Q: My roommate wants to set me up with her friend who is almost ten years older than me. My biggest age difference prior to this was four and a half years older. I feel slightly uncomfortable with this. Should I try it out and if not how do I say no without damaging the roommate relationship?
A: When it comes to dating someone significantly older than you the first concern if your own comfort level. If you truly believe he is too old for you say no. Age gaps of more than 10 years can cause severe stress on both partners because of real and perceived societal pressures. That said, many of these couples will tell you that the relationship is worth all of the stresses and judgments. No one can make the decision about appropriate age difference for you, it is your own comfort that has to be the deciding factor.
If your only reservation about this set up is the questionable age difference, take a chance and accept a date. Your roommate thinks you would be a good couple, have a little faith in someone else's ability to fix you up. In the worst case scenario you will only have one bad date. You are bound to have those when you are out in the dating world no matter what rules you put in place.
Dating is a tricky business and no can blame you for being uncomfortable with a scenario you've never had to face in the past. Keep in mind that accepting one date does not require you to commit, there never even has to be a second date. If you can be realistic about when there is potential and when there is not, feel free to accept a first date with anyone that you feel has potential.
If the concern goes beyond the age difference let your roommate know about your reservations. Age gaps can mean a lack of physical attraction, severely different interests, and differing energy levels; any of these concerns are fair and being honest about your feelings should be enough. A good roommate and a good friend would be understanding and drop the subject without further pressure once you have made your feelings clear.