Social Question

Yellowdog's avatar

At what ages does a 10 year age difference between a male and female become acceptable romantically?

Asked by Yellowdog (11159points) March 16th, 2017

My girlfriend is 42 and I am 52. We first met many years ago the summer I was 35 and she was 24. I don’t think the age difference mattered even then, but she seemed very young to me. She had no idea how old I was but assumed I was only about 4–5 years older than her as most of our mutual friends were that.

But it occurred to me recently that when I was a young semi-“professional” summer camp counselor at age 21–22, my girlfriend would have been one of the children (10 or 11) !!! Egad!!!

Even ages 19 and 29/30 doesn’t sound very “kosher” but I assume it could work. But to me, the 24 and 34/35 age difference seems like it was indeed about the first time it might’ve worked.

So, in your view, at what ages would a t0-year age difference been a non-issue? .

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25 Answers

Incoherency_'s avatar

Based on legality, I’d say 18 and 28.

If either partner was any younger, then legal issues would probably interfere with romantic development.

zenvelo's avatar

A “rule of thumb” is ½ your age + 7 years. So at age 20, 17 is a minimum. At 40, 27 is a minimum.

Based on that, a ten year difference is okay at 33 and 23.

But I know of people on here that had a greater discrepancy at a younger age that are happily married after many years. So it really doesn’t mean anything.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I never heard a rule. That formula actually sounds really good.

Yellowdog's avatar

Its a good formula and really works but has its limits when you get “under” 18—whence, with this formula, a 14 year old can only have someone of the same age —another 14 year old.

I think, however, since girls are more mature than boys in early adolescence, that a 14 year old boy might have a 13 or even 12 year old girlfriend, though this is certainly pushing the limit.

Perhaps it is conceivable that a fifth and sixth grader MIGHT work out though 12 and under usually only want someone their own age. When I was 14 and 15 I had a 12 turned 13 girlfriend and all was MOSTLY okay.

I had a propensity as a teenager in a church youth group, however, to be attracted to girls who were too young for me—maybe a social inadequacy on my part.

When I was 15 and in tenth grade, a twelve year old girl had a crush on me and we dated once with a group—people thought this was sick and something was wrong with me. And the girl and I were in totally different worlds—and some adults were livid with this arrangement. It only lasted a couple of weeks though we remained friends.

Eleven and twelve can have a one-year-difference— twelve and thirteen, thirteen and fourteen— but at 14, this jumps to two-years 12 and 14 probably up to the bug-a-boo age of 18 whence 16 is the youngest acceptable age but maybe a 16 year old parent might think dating an 18 year old is taboo. From 18 on, the formula works— half your age plus seven years e.g. 20 and 17


anniereborn's avatar

For me personally, I don’t think I would have dated someone ten years younger till I was about 35. Which in fact, I did. I met my husband when he was 27 and I was 36. We just celebrated 12 years together.

ragingloli's avatar

Never. They should always be the same age, down to the day.

flutherother's avatar

Nothing wrong with a 28 year old guy and an 18 year old girl. 17 is maybe a bit young but it depends on the couple.

rojo's avatar

In real life, that formula only works for older male, younger female. In the real world it is never acceptable for a female to have a lover more than two years younger than herself whereas it is perfectly acceptable for a 70 year old male to date an 18 year old.

rojo's avatar

But, reality being a bitch, there comes a point where a December/May relationship is harder to maintain because of completely different world views and that what is considered important to the individuals is so incompatible that the relationship fails.

janbb's avatar

@rojo A 70 year old man dating an 18 year old woman is gross. I also think there is a great disparity in experience and maturity between 18 and 28. I would say in the 30s somewhere it doesn’t matter and by the 40s, 50s or 60s can go ten years either way. My current occasional squeeze is ten years younger than me and not half as physically fit. On the other hand, I recently heard of a 75 year old mother of a friend who just starting dating a 90 yeard old. I would be worried about having to bury him.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

@zenvelo…awesome rule! I was going to say that an age gap seems to matter less the older the two people are, but that puts it in much neater mathematical terms! As far as completely different world views, @rojo, I myself (although not in such a relationship) have always been a bit of an “old soul”, so I think it depends at least somewhat on the individual. Even when I was growing up, I identified more with the older kids and young adults.

