Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Is An Age Gap Too Big?

Dear Lucia,

I’m dating a man who is five years younger than me and not settled in his life yet. He is definitely the pursuer in this relationship – calling me, setting up dates and even surprising me with events for us to go to.  I’m 38 and he is 32 although we don’t look much different in age. Should I stop seeing him because of the age difference?  When does an age gap become too big?  Suzie

Dear Suzie,

You said you don’t look much different in age. This tells me he is probably your first younger man, otherwise, you wouldn’t be so concerned about what you look like together. As long as he treats you well and you have great chemistry, who cares what you look like as a couple?  Your friends will know what the age difference is, so the only people you’re concerned about are strangers. You can’t live your life trying to look good in the eyes of people you’ll probably never see again.  Besides, they’re probably jealous!

Secondly, you mentioned that he is 32 and not yet settled.  These days, a lot of 32-year-olds aren’t settled – male or female. You have to ask yourself some questions: When do I want to be married by?  Do I want to have children?  When?  Is he motivated and working toward security and stability or is he still into behaving as if he were in college? What are his long-term goals?  What are your long-term goals?   If you want to be married within the next 2 years, then you need to ask yourself if he could possibly be "The One."  If not, are you willing to simply stay and enjoy the moment knowing that eventually you’ll have to move on?  Not every relationship has to lead to marriage.

Finally, when does an age gap become too big? Well, six years is not that much of an age difference and will become even less so as you get older. It’s not about age. It’s about compatibility.

In the end, to have a great relationship you need to have two people who appreciate each other and feel lucky to be together, no matter what the age difference may be.  To quote the late Aaliyah, "Age ain’t nothin’ but a number."

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