The Big Debate: Are Age Gap Relationships Ever A Good Idea?

Team STELLAR go head to head on the issues.

On the yes side, it’s contributor Megan Roantree

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people talk about how ‘weird’, ‘messed-up’ or even ‘disgusting’ it is when couples with an age gap get together. I roll my eyes and depending on who it is, I tell them about my parents. My mom was just 20 when she met my dad, who was 42 at the time. Yep, that’s a whole 22 years between them, and they were an incredible couple. To this day I can never understand how someone could have an issue with another person’s healthy, happy relationship just because of an age gap.

The most common aspect people argue about is that you’re at completely different stages of your life – with even a ten year age gap. But I don’t think it’s fair to speak for every 25 year old, for example, and assume they are in a specific life stage that wouldn’t match up with that of a 35 year old’s. There’s also the argument that you won’t want the same things; children, travel plans, marriage etc, but these things aren’t always to do with how old you are. People’s preferences and lifestyle choices don’t drastically alter the minute they hit a certain number. Even people who are the same age in a relationship end things because of those fundamental preferences, so it’s not fair to just assume someone who is a different age to you will have different interests.

While you can change with age, it is only one part of your personality, if it contributes at all, so to assume you won’t get on with someone based on their age is pretty insulting. As absolutely cheesy
as it sounds, true love is hard to come by, you shouldn’t let something like an age gap stop you from being very happy.

Saying no is deputy editor Victoria Stokes

Half your age, plus seven… or so goes the rule. While I’m not a stickler for that exact ratio, I do believe that when it comes to love, dating within your own age group gives you the best chance of success. Something tells me that at 29, with a penchant for occasional wild nights out and long haul flights, I’d have a hard time relating to someone who’s 45 or older and has their shit together. Likewise I can’t imagine having much in common with someone only embarking on their 20s, who’s yet to experience many of the things I’ve already ticked o the bucket list.

When discussing this topic, I always think of the interesting – albeit fictional – example of Monica and Richard’s relationship in Friends. If you recall, Monica falls for Richard, her dad’s friend, who is 21 years her senior. There’s no disputing they’re madly in love but their relationship eventually falters when they disagree over wanting kids. As a grandfather in his 50s, Richard is reluctant to start a family again, while the ever-maternal Monica can’t imagine a future without kids.

Procreation aside, there’s also a weird disconnect if you consider the differences in their respective social circles, because it’s true that when you’re in a couple, you’re not just in a relationship with your other half, but their wider friendship group too. While it’s certainly not rom com romantic, sometimes love comes down to logistics, and unfortunately, connection isn’t always enough to make things work.

You need the commonality of shared experience, of being at similar life stages, and of wanting the same future, which is difficult if your partner has ticked off many of the things you still want to achieve, or vice versa. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule, and really, who am I to judge?

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