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How Old Is Too Old To Date? (Acceptable Age Limits) 

by Sonya Schwartz

With so many opinions constantly flying round about what age gap between a couple is deemed acceptable, it can get incredibly confusing. Although some people believe that age is simply a number and love conquers all, others find it utterly disgraceful when an age gap between two people is substantial. People constantly question and judge relationships with significant age gaps, and it seems there’s a double standard when it comes to women that date younger men rather than the other way round.

This article is here to shed some light on the age range issue from an array of perspectives, help you understand what kind of age range you should be opening yourself up to at any given age, picking apart the double standard against women and discussing whether age really matters in the eyes of love.

The Well Known ‘Rule’ On Age Difference

Due to the fact age difference within relationships is a big talking point in modern society, there’s a certain ‘rule’ that people normally follow. This rule implies that the minimum age you should date is someone that’s half your age and then plus seven years. So, for example, if you’re 40, the youngest person that’s acceptable to date would be 27. You can, therefore, use this calculation to fit whatever age you are and it should give you the lowest age that you can consider dating. 

If you then want to figure out whether the person you’re dating is a little on the old side for you, you can simply take their age, and work it out for them. So for example, if you’re dating someone that’s 50, the youngest person they should be dating is 32. If you’re below this age then you might want to consider the fact that they might be a little old for you.

However, if you’ve ever been in love with someone that’s either much older or much younger than you, you know that this rule doesn’t always seem fair.

Different Perspectives on Age Differences

There are different perspectives of the age ‘rule’ especially in regard to what kind of relationship you are in. For example, if you want to start a committed relationship with someone, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at the years between you to see how it might affect you later down the line in the relationship. For example, if you’re dating a younger man, he might not want to have children for a long time whereas your biological clock could be ticking and you could be ready. This will obviously cause relationship problems and it could be more beneficial to look for someone closer to your age, or at least someone that’s on the same level of maturity as you. 

On the other hand, if you’re not looking at committing to anyone and you’re simply having a fling or going to be sleeping together, the age gap doesn’t need to be so much of an issue. In addition, the older you are, the less an age gap matters - people don’t think anything of a relationship between a 45-year-old and a 55-year-old, but they would probably think negatively about a relationship between a 25-year-old and a 35-year-old.  

Different Perspectives on Age Differences

It’s important to also say that in different cultures, especially those in Asia and the Middle-East, people have completely different age preferences towards relationships - younger women are expected to marry and be committed to a normally much older husband. Usually, the women in these countries that are subject to arranged marriages or that marry an older man have very little human rights. It’s vital to mention this side of this conversation, but important to say that for the rest of the article, we are focusing on relationships in modern, western societies between two consensual partners.

How Does Age Range In Relationships Affect Men And Women Differently?

The age difference rule in a relationship is normally bent or forgotten about for men that have much younger girlfriends or wives, but for the women that are dating older men or those that choose to date younger men, the rule seems much stricter. This is a huge double standard, especially as society is supposed to be improving on the rights of women and getting rid of outdated traditional views of women. 

It can feel really uncomfortable for younger women that choose to be with older men, and they will have to deal with constantly being seen by others as a golddigger or a sugar baby. This is by no means fair, but it is a real thing you will have to deal with if you choose to be with an older man. 

So, Does Age Really Matter?

Although there’s a lot of mixed opinions on whether age really matters in a relationship or not, it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a partner or if you already have a dating partner with a significantly different age to you. You should never let anything hold you back from being with someone that you love and who truly loves you. As long as two people love each other and consent to the relationship, there’s no reason the age between them should limit their relationship or cause their relationship to come to an end

However, in a relationship with age differences between your partner and yourself, you will most likely come across scrutiny and even hate from outside sources. If you and your partner have chosen to commit to each other regardless of how old either of you is, you will need to know how to deal with outside forces trying to put their age preferences and judgment onto you.

How To Have A Successful Relationship That Rebels Against Age Limits

1. Make Sure You Both Want The Same Things.

Due to the fact that there’s a difference in age between you and your dating partner, you need to make sure the two of you are on the same page in terms of future goals and what you want from life. It’s no secret that relationships with people of different ages can be tricky, so there’s no point going through all of the hassles and dealing with the haters if you’re not committed to each other and on the same page.

