Love Is Ageless
And So Is Bigotry
All too often in our society we set standards and rules that seem to be outdated or come from a place of fear or misinformation. Having learned such things during a time of early development, we deny ourselves true happiness because we are too afraid of what society will think. We waste our lives trying to be someone we aren’t meant to be. Given the opportunity to date someone who doesn’t necessarily fit into the mold that society has placed before us we must decide what matters more: acceptance or happiness. Let’s look at things more closely.
You are you 31 and she is 22. You are friends who frequently spend time together. You suddenly are developing feelings for them and are wondering what to do. Should you listen to a section of society that says that the age difference is unacceptable? Or should you listen to your heart that says otherwise? Before becoming entirely consumed by numbers, you need to consider some things.
- Does she have feelings for you?
- We often think about the big picture before considering the here and now. So lost in our concerns over whether or not society will butt in (and our dreaming about/planning for the dates to come), we forget to figure out if she/he is into you. Before giving the age difference another thought, you need to consider whether or not they have feelings for you. Have they dropped hints? Have they given you a reason to think they might like you? Or is this all you? If you think you’re the only one with a crush, your worries about age difference could be for naught.
- What type of a relationship are you prepared to have with her?
- You said that you are interested in dating her. Are you only interested in casual dating or would you be open to getting in deeper? If you think she feels something for you, you need to know before you take another step if you’re willing to go all in or if you want to keep things casual. Also, would you be able to handle just casually dating if that’s all she wants? Too often we go into things unprepared and end up feeling burnt in the end and/or hurting others. Protect yourself.
- Are you willing to lose a friend if things don’t work out?
- Let’s say all goes as planned and you get to have the type and degree of relationship with her that you want to have. Suddenly, things don’t work out and she shuts you out of her life. It’s a definite risk and one that needs to be considered. Can you handle losing her in your life if things go wrong?
You’ve considered these things and have come to the conclusion that she may have feelings for you and you want to date her. Being that you care about society’s opinion of your perspective relationship, I’ll give you some more things to consider.
There is a definite stigma for two people of different age brackets dating each other. Some people will think that you’re with her because she’s young and that she's only in your life as arm candy. They will think that you must be buying her off. Some people will think that she’s with you because she has a “daddy complex.” These same people will think that she’s using you. As I’m sure you know, these people are sick. Too chicken to admit they are unhappy in their own skin, they will take it out on you and find fault where there is none. In order for you to have a successful relationship with this woman, you need to be able to tune these people out. Is this possible for you?
Though nine years isn’t that massive, it is nine years of growth that she’s yet to have. You may see her as a mature woman, yet there may be moments when she’ll leave you scratching your head wondering why she said this or did that. Chances are you both aren’t at the same place in life and you need to be aware of this. From experience, I know that 22 isn’t as old as people would like to make it out to be. At 22, I was freshly out of college and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was pretty naïve and still had some major growing up to do. Had I begun to date someone nine years older than me who was more established in their life and had more life experiences than me, I would’ve felt lost and overwhelmed. If you decide to date each other, you need to be understanding and know that she may not be as mature as you believe her to be. You need to give her space to grow up and work out some of the kinks left from her teenage years. Can you handle this?
You both have your separate friends. Yours are most likely in their thirties and upper twenties. Hers are in their twenties and younger. As friends care about other friends and don’t want them making a mistake in love, I’m willing to bet that you both will have your friends to contend with. They will wonder about the age difference and perhaps have false assumptions. It’s surprising how much your friends can change when you decide to be with someone outside the mold. Are you prepared?
Let’s say things go really, really well and you end up talking about marriage. This is when families get involved and, considering the age difference, they might cause a stink. They will question why a man in his thirties is interested in a woman in her twenties. You’ll be amazed that people who claim to love you so much will question such an important bond you have with another person. Once again, can you handle this?
Undoubtedly, you and your date will receive unkind looks from people who feel they have the right to judge others. It will be uncomfortable and will test you both. In my opinion, when two people are meant to be together, age doesn’t matter. They will overcome the obstacles placed before them by inconsiderate people because they will be able to trust in each other for support. If you think this woman has feelings for you and you both are willing to take whatever is dished out to you, I think you should go for it. Some people will think that it’s “weird” or indecent for you to find happiness together. Ignore them. Life is too short for the opinions of others to keep you from finding happiness with another person. Good luck!
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