General Question

interweb's avatar

How old is too old from a relationship perspective?

Asked by interweb (319points) October 4th, 2010
55 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

My current interest is approximately seven years older then I’ am. I’m aware that this attraction might only be temporary and is hesitant to take any action towards him; for crushes come and go. I’m still a student working towards getting a degree.

Do you have a age preference when hunting for your “SO”/limit?
If your already engaged with someone, what are the age differences if any?

This question also applies to dating younger men and women. Your thoughts?

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Jeruba's avatar

No such thing as too old. Too young, yes, but not too old.

[Edit] Type “age difference” into the fluther search box up there on the right and you’ll see a heap of previous comments on this subject.

interweb's avatar

@Jeruba , thank you for the Search bar suggestion (Lurved) :) – however, that does not answer my question which I’ve asked. What is your preference/what is the difference between you and your partner?

jrpowell's avatar

It is going to be different with everyone. I mow my yard in my boxers if it is warm out. I don’t really care what other people think. I will date anything that is legal. If you like them you should give it a go.

Really, if you are worried about it it is probably because you worry about how people will perceive your relationship.

downtide's avatar

There’s only 3 years difference between me and my partner so I really don’t know how far I would go in terms of age difference. I would not want to date someone elderly, where their health is a concern or a limitation. I think my top limit would be about 60 which is 16 years older than me. I suspect that as I approach old age myself, that range would likely shrink.

lillycoyote's avatar

It really depends on the two people involved in the relationship. There is no absolute as to what the “proper” age difference between people in a relationship might be, I don’t think. You mention that you are a student working towards a degree. Maybe that is a more important issue in terms of getting seriously involved with someone at this point rather than the age difference. It’s up to you.

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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m 47 (i think)… she 30 (so she tells me)

you gotta problem wit dat?

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zzc's avatar

When I became single at 32, I dated as much as 12 and 14 yrs older than myself, I found them more mature, already had their mid-life crises, were established in their work, so were more relaxed about it and ready to add some leisure fun to their life, had come to the realization they didn’t need to act macho, or otherwise prove their masculinity, they were easier going, and more worldly. I enjoyed them more than 30 yr old men. It was the ‘80’s, I’m told the newer generation of men is different, more evolved now. I think it depends on what fits with you, and where you are in life.

@Interweb, welcome to Fluther. I’m fairly new too, so your question was new to me. Please don’t be discouraged. ((Hugs)) Thanks for your question.

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule, but I think it’s always best that the two people be in similar stages of their lives. I am 31, prefer not to date below 25 (generally, at least 3 years on your own), and prefer dating below mid-40s (I don’t want to be gearing up in my career, or happily working, when my partner is ready to retire).

and I understand your concern about fluther “welcoming” you – but it’s not that it’s not welcoming, it’s just that it’s really, really blunt. ;-)

Jeffinohio's avatar

My woman and I have a 10 year difference, and as we get older, that difference will matter less. Now, If I’m dating a 22 yr old, that would be a problem for me, my youngest child is 28, and adding 10 years to any woman I would date applies. Just my rules. Problems happen, as a result of the age differences, but if you truly love, or are in love with someone, 10 years is nothing.

tramnineteen's avatar

I think this question should be answered with a function (maybe percentage) and not a hard number.

I’m 22 and I would prefer someone very close in age to me since us young folk are changing as people so fast and thus there are huge differences year to year. I want someone who is a similar maturing and in the same stage of life. I imagine my preferences will evolve like this:

I’m 22–23, she’s +/- 2 years.
I’m 24–30, she’s +/- 3 years.
I’m 31–38, she’s +/- 5 years.
I’m 39–49, she’s +/- 7 years.
I’m 50+, she’s +/- 10 years.

EDIT: As this is just my current view and guess about the future the numbers lower down that list are less likely to be accurage and are probably too conservative.

Frenchfry's avatar

I date between the age of 25 to 55. My current is 51. I always seem to go older. I think older has their shit together most of the time, but I can imagine the younger would be great in the sack.

augustlan's avatar

In general, the older one gets, the less the age difference matters. If you’re young and living it up in college while your mate is settled and wanting to start a family, that can be a problem. That said, as long as everyone involved is a legal, mentally competent adult, I would never have a hard and fast rule on how old is too old. It would completely depend on the individuals involved.

