Dating a girl 5 years older
In your twenties, especially in the years immediately after college, an age difference of just a year or two can make you feel like you're a world apart from someone.
Which makes sense — in the course of 24 months, I transformed from a college senior who'd never lived on my own and subsisted primarily on bagels stolen from the school cafeteria to a financially independent adult who worked a serious job and subsisted primarily on bagels stolen from work.
You're supposedly an immature doofus who can't attract partners your own age, or maybe a delusional narcissist who can't cope with aging (I've heard both! Again, all these ideas are based on stereotypes — primarily, that youth is one of the only valuable traits a woman possesses when dating, and that to take a pass on using it as a bargaining chip to find a more desirable mate is insane. (But, of course, if calling yourself a "cougar" gets your rocks off, then more power to you, my friend.)There's another myth out there that dating young people means that you'll never get serious — that dating a younger guy or girl means that you're signing on for a relationship purgatory full of half-assed plans, a lack of emotional commitment, and being introduced as "this girl I'm kinda hanging out with" at parties.
Dating a girl 5 years older
I felt like I was racking up new life milestones every day, and couldn't imagine relating to anyone younger than me — and so I became fixated on dating older guys, because I thought it was the only way I could find someone who would be mature enough to make me happy.
But this kind of thinking conflates practical responsibility with emotional maturity — which isn't really accurate.
I'd just gotten out of a long-ish relationship with a guy who was fixated on achieving "appropriate life milestones" — marriage, kids, stable jobs — and the experience made me realize that I wasn't on the same page about that kind of thing as a lot of people my own age.
At 28, I was only just beginning to explore my true desires for my career and life — which made me have a lot more in common with a recent college grad than someone who'd had almost a decade since graduation to figure out what they wanted.
But the experience has made me think about how women are discouraged from dating younger men — especially women in their twenties.
Although the idea of a "cougar" who dates much younger men has a certain cultural cachet, being a woman in your twenties who simply chooses a partner who's a bit younger is often viewed as weird, desperate, or deluded — basically, anything besides what it is, which is totally normal.
Lots of women who've dated around have similar stories that prove that there's no concrete relationship between being older and actually acting like an adult.
In our culture, dating an older partner is often seen as a status symbol for younger women — we're often told that older partners will be more financially and emotionally stable, which is why being courted by an older partner is often seen as a compliment, a confirmation that you, indeed, have your act together and are desirable.
Our personalities remain more consistent through the years, but the window dressing of maturity tends to change pretty darn quick — which is how, despite having the same age gap, my once "scandalously young" partner is now seen as pretty age appropriate for me.
Sure, if you date someone younger than you, you may get to help them figure out some basic life admin stuff for a while — but it won't be a pure "teacher-student"-type relationship, not just because younger people still have plenty to teach us, but also because people figure that stuff out relatively quickly.
In the early days of our relationship, I got a lot of a lot of exasperated eyerolls, "you go, girl"s, and questions about whether I was technically old enough to be a cougar.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating