General Question

amandaxbear's avatar

Should a 21 year old date a recently divorced 27 year old?

Asked by amandaxbear (44points) February 20th, 2011

I met this guy on campus, and he had asked for my number and we went out. I had fun but he kept mentioning his ex-wife, and they had filed for divorce in August. He also said she was his best friend, and that it was the worst thing he could’ve ever done- because there was no romantic feelings between them. He’s a really sweet, and eccentric guy but obviously if he keeps mentioning her hes not fully over her. Plus he’s 27 and I’m 21, I don’t want to become his “Play thing” because he lost all self-esteem from his divorce.

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31 Answers

Uberwench's avatar

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a 21-year-old dating a recently divorced 27-year-old, but this particular 27-year-old doesn’t sound like he’s really back on the market yet. If you’re not interested in being his rebound, move along.

zenvelo's avatar

Sounds like if you get involved you are the rebound girlfriend. He doesn’t sound ready at all. If you don’t want to be his plaything, call it off now.

wundayatta's avatar

Do it for kicks. Don’t let your emotions get too involved. Just be at the friend level. If it lasts, then you might consider giving more of your heart. Also, keep yourself separate from any drama between him and his ex. If it is starting to suck you in, get out.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
blueiiznh's avatar

Sounds like he is not past his wife. Filing for a divorce does not make her an ex yet. Are you certain he is not still living with her and they in fact have filed?
I wouldn’t get emotionally involved. He has much to go through to be emotionally available still.
Enjoy the time and fun if you want, but at this point that is all it is.

amandaxbear's avatar

@wundayatta This is exactly I was thinking right after the date. Thank you!

amandaxbear's avatar

@blueiiznh No she moved back to their home town. I’m trying not to )=

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I wouldn’t bother with him at all.
The problem is that he is recently divorced.He hasn’t had enough time to sort things out and yes,I think you are a rebound for him.Tell him to call you in a year’s time if he (and you) are still single.Dating should be fun!Not high drama and headaches.Good luck. ;)

Neurotic_David's avatar

Huh. My response got moderated. Ok, let’s try this again, with emphasis:

Run away, quickly.

People coming out of a relationship, and who are talking to you about their ex- during your early dates, are nothing but trouble. You are dealing with (understandably) damaged goods and you will likely get hurt. You, to no fault of your own, will bear the brunt of anger or sadness or some other negative emotion, because the guy you’re dating is hurting and you’re the closest target.

So again, run away, and quickly.

amandaxbear's avatar

@Neurotic_David I understand, but at this time I plan on keeping it on a friends only basis. Thank you.

marinelife's avatar

Being the rebound girl after a divorce is not a good proposition. He will not be “over” the divorce for at least a year afterward.

I would think you could do better in the dating realm.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@amandaxbear If you’re okay with being the rebound girl, go with the advice that @wundayatta gave you. If not, go with the advice that @Uberwench (and everybody else) gave you. Just be sure to control your expectations either way.

amandaxbear's avatar

@SavoirFaire I’m not okay with being the rebound girl, I’m going into this as a friends only type deal. And no this does NOT mean a friend’s with benefits thing.

Carly's avatar

I think it really depends on both people, but I would feel that that was too big of an age difference for me. I’m 23 and I’m having a hard time connecting with people who are more than 3 years outside my own age (either younger or older)

Kardamom's avatar

This poor guy is clearly not over his wife and marriage. You could probably go out for coffee with him every now and then, but don’t let your feelings move beyong “just friends” for at least a year. He may need to date some one else right now that can serve as the rebound girl. Don’t let it be you.

At 21 and 27 there’s quite a bit of an age difference “experience wise.” A 6 year age difference won’t matter as much when you are 25 and much less so when you are 30. The main roadblock in this particular situation is that this guy is in a bad place emotionally right now. Don’t let yourself get hooked in by his neediness.

amandaxbear's avatar

@Kardamom I don’t mind the age difference, and neither does he. Would going to his house to watch a movie be moving too fast? And after a year what am I supposed to do?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Kardamom's avatar

@amandaxbear I know you don’t “mind” the age difference. Young women always think it’s cool to date older men. But the point is, you are at very different places in your life. When you are 21 and he is 27 there is a huge difference between what you and he have experienced. You are probably just finishing up your schooling and attempting to get into the work force. He’s long out of school and he’s been in a marriage relationship. That is a very, very different place than you. That is why I said that when you are 25 or 30 the age thing won’t matter as much because once you get to a certain age, you are mostly both in the career stage of your lives and will have much more in common.

