How Young Is Too Young

Senior Dating

How Young Is Too Young?

Michelle Johnson
Michelle Johnson Updated:
Discuss This! Discuss This!

There’s no doubt that attraction, chemistry, and even love can strike two seemingly incompatible people. From the outside looking in, it can sometimes be baffling.

The so-called May to December romance in particular often raises eyebrows. Besides the obvious jail-bait issue, many people wonder how many years they can rob the cradle by and still face the light of day.

We’re here to help you figure out just how young is too young:

Years vs Decades Makes a Difference

While a few years difference in age is seldom a major issue between two people, those who are many years or even decades apart may experience some unique challenges.

For example, there could be lifestyle choices, career or family conflicts, or significant cultural and generational differences.

Photo of Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris

A few years apart is rarely an issue, but those who are decades apart may experience challenges.

A 30-something client of mine recently started dating a man in his late 50s. While she found him attractive, charming, and interesting, she still wanted to have a marriage and children, while he wanted retirement and a travel companion.

Despite truly enjoying being together, they determined their lifestyle choices and priorities were too far apart.

I also recently heard a man share that while he was fine with his girlfriend being 12 years older for now, he frankly wondered if he would still feel attracted to her when he was 50 and she was 62. He said the thought caused him to question the longevity of the relationship.

While this may make the blood of some women boil, it was his honest assessment.

Having a Trophy Wife vs Being a Cougar Makes a Difference

Sure, it’s always been common for older men to be attracted to significantly younger women. The classic stereotype is the well-off, distinguished older man who can offer a younger woman security, prestige, or luxury in exchange for her being his arm candy or trophy wife.

Photo of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones just celebrated 15 years together despite their 25-year age difference.

However, the “cougar” phenomenon for women (with a few notable exceptions) is a relatively new and increasingly popular option for some women. Perhaps the most famous example is the former pairing of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Women everywhere celebrated this love affair!

Despite some possible landmines, mature singles who are openminded about the age range of dating partners do increase their pool of prospects. By broadening the search results on your dating profile, you will expand the reach of potential partners significantly.

You Could Try Calculating an “Appropriate” Age Difference

There are even special rules to calculate exactly how many years apart two people can be and still have it be socially acceptable.

GIF of Tim Curry counting from ClueOne such example of a formula says to divide your age by two and add seven years to determine the minimum appropriate age of a potential dating partner.

Some people simply believe if they are old enough to have been the parent of the person they are considering dating, then that person is off limits.

While it might be fun to calculate the possibilities using formulas or to consult a psychic hotline on the matter, it’s not so easy to quantify.

The decision about who is too young to date is ultimately based on the preferences, chemistry, and compatibility of the two people involved.

Only You Can Decide

The age range of the people you would consider dating is a question only you can answer for yourself. How you feel about this inside is far more important than what anyone else thinks.

The preferences and perspective of your dating partner will also obviously be a determining factor.

One thing is certain, though, love at any age is exhilarating and enriches your life. Don’t make your criteria too narrow or you’ll miss out on someone amazing!

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