Monday, January 24, 2011

Age differences

Some of the things I used to think of as inescapable criteria in finding a partner are eroding; because as I talk to people who see things differently I'm not finding a foundation to it. One of them is age. I always used to think it was really super creepy for an older man to get romantically involved with a much younger woman; mostly if I was the older man. I never thought the same way when the genders were reversed. So if it's not a bad thing for an older woman to be involved with a younger man, why is it such a bad thing when it's the other way around? The happiest marriage I know much about, Determined Girl and One-Man Carnival Guy, has 15 years difference (the guy is the older one).

There have been a lot of little instances giving me the feeling no one else cared that much about the age differences. The most recent is that the woman I was talking to so much at Dorian's said some things that gave me the false impression she was about 20-21, and I started feeling really awkward at even hanging around talking to her, and explained that not only was I not looking for a relationship but I was secretly a decrepit 41. She's actually 26. And she dated a 42 year old when she was 22. So here I am saying I feel creepy at being admittedly kind of flirty and she tells me she dated an older man than me when she was younger.

I've been looking for why I thought matching age was such a big hairy deal, and I'm not coming up with anything. It never had any foundation of logic beneath it.

I guess it was really because my fragile ego didn't want to face the idea of being the creepy old man. It's seeming like I was the only one who cared.


  1. It isn't the age so much as it is the maturity levels that make the difference. A pair of very good friends of mine have a nineteen year age gap--but he's much younger than his years, and she's much older than hers, so they meet in the middle.

    My husband and I are only two years apart, but about equal in maturity (and I'm 9-10 years younger than you; I'll be 32 in another month and a half). If I didn't have my other half, and were to look for another match in maturity, I'd have to look for someone your age or older.

    Age is a number; maturity is what matters.

  2. That's a good point, Heroditus. Determined Girl says she was pretty emotionally immature when the two of them first married; I'd say no she wasn't, but she wasn't nearly as emotionally mature as he. He is very emotionally mature but very young in some of his social behaviors; he makes funny noises and does little dances that prompted my name of One-Man-Carnival Guy, which amuse the heck out of her.

  3. There's no inherent problem with an age difference; the problems come from people fetishizing or abusing that difference. I'm sure a lot of people specifically seek out the young because they're eager-to-please and easily manipulated; this of course is bad. But genuinely liking someone who's older or younger? Where's the harm?

  4. As you may have guessed, Perversecowgirl, you are one of my inspirations for no longer thinking age differences are a big deal.

    I'm not sure I buy the eager-to-please; if anything I think I'm more eager-to-please than I was at 20, and I was always more so than most. And I sure see no objection in the world to looking for a partner who is eager-to-please, I'd expect that to be a pretty universally desired trait.

    Easily manipulated I guess is the problem area; and I never want to look like I'm taking advantage even if I'm not.

  5. I've seen several older man - younger woman relationships that have worked really well. Older woman - younger man are more rare. Personally I would be fairly OK with older boyfriends, as long as we are still in the same mind space. However, I would avoid much younger men who make advances (- 20 years +) - apparently they may gain some status from having sex with an older woman and this seems sleazy to me.

    I agree that age should not matter if the couple have genuine feelings...