I Dated A Guy Who Was Younger Than Me Once — And I Never Will Again

I used to tell myself age was nothing but a number and if I had a connection with someone, it didn’t matter how old they were. That all changed when I dated a guy a year younger than me. I suddenly realized that a single year could make a really big difference. There are special circumstances where people are so meant to be that even a 10 year age difference can’t keep them apart, but if my fairytale is bound to end, being older than my boyfriend will make it end a whole lot quicker. Here’s why:

  1. Our priorities are totally different. Younger guys typically aren’t focused on their careers or spending a lot of time with their families. They’re all about adventure right now, and anything that takes away from that spontaneous spirit is bound to be met with a little struggle. I’m at a place in my life where I’m totally okay dedicating an entire weekend to working on a book or doing something else to further my career. Younger guys are fun for a night out but typically don’t understand my desire for a night in.
  2. We’re at different places in our lives. I can’t force someone to grow up or even pretend to. While a young guy might enjoy a week or two of playing house and seeing what it’s like to be in a serious relationship, eventually he longs for his freedom again. I’m not about to be with someone I constantly have to baby or convince to stick around.
  3. He ends up resenting any success I have. Anything I do that makes me more independent is going to make him feel like a big ole unsuccessful turd. Deep down, he just wants to be on my level and have the ability to take care of me, but that stuff doesn’t happen overnight. If his life is focused more on the party scene and less on the job scene, eventually he’ll end up resenting me for his own insecurities.
  4. It makes me feel like I’m in high school. I vividly remember being at Steak ‘N Shake with my 21-year-old boyfriend and his even younger buddies around 2 a.m. on a Tuesday night when I felt super old. I had work in the morning; I couldn’t be doing stuff like that anymore. Little things like having his mom pick him up from work or wanting me to come over while he played video games took me back a solid five years, and it stopped being fun real quick.
  5. I end up acting like his mom. Because he’s a little less mature and responsible, my first instinct is always to try to teach him to be. I’ll start off politely asking him to wash the dishes after I made dinner or nudging him in the direction of a better paying job that has nothing to do with pizza. But eventually those sweet requests will turn into frustrated nagging, and before I know it, I’ve aged myself 20 years. 
  6. He’s still super into the party and club scene. Every weekend is a booze-filled weekend, no matter the occasion. Birthdays, breakups and getting his tax return are all reasons to celebrate with a round of shots. If I ever made a young guy stay home with me, I’d be guaranteed to hear how he’s missing out all night long.
  7. He typically doesn’t get along with my friends. Usually, a young guy would think my crowd is boring and wouldn’t be afraid to tell me why his boys are “so effin’ awesome.” I never bothered getting my hopes up that any young guy I was dating would come to my friend’s dinner party because I knew he’d rather kick it with his crew. But of course, I’m expected to be cool with always hanging out with his friends.
  8. He gets along better with my little brother than he does me. Nothing makes me realize how young the guy I’m dating really is until I get him around other young guys, like my little brother. Once I see how much more comfortable he is around people his own age, suddenly I feel like the odd one out. He starts looking a lot less like my boyfriend and a lot more like my brother’s new annoying friend — who has no problem treating me like the annoying older sister.
  9. Eventually, he feels like he’s settling down too fast. He’s at the stage in his life where he doesn’t really want to feel tied down. It goes against all the dreams and goals he’s had for himself. Being in a serious relationship is making his world seem smaller, and it might make him scared to get too serious.
  10. I don’t want to hold him back from his freedom. I was once his age, and I can remember what it was like to feel like the world is at your feet. Rather than forcing him to grow up, I’d much rather let him go and find a guy who’s as excited to be with me as I am to be with him.
Emily is a writer, dog mom, and occasional narcissist living in what her mom refers to as “a bubble.” Geographically speaking, it’s more like Daytona Beach, Florida. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, she is a community editor for a local newspaper and spends most of her time trying to convince her dog to cuddle.