I never imagined that after being single throughout my 20s, I’d end up in an “unorthodox” relationship. My husband, Kevin, and I have an eight-year age difference. That wouldn’t be a big deal if he were the older one. But in our case, it’s the reverse. So I was 30 when we met, and you can do the math.
In today’s feature article, I tell our story and talk about four things to consider when dating with an age difference.
As part of my research, I talked with Willy Wooten, a licensed marriage and family therapist, who has been counseling for over 30 years. Here is a list of questions Willy suggested that couples with an age difference (five years or more) consider:
- Do you have similar energy levels and recreational interests? In five or 10 years, could a contrast in vitality cause you to move in different directions?
- Relationship experience: Why haven’t other relationships (including a previous marriage) worked out?
- Is there anything in your medical histories (physical or mental) that needs to be considered?
- What will you have to give up to pursue this relationship? (For example, having biological children if the woman is older.)
- How do we fit into one another’s lives, and can we get along with each other’s friends?
- Is the age difference creating an unhealthy dynamic such as teacher/student or parent/child?
- What debt and/or financial assets are you bringing into the relationship?
While these questions may have special implications for May-December couples, they are actually great questions for any couple. Kevin and I found that even though our answers to a few of these questions weren’t ideal, asking them helped us think through the strategy we would take in our relationship and marriage. And that early proactivity has been a great asset to us.
Would you consider dating or marrying someone who is significantly older or younger than you? What questions would you ask? How would you be proactive about the direction of your relationship?