Dating age difference

I’ve met this girl and we’ve gone out on a few dates. It’s been fun. I really enjoy hanging out with her. I think she’s intelligent. attractive, kind, and has a real good future ahead of her. We both have similar interests (both in education). She is very mature and it seems her life is mostly drama free (which is high on my importance list…my ex was brutal for drama).

The weird thing right now is that I just learned her age. She is 23 and I am 31. It makes me feel strange. I thought she was 25 (not that that was much older). My rule for dating has been to stay between 25-35. Please dopers tell me what you think about this. Is this weird? She’s honestly the first person out of four girls I’ve dated that I’ve really enjoyed being with. I just find I have good chemistry with her and it’s very relaxing. We’ve done nothing more than hold hands and kissed a few times.

Thanks all, be kind.

Age is a number. Seriously, if you both get along and enjoy each other’s company, what difference doe it make how old you both are (as long as you’re both legal). Issues may crop up later (ie you want to have kids, while she doesn’t want to be tied down so young), but cross that bridge when/if you get to it.

The usual rule of thumb is “half your age plus seven”. That would make your minimum dating age 22.5, so she just barely squeezes in on the “not creepy” side (and note that she’ll get less creepy as time passes). And of course, it’s only a rule of thumb, and you say she seems mature for her age.

On the other hand, if you’re going into education, it might hurt you to have a reputation for going out with significantly younger women. If life were fair this shouldn’t be an issue, given that she’s an adult, but, well, life isn’t fair, so that’s something to consider.

I think a good rule of thumb is “if you won’t end up in jail over it it’s fine”.

It’s kind of borderline but I’d say give it a shot. Watch to see if there’s a big maturity difference though.

I’m also 31 and just met a 24-year-old dude the other day but that’s way worse since the genders are reversed. He’s cute though and I don’t want anything serious anyway and I’ll pretty much text with anyone in the world when I’m bored at work, so we’ve been texting. How embarrassing.

No no no. Nothing fine about Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchinson.

Yes…thanks…just for the record I’m a teacher and she is finishing her education degree.

I think the rule of half plus 7 works more often than not because it tends to keep people grouped with other people who are going through a similar stage of psychosocial development, or just one stage away. That means that goals, interests and challenges are similar enough that you likely to move in the same general direction and also make you compassionate and understanding with the issues each other are facing. While the ages of these stages can vary, chances are good that you’re both smack in the middle of the same stage, so I wouldn’t be unduly concerned with the age difference.

Where things can get sticky is when one of you is still figuring out, for example, Identity, and the other is ready to get on with Generativity. One wants to party with friends till 4am every night, the other’s ready to settle down and start having kids and staying in. That can lead to some pretty obvious conflicts that may not be reconcilable.

At the other end of life, there’s also a concern with very large age spans and one partner simply being unable to keep up, physically speaking, and facing increasing dependence and health challenges. It can be rough on the younger partner dealing with all that - often at the same time as they’re dealing with their own parents’ decline. It can also be rough on the older partner, feeling like they’re asking too much of the younger, or that their young partner would be better off with someone more their age. But a 5 year difference - honestly, that’s not likely to be a big factor, even if this is The One. I’m facing that with a 22 year age difference (I’m the younger, and he has even more health issues than most 60 year olds). I wouldn’t give him up to make my life easier, though.

For reference, Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial Development:

Approximate Age: 13–19 years
Virtues: Fidelity
Psycho Social Crisis: Identity vs. Role Confusion
Significant Relationship: Peers, Role Model
Existential Question: Who Am I? What Can I Be?
Examples: Social Relationships

Approximate Age : 20–39 years
Virtues: Love
Psycho Social Crisis: Intimacy vs. Isolation
Significant Relationship: Friends, Partners
Existential Question: Can I Love?
Examples: Romantic Relationships

Approximate Age : 40–64 years
Virtues: Care
Psycho Social Crisis: Generativity vs. Stagnation
Significant Relationship: Household, Workmates
Existential Question: Can I Make My Life Count?
Examples: Work, Parenthood

Approximate Age : 65-death
Virtues: Wisdom
Psycho Social Crisis: Ego Integrity vs. Despair
Significant Relationship: Mankind, My Kind
Existential Question: Is It Okay To Have Been Me?
Examples: Reflection on Life

My father is 7 years older than my mother. They met when he was 28 and she was 21. They managed to make it work – they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

OTOH, when I was 18-19, I dated a woman who was 14 years my senior. The sex was great, but we were just in very different points in our lives, and it wasn’t destined to last.

