Age Difference in Relationship

Singer Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon shop in luxury boutiques Baby-Dior on Montaigne avenue and the Vuitton store on the Champs Elysees in Paris

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola/Nick Cannon, Anna Nicole Smith and The Crypt Keeper…

Ah love. It knows no boundary of age.

Except when it does.

Do I have a problem with May December relationships? No. Do I have a problem with calling them May December relationships? Yes. Because WTF?

Anyway, relationships with age gaps can totally work if both people are on the same page and it doesn’t involve any emotional weirdness. Don’t worry, I’ll get to what that means.

A friend of mine is in his 30’s and he had written off dating early 20-somethings because he wasn’t really into the idea of dating someone in such a different stage of life. That is until he met my friends who are 15ish years apart and happily married. Marvin (we’ll call him Marvin because he’ll think it’s funny but will hate it just a little bit) had been through a horrific divorce, has 2 boys and a vasectomy. Raquelle (we’ll call her Raquelle because…I don’t know, we just will) had never been married, practically raised her younger brothers and sisters and wanted kids of her own.

Fast forward 3 years of marriage…Seeing how sweet they are together could give you adult-onset diabetes. Raquelle is an amazing step-mom and he’s getting a reversal on his vasectomy.

Marvin’s ex-wife, who I would punch in the neck given the chance because she a horrible person, hates the very site of Raquelle. Marrying a hotter, skinnier, nicer, YOUNGER woman can also have the added benefit of sheer pride.

Anyway, my friend who wouldn’t date younger women met Marvin and Raquelle and his perspective changed. He saw a relationship with a significant age gap work. Like, really work.

But there are a couple of things you want to watch out for.

If you are the older one in the relationship:

 Make sure the person you’re dating doesn’t have daddy issues. Oh yes, it happens. Craig gets hit on by early 20-somethings all the time. It use to be flattering (I’m sure it still is on some level). But now that he’s in his mid-40s with a 15 year old daughter, he finds it really disturbing. His first question is why would a girl that young hit on a man twice her age? Good question. It could be that she’s looking for someone to take care of her. It could be that his beard is like a flame of temptation to the hottie moths. It certainly isn’t the fact that they see his wedding ring.

If a man Craig’s age were single and still attracting PYTs, he’d have to be very careful of the girl’s motives. Is she looking for a father figure? Is she looking for a sugar daddy? Does she just like older dudes? Sometimes it can be hard to tell.

If you are the younger one in the relationship:

Just make sure you are given the respect and freedom you have already earned as a grown ass man. Some older women like to control their younger men. If she’s cool and you get along and she respects you, awesome. Cougar it up.

As long as everyone is on the same page, age doesn’t have to be an obstacle to a relationship. The biggest thing you will have to worry about is kids. Kids are deal breaker. If you want them and she doesn’t or visa versa, end it. Period. There is no compromise on having children. If you can think how to do that, I’m all ears. I’ve seen marriages end over different desires where kids are concerned. The assumption is if you go ahead and get married, eventually you’ll be on the same page. No. You won’t. Save everyone a lot of drama and pain and move on.

Other than that, have at it. Find someone you click with no matter what the age gap and live long and prosper.

What are some benefits to being with someone younger/older than you are?

What are some drawbacks?

What the heck does May December mean?

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20 comments on “Age Difference in Relationship

  1. Rick says:

    I’m going to go with that trusty source of much knowledge, Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=May-December%20Romance

    Seems to make sense.

  2. turnerbethany says:

    My husband and I are six years apart with me being the younger one. The benefits for me is the maturity level. While I was dating, I never found a man who I was attracted to, who was around my age and the maturity level I needed.

  3. When I was 24 I dated a man 15 years my senior. I think it can work if you’re moving in the same direction. However for us we were on different pages, as he was entering his 40’s marriage and kids where quickly moving off his life agenda and I was warming up to the idea… Nice man, but I am glad we didn’t try to make it work.

    Another note, if you’re the friends or family of the couple, take the time to figure out if and why it works. I hated being judged as a dumb 20 something, when that was anything but the truth.

  4. My previous girlfriend was a mere 2,5 years older than I was. Still, it was a big difference. In our daily lives, things were fine (age wise), but we were at different stages. I had started my third major in college and was in my third year when she had already graduated as a masters. Luckily, she started a second masters, but after she graduated that one, I still had three years to go. This tension kept coming back and would have been a deal breaker by now, if it wasn’t for all the other ones. She also sometimes felt that I was still developing as a person (which in retrospect was spot on) and thus felt as if we were in complete different stages. This also mattered quite a bit. While these may be personal issues, I think a match in maturity and ‘where you are in life’ are more important than age.

  5. AuthorChristopherLong says:

    This is certainly an intriguing topic, Sharideth. Obviously, I can only speak from the male perspective, but I’m sure that a good many females will be chiming in as well.

    I’ve been accused of being the “dirty old man” in a few of my relationships. Some people (friends, family and outsiders) actually have become offended and even angry over the age gap of some of my relationships. Be sure though, I have never pursued a younger woman merely because she was a younger woman. I don’t have a “thing” for any particular age group. However, to me, if a guy desires to be involved with a gal who is without lunatic ex’s, children with issues or multiple addictions, it stands to reason that he’s gotta swoop in early.

