A Reddit user asked the folks of the Reddit community: “Couples with a large age difference: How is it different, and what kind of issues do you face?”
Their stories were so good that they inspired our BuzzFeed Community to share their own experiences dating someone much older or younger.
So, here’s what they had to say:
Note: Some submissions include topics of emotional abuse, domestic violence, and suicide. Please proceed with caution.
1. “I’m 38, and my guy is 51. We have been together for six years. It’s so easy with him, and has always felt that way. I’m super fortunate that his three children (who are between 9 and 13 years younger than myself) are so loving and accepting of me and my 10-year-old son. Our family dynamic is awesome, but I know that doesn’t happen for everyone. I’m just super grateful it has worked out for us. Everyone deserves to find their person and be happy, no matter what that looks like. 🧡”
2. “I was with a man who was 42, and I was 19 when we met, and we started sleeping together. I was attracted to him physically, and as an added bonus, I had a paid internship where he just got hired. Everyone I knew that met him asked me if I was okay, and now a decade later, I understand why. He was controlling, manipulative, and we spent most nights drinking heavily. He lost his job after a year and a half, so I had to support him while I worked two jobs and was going to school. When I broke up with him, he stalked me for six months. He showed up drunk screaming outside of my apartment, slashed the tires of a guy who I had over, and told everyone we were still dating and I was just having to deal with family things.”
“I believe it depends on the person, but if my daughter dates someone who’s significantly older, I will have a lot of things to say.”
3. “I was in a relationship with a man 25 years my senior. The age gap didn’t really hit until I visited my parents at their retirement community. I saw the younger wives with their elderly husbands push them around in wheelchairs or having to help them out of the car. I realized what exactly I’d be looking at in the long-term, and TBH, it kinda shook me.”
4. “My parents have 20 years between them, and the generational differences are their number-one biggest issue. My dad expected my mom to listen and maintain the house and fit in a box. My mom is Catholic, so that worked for a while — but when my dad had to retire because of a disability, things went to shit. He couldn’t work, and his whole sense of self crumbled. My mom stepped up, went to nursing school, and became the ‘breadwinner.’ Because she was able to take over, he was incredibly jealous, and since he didn’t believe in therapy, he became incredibly petty.”
“He could have been open to a different identity by going to therapy (but he couldn’t be because ‘men didn’t do therapy’ in his generation). But my mom is still Catholic, and feels responsible for him because of his disability — so they’re stuck in this horrifyingly toxic mess of a marriage.
*I* (the 34-year-old child) am still working through the trauma related to their absolute generationally-driven NONSENSE.”
5. “My boyfriend is 16.5 years my senior (I’m 33, and he’s 50). We got together when I was 29. I had previously been married to a younger man (five years younger), so it was refreshing to be with someone more mature. My ex was extremely smart, but was abusive and likely had an undiagnosed mental illness. Both my ex and current partner are registered nurses. I have never felt peace as I have in my current relationship — we definitely have our ups and downs, but for the most part, it’s pretty effortless. We rarely argue. The only issue is he doesn’t want kids, and I’m on the fence.”
“It’s causing me a lot of inner turmoil to be honest. I love him with all of my heart, but I’m afraid the day will come when I have to chose him or children (especially, as I reach my mid-30s).
Overall, I feel like he gives me a lot of sound life advice. We often have a good laugh when he references something that happened in the ’90s (when he was in his 20s) and I’m like: ‘Yeah, I think I was in preschool. 🤣'”
6. “Last year when I turned 50, I was approached by a 37-year-old man, and I gave him a chance because he was smart, funny, and very handsome. However, soon it turned out he was also immature, selfish, and self-centered. He refused to use condoms, canceled dates at the last second, and changed plans when I already saved time and organized everything. He eventually ghosted me, saying he is ‘just too busy.’ Never again — he ruined all younger men for me. Also, six months after he ghosted me, he had the audacity to send me a message: ‘Hi, what are you doing?’ to which I didn’t reply.”
7. “My husband and I are 10 years apart — we met when I was 25, and have been together for six years now. The age gap has never been an issue. It’s actually been a blessing because he got his ‘wild phase’ of his life out of his system by the time we met, and was ready to settle down. I never really had that phase, so I was looking for a serious relationship (but was getting nowhere with guys my age). Every guy I had dated before him wanted to party all the time, only wanted to hook up, and was emotionally immature. My husband was none of that — our interests, values, and life goals aligned from day one. My parents weren’t even surprised when I told them I was with someone 10 years older than me.”
