Your 18-yo child has an older lover. What's the minimum age difference you're comfortable with...

… and does sexual orientation matter?

Before you answer, please take a moment to consider what the question is NOT.

I am NOT asking whether you would try to dissuade your child from continuing the relationship.

I am NOT asking what you’d do if the offspring in question were under the age of 18.

I am NOT asking what you think about older/younger love affairs in general. It’s perfectly fine with me if you have concerns about your own children but don’t give a fuck about others.

Poll in a moment. The results will be private.

ETA: On the other hand, screw the poll. It’d be too long.

Isn’t the rule that you can date someone half your age plus seven? With my eldest daughter 10 years old now, this sounds about right.

And no, the sexual orientation does not matter, but the specific lover does. I would always be unhappy if my child dated a loser, especially if said loser was older.

Keep Louisa May Alcott out of this, please.

Surely you meant ‘maximum’ age difference?

Pretty much 22, and they’d have to be at a similar stage in life. In other words, a recent college graduate dating a recent high school graduate? There’s no way that’s going to work out, and I’m guessing the person who’s going to get hurt isn’t the one who’s been to a lot of frat parties. 22 and never went to college, but is now taking classes at a trade school? Seems fine.

Probably. I was distracted by work.

When I was 18, I had a 32-year-old girlfriend. So, if I had a child, protesting about that age spread would be hypocritical, I suppose. :slight_smile:

My parents expressed their skepticism and displeasure, but never attempted to actively dissuade me from dating her. The relationship didn’t last, and, to my parents’ credit, they never said “we told you so”.

Not necessarily. You could have learned something between then and now that changed your mind. I wouldn’t want my young nephew (14 now, I think) doing many of the the things I did when I was that age, because I’ve learned better.

Hypocrisy isn’t expressing disapproval of behavior you engaged in in the past. It is expressing disapproval of behavior you are CURRENTLY engaged in.

Since my first LTR, beginning age 19, was with a man 16 years my senior - I don’t think I would judge my own kids for dating someone 15+ years older at a young age. As long as they were attracted to the individual in question, and I thought they (the lover) was a decent human being.

My son will be 18 soon.

I’m not sure how I would feel about him dating an older woman.
It would depend on a lot of things besides age.

I have dated much younger men (although not quite that young) and it was always with the understanding that the relationship was for ‘fun’ not for ‘keeps’.

There are advantages to the older woman/younger man relationship.
Young guys are a lot of fun and older women (usually) aren’t going to get pregnant and (usually) aren’t expecting to get married and start a family.

The younger man has all the enthusiasm and energy, the older woman has the experience.
It can be good for both of them.

I’d probably be happier if I didn’t know if my son takes a lover who is considerably older, but as long as they are realistic about their expectations and he’s happy, I’m happy.
If he hooks up with an older woman who is talking marriage and babies, then I’m going to have a problem with it.

This is a tough one. I think with my sons I’d be worried about an age range with women who may still be interested in having children. Now that they’re in their mid 20s it’s kind of wide open. If I had an 18 year old daughter I wouldn’t let her out of the tower. Seriously, having no daughters I’m never going to develop a mature attitude about such things.

I’m only 25 myself, and my girlfriend is just now 20, we are usually 6 years apart.

For the OP: it isn’t as simple as age, like steronz mentioned it is the point in life which is important. Also I would have to gauge the other person’s capacity. If I felt they were taking advantage of the situation that would be different. If I were forced to put a number, I’d say 28. MAX

The 6 years doesn’t matter much to the two of us; I had to postpone my master’s degree and she started college a year early, so we will both finish our degrees at the same time.

Minimum age, 0. :slight_smile:

I’d prefer my 18-year old not have a ‘lover’ at all, if that’s a euphemism for sex partner. I’m old fashioned that way. But if he or she did, I’d prefer that it be someone who was also college age - so maybe up to 22 I guess. Not that I’d forbid them to be with anyone, because that only ends badly.

As far as same-sex? It’s hard to predict how I would react exactly. To be honest I think I might secretly be a little disappointed, but I would be outwardly as supportive and loving as possible (assuming the person was good to them and made them happy).

My initial thought was anything older than 23 is creepy, because 5 years seems to be about the age difference that works best for me, but I forgot that a 30 year old and a 35 year old are at essentially the same stages in their lives. An 18 year old is in high school, or has just started their first year of college, while a 23 year old is a college graduate entering the workforce. They are entirely different people. Age differences matter a whole lot more when you’re younger.

I say I wouldn’t want my 18 year old dating anyone who isn’t in college still. 20 or 21 years old is fine, 22 is pushing it, 23 is creepy.

Who are you and what have you done to Skald!?!?!

I skip polls all the time. You’re just annoyed that I didn’t teleport anybody anypeach cobbler.

As a parent I think it’s our job to be hypocrites! :slight_smile: You surely don’t what your kids doing the same stupid shit you did as a kid, do you? (I’m not necessarily saying that dating someone much older is stupid… unless you don’t think they should do it but you won’t tell them that because it’s hypocritical). If you car surfed as a kid after watching Teen Wolf; would you tell your kids it’s OK because you did it? Heck No! I think we owe it to our kids to teach them good decisions based on your experiences; but they don’t have to know what those experiences are. That’s why “Because I said so” is a perfectly good (and yes, frustrating) response! My kids don’t need to ever know that I was in jail for assaulting a police officer, that I’ve driven drunk, and a multitude of other stupid things I’ve done, that I will tell them not to do if necessary.

I’d say that five years is around the maximum age gap for an 18 year old. That being said, I’d be a lot more comfortable is my child was dating a much older woman than a much older man, no matter the sex of the child in question.

Is pie cannon delivery no longer an option?

As yourself this question. “Would Skald feel any need to develop a pie cannon that was guaranteed to be non-lethal? Would he even try?”

For an 18 year old, I think about 5 years would be the biggest age difference I’d be ok with. Sexual orientation would not matter.

When I was 16, I dated a 21 year old. My parents were very upset about it and at the time I couldn’t understand what their problem was. Now that I have a 16 year old… Yeah, no way would that ever happen. Yuck.