My husband is 9 years older than I am, but this is my second marriage. We often say that if we’d met any earlier in life, we wouldn’t have been right for each other. Now though? We’re a perfect match.

iamthemob's avatar


You’re 22!?!? I think that is some of the most accurate predictive math on how the age differences should predict that I’ve ever seen, and would hazard that you’ve pretty much nailed how, on average, it should work out.

Zyx's avatar

When I was 17 I wanted either someone two years younger than me or eleven years older.
Didn’t get either one because people care too much about age.

GingerMinx's avatar

My husband is 7 years older than me an we have been married for over 25 years. I think it is not so much how old but how young.

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

I knew a couple, we’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Mr. Jones was much older, but people would quickly forget that after meeting them because they were clearly very much in love. Then one day I heard that Mrs. Jones had died of a heart attack. I figured I must have heard wrong, it must be MR Jones. Well, no, actually it was the young Mrs. Jones. What a shame it would have been for them to have missed out on their happy years together just because so many people presume that the younger one would outlive the older one.

perspicacious's avatar

I was with a guy who was nine years younger than me during my late thirties/early fourties. It was not a problem during that time. I think it might have been in later years had we remained together.

chyna's avatar

The age differences that you are interested in will change as you age. Seven years is not too old, and later on in life 10 years younger may not be too young. If you and the other person don’t see a problem, then there is no problem.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I wouldnt date anyone over 4 years older then me, but thats just how I am. Me and my fiance are 2 years and a few months apart.

CaptainHarley's avatar

My wife is 15 years younger than me. We’re almost joined at the hip, we’re so much in love! : ))

rts486's avatar

I don’t think people should limit who they date by age, as long as everyone is of legal age. I dated a women 20 years older than me and had a great relationship. I’ve also dated a lot of girls much younger then me and had great relationships. I’ve dated girls who were only a couple of years younger or older than me and had nothing in common with them. If you put an age limit on it, you’ll miss out on meeting a lot of great people. Not dating somebody simply because of their age makes as much sense as not dating somebody because of their race.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Mom2BDec2010 perspective is the key…..when you are 56 and he is 60, what the heck! My s/o is 9 years younger than myself and it works great.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Actually, one of the few times I have concerns about is when the older partner is pushing 70 or older. If there are children, it’s very hard on them to have one parent die when they are so young. It’s also rather tough on the younger partner to wach the older one grow old and die.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

When I was dating,my preference was for guys within a few years of my age.

Trillian's avatar

My younger experiences have not been stellar. I would prefer, if I were to become entangled again, a man near my age by only a year or two if he were younger, and maybe ten or fifteen years older.

Seaofclouds's avatar

My husband is 6 years older than me. We began dating when I was in my mid 20s and he was in his early 30s. It’s worked out wonderfully for us so far.

Before I started dating him, I didn’t have a set rule. I just went by who I liked. If the person was younger, I went by their maturity (because I was a single mother for a while), but their age itself wasn’t a deciding factor.

Cruiser's avatar

What’s it really matter if you are both getting along.

wilma's avatar

When you are young I think it makes more difference than when you are older. For teenagers a couple of years can be an important factor. After you are of age I think age matters less and less over time.

thekoukoureport's avatar

I’ve always liked older women… But if I’m drinking wine and she’s drinking Ensure I would have to draw the line. My wife is 8 years older than I and it seems to work out just fine.

diavolobella's avatar

@wilma. I completely agree. I think at a certain point age matters less, that point being when you are both well established in adulthood. My SO is 37 and I am 47. We met when we had just turned 30 and 40 respectively We actually did not discover how old each other was until we had gone out several times and we were both surprised because we each assumed we were approximately the same age. He looks somewhat older than he is and I look a lot younger. We didn’t find the age difference an issue then and never have.

That said, if I had been 30 and he had been 20 it is unlikely I would have gone out with him. First of all, it is much more likely that I would have immediately been able to tell that he was a very young man just by looking at him and the difference in maturity levels, interests and compatibility between a 20 year old man and a 30 year old woman is greater than when they are both a decade older.

eadinad's avatar

There actually is a common and sensible rule for this: the older person in the relationship should divide their age by 2 and then add seven. The younger person must be at least this age.

For instance: I’ll presume you are 20, and your boyfriend is 27. 27/2 = 13.5, +7 = 20.5. You should be at least 20.5 years old. You are on the verge of veering into “inappropriate” but are probably okay. The good news is that as you get older the range becomes larger. So when he is 40, his “youngest age” will be 27, but you will be 33. Totally safe!

