Age ain't nothin but a number. That's what everyone was saying in the 90s after Aaliyah's song came out. But that's much easier to say/sing than it is to live. When it comes to love, how old is too old?
Step one is to make sure it's legal and what not. Of course if we're not talking about two (legal) adults, it's out of the question. But other than that, it really depends on how old you are mentally. Sometimes where you are in life matters more than when you were born. If you're good and grown and dating someone still in college, that's probably not going to work.You're just in two different stages in life and experiencing life differently. If one person is still in the partying phase of life and the other is "so over that", you're going to have some problems. But if you're both ready for a relationship and are in similar stages in life, it could work regardless of the age difference.
When two souls connect, age should not matter. You've probably heard the saying, "You've got an old soul". And it's true. Some people are just older spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. And that really goes along with a person's maturity level. You can date someone older than you who could be way too immature for you. And you could date someone younger than you who has wisdom and maturity beyond their years. Take their actual age with a grain of salt, so to speak, and look more at their level of intelligence and maturity.
The older you get, the less it matters. When you're in grade school a two year age difference feels like ten. At 12, dating a 17 year-old is totally inappropriate, but at 24, dating that same person who is now 29 is no big deal. And when you're 19, dating a 30 year-old seems creepy to most, but when you hit 25, that same 36 year-old could now be husband material.
"He has made me mature, and I keep him young," said Oona O’Neill of her husband, silent movie legend Charlie Chaplin.
But be careful and be cautious when dating someone older or younger. If the age gap is significant (ten years or more) issues are bound to come up eventually. Dating someone significantly older is comparable to dating someone of a different race. You can pretend like it doesn't matter all you want, but eventually the stigmas society places on you will infiltrate your relationship. Be prepared for the scrutiny. Know that others will look at you and judge you and your relationship choice. Talk about it with your partner. Express your concerns with the age difference. Don't just pretend like it doesn't exist. It's okay to proceed. You owe it to yourself to give the relationship a chance. You shouldn't just rule a person out just because of their age, but definitely proceed with caution.
Make sure there are no hidden "mommy issues" or "daddy issues" leading you to gravitate to an older man or woman! (i.e. Hugh Hefner, Woody Allen) Examine yourself and why you are doing this. Make sure it really is an attraction to this person, not who or what they represent. Make sure this is someone you could really see yourself with long-term. Sometimes the May-December thing works perfectly and sometimes it doesn't. (i.e. Ashton and Demi).
Ultimately, your love life is your business and you should be free to date whomever you want. Don't let societal norms dictate what you should do with your life and who you should spend the rest of your life with. Many couples have an age difference. And while it was probably difficult in the beginning, eventually it becomes irrelevant. Your family and friends will be shocked (especially if the age gap is significant) and many will judge and criticize you, but those who truly love you will eventually get over it. Live your life for you and love who you love.
****What do you think? How old is too old?
©Tara Carr 2013, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission and consent from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC, DBA Examiner.com.