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“I’m 18 and My Boyfriend is 30″

My boyfriend turned 30 a few days ago and I turn 19 in a couple months. I understand that age differences become less of a big deal when you’re in your 20-somethings, but I’m not. He’s a good man, who takes good care of me, is well-educated and has a good job. I hope to tell my parents soon about him, but the problem is that they’re rather old-fashioned and conservative. I believe that at least for a while, my parents will be strongly disapproving. What is the best way to deal with that, and are age differences in a relationship really all that taboo? — May-December

You can help them accept your boyfriend by having plenty of reasons of why you love him and why you’re good together. You’ll need to be prepared to answer whatever questions they have, like where you met, how serious you are, and… why he isn’t dating someone his own age. The key is not to be overly defensive. If you are, it gives the appearance that you’re aren’t secure in the relationship or your choice in a boyfriend. If things are really as genuine and happy between you as you say they are, then let the relationship speak for itself, answer any questions honestly and openly, and accept that not everyone — including your parents — are going to accept that a 30-year-old man has good intentions when dating an 18-year-old girl.

If your parents are willing to meet him, you can introduce them so they can see for themselves what he’s like. If you are financially independent, you really don’t need their approval (although it would be nice). If they still support you, you need to respect whatever rules they might have. You’re old enough that hopefully you’ll be on your own soon and you can do whatever you want.

Do be careful, though. While your age difference isn’t necessarily “taboo,” it is big enough that it could potentially cause a lot of problems. There’s a reason why 12-year age gaps become less of a “thing” as people mature but remain rather shocking between people a teenager and a grown adult. You don’t have the life experience your boyfriend does and that puts you at risk for being taken advantage of. Be smart and proceed with caution.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Joanna July 18, 2011, 3:11 pm

The real question here is if HE is willing to meet your parents. If he’s not, that’s a big sign his intentions are less than meets the eye.

Don’t start out with announcing his age to your parents. Just treat him as you would do to a boyfriend of similar age around your parents. If they ask, then you can tell them but it’s really not vital absolutely necessary detail. Paint him in the best light possible when introducing him to your parents.

avatar TECH July 18, 2011, 3:16 pm

There’s not much you can do to change other people’s opinions, other than demonstrating that you are in a healthy relationship. We don’t have much in the way of details about your relationship, but I would say this to you or to any almost nineteen year old — hold off on making a permanent commitment to him!
You will change soooo much between now and when you are 25.

avatar MissDre July 18, 2011, 3:24 pm

You are so right. I just turned 25 and I definitely am not even the same person I was at 19…. Hell, I can’t even describe how much I’ve grown, learned and changed in the last 2 years!

LW, I will not make any judgements about your relationship but I will say, please don’t make any serious sacrifices for him at this point in your life. You have SO much life ahead of you. Always put yourself first.

avatar PinkPanther July 18, 2011, 3:34 pm

I just wanted to post and say that I absolutely agree with MissDre and TECH. I will turn 26 in two months and I can’t even begin to describe how much I have changed and grown since I was 19! And like MissDre, I have also grown and changed a lot just in the past two years.

Again, just make sure that you look out for you, and if you have long term goals that don’t line up with his, don’t sell yourself short by giving them up. :)

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 3:52 pm

MissDre. I would have thought you were much older, your posts are always full of wise advice !

avatar mf July 18, 2011, 4:32 pm

Very good advice. I’m 25 and I can’t believe how much I’ve changed in a few years. I’m SO glad I didn’t marry the guy I dated at 18!

avatar Rachelgrace53 July 19, 2011, 3:17 pm

DITTO a million times over… I might have killed myself by now. And if not, I certainly wouldn’t be happy or fulfilled and I wouldn’t have been able to pursue nearly any of my dreams.

avatar JennyTalia July 18, 2011, 3:22 pm

I would leave his age out until after they meet him. I doubt that when you go out to your first dinner as a family, they will start with “So, how old are you?” If they have any decency they will ask you in private afterwards. As Wendy said, let the relationship speak for itself. Then once they find out his age, they at least won’t be judging by that first.