Scooby's avatar

I stop myself approaching women who look younger than thirty or who I perceive to be younger than thirty, I tend to go for older women, at least older than thirty, Always have… I’ve noticed women of a certain age looking particularly attractive to me lately, in fact I have my eye on a particularly attractive ‘Lady’ who is twelve years my senior. I’m forty three :-/

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The biggest difference, for me, has been 14 years and it was just fine, one of my best relationships. I think that if someone was 40–60 years older than me, I’d hesitate.

JustmeAman's avatar

My wife is 10 years younger but it would not make a difference if she was 10 years older. When you get beyond the age of consent I would say it is up to the individual.

Serevaetse's avatar

Age is a number;
take it as a grain of salt and follow your heart.

…how cliche

BratLady's avatar

Age doesn’t matter when you’re in love. Many thought we were nuts when I was 17 and my husband was 24. Been married close to 41 years. My dad remarried a woman 11 years older and they were together 36 years before he passed away. My youngest is engaged to a girl 14 years younger and they’ve been together for 3 years. I can’t see a 30 year old with a 60 year old but if they’re happy no one should judge them. If you’re happy no matter what the age difference is, don’t let others ruin you chance to be happy.

Kardamom's avatar

Once you get to be about 30, you are much more in tune with what your goals and interests are, so it is easier to date someone quite a bit older, even 10 or 20 years older, But when you are younger than 30, it is likely that you are still experimenting with your interests and education and life goals. Of course this is not true in every case, some people mature faster than others, but in general people 30 and under are not “established” in their goals and desires.

I think the most important things to have for a successful relationship with anybody are: common interests, and more importantly, common life goals. The common life goals are things like whether or not you want to get married, or have children, or move to another city, whether to buy a house, whether you want to spend lots or little time with family and friends, whether you need religion, whether both of you will need/want to work etc.

Right now, it sounds like you are still working on your education, and because of that, you are not likely to be in the “same place” as someone 10 years older, although because of sexual attraction people, people end up hooking up anyway, but I’m just saying that those types of relationships are not as likely to succeed. Along with the sexual attraction, you still need to have the common interests and common life goals. Hope this helps.

flutherother's avatar

I have always preferred women who were younger than me, latterly about 7 years younger but that isn’t a rule. It depends very much on the person.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I remember once I hitting 30 years old and being surprised 30’s weren’t any different than 20’s. I’ve come into my 40’s still not seeing much of a difference except us older dogs have crinklier eyes and don’t need as much sleep.

The greatest age span between myself and a longterm partner has been 12yrs younger than me, another was 10yrs younger and my current is 9yrs younger. Too old for me would be someone who wasn’t able to be active alongside me for commonplace things like sex, taking walks, riding in the car. That would have to be pretty old, infirmity usually comes first before age.

flutherother's avatar

A friend of mine, when very young, said that when he reached the age of 25 he would ‘hang up his testicles and retire’ but he never did.

El_Cadejo's avatar

The creepiness rule


Zyx's avatar

@uberbatman I knew someone was going to bring that up. Shame on you sir, shame on you.

El_Cadejo's avatar

pish posh. I only bring it up because its completely relevant and works out quite nicely.

Zyx's avatar

Relevant maybe, but I do hope you know it’s ridiculous.

augustlan's avatar

@Zyx It was actually brought up before @uberbatman posted it, up there ^^. It’s a pretty commonly used equation for these questions. I think it’s an acceptable guideline, but I wouldn’t consider it set in stone by any means.

Zyx's avatar

@augustlan Yeah thanks. Though even as a guideline I have to wonder how much good it does anyone.

rts486's avatar

So what do you do if you meet the perfect person for you, expect they are one day short of age/2+7? I guess you’re out of luck.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@rts486 yes yes there are always exceptions to the rule, but thinking about it as an outsider POV if you were just told person A is x years old and person B is x years old this will usually match up pretty perfectly with what one would say to uhh thats a bit creepy or otherwise. Not saying love cant transcend that many years, it just doesnt happen often.

rts486's avatar

@uberbatman But if you start off ruling out the people who don’t fit into a specific age catagory, you’ll never meet them in the first place.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I disagree completely. I talk to people of all ages right now. I dont look at people 40 plus in a sexual/relationship way right now. But that is definitely not to say that if someone I happened to meet fell within what I was looking for in a companion I wouldnt reevaluate my personal stance. I think its important to get to someone first anyway so I dont see any fallacy in this philosophy.

johlucmoha's avatar

In my opinion, age is nothing but a number. If the person loves you and you love them,
what does it matter. I base my answer on consented age level.

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