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Relationship Advice: The Pros and Cons of the Dating Age Gap

Relationship Advice: The Pros and Cons of the Dating Age Gap

November 24th, 2009
Posted in Lifestyle By

So you’ve finally met a guy who seems worthy of your time. He is everything you’ve been looking for and more: handsome, successful, smart, and funny. There’s just one thing; he’s a little bit older than you…make that, a lot older. More so than you’re willing to reveal to your parents–let’s just put it that way.

As if the world of dating didn’t already have enough nuances and complications, differences in age between you and your significant other can be a common source of complication. Whether you are currently dating someone or considering dating someone who differs greatly in age from yourself, read on to see what you can expect from a relationship with this kind of age gap involved.

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Celine Dion and her man are 26 years apart.

The Cons

As you’ve probably already guessed (or experienced for yourself), dating someone, let’s say, 12 years your senior can elicit some raised eyebrows from friends and family–and it’s never pleasant when the closest people in your life don’t approve of the one you love. You’ll have to decide whether your family members and friends are the kind of people who can get over the age gap in your relationship given time, or if they’ll always hold it against them for this simple fact.

Depending on what phase of your life you currently find yourself in (college, your first job, or divorced in your 40s), it can be hard to get to a deeper level with someone who’s just not in the same place. If you’re still frequenting the local campus pub every weekend and your boyfriend is 30 and thinking about marriage, chances are the relationship is doomed, unless one of you is willing to make serious sacrifices. You’ll also have to be prepared that all of your lover’s friends may be at a completely different maturity level, even if your bf/gf is not–and hanging out with a bunch of married folks with kids when you’re 21? Not so fun anymore, is it?

When dating someone much older than yourself, be wary of their motivation. Did they just get out of a marriage and are simply trying to prove to themselves they still have what it takes to bag a babe? Use caution.

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Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas are 25 years apart.

The Pros

While others may find it creepy, dating someone ten years older or younger could be just what you need to keep the relationship interesting. While you might be able to keep your man young and modern, he could impart his extra years of wisdom on you, working out a beautiful balance between youthfulness and maturity in the relationship. Plus, since you’ve grown up experiencing different cultural times, you’ll have plenty of stories to share with one another.

If you’re still in a phase where you’re just getting your career started, there is something to be said about dating someone who is a bit older, and ergo, more financially stable). That is, unless you want to spend every single night of your relationship in your apartment microwaving ramen noodles. Yeah, we didn’t think so. We don’t suggest basing your attraction solely on a dude’s bank account, but if you meet a great guy who’s got a steady job and can treat you to the occasional cultural event or dinner out on the town, we say, bring it on.

In the end, if you feel a connection and have similar interests and chemistry with your man, there really shouldn’t be anything to stop you from continuing the relationship, as long as you feel that yours and your significant other’s motivations are valid. So don’t rule someone out just because they were wearing neon spandex and listening to Eddie Money in high school while you were still sucking on a pacifier. There’s still hope for the sparks to fly.

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