I will also caution you, as Wendy did, to ensure that you aren’t being taken advantage of. As a girl who dated older when she was 18/19/20/21, it is very easy to fall for a man who is older and seemingly more mature – and he knows this. The reason it’s not a big deal for me (24) to date my boyfriend (33) is because we are both in the same phase of life – graduated college, have been in our careers for a while, are looking for the same thing, etc. I’m not saying your relationship isn’t real, I’m just saying be careful when you cross life-stage lines.

avatar SpaceySteph July 18, 2011, 3:34 pm

‘I doubt that when you go out to your first dinner as a family, they will start with “So, how old are you?”’
Um, my parents totally would. And in fact have, though in that case I was the older one in the relationship by 3 years. I would prepare yourself for all manner of embarassing parent behaviors, as you should anytime you introduce a S.O. to your parents, regardless of age.

avatar honeybeenicki July 18, 2011, 4:41 pm

My parents would (and have) asked that and other things that common decency shouldn’t have allowed them to do as well.

avatar kdog July 18, 2011, 4:54 pm

I think it’s funny that people are saying you don’t have to tell them his age…I have a feeling they’ll figure out that he looks more like 30 than 20 pretty quick.

avatar Quakergirl July 18, 2011, 8:38 pm

Seriously. And even a basic conversational question with completely innocent intentions is likely to reveal a significant age difference. As in, dad asks, “so where do you go to school?” and the boyfriend says, “actually, I’m a doctor/stockbroker/school principal/your congressman.”

katie katie July 18, 2011, 9:55 pm

/your congressman


avatar JennyTalia July 19, 2011, 9:50 am

I guess we’re different. My parents don’t point blank ask someone’s age when they first meet them. Sure there may be implications based on a conversation when referencing job or school or something, but they would wait until later and casually ask me his age. I’m not saying to lie and hide the age, that would be obvious that she is aware that there is an issue, but there is no need to lead with that. And I wouldn’t necessarily agree that you can automatically tell my appearance – I know plenty of 35 year olds who look 22 and plenty of 19 year olds who look 30. People have no idea how old I am – I get anywhere from high school to 30 (I’m 24).

avatar Princess Bananahammock July 18, 2011, 3:24 pm

Just keep your eyes open, LW. Sometimes (not always, but sometimes) an older guy dates a younger girl because she will put up with stuff that an older, more experienced woman would not. An ex of mine (we’re both in our early 30’s) just married an 18 year old. All I could think was – no woman in her 30’s would put up with him not holding a steady job, when he is perfectly capable of doing so, and not providing a stable home for his kids. His life may actually look pretty glamorous to an 18 year old.

If you are thinking long-term, try to picture what you’ll need in a partner down the road, not just now. If you aren’t too serious, then just date him as long as you’re having fun and he’s treating you how you want to be treated. And, I completely agree with Wendy. Present your boyfriend to your parents in a mature manner, and they’ll be more likely to respond by treating you as an adult.

Budj Budjer July 18, 2011, 3:28 pm

As a guy in his mid-20’s I find myself wondering what a good, well-educated and gainfully employed 30 year-old man is wanting with a girl that most likely just graduated high school. This isn’t trying to be condescending to the LW – more stating she should watch out for this guy.

Joanna is also right…double caution if he hasn’t expressed interest in meeting your parents. Don’t let his “life experience”, financial situation, or whatever allure he has over you blind you to his intentions. Be careful and mindful of his actions.

TECH also touched on an important point. You are going to change / grow a lot in the next several years so even if his intentions are virtuous you need to be what you need to be and don’t let him affect how you grow in life. A guy his age will be fairly set in his ways and you may find you don’t agree with his life style choices, whatever they are, in 1 – 5 years and depending on his life views you may miss out on a lot of mid-20’s fun.

Heard. I’m 31 and assuming I was single, won’t even date an <27yo woman.
Why? Greater chance of a difference in phases of lives.

Oh, and it's better up here in da 30s! ;)

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 3:39 pm

Whoah…. that’s a very small window there, I.V.R.E.G – i.C.T.B. !

I know. Very glad to not have to peek through that window.

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 3:50 pm

Strange thing, (only) for the past 5 years I seem to attract much older or much younger men :(

Hmm… now, that’s not too bad a thing is it, T.O.M.?

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 4:47 pm

Not always, a guy who was probably half my age tried to “Fake Survey” me at a grocery store on Saturday.

avatar G July 19, 2011, 9:23 am

LOL… why the thumb’s down on that? It is a little creepy, but a freaking hilarious story!

avatar TheOtherMe July 19, 2011, 11:50 am

lol! Maybe it offended someone half my age ;)

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 3:33 pm

We need Anita_Bath’s input here ;)

avatar Lexington July 18, 2011, 8:35 pm

That’s what I’m looking for!

avatar Yozi July 18, 2011, 3:40 pm

My friend dated her high school teacher when she was 18/19 and he was mid 30s. She didn’t think much of the age difference at the time. But when she was on the other side of 21, she realized how different a 21 year old is from a 19 year old. It is a world of difference. And knowing what she knew then she looked back on the relationship and felt taken advantage of.