Communication is key in every relationship, but especially in one like this and therefore you need to make sure you keep your communication channels very open with each other. What are your plans for the future? Do you want both the same things? What about children? Talk openly with each other and make sure the difference of age isn’t going to be a problem.

2. Expect Judgment And Have A Plan Of Action Towards It.

Expect Judgment And Have A Plan Of Action Towards It.

Unfortunately, one of the things you need to prepare for if you are in a relationship with someone that society deems ‘too old’ or ‘too young’ for you is a judgment from others. Other people might not understand your relationship and they might have their own age preferences for who you should be with. As long as you’re happy, you don’t need to take any notice of other people’s opinions or age preferences, but you do need to be strong towards it. For younger women with older men, be prepared to be seen as a golddigger, and for older women with younger partners, expect to be seen as a cougar.

You might want to discuss an action plan with your partner, so if anyone does ever confront you, you know what to do and how to handle it. Just remember, you never need to justify your love for anyone. 

3. Stay Strong.

Let’s be honest, the women in the situation are typically always the ones looked at badly by others, and therefore you need to make sure you stay strong. As mentioned above, you need to be prepared for people to judge you and treat you differently to how they would if you were with someone aligned age preferences. If you’re genuinely happy and committed to the relationship, you and your partner are going to need to be a solid unit that’s strong and supportive of each other to be able to get past the outside forces judging you. 

4. Enjoy The Love You Share.

Although couples with differences in age might come into judgment and criticism, it should never take away from the fact that their love is special. You are still a couple that’s in love, and you should rejoice in the fact the two of you have found each other. You can easily overcome the judgment from others as long as your relationship is strong and you enjoy the love that you share together. If you are receiving backlash from others, it will most likely only make the relationship stronger and make the two of you closer than ever. Don’t let others get to you, and be happy that you are in love with someone you adore, regardless of their age.

FAQs

What Is An Acceptable Age Gap?

An acceptable difference in age in a relationship differs from person to person. In most modern societies, the rule is that you shouldn’t be dating anyone that’s younger than half your age and then plus seven years. However, you need to take this rule with a pinch of salt and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be in a relationship with the person you love because of their age. As long as two people are in a consensual and happy relationship, age differences can be overcome.

Is It OK To Date Someone 10 Years Older?

Of course, it’s more than ok to date someone ten years older than you. A lot of women are drawn to the maturity of a slightly older man, so it’s absolutely more than acceptable for you to date someone ten years older than you. As long as you’re interested in this person and they are interested in you, don’t let age hold you back from dating people. The only thing you need to be cautious about is if they have different future goals to you and how a difference in age can create problems with mutual goals.

What Age Gap Is Too Much?

This really depends on your personal opinion and the person that you are planning on dating. Typically anything over a 12 year age gap in a relationship will come with its own set of unique problems to work through, whereas a five-year difference is much easier to work with as you will only be a few years apart from your partner.

Is 42 Too Old To Date?

This completely depends on how old you are and if you find it a problem. If you already think that it’s a problem, then it probably will be too much of a gap for you. Using all of the information in this article, if you’re any older than thirty, then this is absolutely not a problem. However, if you’re under thirty, you might want to think about the problems you could face due to being such different ages. 

Is It Illegal For A 17 Year Old To Date A 30 Year Old?

The answer to this question completely depends on where in the world you reside. In most parts of the USA, this would be considered illegal due to age restrictions on sexual activity. If you’re 17 years old, it’s definitely not advised that you date people that are 30 years old due to such a difference in age and more importantly the fact you could get into trouble with the law. This article isn’t for minors and focuses on talking about consensual adult dating and relationships.

On The Whole...

I really hope this article has shed some light on the issues surrounding age preferences of relationships. You should definitely be mindful of the ages of the people you date, but don’t let the judgment from other people hold you back from being with someone. At the end of the day, you’re going to know if a relationship is right for you, so go with your gut. 

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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