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Shippy's avatar

What do you see as the inherent issues of an 'age gap' relationship?

Asked by Shippy (9870points) November 4th, 2012

I have seen a couple of questions regards this. Or at least mentioned in the answers, even if it was not an issue to the asker.

Of course large age gaps, inherently mean the older partner dies sooner, or do they?

The person I love is 17 years my junior. I did not chose this, it sort of happened. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and be as brutal as you like! (I am female).

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28 Answers

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I think the issues are more to do with problems that other people have about it rather than the two people involved in the relationship.

There is no way of knowing who may die first especially in the world today and I think a lot of the issues people had in the past about relationships with an age gap was more about the need to have a large family, or at least try to have one, so that has stayed in the psyche for some reasons.

The main thing is that the people involved are happy.

glacial's avatar

It depends how old the people are… I think a 17-year gap is not that big a deal if you are 54 and he is 37. But if you are 37, and he is 20… I suspect that’s going to be a problem. I think the main question you have to ask yourself is, “Does he see me as a parent/authority figure/mentor?” Because eventually, he will want to break free from that kind of relationship, and probably should. If you are not equals, it will not last.

Of course, if you’re just looking for something short-term, then as long as it’s legal, I say have at it.

Coloma's avatar

Well…there could be some big differences in where everyone is at in their developmental phases of life, surface stuff like taste in music, and other generational differences too.
If these don’t get in the way then other issue that will surface, sooner or later with an almost 20 year gap in ages.
Are you and he comfortable with him feeding you soup and changing your depends when he is 60 and you are 77?

Honestly, enjoy it now, but I don’t think the reality of a long term thing is very likely.
If you are 50 now that makes them what….32–33 tops?
Ya never know, but I wouldn’t count on it lasting “forever”.
My ex SIL married a father figure type that was 13 years older than her and divorced him when she was 40something because he was sexually dead, and dealing with health issues that he wouldn’t take responsibility for.

She was still a vibrant and healthy “young” woman and he was a going down fast 60 yr. old.

Shippy's avatar

@Coloma Well my dad did that for my mom, he was older than her loll. But I did make him promise to dump me in an old age home, at that point. And to find love again.

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy Well then, as long as you’re aware…then carpe the young dude! lol

marinelife's avatar

Go for it. I don’t think tht there is one inherent issue. I think it depends on the couple.

bookish1's avatar

I agree with the above responses, that there are no inherent problems. I tend to fall for people a decade or more older than me… Just how I roll.

Maturity can be a problem. Like how I dated a guy a good two decades older than me, who has never been in a serious long term relationship and is allergic to commitment and possibly love. But maturity is always something to consider no matter what age someone is.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am in an age gap relationship (2 years bigger than your gap) and we have been together for a long time now. The relationship works and the age gap has never been an issue or caused any problems between us so I think it all depends on the type of people your are and what you want from life. Thankfully, my partner and I seem to want the same things for the future. However, the idea of being left on my own if he dies before me is my biggest and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think about that part of the future but I am not going to end a relationship that means everything to me just because I may be “widowed” (we’renotmarried andhave no plans to marry but i couldn’t think of a better word) a little earlier than some people, I’m going to enjoy it for as long as we have and pray that I go before he does!!!

Unbroken's avatar

Take the chance. The worst that happens is it doesn’t work. Life moves on but you took the chance. You won’t wonder about it forever. Besides the sexul component of it might be great, age wise it should. People will judge, but they always do any how and why live your life according to societal fears.

Mariah's avatar

I think the biggest issue is when the two members are at very different stages in their lives. That’s part of the reason why it matters so much less the older you get – a 17 year old dating a 34 year old would be pretty damn weird, because how can they relate to each others’ values and struggles at all? But a 34 year old and a 51 year old…not nearly as weird. I don’t know how old you are, @Shippy, but I think you’re fine as long as you and your partner can still relate to each other.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Assuming you are dating a male, the age gap is not really that big in terms of who will die first.

I have always thought females should date younger men, as females tend to live longer than men anyway. Assuming you are a healthy person, death will probably only separate you by a few years towards the end.

I have an age gap of 6–7 years in my relationship, and I would go as far as saying that me being a white European male, dating a younger Asian female, could turn out to be a much bigger age gap in terms of death, than your 17 year age gap.

I would say, that with females dating younger males, maturity would be a much bigger issue than death.

Haleth's avatar

The biggest issues I can think of are differences in maturity, or that you have different goals and values. But those can be problems in any relationship, no matter the age. And there are plenty of couples with age differences who are very compatible together. It all depends on the people in the relationship.

