Why Age Matters in Relationships (and Why It Totally Doesn’t)

They say love is blind, but it does seem to turn other people’s heads when you’re dating someone who is quite a bit older or younger than you. There’s an automatic judgment on your relationship, and it’s assumed that for any number of reasons these relationships don’t work. However, when your sweetie is almost as old as your parents, there are some things to that do and don’t matter when it comes to making your relationship work.

Why Age Doesn’t Matter

1. Your sex life. An older lover can teach you a lot and maybe even match your stamina. If the sexual chemistry is there, it’s there regardless of the age gap.

 2. Meeting family. Your dad was going to grill whoever it was that you brought home for Christmas, so your older partner might do better than the last six sweethearts since he might have more in common with your parents.

3. Financial stability. Hopefully, both you and your older partner are financially stable. However, even if you’re not (or she’s not) as longer as you’re not dependent on the other for getting your bills paid then it won’t add strain to your relationship.

4. Politics. If you disagree with someone’s politics, it doesn’t mean that you’re not attracted to them. In this case, you have options. You can engage in a lively debate on topics you care about in hopes of swaying your boyfriend with your young idealism, or you can agree to disagree.

5. Living together. You’re still going to have to figure out the important things, like if you sleep with the window open or closed or if you put the lid back on the toothpaste, but once you get the essentials figured out, the age gap won’t even factor into it.

6. Common interests. These are shared regardless of age, which is probably why you were attracted to this person in the first place. Enjoy these and find more together!

7. Social media. Non-millennials (as in people over 40) are all over all the social media these days. It’s the teenagers and all their new-fangled apps that I can’t keep up with. Also, if your partner isn’t super plugged in, maybe that will help you unplug a little too, which might not be a bad thing.

Why Age DOES Matter

1. Children. If your partner feels like they’re too old to have kids and you want them, this can be a deal breaker. From his perspective, it can already be challenging to be mistaken for your partner’s dad, and being confused for your kid’s grandparent is just as bad, if not worse.

 2. Friends. If their friends are mostly their age, this could be alienating for you. If it’s important to you to be friends with your partner’s friends, then try to find common ground.

3. Emotional awareness. Some older adults act like children, and some younger adults are very emotionally mature. That being said, wherever you and your partner are in terms of your self-awareness, you still have to be supportive of each other’s process as you learn and grow together.

4. Activities. If your partner has health issues or is just less carefree than he was at your age, then action adventurous  dates might be a no go. It depends how important having an active lifestyle with your partner is to you. This could be the area where you have healthy, separate interests. Or he could be totally into skydiving and skiing just like you – you never know!

5. Marriage. Your darling might have had a starter marriage that didn’t go so well, but at least that divorce is working out for the best because now the two of you are together. However, if you’re dreaming of wedding bells and white dresses, and he’s not interested in going down that road again, then you’ve got a large problem.

6. Habits/lifestyle choices. If your lover has been a smoker and heavy drinker for decades, chances are he probably isn’t going to kick these habits because you disagree with them. People can change, but our malleability decreases as our age increases. Changing major parts of your lives to accommodate each other is probably not going to lead to a successful relationship.

7. Death. We could all die at any time really, but if your partner is older and/or has health issues, you have to be somewhat emotionally prepared for losing them in a way that you wouldn’t if he was your age. Then again, life is crazy and age isn’t necessarily indicative of health, so don’t get too hung up on this.

I'm a writer, educator, and traveler based in New Orleans. I like to write about queerness, poly-amorousness, and mindfulness. I'm obsessed with Taylor Swift, home repair, and drinking tea all day every day.