Although comedians joke about these relationships, a significant age difference doesn’t make a relationship any less real or meaningful, though it may create some challenges that don’t exist when romantic partners are close in age.
Navigating the social ramifications of your relationship while struggling with generation gaps can be tough, but a significant age difference can give you the chance to consider new perspectives and appreciate the offerings of a different generation.
A middle-aged man dating a much younger woman has long been thought of in American culture as a classic sign of midlife crisis.
In some circles, dating a younger woman is a status symbol.
If you want to have children, you’ll have to consider whether fertility will be an issue and whether you or your partner will be around long enough to help raise your kids.
Age differences can also mean significant differences in lifestyle.
Love can be fickle, and we don’t always fall for the right people.
Sometimes a significant age gap makes a relationship impossible.
The odds are good that some people are going to disagree with your choices in romantic partners, no matter how perfect your relationship is.
With close friends and family, this may mean making an effort to explain why you’re in love with the person and not with his or her age. Getting into constant arguments about your partner’s age is no way to live, so plan a simple—and ideally polite—response that shuts down further discussions of your partner’s age.
If you have a history of dating people who are significantly younger than you, maybe you like feeling like your partner admires your experience, or perhaps you’re just not physically attracted to other people your age.
A significant age difference doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong, but a long-standing pattern is always worth examining.
So that’s what this column, Undressed, is about: gender, social norms, dating rules — and what happens when we break them.