The reason I said to wait a year, is so that this fellow can sort through his feelings and get past his marriage. Right now, it is too soon, he’s still right in the thick of it. Plus, it looks like he is interested in dating, but if he dates YOU, you will be the re-bound girl.

Going to his house to watch a movie is pretty much exactly a date. I wouldn’t advise it. You would be much better off finding yourself a man who is around your same age that doesn’t have the baggage of a failed marriage in his hands.

Disc2021's avatar

If I were in your particular situation: No way. He’s evidently got baggage and you’re young enough to find someone who doesn’t.

It’s your life though.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Your particular 27 year old? No way. Wait until he can prove his divorce is actually in progress, then finalled and that he doesn’t still live with her.
Been there, been done by that, nothing good.

amandaxbear's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I assume he doesn’t live with her because I was invited for dinner and a movie. Sometimes divorces take years to finalize, however this does not matter because I’m keeping it friends only

for now

YARNLADY's avatar

Dating? Of course it OK, why wouldn’t it be. Watch out for the rebound effect if you are considering a long term committment.

klutzaroo's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with a 21 year old dating a 27 year old. Most people find about a 6 year age difference gives guys a chance to catch up to the maturity level of the average 21 year old female (as always, there’s a statistical curve on individual maturity for people of all ages with some being immature until they die of old age in a nursing home at 103, albeit that’s an extreme example). I’m 6 years behind my boyfriend.

The issue that I see lies in this particular guy at this particular time. He’s not ready to be out dating again and is trying to force himself. Stay away.

Jenniehowell's avatar

I’d say any aged person just coming out of a divorce shouldn’t be dating anyone for a while. Half the issues with the relationships I see folks getting into are related to some weird compulsion people have toward moving too fast. I’d say the divorcee dating should ask themselves why they’re having issues with being alone & the one dating the divorcee should wonder the same thing.

People need to be stable on their own two feet for a while after a split before getting into anything else – it’s like the concept of the plane ride where the flight attendants tell us to put our own masks on before helping a child next to us – we can’t be fully there, present or take care of someone else if we can’t manage to do it for ourselves first.

Be careful with the friend thing – it’s easy to get caugt up in moments of intimacy when you’re around someone who has sexy & vulnerable as a current trait. LoL nobody wants to be the rebound chic.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@amandaxbear I think everyone is still mentioning the rebound effect because it is not entirely up to you whether or not he treats you as his rebound girl. Even if you are keeping it friends only, you cannot control how he thinks about the relationship. I applaud you for being conscious of the situation you are in, but do not forget the situation he is in. You will not be in this relationship alone, regardless of whether it is friendly, romantic, sexual, or whatever.

amandaxbear's avatar

@Jenniehowell You’ve given the best response, thank you. I had asked him if I was rebound, and he actually got upset that I asked-he told me that he mourned for the first 3 months and now it’s just time to move on. And that he wouldn’t of told me a whole bunch of personal stuff, if he just wanted to hook up I have a hard time believing that because it’s extremely recent and technically he’s still married. He’s a sweetie, and I’m a mush-so I think I really need to make it clear to him that we will only remain friends, and absolutely nothing more (and no spending time alone!) (0;

Jenniehowell's avatar

@amandaxbear I agree – no alone time is always a good idea in those situations.

It would likely be difficult for he or you either one to decipher if it’s a rebound thing – rebound relationships are known for being quite intimate & intense but in the end not compatible because once the rebounding is over the person changes back to their old self & they’re often less chivalrous & less willing to expose their vulnerable side etc. Of course it causes issues when one person changes & begins acting contrary to how they started – hence the plight of the rebound relationship.

I had a therapist years ago & i remember when I had gone through a major breakup & was curious how soon i should consider dating again – he gave me a general formula of at least one month for every year i was with that person before ever spending time one on one with a potential date/relationship. I’ve stuck to that formula ever since & it’s worked well. I make sure to discontinue contact with the person I broke up with & I spend a few months doing things for just me. I don’t even exchange numbers with someone I’m attracted to & I definitely don’t date.

