knows that looks to be in her 30’s and I had one of those eye connecting moments that usually no one acts on but I realized I didn’t have a reason not to act so I asked her who she was and introduced myself and in short a relationship was born.
It has come with some ups and downs of course as all relationships do but the biggest concern has been age difference.
The woman that thought I was in my middle to late 40’s and I thought was in her 30’s was actually 26 and of course I was 51.
So, that is a big difference and my wonderful children, (son 22 and daughter 18), who said that wanted me to date had a problem with it. Now a couple years have past and they like her fine but still really don’t understand and my daughter has admitted to me that she would have a problem with whoever I dated, she’s just protective.
So, there you have it and I am open to your opinions. She and I get along very well most the time like any relationship and we do have fun together and love each other.
What’s to understand when you really think about it?
You both like each other and sounds you’re you’re getting along famously. There’s nothing more you need other than continued patience and understanding.
Tell your kids you like/love this woman and you will continue with the relationship with or without their blessing – though you’d dearly hope they shift their attitude into one of acceptance.
I commonly date woman 20+ years my junior (I’m in Thailand and the Philippines)
My business parter’s father is been in a 15 year relationship (and now married) to a lady who is the same age as my business partner.
Take a look at the relationship that was Sean Penn and Charlize Therion
Come on. Really? Age really is only a number that people’s own stupidity gets hung-up on.
Hi, Great Article i am agree that age is just count of numbers it is not a parameter to measure the love and affection for the both of partners sometimes age is problem when it have bigger differences due to the health concerns and sexual life, but i think the base of joyful relation is mutual understanding and their affection for each not the age even love don’t know the language, color, creed ethnicity, religion and Borders,,Its like wave that originate from the inner core of your heart.
For me personally, I can’t judge couples with age discrepancies. Nothing is black & white — and I don’t feel like I can fairly judge a couple with a 10 year age gap that’s been together forever and truly love one another. Now, if the man or woman is old enough to be their companion’s mom or dad, theeen it’s a little iffy. ;)
hehehe too true Felicia – that huge age gap does look suspect, doesn’t it?
Wonder what Hugh Hefner would think about this post, huh?
Age, I don’t feel, should be an issue when it comes to relationships..I have seen people with good age gap doing good together. As long as you are in love and can understand each other, age is just a number.
Interesting Richa – speaking from my personal experience, I dated a number of women who were 10 – 15 years younger than me. I found they were simply not as mature or have the same outlook on life as myself.
For me anyway, women in my own age bracket just ‘felt’ more on the same wavelength.
Have you ever dated much older or younger yourself?
No, I haven’t still..But I have seen people who did that and their experience was good enough..Though I have friends who are much elder to me and I bond with them really well.. :)
As long as both are in love, I don’t see an issue. Though this is coming from a third party point of view. I did know someone who’s parents divorced and her Dad started to date and eventually marry a woman that was younger than she was. Her step-mother was younger than she was. Definitely weird.
Hey Don – do check my comment on Jessica’s below which is very similar to yours.
What do you think?
You’ve hit the nail on the head in saying that some people are more mature than their years and others are young at heart – this cancels out the age-gap effect in many cases
Hey Pip and thanks for the comment.
So are you saying that age gap differences dont or do make a difference in a relationship?
Hey Martin, I think it’s down to the individuals involved…it’s a question of attitude or maybe I should say a youthfulness of mind. This is why age gaps don’t make a difference for lots of couples. Others may be more aware of the age difference but it doesn’t mean they can’t make their relationships work, as long as there is love and respect.
I don’t think that there should be a problem if two people are in love.
Hey Jessica and thanks for the visit and comment too.
I’d like to think that love conquers all too. It’s obvious with the rate in increasing breakup numbers that it simply doesn’t since contributing factors fight against love winning out.
So the question to you is: Could a significant age gap actually be a contributing factor?