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Significant other age gap?

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Here's a question that's been weighing on me for a few months now, and am wondering what you guys think. How many years is too many years between significant others?
My parents are only 2 years apart, so I'm exposed to the "typical" situation. Heres what's got me thinking:
A few years ago my sister dated a boy who was 20. She was 16. Everyone agreed there was something wrong with that. Truth be told, there was something wrong with the boy, but that's unrealated. My last boyfriend was 4 years difference but we were 23 and 27. It wasn't treated as a problem.
My guy-friend started dating a girl who was 9 years younger just recently. He's 26 and she's just barely 17. There were a lot of people who judged him because of it and they heard a lot of flack. No one knew how to talk to him without hurting his feelings either, which was difficult.
Now for me. I had a supervisor a couple of years ago who is just an increadible man. He's sweet, compassionate, funny, intelligent and all kinds of other things. I ended up with a big crush on him and just left it at that, because he was older. We worked together for 2 summers before our lives split, but I've often thought of him. Around christmas time he saw me at Zellers and we talked like old times. He said he's thought of me a lot too and wanted to go and chat over coffee sometime. We really have a connection so I gave him my number. He hasn't called, but I don't think it's from lack of interest, he really is busy forming his new life with massage therapy AND in the past hasn't called because he thought that he had waited too long (silly but true). Bob is 39 and I'm 23. Here's the thing. Mom and my sister think I should "go for it if the opportunity arrises". Dad growels even if I mention his name because he knows there's a spark between us and disapproves. Myself, I just want to keep him as a friend and deal with romantic stuff maybe when I get a bit older.
I've seen people with a 15 year difference happily married before, but what does it take?
so after that long ramble...what do you think of age differences? How much is too much? Is it so much as a number issue or where someone is in their lives (ie:teenager dating a 20's something vs 30 something dating a 40 something)?
What do you think?
post #2 of 54
My husband and I are 14 years apart, him being older. We have no problems except he teases me all of the time when I talk about things I did as a child and he was an adult.
post #3 of 54
There's not necessarily anything wrong with that much age difference, so long as you both have similar goals and intentions in a relationship. If he's 39, he's older enough that he may have commitment in mind. But then again, he may not. You mentioned wanting to keep him as a friend and hold off on romantic stuff. What's wrong with going out on a friendly basis?
post #4 of 54
I think the older you get the less important the gap becomes. It depends a lot more on your mental age.

With that said, IMO a 27 year old dating a 17 year old is a no-no.

As for you, a 16 year age difference can create some problems as far as what you have in common. I'm not saying it can't work, but relationships are hard enough as it is. The more you have in common the easier it is. Do you like the same kind of music? What about the volume? Are you similar as far as how active you are? Are your views more modern or old fashioned? I'm glad you want to be just friends for now. In my experience, a great relationship begins with a great friendship.
post #5 of 54
My husband is 11 years older than me it's purrrrrrrfect!!!!!!!! LOL

MY first husband was 17 years older than I was.. he obviously had many more life experiences than I could have had since I was only 18... That marriage did last 16 years, there was alot of abuse, and control issues, it took me till I grew up as a woman to realize it.

post #6 of 54
charlie is almost exactly 6 months older than i am but my uncle who is 50 something is dating a girl who is 28 the same age as me!! i guess it all depends on the couple.
post #7 of 54
My husband is 7 years younger than me and that has had some minor glitches - i.e., we don't like the same music as we grew up in different eras, he likes his movies and music really loud, I can't take the noise and other little things like that. Having said that though, last week we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary so it's not been all that bad!

I agree with age not making a difference when you are older, for instance a ten year age gap isn't going to be as significant when you are 27 and 37 as it would be if you are 17 and 27. Hopefully as you age you also mature and are better able to make good decisions together.
post #8 of 54
There's a 16 year age difference between myself and Eva (me being the old one). I think it all depends on the couple. We've been together 3 years and couldnt be happier. It all depends greatly on the people involved. Some 40 year olds are very immature some 18 year olds are very mature. You just need to be compatable emotionally. Age is just a number

post #9 of 54
I think once you're a consenting adult and into your 20's, it really doesn't matter too much. I believe 20 somethings generally have different priorities than 40 somethings, but it doesn't necessarily mean things won't work out.

I too dated a man 19 years my senior when I was 24. He was very kind, considerate and generous, but he was ready to settle down and I thought of it more as a fling. I'm not the marrying type anyway. I feel bad that I've broken a few hearts this way.