Patty_Melt's avatar

When I was 29, got myself involved with a nineteen year old man.
That was great, until he dropped school to find himself.
Them young uns make for a great go round though, when you’re just looking to blow the crap out of your carburater.

Danebiggs's avatar

I’m probably in the minority on this issue, but I try to stay within 5 years either way of my age just because at 37 I can’t really imagine dating a woman in her 20s.
I would feel old around her and her friends and it would be weird when I’m in my car singing along to Green Day and Alanis Morissette songs from my highschool days and she doesn’t seem to know who they are.
Also I’d feel kinda guilty like she should be with a young, wild kinda guy and I should be with a more mature, thoughtful woman my own age.
I do think that it is weird to date someone who was a child when you were in your 20s.
Maybe it’s just me, but I even feel guilty watching porn if I think the woman looks 19 to maybe 22,23 years old.
It just feels wrong to me at 37.
I’m comfortably attracted to women in their 30s.

imrainmaker's avatar

I think age won’t matter if you match on emotional level / maturity level. Girls are supposed to mature earlier than boys so physical age difference of 10 years on emotional level in reality is less. Why should you care anyways if you both are fine with it?

Yellowdog's avatar

Just curious as to what others thought. A ten year difference becomes equal as adults around 25 and 35, in my humble opinion.

Karen and I are ten years apart and the only difference is we relate to different music when we want to feel nostalgic. New Kids On The Block was her era and I’m more of the Andy Gibb era.

cinnamonk's avatar

90 and 100.

Seek's avatar

Hubby and I are 16 years apart.

We met when I was 19, started dating when I was 20. Our tenth wedding anniversary will be this July.

And one of these days, I’m sure of it, he’ll grow up.

rojo's avatar

^^ ”...wishing, and hoping, and dreaming, and prayin’....” What a good song

Yellowdog's avatar

When Karen and I first met she had just turned 24 and I was five months shy of 35. I felt I was getting old and she seemed, really, a little too young for me. We went out a few times as friends within about a year.. It seems to me that men and women of both sexes are still in that “exploring life” era from about age 18 to maybe age 25 or 27. At age 25, I was still hanging out with the college and career types, in bookstores and coffee houses Around 30 you can still do these things but it seems that still is the year of demarcation, even though its no longer considered “old”

I guess I’m just rambling here—but being in one’s early and mid 20s really is a different stage of life than being in one’s thirtysomethings. Still, once out of college, agevgaps seem to close. But yes—half your age plus seven years indeed remains a good rule of thumb p- up to 47 and 80. 52 and 90 the formulae ceases to work and gets rather gross.

Yellowdog's avatar

Actually, what is the upper limits of that formula? 34 and 54 seems marginal. But it could work, depending on the couple.

Seek's avatar

@Yellowdog – It doesn’t matter, because no matter what it only works for a year or two. If you meet someone at 49 who is 31, are you going to divorce them in five years’ time to find a 34 year old to complement your 54-ness?

That “rule of thumb” is stupid.

Yellowdog's avatar

Yeah— it is stupid. A six year old who has a little sweetheart— half his age is three, plus seven years— a six year old kindergartener needs a ten year old.

imrainmaker's avatar

There can’t be any set rules when it comes to matter of heart!!

Danebiggs's avatar

As I read my earlier response I think I’m being a little superficial and judgmental.
Who cares what music you listen to together?
My ex and I were the same age, only one month apart actually and she was born literally one block up the street from where I lived as a child, but we were very different from one another in many ways and the relationship was not great.
What do I know?
If you and your wife are 10 years apart and happy then you’re doing better than my failed relationship.
If two people get along, communicate well, compromise well are attracted to one another and love and support each other through life then that’s great as long as it’s legal, consenting and the age gap is reasonable (not like 18 and a 40 year old) then to each their own.

hearkat's avatar

As long as both are of sound mind and the past age of consent, age is irrelevant.

Sure, the odds are that you will have more in common with someone the closer you are in age, but many interests are timeless. I’ve been with someone 7 years older and someone 7 years younger. I’ve also been in relationships with people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Simply put, it isn’t necessary to have everything in common with one’s partner. You want to enjoy each other’s company in and out of the bedroom, and you need respect and trust. Beyond that, it’s up to the two individuals to find what works for them as a couple.

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