Large age gaps in a relationship: our readers respond | The people's panel | Opinion | The Guardian
I'm in a relationship with someone 9 years older and it's no big thing. . Where I' ve seen the age difference go badly in friends' relationships is. My mom and dad had a gap of 9 years, and that was quite normal in those Do you want to learn more about a current relationship? . We have grown to be friends and are matured enough to discuss anything under the sun or the moon;). So, I'm proposing this "8-year rule" in dating as an absolute. where two people can successfully date with an age gap of more than eight years. with you is something from their friends' Instagram or, God forbid, Snapchat.
Which is to say that a lot of skeezy older dudes prefer young girls because they're hot, not as experienced, possibly dumber, and well They've dealt with your kind before, you haven't dealt with their kind before.
Also, what ernielundquist said about why they're interested in you. He could be awesome, I don't know, but if you go there, I'd soooooooo proceed with caution. You don't know that he's incredible and you can't possibly know that he is kind or good. A message precedes a conversation, which may precede coffee, which may precede a date, which may precede a relationship, which is guaranteed to have complications of one sort or another regardless of age or income.
Don't get caught up in the potential complications of a relationship that doesn't even exist yet. Just have a conversation. We've been a couple for 18 years and happily married for Take him as you find him.
Usually I stay out of this even if the same question comes back in the future or in the same postbut So things that stand out to me in your questions and approach here: It doesn't matter how much work you put into it, how much you believe in certain things, nope, many people will not read it and realize how important something is to you, even if you put it in bold letters and put a once sentence profile.
It sometimes might not be intentional - the person might never have volunteered in his life, but If you have volunteered a lot, and this is something very, very important to you, ask questions on the date. Has he volunteered now or in the past? Ask him about some of the topics that you care about. To be honest, if volunteering and causes are that important to you, if I were in your shoes I would meet your dates via the internet AND Because this is how you will meet someone who does what you love -- they will be spending their time and energy doing the same thing.
Assume he's telling the truth, but keep your wits about you. BlahLaLa and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. What I mean by this is: There's no other way to figure it out. Love is wonderful and we should get it where we can and you never know where that may be.
You don't say how old you are exactly, but I think it matters that you're in your 20s. A 23 and 35 year old, for example, are not in the same stage of life. In fact, our brains are not considered fully matured until But someone in their 30s and someone in their 40s are basically the same deal.
As a woman in your 20s, you do have to watch out for guys who will be super into your age. It sucks, but "getting" a younger woman has a lot of social currency for a certain type of man. It's very objectifying, it almost feels like being fetishized.
If you're on dating websites long enough, you will get messages from men twice your age. So if you want to pursue this, make sure he is into YOU, not your youth. As a woman in her 30s, I can tell you that "looking good on paper" is actually a HUGE red flag as well as a turnoff for me.
Large age gaps in a relationship: our readers respond
I'd much rather be awed by someone's funny offhand joke or how they bring me a donut when they notice I'm in a bad mood or how they throw a buck in the subway mariachi performer's case, not their material, conspicuous successes.
That said, if you truly are into him, a date couldn't hurt. But I worry that because you seem so impressed with him, you feel he's "better" than you so you owe him a date despite your misgivings. I'll just add that his initial message may have some indicators in it. Does it show he read your profile?
Does he reference shared interests?
If it were me I'd probably also do this: Both men eventually became friends. And there have been others along the journey. Don't plan a future based on an online connection. I suggest you show up for coffee and see what happens. It's not the age he is and the age you are that matters. It's the ages you both act.
You can't tell if you're going to click or hate it until you get to be around him a little. Knew someone with that lazy habit, and couldn't take it. That system still probably works a lot better than giving strangers on the internet a few snippets of information and letting them decide if the relationship should move forward based on THEIR experiences and history with other people.
Have fun, get to know him, you'll figure it out And, I'm ten years older than my wife, it's worked just fine for us for a long time and I anticipate it will continue to work just fine In contrast, my ex was 6 years older than me, and age was an issue.
Fit between any two particular people is definitely impacted by age, but there are no absolute good or bad numbers in my opinion. If I were you I would meet this guy and see how the interaction goes. As the younger partner in an age gap relationship, you want the older partner to respect you, value your opinions and life experience, ask for as well as giving advice, and generally treat you as an equal.
Of course, these are all important things in any relationship, but as a younger person dating an older person, I think it's important to keep thinking about these particular things. An older partner who likes you for yourself should do all of these things Been together for about two years. They're getting married next week. I have high hopes for them both. Age differences are sometimes a thing and sometimes aren't. There are just as many things that could go wrong in a relationship when you're the same age, too.
