True story – when I was in my early 20s, I dated a man 13 years older than me. We were together for about 3 years before we decided to go our separate ways.
That’s quite an extreme age difference, one that my friends and family couldn’t understand.
And while for the most part, the relationship was good, there were certainly issues that arose due to our ages.
So, want to know what the benefits and pitfalls of dating someone more than 10 years older than you are?
Keep reading to find out!
1) Maturity and experience
I think most people who go for a much older partner will agree that the maturity and experience they bring to the relationship can be extremely refreshing.
In my case, I was tired of guys my age. I was fairly mature for a 20-year-old and wanted someone who could appreciate that.
Not to mention, things like:
- Emotional maturity
- Understanding of how relationships work
- Communication skills
All get better the older we get.
But I will say this – age doesn’t guarantee maturity. You’ve got to look at the individual to determine their mindset. The same goes for experience.
2) Financial stability
Now, another benefit to dating someone older is financial stability. If you’re lucky.
And that’s not to say you want a sugar daddy or a cougar to pay your bills and buy you nice things, but it’s just easier to date someone who has their finances in order.
For example, at the time I was dating my ex, other guys my age were still finding their feet on the financial ladder.
They were at the start of their careers and everything was up in the air.
My ex, on the other hand, had already been working for 12 + years. He had savings and his own place.
This meant that we could do a lot more together – holidays, day trips out, etc – but it also meant there were very few arguments over money.
3) Different perspectives
One thing I loved about dating older was how my ex would open my mind to new things and new perspectives.
And when it came to problem-solving?
Well, it felt like he knew everything.
But in reality, it was just that he’d had a lot more life experience, a lot more time to learn these things.
This is another plus to dating someone more than 10 years older than you. As they’ve aged, their views on the world change, and it’s really interesting to hear viewpoints that differ from your own.
For example, there’s one thing I distinctly remember my ex always used to say:
“These things tend to work themselves out.”
While friends of my age group would be freaking out over something, he had the experience to know not to sweat it. And that was very calming for me.
4) Established lifestyle
When we think about the requirements of a healthy relationship, stability is certainly one of them.
And when you date someone 10 years older than you, hopefully, they’re in a stable place in their life.
They’ve got their housing sorted. They’ve got a career. They’re settled.
And this makes building a relationship much easier than being with someone who is unsure of where they’re going in life.
In other words, they’re not transitioning as much as a younger person might, so there’s less pressure on the relationship.
5) Enhanced personal growth
And finally, one of the major benefits for me was how much I grew in those three years with my ex.
I was exposed to so much – new ideas, new cultures, new habits, and new people.
Especially people who were older than me.
This really developed my understanding of the world and also helped me grow in confidence.
And many people who date older may agree with this. Sometimes, you’re forced out of your comfort zone when spending time with someone so much older than you.
But this contributes to your personal growth.
Not to mention, their confidence as an older person is infectious. If they’re a good partner, they’ll be lifting you up and helping you realize your potential in the world.
So, is dating an older person the be-all and all? No, like everything in life, there are good things and bad.
Let’s explore some of the negatives.
1) Generational differences
10 years might not seem like a huge difference, but look at the people around you – how different was your upbringing from an older family member? Or a younger cousin?
The truth is, that these differences in culture, viewpoints, and education can affect a relationship.
My ex came from a generation that was supposed to “just get on with it” and not speak about their emotions very much.
I grew up in a totally different world, where things like mental health and the importance of communication were more prevalent.
Naturally, this caused a disconnect in some areas, where we simply couldn’t see eye-to-eye.
So this is well worth considering if you’ve met someone a lot older. Don’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations – it’s important to know whether you’re compatible regardless of age before committing to a relationship.
2) Different life stages
Ultimately, my relationship ended because my partner, in his mid-30s, wanted to get married and start a family.
I was newly graduated and wanted to travel. I didn’t feel the urge to settle down at that age.
Even if you’re at a later stage in life, there are differences to consider. If you’re in your 50s, you might still be focusing on working and climbing the professional ladder.
An older partner may be looking to slow down in life already. And if kids are in the mix from previous relationships?
This can complicate things even further.
3) Future planning challenges
Following on from the previous point, these different life stages can make it harder to plan for the future.
When you date someone your own age, it’s easier to map out your goals for the future.
I used the example of one person focusing on their career advancement while the other is settling down into retirement.
This is a valid example of how age can make these things harder to plan for.
Another example – my ex had a goal to buy a house of his own, whereas saving for a mortgage was the last thing on my mind at that time.
This made it hard to stay on the same page about the future.
4) Health concerns
When it comes to dating, health isn’t usually the first thing people think about.
But if you’re considering dating someone 10 plus years older than you, it’s certainly worth considering.
Chronic issues, decreased energy, and other age-related concerns can put a lot of stress on a relationship.
That being said, if you really love and value someone, you probably wouldn’t let these things put you off.
But if you’re looking for something more casual that doesn’t require much responsibility on your part, dating someone a lot older might not be for you.
Now before we move on, I must say:
No one is free from health issues. You could date someone younger and a few years in, they may suffer from poor health.
But ultimately, we can’t deny that age does bring about more issues, so it’s worth taking this into account.
5) Social judgment
And finally, be prepared for a LOT of uncomfortable questions, and a shit ton of judgment.
My ex got called a pedophile even though I was well above legal age when we got together. Some people insinuated he had groomed me – not true.
I was accused of being a gold digger – also not true – even though I worked and provided for myself for the most part of our relationship.
Society has a lot to say when it comes to age differences.
And if you’re thinking of dating someone older, you’ve got to keep this in mind.
All you have to do is search it on YouTube and there are plenty of age-gap documentaries that highlight how people think and feel about such relationships.
Their opinions shouldn’t matter, but they can still sting. Especially if your family disagrees with the relationship and refuses to support you through it.
So, now you’ve got a balanced overview of the benefits and pitfalls of dating someone more than 10 years older than you, I hope you’ll make the right decision for you.
Ultimately, I don’t believe in judging on age alone. I think things like maturity, compatibility, and shared values and goals are most important.
And just like every type of relationship out there, it could either work out and be the best relationship of your life or fail terribly and leave you in heartbreak. That’s just the risk you’ve got to take when it comes to love!