I have the same policy the other way around. I find out if they’re still in contact with the ex & if they are (other than child custody scenarios) I don’t even bother with them – if they’re not in contact I find out how long it’s been & if it doesn’t fit the one month for every year formula I avoid anything with them. That has saved me a lot of drama as I’ve watched my friends/acquaintances date those people & have issue after issue. That process has helped me create a positive & stable life for myself where I don’t depend on anyone else & it helped me create an environment that allowed me to have the stable relationship I’ve been in fir more than 6 years now.

(thanks for the compliment – I’m glad my answer made a bit of sense)

Kardamom's avatar

@Jenniehowell You are right on! One of my friends, when she was in her early 20’s first dated a guy whom she knew was still emotionally attached to his ex girlfriend and was still in constant contact with her. She thought her situation was different because “He needed to talk to her because she’d gone through some emotional stuff.” So she went along with it, and then promptly got dumped by him when he went back to her.

This same woman shortly thereafter started dating a man who was not only married, but he and his wife were part of the same large social group as my friend. The married guy told her that he no longer loved his wife and that his wife was a shrew. Because the wife was a so-called shrew and because this guy professed that he had always had a crush on my friend, she said to me “Our situation is different and I don’t expect you to understand.” Like somehow the fact that his wife was a shrew made it ok for them to hook up. This man and his wife had a baby and therefore he needed to be in contact with his ex and needed to be with his child, but my friend was always upset because she didn’t come first. When the fellow asked her to move in with him, he told her it was now or never. I said that if he really loved her, then he could wait until his divorce was final and the situation with his child became stronger and my friend stopped resenting their relationship. He told her that he loved her so much that she had to make this decision right that minute. She hesitated, because she wanted to think about it, but he promptly broke up with her and took up with another woman from their social circle soon afterwards. Guess he’d had a crush on this other lady too.

I guess what I’m trying to re-iterate is that you shouldn’t get together with anyone who is recently (or not quite) divorced and hasn’t gotten over it yet. That goes for people who’ve recently ended relationships in which they weren’t married too. Men have a tendency to want to jump right back into something immediately even if they aren’t ready and they will tell the new woman whatever they need to hear to convince them that it’s ok, or that it’s “different” with their situation. Don’t buy that load of crap!

Jenniehowell's avatar

@Kardamom – thanks! I agree for sure – I believe the saying is “one door closes another opens – one day ends another begins” – my point… It’s against basic logic to expect it to be easy for something to successfully begin before the other has ended. I’d almost argue it’s against nature but I’m sure there’s some phenomenon in nature where it occurs all at once. In my mind though – thoughts are popping in like… I’ve never heard of a pregnant woman getting pregnant with another kid before her 9 months is up & the one in the womb being released etc.

I would correct one part of your statement though by saying “men AND WOMEN have a tendency to wanna jump back into something immediately…” women & men both jump from relationship to relationship & it may even be that as nesters by nature women do it more. Women are definitely more apt toward the yo yo emotions of getting back with the same partner over and again after a breakup. In lesbian communities this is very common – women will go back & forth multiple times with the same partner before finally admitting incompatible traits. That’s why there’s so many jokes about lesbians bringing uhauls on their first dates etc. Because they have certain patterns that stereotype them as compulsive nesters. (BTW I’m a lesbian for those who may wonder why I seem to know/reference that topic in the manner in which I have) – Basically, as one who is in an environment largely made up of women in relationships I can vouch fir the fact that women are just as guilty (if not more) of serial relationships & yo-yo nesting scenarios as men.

Kardamom's avatar

@Jenniehowell I love that reference to lesbians bringing along a u-haul on their first date!

I guess I am guilty of assuming that lesbian women have it more together than us straight women. You’re probably right, though about women in general tending to go back to the same person over and over again, whereas men tend to go from one person to the next and to the next. I was joking with @wundayatta in another thread that I’ve even seen men go up to a women, get rejected, then move right onto her best friend, get rejected and keep trying to hook up with women at the exact same social event! But ironically, they usually do end up with someone at the end of the party. Go figure!

I just can’t relate to the hooking up with somebody new before the old thing is over and done with and the healing has occurred. Guess that’s why my relationships have all been pretty far apart.

Jenniehowell's avatar

@Kardamom LOL I guess it’s a numbers game RE: the men working the room at an event until they manage to hook one of the fish. LOL Perhaps we women could learn from them in that regard – but then perhaps that’s just the hookup method rather than the long-term method that the average nester would go for ha ha .

I’m with you on starting one thing before ending the other. It just seems unhealthy, desperate, emotionally immature, irresponsible or all of the above when I consider it.

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