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Poll: How important are age differences in relationships?

Not at all, age is just a number. 22 (24%)
Not an issue unless laws are broken. 33 (35%)
Some differences are OK, but not like, 20 years. 25 (27%)
Anything more than 5 years is a disaster. 2 (2%)
Other 11 (12%)
   Discussion: How important are age differences in relationships?
Mollie · 17 years, 2 months ago
I said "not a difference unless laws are broken" but I have to say that laws are somewhat arbitrary. Who says at what age someone is able to fully consent to sexual behavior? So there's my disclaimer.
ellen, formerly evil Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
Well, the laws are there to protect people.

What if one of the persons involved in the wedding does NOT fully consent to the sexual behaviour? There's enough history of forced marriages for whatever reason, and that's probably why such laws exsist.

Statuatory rape laws are about age of consent, and that's a whole different kettle of fish.
lawrence · 17 years, 2 months ago
I think an age difference of 2 or 3 years isn't a big deal, but it is if the people are, say, 17 and 20, because they're at completely different points in their lives. but 20 and 23 is fine. and it's not just the legal reasons, because really, those are fairly arbitrary.

I think differences of age, or anything really, affect relationships differently based on the people involved.
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 17 years, 2 months ago
Ideally the man should be 21 years older than the woman.

I of course just pulled that number out of a hat. It isn't as if I said 21 years 2 months and 8 days.
A.J. Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
So it isn't like you have anyone in mind then. ;)

Actually, sexually speaking at least, I think you're sort of right. Men over 30 should date women in their late teens and 20's and women over 30 should date men in their late teens and 20's. The experience and stamina combinations would work better that way.
Misch Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
goovie is married! Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
*notes that paul himself earned a few thwappings yesterday* :)
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
What did Paul do? Am I going to have to thwap him?
George E. Nowik · 17 years, 2 months ago

it so dramatically depends on the two people involved (i presume we're speaking in terms of a romantic thing) that it's impossible to say.  i know too many happily married couples with a 10+ year difference that it obviously can work out fine.  i also know where it's been a disaster.

lawrence pegged one thing i wanted to touch on.  a few years difference can be huge when two people are 17 and 21, vs. 22 and 26...

it all falls back to the case by case basis.

 -= george =-

Desiree THE Turkey Back · 17 years, 2 months ago

I feel like I can speak on this with some knowledge because my parents are 12 years apart.  They were married when my mom was 18 and my dad was 30.  He already had a 5 year old child from a previous marriage.  It WAS really tough at first but I believe that if two people really care about each other and WANT to make it work they will.  Call me idealistic but my parents are a perfect example to me of how this actually works.  They have been together for about 20 years now and they are still madly in love with each other.

It all depends on the people...

TQ Back · 16 years, 11 months ago

Hi...I don't know how long ago you posted your remarks concerning your parents' 12 yr age difference, but I wanted to ask for your input on something.  I'm a 34 yr old single male who recently met a 22.5 year old single woman.  I've only known her a short time, but I am incredibly attracted to her for all the right reasons.  She's intelligent, incredibly responsible and self-disciplined, sensitive, mature, funny, and just a joy to be around. 

This whole thing is just in the introductory stage, but I can't help but think ahead concerning if this thing got serious.  Will the 12 yr age difference really matter?  My parents are 8 yrs apart and have been very happily married for 45 yrs, so I know age differences can work.  But your parents are exactly the same years apart as me and this young lady.

Is there any way you could get this email to them and ask them to share with me a little bit about their experiences over the years of being 12 yrs apart?  I would be very interested in the wisdom that the two of them surely must have to share on the subject.  Thanks so much!!  I am also very much interested in your thoughts as the child of parents 12 yrs apart if you care to share anything in addition to your great comments above.  My email address just in case it doesn't show up from this email is:  Thanks!


A girl named Becca · 17 years, 2 months ago
Given my own personal experiences I'm generally unopposed to age differences in relationships, but I do think there are some differences that are just too much. I voted for the "not, like, 20 years" option, but only as a rule of thumb. I am sure there are happy, healthy couples with a 20+ year age difference, but I think in general that much time puts people in such different places that it's not likely to work, if only because the strain of having to justify yourself to friends, family, etc. would be too wearing after a while.

In my opinion, that is.
Mark · 17 years, 2 months ago
between 28 year old male and a 18 year old female


between a 38 male and a 28 year of female

It's reallt a case by case issue... but generally when there is a huge age difference, the younger one ends up majorly hurt.

I dated a 28 year old when I was 19... bad ending.

nate... · 17 years, 2 months ago
the differences become so much smaller over time.

Not small enough for 20+ years to work... at least, for most people I can think of...