avatar SpaceySteph July 18, 2011, 3:55 pm

Important point. You may think that you are in a good relationship with a good man but then look back later and see it differently.
A few years ago I found out that a coworker and friend of mine who is in his 30s had been married and divorced. His reason “Well I was young and stupid when I got married.” Me, 22 at the time, replied “Young like my age?” And he said “No, I was older than you.” Meanwhile, I was 22 and well employed and in an LDR with a guy I swore I was going to marry and couldn’t understand how I was considered “young and stupid.” Well let me just tell you, I was absolutely young and stupid, and I know that now. And in a few years, I’ll probably look back at my current age and think I was young and stupid then too.

avatar silver_dragon_girl July 18, 2011, 4:29 pm

See, this whole line of thought just depresses me. Why should I give 100% to my relationships now if I’m going to be totally different in 3-5 years? And what about then? Should I wait til I’m 65 to figure out what I really want to do and who I want to do it with?
Argh. :(

avatar SpaceySteph July 18, 2011, 4:35 pm

I don’t think it means that. I just think you need to be prepared for you and your SO to change. And when things do start changing, recognize that your relationship to evolve to suit the people you are becoming. Sometimes you grow into incompatible people, but I don’t think its the rule.

avatar kerrycontrary July 18, 2011, 4:39 pm

I think it really depends on the person. The majority of people may be young and stupid when they are 22, but I’m sure there are people who aren’t. Likewise you could wait until you are 30 to get married and still end up divorced a year later. While I agree that people change so much in their 20s, which is why it may not be a good idea to get married before you have a good idea of who you are as a person, it is possible for you to change and grow together with your partner.I currently give 100 percent to my partner but we know we want to wait to make a huge committment (aka marriage) until we are a little older. We are both 24 and know that we may change what we want, where we want to live, etc… in the next couple of years. I read that people change a lot until they are 30, and then they kind of coast. While you may change further in your life (as you should, it’s a healthy part of life), the essential aspects of who you are, your values, likes/dislikes, habits, will probably stay the same.

avatar Christy July 18, 2011, 7:04 pm

You should give 100% because you can still have fun and you will learn a lot, regardless of how your relationships turn out. I’m 26 now and definitely regard my college age self as young and stupid. But even with the mistakes, it was a great time and I would probably make a lot of the same choices again.

Everyone is just cautioning not to make huge commitments or life-changing decisions it will be expensive or time consuming to get out of. And I agree with kerrycontrary, it is possible to change WITH your partner. The important thing is knowing if your current goals match up, and being willing to leave the relationship if your goals stop matching (and there’s no way to compromise).

avatar redessa July 19, 2011, 2:06 am

Not at all. I got married at 19. Was I young and stupid? ABSOLUTELY! I’m in my 30’s and I’m a very different person now. But I’m still married to the same guy.

I don’t recommend going off and getting married super young. I’m just saying commitment is a choice. Yes, you will grow and change as a person and so will your partner. Yes, it’s possible that you will grow into people who are incompatible. But it’s also possible for you to choose to use your growth and added maturity in ways that strengthen your relationship. You’ll never know if you don’t put your all into it.

avatar G July 19, 2011, 10:06 am

That’s awesome!
I was going to bring up my Mom. She married my Dad when she was 19 and him 24. Of course the 70s were a different time, but they were still VERY young. They have now been married for 35 plus years and I think still happy. It is possible for people to marry young and have it work.
I would just recommend (like everyone else) to be cautious. Realize what you might miss, LW. The 20’s can be an amazing time, filled with lots of adventure. Try to make sure this guy is worth all the time you are giving him.

landygirl Landygirl July 18, 2011, 5:07 pm

Thumbs up!

I think at any point in your life, you can look back and realize how things have changed, it never stops! Even now I look back at my 30s and think about how I would have done things differently if I only knew then what I know now.

avatar SpaceySteph July 18, 2011, 3:41 pm

I think Wendy brings up a very good point. Your parents (and most people) will want to know why he isn’t dating someone his own age. Be prepared for this question and be prepared with a good answer.
If you don’t have a good answer, and if he doesn’t, then I would consider that a red flag. If his reasons are “all 30 year old women are gold digging bitches” or “my last girlfriend was a whore, I wanted someone who was pure” then I would run like the wind because dude is a predator. If his response is “honestly I am surprised at myself for being in a relationship with such an age difference, but we met at [mutual interest] and thought she was interesting and funny that I decided to give it a chance” then you might have a shot.
Of course even having all the right answers doesn’t mean that your parents are going to like him immediately. You will have to be prepared for some pushback at the beginning. Also remember that your parents distrust of your bf comes from a good place, namely their desire to protect you and keep you from harm. They are not trying to ruin your life or keep you from finding love, they just don’t want to see you hurt- emotionally or physically.
The best way to handle it is maturely- behave like their adult daughter capable of an adult relationship, not like a child. The moment you behave like a child you will reinforce their parental desire to protect you from the big bad man.

