Dating an older guy can be exciting, but there are many things you should think about first. You have to consider problems that can arise both within the relationship and outside the relationship as a result of the age difference. Knowing what you might have to deal with can help you assess whether the challenges that come with the age gap will be worth it.
Power and Inequality
The reason age differences are frowned upon is because of the imbalance of power in the relationship. Usually the older guy will be more influential and persuasive, says mental health counselor Torey Richards in his blog post "Teenage Girls and Older Men: What Every Parent Should Know." The older guy might make more money and have a car, which can influence what dates you go on. Because he is older, it is also generally assumed that he knows better, so you may be inclined to trust what he suggests based on his age and life experience. Before stepping into this relationship, make sure you know where you stand and what you want.
Differences in maturity can make you feel like you and your guy are not on the same wavelength. The older person who has experienced more in life may be more emotionally mature, which could be part of why you're attracted to him. If your maturity level does not match his, you may have a hard time relating to each other. But being older doesn't necessarily mean being more mature, according to relationship coach Mari Lyles in "How to Handle Age Differences in a Relationship" on YourTango. Sometimes a younger person may be just as mature as her older boyfriend, if not more mature.
Different Life Stages
It can be hard dating someone who is going through a different stage of life than you are. In the book “Dating the Older Man: Consider Your Differences and Decide if He's Right for You," psychologists Belisa Vranich and Laura Grashow call this "chronology disparity." A high school junior who is dating a college sophomore may not be able to relate to her boyfriend's college experiences. He may not be able to relate to her high school experiences because they might be different from how he experienced it when he was her age. Both are going through different stages of their lives.
Judgment and Outside Perception
You might not consider age an issue, but other people might have a problem with it. Although you should not care too much about what other people think, it is important to know what to expect: People may judge your age difference. Your family members may not approve of you dating an older guy and your peers may look down on the relationship. In "Dating the Older Man," many women reported having people judge their relationships with older men. It's important to get your parents' approval but when it comes to friends' judging, you might have to just ignore the gossip if you think he's worth it.
- Licensed Mental Health Counselor: Teenage Girls and Older Men: What Every Parent Should Know
- YourTango: How to Handle Age Differences in a Relationship
- Dating the Older Man: Consider Your Differences and Decide if He's Right for You; Belisa Vranich and Laura Grashow
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images