Whatever the age difference, if you feel you have a lot in common, and are compatible with your SO, then I say go for it! But I do believe it should be a relationship between two adults.
post #10 of 54
Mark is almost 24 and Im 21 so I think it's perfect, for me anyway.
When I was 17 I went out with another guy who was 23 years old, I thought it was fine at the time but now when I look back wow that was a massive maturity gap.
My Dad is 50 and his wife is 33, they got together when she was 26, and he had 2 teenage girls and he was in his mid-forties. I think that was wrong. She was nowhere near emotionally ready at that age to deal with everything that this 40 something year old man had under his belt. Having said that they are still happily married with 2 beautiful children. And I wouldnt apply that opinion to everyone, you just have to be prepared to take on everything that goes with the older person.
post #11 of 54
Steve is 10 years older than me. and its not a problem

to me age is nothing but a number. AFTER you reach the legal age of 18. I agree no 27 year old should be dateing a 17 year old
post #12 of 54
I'm 22 and my s/o is 25. I think after 18, it really doesn't depend on where you are mentally. That having been said... I think the older you are, the less the age gap makes a difference.
post #13 of 54
Joe is 5 years older than me. It doesn't seem significant, but we are 37 and 42.
When I was 16, I dated a 21 year old, and my mother had a fit. Looking back, I understand why. No minor should date anyone that much older than them, imo.
Sort of creeps me out now that I did it!
post #14 of 54
My SO and I are 4 years apart (I'm almost 23, he's 27). A lot of people think that that's a big difference, but I don't think it's that big of a difference. When you're older, I don't think age really makes a difference as long as its legit and you're on the same maturity level.

I also agree that the 27 and 17 year old is a big no-no. Not only is it illegal here, but there's probably going to be some other major issues that will come. For example, the girl is barely an adult and can't go out to the same places the 27 year old can. They're probably on different levels. A person that has a career going on (assuming that the 27 year old does), and a person in school (assuming that the 17 year old is going to school) are going to be on different levels. And from what I've witnessed from 17 year olds (even some people around my age) no matter how mature they may seem, they still don't have the experience and are most likely naive about what goes on in the real world. I started my career very early, and trying to talk to people that are in my age group gets hard because they've got the party attitude, and I've got the career minded attitude. I feel like a grandma around them.
post #15 of 54
oh thats nothing my sister is 38 is married to a guy thats younger then i am he is 28 and my cousin is 28 and is marring a guy thats 45
post #16 of 54
My SO and I are 10 years apart.

I am 31 he will be 41 in April.

My kids are 11 and 14.

His are 12 and 15.

We were pretty much at the same points in our lives 5 yrs ago when we met.

It seems like the older we get the stranger it seem to people. 26 and 36 didn't seem like as much of a age gap as 31 and 41 does. Maybe because all of my friends are 20-28. Dave is the same age as some of their dads. That's WEIRD!

post #17 of 54
Hubby is 17 years older than me. It hasn't been a major factor in our almost 19 year marriage until lately. His hearing is going and there is a lot of yelling in the house now that I don't like. He won't wear a hearing aid
post #18 of 54
My honest opinion? Women tend to need to date older guys since they're so naturally far behind us in maturity levels (no offense guys, this is just gleaned from my personal experience) so an older guy just might be at the same level.... that said my ex was a little over 2 years older than me, that was the general age difference I tended to go with, but the guys I'm dating now are 35 and 36 (I'm 28) and this seems to fit me a little better..... on a semi-related topic, younger guys are evil! I avoid them like the plague
post #19 of 54
Being 19, i dont really want to date someone who is over 25.
I mean when i was 18 i wouldnt of thought to date soemone who is over 23.
There are a few exceptions though..

Wyan is the only guy i would date who is 10 years +
post #20 of 54
My advice would be to keep him as a friend and continue to mix with folks closer to your own age group. 23 is so young and you have so much in life ahead of you that a 39 year old has already experienced.

This from a 43 year old married to a 39 year old
post #21 of 54
Eric and I have a 17 year age difference....with me being the older one. He is 29 and I am 45. This means I get to pull rank here and there, although his IQ is probably higher. We met in a very traditional way, in our skyscraper building in downtown Seattle. We both worked there, he took four months to talk to me. He has a normal, close relationshp with all his sisters and his mama, and I have a normal and close relationshp with all my brothers and my Dad. I think our society and culture raises an eyebrow if the age difference places the female older than the male by 10 years or more, but if it's a male, it's no big deal. Most of the eyebrow-raising comes from societal mores, none of which make any sense anymore. Or people who are catty and jealous.