I wouldn't worry about it too much. Give him a fair shot and if it works out, great. If it doesn't, you haven't lost anything that you would have saved by restricting yourself to that five-year window. I think those of you warning me to be cautious are right. His strangely pristine background and extra charming demeanor makes me wonder what he's really like in person, and if some of this is just him going through the motions, not sincere interest.
I will keep talking to him, but I think it's wise to go slow. Even if he turns out to be for real, the rest of this situation is my problem, not his. Fingers crossed for safety and sincerity. That's all fine, but NONE of it is going to tell you what he's like in person and whether the two of you have any chemistry whatsoever. Or, it could be that he reads completely differently in person. Or perhaps you meet him and everything checks out and things go great!
The only way to know is to meet and see how things go. By all means, take things slowly in person and don't jump into a serious relationship right away. Or, in one distressing case, I'd been feeling casual about things during our messages while the dude had proceeded to write me a love poem and shower me with gifts on the first date! It may not be an issue, at all - but that's not likely something you'll be able to determine without going on at least a couple dates with him and having some fairly in-depth conversations in person or via email or IM or etc.
But I can think of a few reasons why people might be a little wary of him supposedly starting and running multiple charities before he's 40, and it boils down to sort of "playing the averages.
IME a lot of people who start charities do so because they have one particular cause that they feel really strongly about, and if their charity succeeds it's because they're so passionate about that one issue that they're willing to devote a huge amount of their time and emotional energy to that charity.
Sure, they'll sit on the board of another charity, or participate in a 5K run here and there, but they do tend to be quite focused on their main cause. Which is totally understandable, because actually running a charity can be tough and frustrating and draining. So I think that may be why people's "too good to be true" radar is going off here - for one person to have multiple causes they feel passionate about AND have the time, energy, and money to start AND run multiple organizations kind of sounds like a superhuman feat.
It's not impossible, but it's certainly rare. It's really not how the average person operates, or even the average philanthropist. Rare enough that I think the more cynical or wary or previously burned of us wonder if these charities are more about looking good on paper, rather than actually accomplishing anything. The even more cynical might suspect that part of the reason to look good on paper is to set a honey trap for idealistic young women. I'm not saying this is or even is likely to be what's going on, but I think it's one of the reasons people are urging caution here - sad to say, not everyone involved in charitable work is a good person, or capable of healthy relationships.
And, on preview, strongly seconding what rainbowbrite says. You're really excited about this guy, but he only messaged you yesterday. Quit counting your chickens before they're hatched, meet the guy and see what he's like in the actual Real World. I mean, look, if you like this guy, go out with him. If you don't like this guy, don't go out with him. If you get there and he seems way too old for you, you don't have to do it again. If you meet him and realize he's an overgrown manchild, or he has some awful quality that is obviously the reason he's still single, or he has some kind if icky fetish for younger women, you can leave and never see him again.
Nthing not to count your chickens before they're hatched, BTW. I have fallen in love with the idea of so many people on dating sites, and then met them and nothing. In a lot of cases there wasn't even anything wrong, we just didn't hit it off. Also, one thing you might want to think about it terms of the age difference.
I've dated a surprising number of guys who are in their late 30s and have never been in love, never had a serious relationship, panic at the idea of becoming a parent, and aren't looking to settle down anytime soon if ever.
If you are dating with an eye towards commitment, you might want to prepare yourself for this lates guy to not be looking for that at all. Nobody is ever going to go online -- especially on Match, for chrissakes -- and write "periodically dysthymic homebody with a receding hairline seeks woman physically out of my league for football widowhood and anal sex. This isn't really a bug, and it also isn't really a warning.
It's just how life works. Think of online dating profiles as ads. Just like there's nothing wrong with an ad for Dran-O that says "removes tough clogs!
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The real concern is when people lie. But you've provided nothing here that implies this guy is lying to you. The phrase "multiple phlianthropies" sounds stuffy, but a lot of people work in the nonprofit sector and there's nothing wrong with that as such especially if you do, too. You will find out if this guy is a liar when you meet him and figure out whether what he wrote in his profile matches the person you actually interact with.
And for deeper-seated stuff like what he does for a living and where he gets his money and how much time he really spends volunteering, if you like what you see initially, that stuff will reveal itself in time.
It's as easy to meet a liar in person as online. A guy messaged me on PlentyofFish. I almost didn't reply because he was 8 years older. I was 34 and he was 42 at the time However, since it was clear from his message that he had actually read my profile, I wrote back.