I can’t imagine a woman in her 30s wanting to date a teenager. So weird. How did you guys meet?

Don’t have expectations, see where things go, and have fun. :slight_smile:

You guys make me feel better. Like I have permission to just enjoy the experience. She’s made me feel like i could actually really care about someone again. And right now it’s fun…which is so great. I’ve been in the dating pool for about six months now, and she beats out everyone I’ve met by a mile. Makes me feel very lucky at the moment. :slight_smile:

Nerd story: I was in a Dungeons & Dragons group, in which I was the youngest player (the other players were in their 20s and early 30s). She joined the group through a mutual friend, just after I had graduated from high school.

It was also more complicated than just the age difference; she was also twice-divorced, and had two daughters, whom I never met (ex #2 had custody, and he was in the Air Force in Germany with them).

So, while we had nerdy hobbies and interests in common, we had a pretty big disparity in life experiences, and that was what eventually led to the relationship ending (she ended it after about a year and a half, dumping me for a guy who was closer to her in age).

She was certainly the initiator of the relationship, and I think it’s safe to characterize her as having a very strong sex drive, which was a big part of the relationship. She used to joke that we were an ideal match, because women hit their sexual peak in their 30s, and men do so when they’re 18 (no idea if there’s any actual truth to that).

You care about her, you’re having fun, you feel lucky … In my vastly uninformed opinion:

Keep having fun! :slight_smile:

(Wear a condom or practice whatever safe sex works for you but … Yay you!)

Go for it mate, you are 31 and been on 4 dates? If so, don’t think - do!

Half your age + 7. At 31, I think you squeak under the line. Go for it.

23 and 31 is better than 18 and 26. My (theoretical) rule would be nobody under 22 no matter what because she’d be more likely to have her head screwed on straight. Just figure out what you want from the relationship and see that she’s on the same page.

Also it took you awhile to learn her age. Was she as surprised by your age or did it not come up? Both of you being a little worried is fine. If it becomes the everything, it might be disruptive.

If there’s a (noticeable) difference in the age, the rule as I understand it is to structure the date so as to make it easier on the younger one. This presumes the older partner is more experienced and can handle him/herself in whatever activity the younger one chooses.

Some kind of iron clad rule on ages is silly. Age isn’t just a number, but it isn’t the end all be all either. If you stick together - as the two of you age - the difference will seem less.

It doesn’t have to be a problem, but people seem to try and make stuff like this a problem. Her friends/family might call you a creep - but if she is ok with it and dealing with any issues - it is really up to the two of you.

One of my best friends has a step mother that is younger than him. We joke about it with both him and his step mom (as you might guess - they don’t really think of each other as step-mom - step-son). His dad has been remarried for I’m going to say going on eight years now - and they seem very happy. They took a whole lot of shit from people, but that was - I think a 30 year difference.

My parents had a 14 year gap. I’ve dated women significantly younger - and other than having to explain to someone who Timothy McVeigh was - age in and of itself isn’t as big of a factor as some people make it out to be (in the category of having stuff in common). It can be a big deal in the whole life stages types of differences.

IMHO - this is probably all going to come down to her. Some women are totally ok with an older guy - and actually prefer it. Others can’t seem to get past the numbers and think it is “creepy” or some other vague complaint about it being inappropriate. I’ve noticed the mid 20s as being kind of a dividing line for a level of maturity and responsibility for women. I have heard women make some of the same complaints about men (although not sure where they consider the “line” to be). Obviously this varies by person, but she may be fed up with some of the things that guys her age have done in the past.

Good luck and if you can make each other happy - then go for it.

Okay, but if it involves Chuck E. Cheese’s then you need to reevaluate your life immediately.

Well, when I was young and I dated a women 8 years older, we went bowling, played pool and watched movies. When I was 32, I was dating an 18-year old and we went to the movies and ate fast food.

N.B.: I don’t really like movies. It’s only now that I have a 10-year old daughter that I’d care to watch Despicable Me 2.