8. “I’m 27 and currently dating a man who is 65. I asked for his number, and since then, we have hit it off. He takes me out for dinner, walks me home after work, and makes me smile and happy. He has such an upbeat, trendy, and young energy (which I am so attracted to). Things are going well, and I’ve never been happier in my life since meeting him.”
9. “I’m 36, and my partner is 62, and we’ve been together for 12 years. He has a daughter who is 39, and we get along really well (we have more in common then most of my own friends). My partner and I got some comments at first, but it stopped after a few years. It may be unusual, but it works for us. We do have an open relationship in part to deal with the difference in sex drives.”
10. “I’m seven and a half years older than my girlfriend. We first met in an online Dungeons and Dragons game early in the first lockdown [of the pandemic], just before my 30th birthday (she was 22). We were friends for the better part of a year before starting to date, though there was a spark from the beginning on both sides. Being friends first, then having to take it slow because a combination of lockdown and distance meant we couldn’t meet in person for another four months. It showed we were very compatible, and the age difference barely showed. There are a few childhood cultural references on each other’s end we don’t get, though I have several younger siblings (some of them around her age). So, I was still subjected to kids TV even when I was outside the target age range.”
11. “There are 13 years between my husband and I. I was 25 when we met, and we’ve been together 15 years. I never wanted babies, so having an instant family with 7-year-old twins and a 16-year-old daughter was perfect for me when we got together.”
12. “My husband is 14 years older than me. We met when I was 23 and he was 37, and we have been together 16 years now. It was truly a case of being the right person for each other. I have two kids (ages 6 and 9) — yes, he’s older, but he is a great dad, and we have a true love story. As someone who grew up with a terrible father and divorced parents, this gift of a happy, stable home is far greater to my kids than a younger dad. You can’t help who you fall in love with.”
13. “There is a nine-year (almost to the day) age gap between myself and my partner. I just worry about the future — while nothing is ever certain, the likelihood that he will go before me by a lot saddens me. Neither of us are in stages in our lives where children are for us — I am an only child without a close family, so I really could be alone.”
14. “I married my husband when I was 22 and he was 44. His oldest daughter is four years younger than me. He also has a daughter who’s five years younger than her sister, and a son who’s five years younger than that. We’ve been married nearly 20 years, and my step-kids and I are really close. I can’t have kids, so that’s not an issue. Honestly, the only ‘problem’ is that he will retire a lot sooner than I can, but I work remotely and can also work from the car, so we still get to travel.”
15. “I’m 24, and my partner is 55. We both make each other happy, we both help each other get out of sad moods, and know how to cheer each other up. He is the person who I can’t stop smiling about when I see him, and he gives me such good advice when I need it. He’s never dated anyone more than a year younger than him, so he’s sometimes a little apprehensive — but we work well together.”
16. “My uncle is 15 years older than my aunt (they met when he was 50 and she was 35). And while their relationship was great for both of them, they both acknowledge it becomes significantly more challenging once you’re older. Now he’s in his early 80s and dealing with the aftermath of a few mild strokes. He can’t drive, and he’s less mobile. Meanwhile, she’s in her late 60s and still a very athletic and socially active person. She feels bad about leaving him alone because he can’t do as much anymore, and he feels bad that she misses out on things she wants to do. It’s not a dealbreaker for either one of them by any means, but it’s particularly important to talk about how you’ll handle that aspect of your relationship.”
17. “I like older men, but I don’t think I could marry one. Usually, with the ones I crush on, I find a reason not to like them or base them off my personality. They are too serious or think that women shouldn’t joke around (my boss was weird).”
18. And: “I’m 38, and my husband is 54. His children are all in the military, and blame him for his ex-wife’s suicide. It’s difficult at times because he doesn’t let me learn on my own since he already knows things and was a very successful lawyer. We get along for the most part — he loves me and helped me during a really bad point in my life when I was severely depressed. I also helped him when he was in a bad car accident while on the phone with me. We both almost died, but helped each other through those times.”
“My mother believes in past lives and thinks we somehow had a past life together. I know I’ll be with him forever, and I completely trust him, which is something I’ve never had.
You can’t chose who you fall in love with — relationships are work, but the good far outweighs the bad. It’s been 16 years now, and I haven’t wanted anyone else beside me but him. ❤️”
Note: Some stories have been edited for length and/or clarity.