Dating an older guy has always been one of those things that makes a girl seem impossibly cool, mysterious, and chic. When I was in eighth grade, the most popular girl in my class was dating a guy who was already in high school. He was only a freshman, but it didn’t matter – it was one of the things that made her middle school royalty. Throughout high school, whenever a friend or classmate would date someone older than her, the rest of us would moan about our own lame love lives, talking about her older guys were soooo much better than the immature dudes we had to deal with.
Now that I’m older, and I’ve dated a guy a lot older than myself, I can tell you this with certainty: dating someone who’s a lot older than you isn’t as cool, chic, and grown-up as it appears to be. Guys are not more mature and wonderful because they’re older. They come with their own set of problems, plus the problems you’d deal with if you dated someone your age. Dating someone older can be tough!
Of course, that’s not to say it never works out. There are plenty of people who date with a large age gap and are very happy and well-adjusted. But any relationship with a gap in age comes with its own unique set of challenges that you can’t really relate to unless you’ve been there. So, if you’re dating someone who’s a lot older than you, or you’re interested in doing that, please read these tips. Trust me on this one!
Make Sure What You're Doing Is LegalBefore you do anything with an older guy, please, please, please make sure that being with him would be legal. Statutory rape is real and serious. The laws vary depending on what state you live in (or what country you live in), so familiarize yourself by looking at a site like this one. If you, as a 16-year-old, date a 21-year-old, and that's illegal where you live, he could go to jail, even if it's a consenting relationship. The age of consent IS a thing, not a joke. A lot of girls don't like the idea of statutory rape, but these laws are in place for a reason. A guy in his twenties, thirties, or beyond should not be dating a girl under the age of 18-years-old. I strongly, strongly believe that and am glad the law typically backs that up. Large age gaps get less scandalous as you get older for a reason. For now, please avoid dating anyone you legally should not be involved with. Even if you're 19 and of consenting age, please be careful with older guys. A lot of older men do go after young women because they feel like they can be in control more, and that's never a good thing. When I was 18, I dated a guy 10 years older than me. I thought it was fine then, but looking back on it, I see he really took advantage of me, and that I was way too young for him to be acting the way he was. Source: iStock
Get Comfortable With Honest CommunicationSo you two would be legal together and you think he's a good guy? Great. Keep reading! If you're going to date someone older than you, you need to get comfortable with honest, open communication. Dating someone older than you can be tough and it gets harder as the age gap gets bigger. Even if you're a freshman and he's a junior - it can still be tough. You're in different places in your lives, so you're both striving for different things, and that can really affect a relationship. You guys have to learn how to talk through things and how to get through the hard stuff together. Source: iStock
Get Used To People Being Rude AF About ItHere's something that sucks about dating someone who is clearly older than you: people are rude as hell about it. You'll find friends who make fun of you or your bae for the age gap. People will say it's "creepy" for a guy to date someone younger than them. If there's a big age gap, they'll act like someone is being manipulative. They'll ask why you would date someone who isn't your age. If they don't say anything to your face, they'll make subtle comments, raise their eyebrows, or just generally make you feel uncomfortable. You can think of your own comebacks to what people say, or you can ignore it and focus on your own happiness. My fiance is almost three years younger than me, and I get a lot of people who make fun of me for that. I've learned to just ignore them and move on, but it's not always easy! Just remember their opinion doesn't really matter. Source: iStock
Don't Assume He's Always Right Because He's OlderWhen you're dating an older guy, it's easy to assume he's much more experienced in relationship stuff than you are, and to then assume he's usually going to be right about dating arguments and all that. This is totally not true. Do not equate being older with being better at dating. That's how a weird manipulation starts. There are plenty of older dudes who have no idea what the hell they're doing! Don't think that just because you're younger, you don't know better sometimes. And if he thinks you're always wrong and silly because you're younger? You shouldn't be dating him, girl. Source: iStock
Realize He Might Not Want To Hang With Your FriendsOne of the disadvantages to dating someone a lot older than you is that you two might not have the same friend group. For example, if you're in high school and he's in college, he probably isn't going to want to come to high school parties because he feels like he's done with that part of his life. And you might feel uncomfortable always being around his friend group that you feel a little left out of. Couples don't have to have the same friend groups, but it is definitely tough when you don't have mutual friends. Try to work around it if possible, or figure out what's more important to you. Source: iStock
Don't Try To Act Like You Know More Than You DoPlease don't assume that just because he's older, you need to spend a lot of time impressing him or his friends. Don't pretend to know stuff you don't know yet, whether it's sexual experience type of things or just a pop culture reference. It's okay to let the age gap show. If you guys can't be comfortable with it, you probably shouldn't be dating. Source: iStock
Realize There's Going To Be Some Major DifferencesIf you guys have a large age gap, it's important to acknowledge that you might do or think about certain things differently. When I was 18, dating a 28-year-old, we realized we didn't have a ton in common when it came to the way we grew up. It was totally different! This definitely affected the way we were together. For example, I was all about texting - him? Not so much. He wasn't on social media at all, I loved it. Little things like that sound like they don't matter, but they do tend to make things a little awkward. Source: iStock
Find Common GroundThere are a lot of differences when there's a large gap in age, but something pulled you guys together, so if things start feeling hard but you're not ready to end it, go back to what originally made you interested in each other. Find common ground and interest. People can be happy together even if they have superficial differences. Source: iStock
Take It Slow With Family StuffSo, you're in a legal relationship and you guys are really happy together... but that age gap is still there. It's usually really hard for a young woman's family to accept that the girl is dating someone a lot older. It can also be hard for a guy's family to accept that the dude is dating someone younger. You don't need to hide everything, but definitely take it slow and realize that there might be judgment from both sides. Source: iStock
Have you ever dated someone older or younger? What was it like? Share in the comments!