Age differences between a two people who are dating are becoming more and more common. As Internet dating becomes more popoular and as people become more openminded in an evolving society, age doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot these days. However, when does age matter when dating a younger woman or a younger man? Are there ways to keep dating outside of your “age range” safe for both you and your partner?
Question: Hey Dan and Jennifer, this girl and I have been talking and she and I both really like each other, but our age difference is substantial, however, I don’t see a problem with it. She still likes me but she is nervous to be with me. What is your advice on my situation?
The Older You Get, The Less It Matters
When you get older, an age difference between you and your partner matters less and less. For example, if you’re 75 and your partner is just 60, it’s less of an issue than if you’re 32 and your partner is 17. If you or your partner are currently middle age, then there is even less to worry about. If you are 40 and your partner is 55, you’ll find that people are actually surprised that you’re fifteen years apart! If you’re young, however, the age difference can easily become a big deal. Even just a few years in this case can be a problem. If you’re 16 and your partner is 18 or even 19, you’ll notice that a lot of people have something to say about dating a younger woman or man.
Take It Slow
When you’re young, don’t be afraid to take it slow if you and your partner are a few or several years apart. There’s nothing wrong with taking it slow and it can pose less of an issue if you and your partner are dating without being sexually active, depending on your age. This comes into play more often if one partner is under the age of eighteen and one partner is over the age of eighteen. The younger man or woman may want to wait until they turn eighteen before the couple takes the relationship to the next level. Regardless of the age difference, however, make sure you and your partner are both ready to take that step if the time comes. If you aren’t, there’s no reason to rush it!
When It Becomes A Legal Problem
Legally, eighteen is the age in which people can give consent to have sex. If you or your partner are under the age of eighteen and one of you is over, it can become a legal issue when sex becomes involved. A vindictive parent may decide they want to press charges for “statutory rape” or “corruption of a minor” even if the “victim” is just a few weeks or even days shy of being eighteen. Parents can press charges even if the “victim” was fully consenting of the sexual act. The statute of limitations on this kind of charge is long enough that you could be in trouble well after your partner turns eighteen. If both partners are under the age of eighteen, the issue becomes less of a problem as both parties involved are considered minors. However, once one partner turns eighteen, legally you and your partner can get in more trouble than it was worth. The best thing to do in a situation like this is play it safe and wait!