You can’t help who you fall in love with, and you certainly can’t control certain factors like how old the person is. You can ask him to change the way he dresses, who he spends time with, or even what he does for a living but you can’t alter somebody’s age. Too often do two individuals of vastly different ages fall for each other, and turn a blind eye to the inevitable problems that age gap will bring. Age is not just a number—sorry. Age tends to signify certain milestones and changes that have…or haven’t…happened. And, sometimes, two people standing on different sides of those milestones can have a hard time building a life together. Even if someone of a certain age isn’t at the typical life stage for his age, that should raise some alarm. What went wrong? So, here are times age difference is a factor, and times it isn’t.
Early 20s and late 20s is easy
If you’re a woman in your early twenties and you meet a man in his late twenties, you could have a pretty easy time getting this relationship off the ground. Though I have stated that men are most prime to meet the one around their mid thirties, I’ll say that the early 20s (female) to late 20s (male) is a good pairing simply because women mature much quicker than men. A woman in her early 20s probably already knows how to be a good, devoted partner. A man in his early twenties does not know how to do that—but a may pushing 30 may be ready to be faithful and stop partying too much.
Early 20s and late 30s=something’s wrong
I’ve had a couple of girlfriends who, when they were around 22 or 23, dated men who were 37 or 38. We didn’t see anything weird about it at the time but, since those relationships ended and I’ve gained some wisdom I’ve learned this: something is amiss with a man pushing 40 who’s getting into relationships with women who can’t yet legally rent a car. There’s usually either some arrested development at play or a man who wants to find someone he can influence and control.
Mid 20s and mid 30s is a sweet spot
Mid 20s (female) and mid 30s (male) is a great pairing. Many women do begin to think about things like marriage and kids around their mid 20s. They don’t want those things right now, but would like to get them going within the next few years. And, fortunately, a man in his mid 30s is usually feeling ready for such commitments, too. Or, at least, he will within the next couple of years.
Mid 20s and late 30s can be difficult
As someone who dated men in their late 30s when I was in my mid 20s, I can tell you this: they were all in a rush to marry. Mid 20s to mid 30s works because the man isn’t yet in a rush, but he’s ready should he meet someone at that time. A man in his late 30s may want to get married, like, tomorrow because all of his friends already have. He can put some pressure on his younger partner, who isn’t quite there yet.
Late 20s and late 30s is just right
I believe that around the late 20s is when women fully come into their own and know most of what there is to know about who they are and what they want. And, I believe it takes men until their mid 30s to figure all of that out. So when a late 20s female and late 30s male come together, you can have too very mature, settled, and confident people and that makes for a great relationship.
Mid 30s and late 30s can cause a rush
When a woman in her mid 30s meets a man who is in his late 30s, there can be some tension. Women don’t have forever to have kids. Their mid 30s is really their last chance to have an easy pregnancy. So, a woman of this age may be in a rush to have children. Meanwhile, a man in his late 30s may be near ready to have kids, but he may want to spend more time getting to know the woman/establishing the relationship. And a woman in her mid 30s has a biological clock that doesn’t have that time.
Early 30s and early 40s may cause issues
While a woman in her early 30s can certainly be mature enough to date a man in his early 40s, there is this issue: she’ll still likely want kids and a marriage and he may have either A) already had both or B) already decided neither are for him. He may be childless and never married at age 42 by choice. And hoping to keep it that way. That can be tough for a woman in her early 30s, who still very much has hopes of those things.
Late 30s and late 40s is another sweet spot
Late 30s and late 40s is another sweet spot. Around the late 30s, a woman may have already decided she won’t be having children, and she’s already given up on the idea of being a young bride. So she won’t be rushing a man in his late 40s—who probably doesn’t want children at this point in his life—to marry or have kids.
Late 30s and early 50s can get awkward
It can almost work, but on a social level, it gets uncomfortable. Women in their late 30s are certainly as mentally mature as men in their early 50s. That being said, the 50 and up group is its own special thing and the friends of that man will struggle to accept his 38-year-old girlfriend. There are experiences the older group has had that the younger woman just can’t relate to.
Early 40s and late 40s makes you feel old
I have several female friends in their early 40s who like men in their late 40s but face this issue often: men of that age still very much try to date women in their late 20s, and, furthermore, women in their late 20s will look at men in their late 40s. Translation: being a 40-something-year-old woman with a man a similar age can leave you feeling old, when you aren’t!
Early 40s and mid 50s makes you feel young
Women in their early 40s dating men in their mid 50s tend to be quite content. A man in his 50s is still young enough of mind and body to keep up with a woman in her early 40s, but he’s old enough to make a woman in her early 40s feel young. Everybody feels like they have a catch who is of equal mental and emotional maturity.
There’s a caveat to the 40/50 relationship
There is one issue that may come up if a woman in her early 40s meets a man in his late 50s: the woman may still have children living with her. She may be an active mom, while the man in his late 50s may have kids who already moved out. So he is free to travel and enjoy himself a lot and his female partner isn’t.
Late 40s and late 50s everybody’s cruising
Late 40s and late 50s can be a nice time for a couple to get together, in very unique ways. A woman in her late 40s has probably already sent her kids off to college if she had any. She’s in a position to travel and be free again. Meanwhile, a man in his late 50s is also free, and probably accumulated enough wealth to afford that sojourn lifestyle.
Early 50s and late 50s can cause tension
Well, there’s the rub again: women in their late 30s will consider men in their late 50s. This can leave women in their early 50s dating men in their late 50s feeling like they have some serious competition aka premenopausal competition.
Roughly five years difference is ideal
Research has found that the bigger the age gap, the higher the chance there is for divorce. In fact, couples with a 20-plus age gap face a 95 percent chance of divorce. That being said, I don’t necessarily believe that being the exact same age as your partner means the least chances for divorce. Five to seven years difference seems to be a sweet spot for most of the long-term couples I know, who’ve enjoyed multi-decade marriages. This age difference lets men feel they’re dating someone younger (which, hate it or love it, they find attractive), and gives women a partner who is mentally and emotionally their equal.