Q: I’m a single woman and have a mutual interest in getting to know a man who’s eight years younger than I am. This feels strange since other guys I’ve dated have been closer to my own age. Do you think this is okay? Any advice?
A: It wasn’t so long ago that your question would’ve raised eyebrows. But older women dating and marrying younger men isn’t considered as culturally taboo as it once was. Like every other relationship, the most important consideration is the character of the man and woman involved. That said, it’s worth mentioning some dynamics that can make these relationships unique in their challenges.
One obvious area you’ll want to evaluate is his level of maturity and stability. Keep in mind that there can be a big difference if you and he are ages 26 and 18, or 34 and 26. This can be an issue, as men generally take more time to identify their purpose and place in the world and aren’t always inclined to settle down or prepared to support a family. Watch for how he handles his finances, stress, commitments to job, friends, family, etc.
Equally important is the need for you to take an honest look at your motives and to be aware of possible blind spots. Women tend to be the more nurturing of the sexes, and some guys are looking for a perpetual mother. Such pairings typically have disastrous results, with the woman taking on every responsibility and eventually losing respect for and resenting the “little boy” she married who never grew up.
Feel free, then, to move ahead. But as you do, be sure to ask yourself these and other questions early on and along the way to ensure that you’re both like-minded and in a similar, healthy place.
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