Age gaps: Does age matter in a relationship?

If you start dating someone older everyone, from your friends to your family, is sure to have an opinion. They might think that being at a different stage of life to your partner can leave you with conflicting priorities. Are their concerns valid? How much does age actually matter in a relationship? The Mix takes a look at relationship age gaps.

A young couple is sitting on a sofa. They are looking up age gaps. This is a wide-angle image.

What is a good age difference in a relationship?

Does age matter in a relationship? Well, it isn’t always an issue, and many couples can have large age gaps without any significant problems. At the end of the day, there’s no ideal age difference between couples. That’s not to say that age shouldn’t be a factor when considering romantic relationships though, because it 100% should be; especially when there’s a larger age gap with an older man and younger women. 

Why? Because, with a significant age gap, you’re less experienced at dating by default, and the strong emotions that go with it can be difficult to control. So you have to ask whether you might be better off learning from your mistakes with someone of a similar age to you. Especially since they’ll be at the same stage of life.

There’s no hard and fast answer to the question ‘What is a good age difference in a relationship?’. If anything, it just prompts more questions, Some of which include:

  • Are they kind to you and treat you well?
  • Do you feel like an equal in this relationship?
  • Do you feel under any pressure from them for this relationship to move faster than you’re comfortable with?

Do you just fancy them because they’re a few years older?

Ask yourself what draws you to this person, and be sure that age is not a factor. Sure, dating older men or women can seem like a sexy endeavour, but are you really going to have that much in common? It’s good to have different interests, it’s what helps a relationship to breathe. Problem is, if it’s just about having a trophy date then chances are it won’t last long.

Why are they dating younger?

As well as asking what you see in someone older, ask what that person sees in you. What’s more, why aren’t they dating someone their own age? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with dating a younger person, but it could be a red flag. Remember: Does age matter in a relationship? Is a subjective question that varies from person to person; so make sure you’re both open and honest with each other about the situation. 

P.s. This advice has NOTHING to do with who you are as a person. You could be (and probably are) the loveliest person on the planet but unfortunately there are some horrific people out there who might try to take advantage of your kindness. We just want you to look out for yourselves.

Telling your friends about your age gap

Your mates are bound to have an opinion about whether you should be going out with someone so much older. Your instinct might be to ignore any doubts they cast, but it’s good to hear them out. If anything, getting a new perspective could just affirm what you already feel. Otherwise, they’ll have your best interests at heart. Plus they’re not so close to the issue as you.

Telling your family about your older partner

If you’re still living at home, and planning on dating someone old enough to be your mum or dad, then you should probably consult your folks about the large age gap. If you’re living under their roof then you can’t expect them to turn a blind eye to the situation. You could even invite your date to meet them, if you think it might be a long-term relationship. This way they can see this person is genuine about you, and should make things a lot more relaxed.  We highly suggest that you get your partner to read this article beforehand though, to avoid any awkward situations.

Safe sex with an older partner

Sex between couples with large age gaps needs a little more communicating. If you’re much younger than your partner, chances are, you might be less sexually experienced too. They’ve had more years to have firsts, and try things out with different people. It can be sexy, taking lessons from a more-experienced tutor, but it’s SO important you’re comfortable with all the sexual developments when they happen. Don’t feel any pressure, or be under any rush to do something just because they’ve done it already. If you wanna find out more about how you can say no to sex (or any sexual act), click here!

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 24-Oct-2021