He was fun to talk to and we talked on and off for a few months, then met up. I really wasn't expecting anything other than dinner out and good conversation. It wasn't love at first sight for me although he was much better looking in person but we had a good time and I left thinking I wouldn't mind seeing him again.
Six and a half years later, we're still together. I was a bit unsure about the age difference, at first.
Possibly more than she was, actually. There were a couple of things, however, that eased my mind, going in to our first date: We may have an age difference, but this has turned out to be the most mutually-supportive and objectively "healthy" relationship I've had, to date.
The irony was that I was actually attempting to meet someone older than me, for once; I'd always dated people who were within a couple of years of my age. But despite that goal, and the rather glaring "red flag" that she didn't have a profile picture, I decide to give her a shot.
And that seems to be the theme of the responses here, OP. You can't know this guy until, well, you've tried to know him. Instead of building up a fantasy version of either unrealistic perfection, or unfounded disappointmentmaybe you should just get together IRL and see what happens. Watching for flags and playing detective are reasonable precautions in the dating world, whether online or in person.
But they ultimately can't open up possibilities; rather, they can only limit them. I would also, in your shoes, be concerned about the "starting multiple charities" angle. It's not impossible, but seems unlikely, and if true, indicative of a dilettante, who tend to make bad boyfriends.
One charity takes a lot of work to run, let alone several? Even if he did operate them consecutively, I think that's potentially a red flag. Was he forced out? There are also in the nonprofit world a lot of ineffective charities that range everywhere from well-intentioned but inefficiently run i. Does he trumpet his involvement in the charity making it about him or engage people in the cause? I'm not saying that any of these things are necessarily the case with this guy, but they are things to watch out for.
Since you say you're inexperienced, below are some of the kind of things you want to look at to determine compatibility. Hobbies and interests are nice but they won't carry a relationship. Neither will being "kind" or "good;" pretty much everyone has those qualities in some way. You want to know if a potential partner has those qualities in a way that works for you.
Are you each at the stage of your life where you know what those goals are? If not, how motivated are you to define and pursue those goals? Are you, OP, the kind of person who will put their goals on hold for a relationship - which can lead to regrets later? What priority do you give to work, family, friends, children, exes, hobbies, and other things that require investment of time and energy? Is one of you going to feel that you're taking a back seat to these things, or alternatively, suffocated because your partner thinks you should spend less time on these things?
For some people and forgive me, but in my experience this disproportionately includes older men the answer is sex and occasional social companionship. Some people are looking for a best friend and soul mate. There's no right or wrong answer but your expectations should be compatible. How do each of you handle conflict?
He was 79, I was It devastated my family; we had to sell the house we grew up in and completely readjust to new lives.
My dad was not there to see me graduate from school or university, see me pass my driving test or have a pint with me on my 18th birthday. Twenty-plus years on, my mother has not remarried and I often worry about her being lonely or unfulfilled. But my experience has taught me that a large age difference is of no real concern: Fleeting thoughts of selfishness on their part occasionally surface — they both knew how old Dad would be when I would be a teenager — but they gave me the best upbringing I could imagine.
What more could a child want? They had three boys together. My siblings were uniformly horrified, and some refused to be civil to him up to the time of his death, aged Some common assumptions are that young women marrying a much older man are looking for security.
I believe, from my experience, that it is indeed true — as it probably is for the better half of all women entering into marriage, regardless of age. My father revelled in starting a new family and endlessly doted on his new bride. From my perspective, she did love him and cooked incessantly for him, always trying to please him … quite the contrary to my dear departed mother.
He was in seventh heaven, and quite frankly, I am very thankful she married him. I say to all who seek such unions, more power to you, we need more happiness in this world! He's 28 years my senior. At the time I was headstrong and eager to speed life up. Out of school only one year, I'd started an accountancy course. It's probably no coincidence that I was also hunting for a mortgage at the same time and looking for a husband.
I had a doll's house mindset. The thought of living alone made me nervous, and setting up a home seemed the most practical way of avoiding this. My husband was a successful designer, had worked overseas and was thinking of retirement.
We got on very well, had similar interests and senses of humour. I became pregnant almost immediately. There were eyes raised at the beginning of our relationship; an expectation from people that I was "chosen" for youth and looks.
Real Women Share Why They Love The Age Difference in Their Marriage
But we've been together over 20 years now, and our age difference is now rarely mentioned. There have, however, been pros and cons to our situation. When I was young I tended to hang on his word — he is clever and has had a lot of life experience. But as I matured, tensions sometimes set in. I developed my own opinions and became less willing to be lectured or talked down to.
I also gave up education to parent our children: This is partly to do with insecurity; he has mentioned being worried that I will find a "younger model" to replace him with.