When I first started dating Gerald I was really guilty of hesitating before telling anyone his age and he was exactly the same with his friends and family. We just didn’t know if being in a long distance relationship AND having a huge age gap would be a deal breaker for those close to us. It’s a lot to take in and think about.
When you meet someone you like, one of the first things you want to know is how old they are so you can gauge whether it’s appropriate or not. If Ger met me when he was 18, I would have been 12 years old. Let’s say that again: TWELVE YEARS OLD. Jeez, call that creepy. But we didn’t, fortunately. We met when I was 18 and he was 24.
I’m going to give you a list of 4 things to consider when you are debating if an age gap is too big that Ger & I personally sorted through when we first started dabbling in the dating game.
1. Is it even legal?
This is obviously assuming you are interested in sex, if not you can skip this part! Every state and country is going to have a different law for consent in a relationship. The general rule is that over the age of 18 you can do whatever and whomever you want to. But for a few specifics:
In Canada: “The age of consent in Canada is 16 years. This is the age that criminal law recognizes the legal capacity of a young person to consent to sexual activity. Generally, it is legal to have sexual contact with someone who is 16 years or older if they agree to have sex with you.“
In America: “ In the United States, the age varies from 16 to 18. In many areas, there is a “close-in-age” part of the laws. This allows for people under of consent but above a certain age to have sex with people as long as there older partner is either less than a certain age or the difference in age is a certain amount of years.” Under the age of 16 you can have intercourse with someone 2 years older/younger than yourself as long as you are above the age of 12.
In the UK: “ The age of consent for sexual activity in the UK is 16. In England and Wales, the age of sexual consent for women has been set at 16 since 1885, when campaigners fought to raise it from 13 to prevent child prostitution.” Hmm, well THAT’s interesting !
2. Consider what developmental stage you are in.
Let’s say you are 18 and you meet a 26 year old women/man, that’s 8 years apart. You two could be in totally different stages of your life, one going into college and the other having a full-time career. The experiences are so largely different (sometimes) that it can be hard to relate to each other.
This also applies to your developmental stage. If you are 18, you probably aren’t thinking about starting a family but your much older counterpart could already be contemplating it, especially with women and their biological clock. Which is a real thing, by the way haha.
Okay so for a very stereotypical point: guys tend to be less mature while girls tend to be more mature at the same age. This applies to dealing with conflict, talking about important/emotional matters and overall outlook on situations. The last thing you want to do is sigh about how immature your partner is all the time. Unless you’re into it, then you do you boo.
3. Are you okay with it?
Ultimately it is really up to your personal preference. I have many friends that say “I would never date someone over ____ years old” and that is totally OKAY. If you aren’t comfortable with someone over 2 years older than you there is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you don’t judge others for having bigger age gaps. It’s people like that who make people like me really scared to reveal our ages.
4. Age is JUST A NUMBER.
Sure, age can define what developmental stage you are in roughly but at the end of the day it isn’t what’s most important. I’m not regularly reminded that Ger is 26 and I’m only 20. It never phases us (unless I’m not allowed in somewhere in America because I’m not legal there, yet. Boo.) As long as you love each other, get along famously and can support each other I truly believe that you shouldn’t worry about your age differences.