But, hey, who knows.... everyone is different.
I just know it wouldn't work for me.
soul groove feline · 17 years, 2 months ago
basing a relationship on age is like basing a choice of which car to buy on the air freshener they give you.
Wintress · 17 years, 2 months ago

I set a 3-year rule for myself.  I had a "thing" for a guy 6 years older, that was difficult because not only was he too old for me, he was, well, too old for me.  :/  Kind of hard to explain.

Fortunately, "the one" ended up being within a year of me.

I think that age itself isn't an indicator of incompatibility.  It's the differences in likes, dislikes, class, style, friends, parents, etc - and these are shaped by the years we live. 

At 25, say, a person may like the bar scene and staying out 'til all hours.  At 35, though, that same person may have "done" the scene and feel that a classy dinner followed by a performance show is far better than the bar and all-night movie house.  Put an older person with a younger person and suddenly there is a gap, mostly due to age and life experiences.  *shrug*

I'm explaining it poorly.  :)  And it doesn't affect me, personally.  So sue me.

Arbie Back · 17 years, 2 months ago

Talk about a topic close to my heart. When I married Robin a couple of years ago I'm sure more than a couple of people wondered if it wasn't some kind of stereotypical male mid-life crisis and more than one person (usually a young female) has involuntarily shivered at the thought of being married to someone 23 years older than themselves.  Depending on the people, an age difference can be a large, small or non-existant problem. Some would say that marriage is hard enough to do, it really doesn't need another thing that can go wrong. For us, it really is not an issue. We do have different viewpoints and references on some things but we both are open minded and flexible so it just makes for good conversation.

The reality is that there are no guarantees, the future is uncertain for us all, and you just do the best you can. Will we stay together forever, I think we can. Will the age difference break us apart, I doubt it.

no one · 17 years, 2 months ago
How important are age differences in relationships? I presume the question implies something like: Does the likelyhood of a lasting and happy partnership decrease as the age differential increases?

To begin with, the vast majority of relationships expires well before the "till death does us part" has a chance to effect its demise.

Take marriage as an example as an intention to live happiliy ever after. In Australia, circa 2001, 26% of married couples had divorced after 10 years and an additional 17% after only 5.

Additionally, it is a safe bet to presume that an unspecified, but possibly significant number of marriages last beyond these durations for reasons other than happiness. The desire to afford the offspring a stable and comfortable environment, the fear of financial ruin and a sheer antipathy to change come readily to mind.

So, before asking how important age differences are in relationships, it is worth keeping in mind that their chances of lasting a lifetime are already at long odds before those differences are added.

I suspect that statistics, if they are available, will indicate a lessening likelyhood of lasting and happy relationships in line with an increase in the age differential, but age difference is only one of many factors that will influence it. The most important factor for any relationship is that, once started, one must keep working on it. You can't have a good garden by only weeding it once.
Nik Chaikin Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
what pecimistic statistics.
Sally · 17 years, 2 months ago

My first boyfriend was 24 when I was 16.
My second boyfriend was 32 when I was 19.
My last boyfriend was 22 when I was 20 (earlier this year).
My first and last fling was with someone who was 19 when it began and now we're both 20.
My best friend is 39 and I am 20.
Age cannot change the essence of a person.  A man twice my age can treat me just as badly as someone my age or 5 years older and the same can be said for treating me well.
Don't get me wrong, I'll be a hypocrite when it's my daughter in all these situations :)  But then again, what works for me may not work for others.

100% dainty! · 17 years, 2 months ago

I think that it's a matter of life experiences.  An 18 year old is legal (I'm pretty sure) and could therefore date a 40 year old.  And they are both adults according to the law. . .but they have SUCH  a gap in life experiences.  It's a matter of maturity I think.

I think it's different in every case. 

nate... Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
In many states, 16 is legal.

Yet I still wouldn't want to date a 16 year old.

But again, as you said, it's different in every case....
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
in NY it is 17, I believe it is 14 in Ontario. It varies state by state and province by province.
iPauley Back · 17 years, 2 months ago's chart, by state, province, and country

I don't have any real reason -- good, bad, clean, dirty, or otherwise -- for knowing where that chart is. So I'm not offering one. Ha.

-- Pauley
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
I was wrong, Canada has a uniform age of consent. I was right that it was 14. See I learned something from my friends taking a human sexuality class at SUNY Buffalo.
A.J. Back · 17 years, 2 months ago
Well, there is dating and then there is boffing. ;)
nate... Back · 17 years, 2 months ago

100% dainty! · 17 years, 2 months ago

Wow. . .that is pretty damn young.

My friend is 22 or 23 and she is apparently seriously dating Joe from The Bobs, and they're thinking about getting married. He's over 40. . .and it seems to work for them. and her parents don't mind. so. . .yeah. wow.

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