Realistically speaking, dating someone nowhere near your age could turn bad – but there’s always the chance it could work out. I asked women whether they would date someone 10 years younger or older than themselves. While most of them answered that they would date someone older, younger than a year was a big no-no. Some women answered that they wouldn’t even consider dating someone who was 3 years older than themselves, but that they aren’t against the idea as a whole. When men were asked this question there was a much wider range of answers. Some said they’d like to stick within 2-/+ years of their own age for a relationship, but that they’d find themselves in bed with anyone 20 years their senior. Others brought up that they don’t care so much of how old the person is, but how mature they are – which brings us to the next point.
When you’re 20, you’re focused on University, your social circle, your student loans and your bank account. Then you hit 30 and your life becomes about family, mortgages, car payments and life insurance. In reality, how could two people in such different places in their lives have much in common at all? In my world, I’m focused on setting up my career, whereas the man I’m seeing is already very comfortable in his and has a child. At 19 years old, do I want to worry about changing a soiled diaper at 4:30 am? Not particularly. But it’s a package deal. I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear me complain about the amount university textbooks cost for the 10th time. The great thing about dating is you learn about each other. He may tell me corny jokes that resemble something my father would say, but at the same time he makes me laugh. And he might not understand my taste in music, but he’s willing to join me in watching a documentary about my favourite band.
In Canada, there have been an estimated 3,200+ marriages annually since 2008. Out of all these marriages, there might have been months of dating before settling into a committed relationship, or there could have been a lusty few weeks before falling madly, Disney-themed, head-over-heels in love. That’s the beauty and the beast of dating: There are endless ways and possibilities that lead you to ‘the one.’ When you take a couple who are vastly different in age – whether they’re a 20-something-year-old or someone who’s over the hill, you could run into a whole mess of complications. But it could also work out. No one knows how a relationship will end.
In grade 10, I fell into the cliched ‘high school sweetheart’ romance that I’m sure many of you reading this would be able to relate to. I would stay up late writing in my journal about how beautiful our wedding day would be, picking out names of our kids-to-be. Then, 2 and a half years into our love that seemed written in the stars, I moved 2 provinces away to live with my brother and his finance’. Out of nowhere I began to rub my eyes awake to see how silly I was being about a high school relationship. He wouldn’t move out of his mother’s basement, start a career or grow up in any way, whereas I, being 3 years younger than him, had already surpassed him in maturity by half a decade. In this example, even with an age gap, maturity is the number one reason it didn’t work out.
Having a relationship is fun, exciting and a whole new adventure right from the get-go. Throwing in curve balls only heightens what you’re about to experience together, and I for one live for the thrill of possibly hitting a homer. Dating someone 11 years my senior has led me to have enthralling conversations that if brought up with someone my age would only lead to a bored, “ugh, no thank you.” It has brought me to live more of my life in having different types of fun. Friends who are my age like to hit up loud clubs and mend their hangovers with fast food, not visit farmer’s markets or music festivals. I’m sure they would enjoy these things, but they don’t because of one main reason: Money. I ain’t saying I’m a gold-digger, but I ain’t messing with no broke lovers either. I have learned how to manage my money and plan for adventures because of being around people with careers.
Read the rest of the article in the Winter 2013 issue here.