Eric and I have some gaps in maybe music tastes, although I was the one buying Nickelback tickets, believe me, and he can sit through a live symphony and truly enjoy it. Our Dads go bird-watching together and both families are very accepting. They just want his happiness and they are truly family to me. That's a big part of it - how your inner circle is supportive, not divisive. Because nobody else really matters. One of our best couple-friends are he, 31, and she, 46, from Hawaii where nobody cares about anything like that anyway!

Yosemite and others nailed it when it was stated that you've got to look at the world with four eyes, not just two...meaning that if your inner core values, your outer ambitions, and your life path is that of "together and congruent" it's makes for a good match, regardless of age.

And no, I would NOT support a 27/17 yr old pairing. There is more development between the ages of 21-29 that nobody tells you about and it's critical the ages aren't too far apart when younger.

In any event, after Demi and Ashton got hitched, I sure did get a lot of email! If you want to see our photo, go to the Photo thread, we're there and smiling.
post #22 of 54
Ian and I are only 2 months and 5 days different (he's older), so I don't necessarily fit in this discussion, but to someone who DOESN'T fit the big age-gap mold, I really don't have a single issue with it/seeing other people with a large age difference. If you meet the right person, it doesn't really matter!
post #23 of 54
Originally Posted by sashacat421

And no, I would NOT support a 27/17 yr old pairing. There is more development between the ages of 21-29 that nobody tells you about and it's critical the ages aren't too far apart when younger.
I dont think you can judge on that it depends on the couple everyone is different. my mother Married at 16 my dad was 22 and they spent 45 years together.
post #24 of 54
am 8 years older then my hubby, works great because he acts like an old man I'm 58 he's 50, he spent 12 years as a batchlor also 25 years in the service, but were good, he is very good to me and I take good care of him. I do think that alot of years could be a problem. My sis-in-law is married to a guy who is 47 she is 61, they have been married for 20 years and he's an idoit never has been responsible never , and I think maybe she's almost done.... I Hope I keep telling her he doesn't have the right to make anyones life miserable, and you deserve to be happy, get out while you still have a few live brain cells
post #25 of 54
I am 4 years older than my sweetie. We met when he was 16, and I was 20. It seemed like a huge gap then, but we remained friends. 7 years later I came to my senses and realized he was right when within 2 hours of meeting, he told me that we would end up spending our lives together. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had just listened to him. We have been happily unmarried for 20 years. We do not need a legal document to see that this is till death do us part.
post #26 of 54
In my last serious relationship, I was 16 years older than the guy. Although it didn't last, age wasn't the deciding factor. I don't think it makes a difference, but I have found a lot of people who do, especially when it's the woman who is older.
post #27 of 54
Originally Posted by xDx
I dont think you can judge on that it depends on the couple everyone is different. my mother Married at 16 my dad was 22 and they spent 45 years together.

That's very true in some cases, but in our screwed up American society? I wouldn't recommned it as a long term pairing. I honestly believe European countries are a lot healthier, and to me have appeared to be much more emotionally mature.
post #28 of 54
My hub is 11 years older than me too, I'm 37, he's 48, we met and started dating in 1989 when I was 20 and he was 31..married in 1990 and still together almost 16 years later. We have a lot of the same tastes in music and such....the only trouble is, I seem to be going thru a mindlife crisis and he didn't, lol!
post #29 of 54
My parents are the same age ( minus a few months-- they were born in Jan & Oct same year) Me and Hubby are 8 yrs apart, and my lil sister and her hubby are 8 years apart. In both marriages (my sisters and mine) the hubby's are the older parties. Hubby and I lived together for 3 years before we got married-- we only got married to apease our parents. ( my parents are very traditional and my mom was apalled that we were "living in sin"-- his mom was terminal and died 2 months after our first anniversary)

I think it has a lot to do with the maturity factor on the mens part mostly.
post #30 of 54
Most people look at me weird when they find out I'm the older one in the relationship (me being the women). Granted its only 2 years X months, but when my mom found out I was dating someone who was 19 she asked me if I was robbing the cradle. I guess that meant I was finally old enough to "rob the cradle"!! (At the age of 21 no less!) Of course the one problem we've had is that I can go to bars and he can't (he turns 21 this sunday, ha!). However, I'm not one for going to a bar; I can make cheaper drinks at my apartment! XD

We just work together; people have asked me if I liked them young! Honestly, since I've hit dating age (er, 18 or so) I've never really thought: "Oh, that man would be perfect at the age of 21!"
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