    You’re absolutely right, Sharideth, that some younger woman are simply seeking father figures or Sugar Daddys. However, based on my personal experiences, in short — (some) chicks dig old dudes!

    But in today’s Reality TV-influenced, Vodka/Xanax-charged world, exercising extreme caution is strongly suggested when moving into any romantic relationship, despite the age gap.

    -Chris

    • Brian says:

      I totally agree with you, Christopher. I’m 33 years old. I know everybody has a little bit of baggage. I just have trouble finding women my age around here that aren’t newly divorced, involved in custody battles. I know every woman (same for men) have baggage they need to deal with, but I can’t come in and be their savior (yes, that was expected of me once.)

    • Heidi says:

      Woah, thanks for implying all women out of their 20s have lunatic ex’s, children with issues or multiple addictions.

      • AuthorChristopherLong says:

        Hi Heidi! That certainly was not my implication. I merely was articulating a perspective based on some of my personal past experiences. I would never lump an entire demographic into any one-size-fits-all category. I apologize for any misunderstanding. Can we still be friends?

        • Heidi says:

          We can, indeed. I’m a little touchy about that because it’s a stereotype I run across often (or at least something similar to it).

          • Brian says:

            I made the mistake of making an assumption that a 23 year old I dated, who had a really “clean” history had no major baggage. I was wrong and got hurt big time by it. So I try not to rule anybody out because of age, or think somebody is safe because of age.

      • Kim says:

        No kidding, that was my reaction too! I’m 33, not married, and don’t have any crazy issues that I can think of. (And I’m pretty sure I’m not just in denial–I mean we all have issues of some sort, I guess…but nothing too crazy.)

  6. junelikethemonth says:

    Well, anyone that reads my blog knows that I often gravitate towards younger guys, sometimes 20 years younger…but in my case, there isn’t a relationship at stake, just sex…and both times I made a mistake of trying a relationship with a younger man, it ended tragically…
    Do I think they can work? Sure, for some people…but you’re absolutely correct; kids are an absolute “no comprimise” point…that is the very first I make to guys…
    And I am on my phone and can’t see the other comments, so I don’t know if anyone answered you, but the reason they are called “may-december romances” is because the younger person is considered in the spring of their life (hence may” and the older person is in their winter (hence december)….

    • junelikethemonth says:

      but i have been thinking alot about your blog today, and decided to revisit it; i think if i did ever settle down, it probably would be with someone younger, but not ridiculously younger…

  7. Donna says:

    I have a follow-up question to this. Perhaps it will be “Dear Sharideth” worthy, or it may be too convoluted to work as a full blog post. Anyway, consider this scenario: Let’s say we have Jane, who is in her late twenties but well into her career, and Matt, who is in his very early forties (made up names, both, but they stand for real people I know) and an all together great guy. Let’s say these two have a mutual friend, who we’ll call Dana, who is the same age as Jane and has known Jane since infancy (good friends), and is also good friends with Matt and his family, who are like family to her (Dana). Matt has never been married, and is honestly an incredible catch. Jane is also unmarried, and honestly, if the age gap was not so pronounced, Dana would not think twice about encouraging these two to become friends and get to know one another (that is as far as Dana is ever willing to go in terms of “matchmaking” but since Dana met her husband this way, she knows it can be incredibly successful if done in a respectful manner). The kicker is, Jane and Matt really have enough in common to merit considering each other (and I mean in terms of goals: family, faith, etc.), IF the age difference were not an issue for Jane, and Dana doesn’t know if it is or not. So, the question: Is there a way for Dana to approach Jane about this, highlighting the age issue as a known POTENTIAL issue for Jane? Or, should Dana do what she has been doing for several years now since becoming friends with Matt: bide her time until Jane (and Dana) have crossed into their thirties, and feel Jane out for when age may be less of an issue….of course by then Matt will be in his mid-forties, and who knows if he will still be available…but he’s on the shy side, and the opposite of pushy, so in a sense I think if he is meant to be married some day, it will be as a result of a friend who knows him well introducing him to someone who is just perfect for him. Jane may be this person. (Or, she may not be, but no way to know unless they cross paths, right?)

    Oh and if it isn’t obvious, I’m Dana in this scenario. Any advice is greatly appreciated! These are two folks who SO deserve happiness.

    • Lynne says:

      I say match them up! If there’s a possibility they would be perfect for each other, why wait? Ideally, they could fall madly in love. Second best, is that they could always meet now and then the latter scenario comes into play when Jane is in her thirties. Why wait, when the possibility of having a few more years of happiness is right there? Life is too short, do it now.

    • beckycastlemiller says:

      Introduce them at a party where everyone is in on the goal but them. We call it a Sham. Do it all the time.

  8. beckycastlemiller says:

    Sweet, so at 31 I am totally in the clear to cougar it up with Taylor Lautner, then. Thanks, Sharideth!

    (Well. I would be if I weren’t married.)

  9. Scotty says:

    I am currently dating someone 7 years older, which freaked me out at first. What helps me a lot more than asking “how many years of difference between the two of you?” is asking “what phase of life are you two in?”

    If he has a house and a high-end job, and you’re still in college (though you’re 3 years apart)– that’s going to cause a lot more problems than two financially independent adults with a 15 year age difference.

    My boyfriend and I are both in the same year of graduate school and on the same path, so it’s turned out to be a non-issue

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