The dating age gap

Does dating someone older or younger than you lead to serious consequences in the future?

The dating age gap

Devaki Adhikari

It was typical day at East High School, love birds are acting all lovey dovey, you are walking by those love birds and notice that one is a sophomore, and one is a senior. You start to wonder what obstacles they could be facing due to their difference in age. Especially since one will be going to college soon. What are pros and cons about being in a relationship with someone who is not the same age as you?

Pro of dating someone older or younger

Dating someone who is older or younger than you can be harder when there is difference in maturity level, understanding each others thoughts, motives, and emotions. It is important to think wisely when choosing who you want to be with.

“In my experience and my personal belief is that I only think an age gap is healthy if both people are adults and it is legal. To me, it can be a pro to be in a relationship with someone who is older. They may have more life experiences, be more mature, be motivated, have life goals, and be established in their career,” Power English teacher Trisha Buckley said.
“I think age gaps become much easier the older you get. When you are a teenager, there’s a lot of difference in maturity levels between people that are just a couple years apart. When you are older, it’s not as big of a deal if you are 60 dating a 75-year-old or 40 dating a 50-year-old because you’ve reached a maturity level and life experiences that are similar,” AP psychology teacher Koch Brain said.

Con of dating someone older or younger

Most of the relationships do not end in a happy ending when two couples don’t build up what it takes for them to maintain their relationship long term.

“A con with an age gap would be if one of the people are not mature enough for the relationship and share similar life goals. A person that is younger in a relationship with an age gap may be less established, rely on their partner financially, and not go after their own goals. It is important for both people to establish themselves first before committing to a relationship,” Buckley said.
“From a psychological point of view, we know that the brain isn’t fully developed until someone is in their mid-20s. This means younger people are less likely to think about the possible drawbacks of a relationship with someone much older than they are,” Koch said

Other people’s Perceptions

Teenagers feel uncomfortable telling their friends and family members about what’s going on with their life, and the fear of society’s judgement may trigger them.

“Parents have a hard time believing that their kids can actually make some decent decisions. They want to protect them. They want to stop them from making those choices,” Health teacher Laurie Huss Steils said.

“I think society tends to frown upon teenagers dating someone who is older or younger than them. I think society thinks that teenagers need to focus on their education and establishing themselves and not be pulled in different directions by dating someone that is more established. Maybe society sees it as limiting the teenager’s opportunities in life when they should be opening as many doors as possible to explore who they are and want to be,” Buckley said.
“Out of five friends maybe four would be like ‘oh girl that’s great’ and the fifth one would be like’ umm that’s a predator situation’,” teacher Huss Steils said.

Real life experiences

Here are a few stories between a teacher who had married a man that was one year older than her and students who are in relationships with people a few years older or younger than them. They share the lesson they have learned, obstacles, and the outcome to what it takes to build a healthy relationship.

“I was married at 22 (three weeks after graduating college) to a 23-year-old man. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with my life yet, hadn’t established my career or my life goals, and sacrificed my career to support his. I didn’t know that people could develop mental health issues later in life that could severely impact a person’s ability to treat their spouse well or make good decisions regarding finances and a career. After 10.5 years of marriage, I became a divorced single mom. I learned that some people are not matured and haven’t learned to handle the challenges of adulthood and all the responsibilities that come with it. I wish I would have recognized that myself instead of getting married young. Being in a relationship young put a lot of strain on us financially and I am much more financially stable now on my own than when I was when I was younger and married. If I were to date, I would now date someone who is older, stable career, and financially stable,” Buckley said.

“My boyfriend’s name is Bijay Tamang he is 19 years old, and I am 17. We are two years apart. I guess there’s some obstacles we have faced being in long a distance relationship. One is not being able to meet each other, not being able to support each other face to face, not being able to hangout, and go to movies, and stuff like that. We both are trying to understand each other for sure. Me wanting to get my MD degree triggers him sometimes because it’s a long time. He has to bear so much stress because of me and my mood swings and stuff like that. He supports me very well, and motivates me to keep going even on the days I feel like giving up,” 17-year-old Buddha Gurung said.

“My boyfriend’s name is Soroj Gurung, we are two years apart. My personal experience with dating someone older than me is his side of family and my side of family of accept our love. Which is precious for both of us. I have always felt such a strong connection between us. He a is gentleman, mature, and a friendly person who gives importance to his loved ones. Our relationship is not perfect there are time where time management get’s hard due to our long-distance relationship. Our relationship is not perfect we have fight, we argue, based on our rights, but we motive each other by talking it out, forgive when we both makes mistakes, and in the end of the day the love we have for each other always remain same,” 17-year-old Kusang Gurung said.