I agree with @marinelife. Go for it!

Blackberry's avatar

Pressure from family and friends. The couple already knows they like each other, or else they wouldn’t be together.

janbb's avatar

I find it ironic that a guy I loved was 15 years younger and that was considered a problem but someone I know is going out with a woman 12 years younger and that is just fine.

Shippy's avatar

@janbb Yes it is the age old story. I think it has something to do with the fact that women are supposed to be good looking, and older men are supposed to be wealthy. My ex husbands wife is twenty years younger. I never really bought into that younger guy thing, or the cougar concept. Demi Moore, had tons of plastic surgery around the time she met Ashton Kutcher. That in itself said a lot. It said I am with a young guy, I need to tighten up. I find that so sad.

ucme's avatar

I would never pursue a relationship where the woman in question was so old her pussy was haunted.

Shippy's avatar

@ucme Let’s hope then you stay rich.

YARNLADY's avatar

The maturity of the two people involved is a very important factor. When I met my husband, he was age 24. We had a roommate the same age, but the difference in their maturity level was immense.
I am 8 years older. We have been married 38 years.

P. S. I had a 12 year old son at the time we met, and they have always had a Father – son relationship.

Unbroken's avatar

@ucme let’s hope the “girls” in your life would never compare your horn to a left over, used party favor. I am sure they would be so kind as swallow their opinions.

harple's avatar

My own personal experience of this is as a woman who has dated a couple of significantly older men. Any inherent problems from the age gap in both cases were due to their hang-ups (beliefs from previous baggage) that had had time to be very set-in. But all people are different and I suppose I could just as easily have met an older man with no hang-ups. In my cases, they had both had a long period prior to me without being in a relationship. From the point of view of how others viewed us, I have to say we were definitely most comfortable in our own home.

Separately from my own direct experience, my Dad is 20 years older than my Mum, and they’ve been married for almost 30 years now (they met when I was young). I’ve never thought of them as looking odd or wildly different in age, even though they must do. They’ve worked through different issues, the biggest probably being Dad’s way of arguing – but that may be as a result of being a school headmaster as being 20 years older.

As you are the older, and female, I would only suggest that you check exactly where you are within yourself regarding children and whether that matches with his.

@rosehips don’t mind our @ucme – he has his own style of humour designed to make you curl your lip, but he’s just posing a tough exterior to hide the fact he’s a big softie when you get to know him :)

Unbroken's avatar

@harpie Good point about the children issue.

No overt harm intended and certainly not taken. I did mistake the intent of his comment. I do have a tendency to be hot head on certain issues. Hopefully @ucme doesn’t melt easily.

janbb's avatar

@rosehips He doesn’t.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@ucme you missed out the part about the Queen

ucme's avatar

Well that was emotional, I laughed long & loud anyway.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Shippy Good for you. I say screw the worries about any difference in ages. If two people mesh well the difference in ages is meaningless.

spykenij's avatar

I’ve always dated older women and more recently decided that I prefer someone around 10 yrs older than myself. Personally, age is nothing but a number because I can show you wise, young people and I can show you ignorant, old people. In my experience, it seems these women tend to want to take on a parental role when there’s a disagreement or something they want to change or “fix”. This is not a good thing. Mutual respect must be in tact or else someone will end up patronized. Communication must be kept open and flowing. If these two things collapse, kiss it all goodbye. It’s also a good idea to keep the “I told you so” comments at bay. Never tell the person they wouldn’t understand until they’re older or anything like that. It makes me cringe. Just as the younger person may not know, so too may you not know something they’ve been through. Keep in mind the philosophy behind walking in that person’s shoes.

serenade's avatar

My SO was 15 years older. Her husband was 30 years older. She was perpetually insecure about the age difference with me, and ended up deciding she needed to be on her own after (in her mind) her looks started to fade, and she came to realize she’d taken care of others her entire life. She left her husband because he was old and boring—all work (a doctor) and no play.

There are no guarantees in any relationship, but compatibility goes a long way.

Seek's avatar

My husband is chronologically 16 years older than I am.

I’m still waiting for him to grow the fuck up.

No, seriously, though, we have a great relationship 99% of the time (still working on his gay marriage issues, but considering we were both Fundamentalist Christians when we met, that’s nothing) and we’re truly best friends.

The most important thing in an age-gap relationship (which is true for ANY relationship) is that neither feels the need to be in control of the other. Even in the BDSM world, a Sub is only submissive because they allow the Dom their control. If you’re dating a guy 20 years older than you because you have daddy issues, it probably won’t work out.

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