Who is Too Young or Too Old for You to Date?
When you are attracted to someone, does it matter how old the person is? Whether casual or serious relationships, do the number of years you have spent on the Earth have any bearing on the status quo? Interestingly, many people do consider the gap between the years when falling in love.
There have been some impressive studies conducted in this niche. In 2001, a team of social psychologists from the University of Groningen conducted one detailed research about the desired age differences in relationships. Random people were approached at railway stations, public libraries, and other public places. They were asked to categorize five relationship types into a preferred age range. These relationships were falling in love, marriage, serious relationships, fantasies, friends with benefits, and casual sex.
The outcome gave an insight into how men and women differ in their preferences. Women, for example, were more or less consistent in their preferences – they usually preferred partners from their peer group. Men, on the other hand, preferred considerably younger partners for casual sex and fantasies, while for marriage and serious relationships, they looked at same-aged people.
Age gap relationships
To be honest, when you are in love, does it really matter how old you are and that of your partners? Relationships between adults can be with an older, younger, or same age-group person. It could be a younger guy dating an older woman or vice versa. A healthy relationship is about respecting each other and living life positively. This certainly doesn’t have anything to do with numbers. Haven’t we all heard the saying, “Age is after all just a number.” And, when you look around, you’ll get to see some real-life couples with considerable age differences living life to their fullest.
If still not inspired, take a look at some of the top celebrity couples who are still going strong irrespective of the gap – George & Amal Clooney with a difference of 17 years, Priyanka Chopra & Nick Jonas with a difference of 11 Years, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones who are 25 years apart, and more.
Unfortunately, though, not everything is as rosy as it seems. Intergenerational dating and relationships need good understanding and care. When the gap is considerably larger in couples, there are some practical issues on hand. For example, there could be conflicts in relationship goals that can create gaps later on in life. The older person could be possibly looking at settling down and having babies, whereas the younger partner might still be looking at taking life easy.
Plus, some people can make things uncomfortable with their toxic comments. Family, friends, peers, neighbors, everyone tends to give their opinions, with most of them looking down on their partners. It is assumed that the older partner is all set to take advantage of the younger one while the latter is in the relationship for some materialistic gain like money, fame, status, etc.
What is the acceptable age gap for relationships?
Surprisingly, there is a rule about the socially acceptable age gap in dating. It is called the ‘Half Your Age Plus 7’ Rule. It gives you the minimum and the maximum threshold to determine if you should go ahead and have a relationship with someone you like or not.
What is ‘Half Your Age Plus 7' rule?
You need to first divide your age by 2. So, if you are 30 years old, 30 divided by 2 is equal to 15.
Next, add 7 to the result. In this example, the result will be 7+15=22.
As per the Rule, if you are 30 and dating a person aged 22 years or more, your relationship is socially acceptable.
To get the upper permissible limit, you need to first subtract 7 from your age. In this case, 30 – 7= 23.
Next, double the result. So, 23 x 2 = 46.
As per the Rule, you are allowed to date a person up to 46 years and not more.
Who decided the Rule?
It has been spoken about in movies, books, etc., though no one knows for sure when the rule came into being. It is for sure not based on any scientific theorem. The first time that the Rule was mentioned was in 1901 in a book.
20-Year age gap relationships
The question is whether age gaps above 10 years' work in relationships or not. It is difficult to answer because there are many celebrity couples with partners who are 20 years older or younger than the other and yet have a rock-solid marriage.
If you are considering entering such a relationship where you are either elder or younger than your partner exceeding the ten-year mark or Half Your Age 7 Plus Rule, then be prepared for challenges like:
- Face social stigma: There are high chances that your relationship will attract disapproval from people around you. Be ready to face judgments and trolls from others. If you are dating a man with kids, you may face acceptance issues.
- Chronological and mental age: Mental maturity is more important than the biological clock in a marriage. For example, preferences for music or movies may differ.
- Issues are more likely in a relationship where one partner is 40-year-old, and the other is 20-year-old vis-a-vis one partner aged 50-year-old and the other 70-year-old. Looking to date a senior? Check out the best senior dating sites.
- Take for granted that the older partner is the wiser one. It could be the other ways too. Thus, equal consideration is a must for relationships where the age difference is huge.
- The question of kids can often become a big issue between the couple and a point of contention.
- Such marriages are often viewed with suspicion as these are thought to be based on exchange propositions rather than love and care.
An empathetic angle helps take care of such wide age-gaped relationships. When handled with care, such relationships can drive enhanced satisfaction, commitment, and dedication from both partners. Dealing with the social stigma can be tough, and one of the ways is humor. Joking about the age gap in public or private helps take care of the stress factor.
Does the gap matter? No, as per experts, especially in a marriage. As long as both partners are committed to making it work as a team, cracks and crevices will stay away.
Age gap dating Pros and Cons
- Such relationships usually have a better chance of success as one of the partners is more mature than the other. Dating a mature partner helps nurture a relationship. Unlike same-age group marriages, faceoffs and disagreements usually do not get murkier in these types of relationships as the matured partner ensures steadying the relationship with their experience and outlook.
- In these relationships, financial struggles could be lesser as the older partner is usually well-settled professionally and financially by the time the marriage happens. Since finances are one of the major battling grounds in marriages, this reason is, in most cases, taken care of.
- Usually, in relationships with a wider age gap, it has been found that the difference in viewpoints and perspectives drive a better understanding between the partners. There are fewer ego clashes, and the competitive spirit which can be found in many same-age relationships is mostly absent.
- Overall, there is a better sense of balance in relationships where there is a considerable age gap between the partners. For example, by the time the elder partner is ready to retire, the younger one is all set to offer financial support to the family.
- One of the biggest drawbacks is of becoming parents. Typically, the elder person might want to hurry with the decision, while the younger partner would like to wait. This can lead to some kind of tension in the relationship.
- Societal pressures and taunts can make things difficult. Many a time, the senior partner is assumed to be a parent of the younger ones. Many such assumptions can make things uncomfortable for both.
- The difference in life priorities and preferences can be unsettling. This happens because both partners are at different stages in their life. Not just that, there could be marital discord because of both partners' choices, interests, friend circle, etc.
How to handle relationships with bigger age gaps?
- Show maturity and support your partner.
- Listen to them, motivate and inspire them.
- Be kind to one another, and most of all, respect the views, choices, and preferences of each other.
- Be honest in the relationship and stay away from the knack of trying to change your partner.
- Things can go wrong at times. It is important to focus on the issue and resolve it constructively.
Relationships are a complex gamut, whether it is within a peer group or between people of different ages. Maturity, readiness to compromise, and respecting differences of opinions and preferences, can help relationships of all types wade through unsteady waters. A bigger gap can offer holistic joy and happiness provided both the partners are ready to give it their best try.