Dating and Relationship Advice

Dating with an age difference seems like it's only a minor insignificance... until it happens to you.  If the two of you want different things out of life, an age gap will only exacerbate those differences. Still, the heart wants what it wants. Here are some important factors to consider when dating someone younger.

1) "Do we want the same things?"

Depending on what life phase you’re in, you might be getting ready for marriage and kids. But when dating someone younger, you can't assume that they’ll want to settle down or commit. Plus, commitment might mean different things for the two of you.  Your partner might want to play the field before embarking on a more serious chapter in their romantic life. That's why it's important to discuss what you want out of a relationship earlier than you would with a similarly-aged person.

2) "Can we overcome our differences?"

Different ages entail different life and dating experiences. Fewer experiences for the younger partner can sometimes mean less baggage, but it also might make you appear more jaded to them on situations that they’re just experiencing for the first time. Your age might also mean you’re more emotionally mature than your partner. Will you have the patience to be with them as they learn and grow? Try to understand, respect and even enjoy your differences. As long as you communicate and can reach a level of understanding through your disagreements, you’ll learn how to mature as a couple together, regardless of how many years are between you.

3) "Am I treating them as an equal?"

Sometimes (especially with an age difference) one person can fall into the “parenting” role. This means they tend to take care of and "baby" the other person, while expecting little care back. Avoid this at all costs. You need your partner to be your equal, which means no scolding or putting them down.  You want to avoid your relationship turning into a parent-child power dynamic. The same goes finances. As the older partner in the relationship, you might make more money, but that doesn't mean you should pay for every single thing in the relationship. Maybe you take your partner out to a nice restaurant, but they can pay for the movie tickets afterwards.

4) "Do they like me for me?"

It's tough to judge your own relationship objectively. Still, it's important to honestly ask yourself if there's a chance your partner could be using you for your funds or your professional network. As the older person in the relationship, you have resources and connections that some would want to exploit. Additionally, if your younger partner hasn’t integrated you into their life or introduced you to the friend group, it could be a warning sign that they're not serious about you.

5) "Am I prepared for others' reactions?"

Society frowns upon women who date younger men and applauds men who date younger women. Either way, you’ll have to armor yourself against reactions from people in public. Be confident in your choices and don’t worry abut the opinions of prying eyes that don’t even know you.