Does Age Matter In A Relationship?

If you and your sweetheart were both born on the same day of the same month in the same year at the exact same time, congratulations, that is kind of creepy and this post is not for you.

For everyone else in the world, you and the person you are dating have some sort of age difference. How much is too much, though? A year? Two? Five? Fifteen? Older or younger, does that matter?

The point here is most people have a preference. There is a big difference between dating someone older than you or younger, and some people find the age gap hard to stomach.

I have a theory. Well, maybe not technically a theory. Anyways, I think you have two different ages. There is the age you are in terms of years on this planet, and then there is the age of your mind, like your maturity age. And I think your maturity age is more important than your real age (with the exception of dating underage people which I am not condoning).

For example, I am the youngest of 4 kids. In fact my oldest sibling is 11 years older than I am. And I think that’s a big factor. Anyways, my maturity reflects the fact that I’m used to being around people who are older than me most of the time. It is the case at work, where people just assumed I was older because of the way I carry myself. I like to think my maturity age is really more like 23, whereas I’m only 20. Also girls tend to be about two years ahead in the maturity level than boys.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, is currently 25. Five years sounds like a big gap, doesn’t it? My mom certainly thought so when I told her about him. But she noted that I have always been mature for my age, and in her mind that seemed to make it okay. So he is 5 years older than I am, and it bothered him at first, but now he has come to accept it. He gets to act his age, which is about how old I would say he normally behaves. I’m glad he doesn’t see this difference as an issue in our relationship.

Then again, if I was dating someone younger, I don’t think I would be so accepting. I feel like time slows down as you get older, so the gap from 12-17 feels a lot bigger than the gap from 20-25, and way bigger than 45-50. This takes into account the issue of where you’re at in life, which also comes into play. I dated a guy who was a year younger than me for a long time, and it was weird. Especially because he was still in high school when I was in university. We were just in different places. Also he acted more like a child than I would like in a boyfriend. I wanted a man, not a boy. In the end it didn’t work out. When I was 18, he was 17, but acted more like 15. And for me, the gap was uncomfortable.

One of the reasons my current relationship works is that despite the age gap, my boyfriend and I are in similar places. I’m almost done my undergraduate degree, and will be looking for work in 1-2 years. He, on the other hand, just stopped doing his undergrad degree (realized he didn’t love it so what’s the point in finishing it since it will get him nowhere) and is now looking for sustainable work as well. We are both trying to figure out what we want to do with our lives, and that helps a lot. One of my friends, who just took over his dad’s business, said to me about a girl we both know “she’s got her shit together, that’s exactly what I need in my life”. So even if you don’t consciously think about that when you meet someone, it’s there in the back of your mind.

This isn’t to say that the guy has to be older, or any of those social conventions people believe for no apparent reason. If you find the right person for you, age shouldn’t even matter. Some couples have decades between them, and they compliment each other very well. If the age gap does bother either of you, maybe they aren’t the right person after all.

But hey, if we start looking at age in terms of maturity level and not just the number you are stuck with since birth, the number of fish in your ideal part of the sea just got a lot bigger. Open your mind to new possibilities.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

8 responses to “Does Age Matter In A Relationship?”

  1. DinoJax says :

    i’ve been with a guy who was two days older, and a guy exactly four years and two days older. i tend to go for older guys. when i was 18 i dated someone who was 27. he was so horrified by our age difference we could never talk about it. my current fiance dated someone 7 years older and it was one of his worst relationships. now he’s dating me and i’m 7 years younger. it’s always strange to me what age difference works for different people. luckily he has absolutely no problem with our age difference and we joke about it. hes my old man. i love playing the ‘how old were you when’ game with him. kinda of creepy but hysterical.

    • janinerussell says :

      I love that game! Especially the ones that cross huge time differences. Like when my boyfriend talks about something that happened in first year university and I say that at that time I was wondering what high school would be like…

  2. lexsborgia says :

    hey, I’m trying2do some serious studying here – journalism. Google told me what you did.:-) I think it’s just a question of chemistry. My Irish girlfriend was 7yrs younger, My last girlfriend was 4yrs older. It only become an issue(4 moralistic society) after people’s age begin to show. I’m 37(dont tell anyone!), don’t feel a day over 20. Bring it on.

    • janinerussell says :

      Lucky for guys they tend to age gracefully and look good as it’s happening. As soon as women start to age they panic and I think that’s also very wrong. Women seem to get judged a lot more when they are the older person in a relationship. I’m going to ask for clarification here… what did you mean by “Google told me what you did”?

      • lexsborgia says :

        my inbox.(I follow you….around.hahha).
        you’re right about women panicking and being judged. I live in Europe, people are more laid back but lookers are never far away anywhere. Money and looks, without them nothing happening. Money buys you everything, even morals. Unfortunate but true.

        • janinerussell says :

          Haha oh ok I thought you were trying to study and this somehow popped up in a completely unrelated place and got concerned lol. “Money buys you everything, even morals”. Huh. I like that. Well said.

  3. Olivia Wolf says :

    I was with a guy that was a couple months younger than me and it bothered me at first but like you said his maturity level was on par if not above mine so I felt like he was older, it also helped that he was taller than me and quite to my obnoxious loudness 🙂

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