Dating And Age: Is It Really Just A Number?

Posted on January 17th, 2010

“Cougar.”  “Cradle robber.”  “Gold digger.”  “Jailbait.”  “May-December romance.”  “Boy toy.”  “Lolita.”

The English lexicon is packed with disparaging terms used to describe relationships between people who are dating and have a large gap in their ages.  When marriages were arranged merely for convenience, like monetary gain or a raise in social status, age differences were not uncommon.  In fact, they were often the norm.  These days, however, an older man who dates a younger woman is often accused of taking advantage of her, while a younger man who dates an older woman is teased about having “mommy-issues” or being a kept man.

Which point of view is the reality?  When it comes to dating Is age ever really just a number?  Before embarking on a serious relationship in which an age gap is involved, consider the following questions:

Are you in tune with your partner’s concerns?
It’s true that you are dating a person, not a birth date, but age and experience will still factor into your relationship.  If you are dating someone older, they might feel threatened by people in your life that they perceive as more attractive because they are younger.  They may also worry that you are missing out on vital life experiences by being with them.  If you are dating someone younger, he or she might feel inadequate when compared to your older, more mature acquaintances.  Make sure that your partner never feels that they are lacking in any way.

Are you heavily influenced by the opinions of others?
You are likely to encounter many questions and criticisms regarding your relationship – if you can’t handle them without getting hurt, a relationship with an age gap is probably not for you.

What are your long-term relationship goals?
An age difference may not seem like a problem at first, but it might become an issue as the relationship progresses.  What if one person plans to retire and then travel, while the other is stuck in one place working or finishing a degree?  What if one person is ready to get married and have a family, and the other is not? For a relationship with an age gap to work, both partners must have similar life plans.

If you are serious about making your relationship work, it can turn into a wonderful short-term learning experience or a strong long-term bond.  So take a chance – broaden your horizons and give yourself the opportunity to gain a new perspective on life and relationships.

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Posted in Dating Tips


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