While we may usually assume a large age gap indicates an older man, there are plenty of women who date and marry men that are significantly younger (although perhaps not quite as extreme as Brigitte Macron, who is nearly a quarter-century senior to her husband, Emmanuel Macron, the president of France). Successful couples come from all stories and backgrounds. That said, age gaps have been proven to cause some unique challenges and complications.
Like, for example, reminiscing about pop culture phenomena from your childhood. You know, remember that song from that TV show everyone was watching in high school? Blank stare. But those things you can laugh off if everything else is going well. Other things, however, can be a little more tricky to handle.
We asked a few women about the unique challenges of dating a younger guy—here’s what they said.
01. He may not be as ready for commitment.
The reality is, when it comes to commitment and readiness for marriage, most guys are a few years behind women. That's important to keep in mind when you commit to dating a guy who is significantly younger than you. Karen, who eventually ended up marrying her younger guy, found that the biggest issue stemmed from him not being as mentally ready for commitment. “It took him a while to even say he was in a committed relationship,” shares Karen. She had to bring up the topic of a relationship more often than anticipated. “It took him longer to say that I was his girlfriend. Men who are older tend to be more ready to take those steps toward commitment sooner.”
Karen admits, though, that age doesn’t necessarily dictate whether or not a guy is ready to commit. Often times it has more to do with how he perceives his maturity. “It has more to do with where the individual comes from and how they’ve viewed their life,” says Karen. Karen explains that, if a guy has always envisioned himself being married young, he is going to be more likely to be ready to commit than a guy who hasn’t envisioned that lifestyle.
02. You’re at different life stages.
If the age gap is large enough, you may find yourself at a completely different point in life, which can be a bigger stumbling block that you might think. “I had been supporting myself for years,” explains Becca of her ex. “We were not at the same point in our lives. I could empathize with where he was, but the level that we related was different because of our age gap.” Perhaps more important than age, is the question of life stage. Is he in a place in life where he can support and relate to you? This is something to think about when you are considering dating a younger guy (or any guy for that matter).
03. The age difference is often a bigger deal in your head.
“I never thought I’d date a younger guy. I always pictured being with someone older. When I started dating someone younger than me, I assumed there would be some big differences. But over time, I realized a lot of this was just in my head,” explains Julie. After a few experiences, she learned to let go of some of her preconceived notions. Sometimes we can blow the age gap thing up to be a bigger deal than it actually is. Most of the time, if the guy is mature enough his being a bit younger than you really shouldn’t be a big deal. The truth is, while dating someone younger can present unique challenges, a happy and healthy relationship is definitely still on the table.
Photo Credit: Map & Compass Photography