avatar Vathena July 18, 2011, 3:52 pm

Agreed with all of the above! Also, LW, you don’t say how long you’ve been dating, but I would add that if you are embarking on a serious relationship, don’t wait too long before introducing your parents to your boyfriend, or at least telling them about him (“So, there’s this guy…he’s so great, can’t wait for you to meet him”, and so forth). If they find out you were dating for a long time, they will feel lied to, which isn’t going to win your relationship any points, and looks like you felt there was something to hide. If your boyfriend and your relationship are on the up-and-up and becoming serious, don’t hide it from your parents.

(Side note: I started dating my husband when I was 26 and he was 39. My mom about had a heart attack when I told her – we’d only been dating for 3 weeks – but has since come around!)

avatar SpyGlassez July 19, 2011, 1:31 am

My college roommate was 20 when she started dating the then-40 year-old guy who has been her husband for the last 9 years. Her parents didn’t think too highly of it, but it was the right choice – and they think very highly of him now.

avatar AnitaBath July 18, 2011, 3:52 pm

I’m 21 and my boyfriend is 38, and we started dating when I was 19. I’ll give you the super condensed version of my story so that I can highlight a few points.

I met my boyfriend, we started dating, and I waited until we had been seeing each other for about four or five months before I brought it up to my mom (I was away at college so it made it easier to keep it a “secret”). My initial plan was to tell her I was seeing a guy, be vague on the details, and after a few more months (so we ourselves could gauge the seriousness of our relationship) I would tell my mom his age.

Well, it didn’t work out that way. She asked for his full name (how can you refuse to tell someone’s name when asked point blank?), Googled him when I left, saw his age, and started FLIPPING out. It was a very messy week, but I eventually pretended to break up with him to get her off my back (even though she knew I didn’t and I knew that she knew, somehow it was easier for us both to pretend). About another five or six months went by, until I got rear ended right by his house and had to come clean again. She was still extremely disapproving, but at least this time she was accepting. I told my dad as well (not sure if it’s only your mom that you’re worried about? My dad actually took it better than anyone).

I waited for her to bring up meeting him before I invited him over for dinner. Ever since she met him, my mom has loved my boyfriend. My family hasn’t put up any fights or made any problems with the age difference in over a year.

So here are my recommendations and things for you to consider, from someone who has been there:

1) Yeah, you think they’re probably not going to ask his age? WRONG. That is like the 3rd question out of a mother’s mouth as soon as she finds out her daughter is dating someone new. Being vague isn’t going to work, about anything. Mothers demand details, and when you don’t offer them up, they know something is wrong.

2) Wait for her to bring up meeting him. That way it’s her idea, she feels more at ease, and you know that she’s at least partially ready to meet him.

3) This may be more personal, but I know in the early stages of a relationship like this (at least for me), I very much took to heart how other people viewed my relationship. Since most people viewed it negatively, it really had me down. Once I got my family’s support, I could care less now. Now I can just brush it off when people give me that, “OH MY GOD WTF YOU’RE CRAZY AND MUST HAVE DADDY ISSUES LOOK” when I tell them how old my boyfriend is. Seriously, you know the one.

Lastly, you say that he “takes good care” of you. I may be reading to into this, but I hope that he doesn’t treat you like a well-kept pet. I firmly believe that one of the reason my boyfriend and I have been successful so far is because we’ve always approached our relationship as equals. We try to minimize any imbalances as much as possible. If he were constantly paying for stuff, catering to me, and treating me like a pet, I’d probably feel vastly different, and it would probably play out in other ways in our relationship as well. Just something to think about.

avatar AnitaBath July 18, 2011, 3:53 pm

Oh, and most importantly, be prepared for her to flip out. Or, at the very least, get a little bug eyed.

avatar SpaceySteph July 18, 2011, 4:02 pm

Nice response!
I also noticed that “take care of me line.” If she’s looking for someone to take care of her, it might explain why she looked for an older man. And if he’s looking for someone to “take care of” i.e. control, that might explain why he’s seeking younger women.
I do think that age gap relationships CAN work, but I think that many times they don’t because the people don’t actually believe “age is nothing but a number,” they are in fact seeking qualities that belong to people of a certain age group- vulnerability, stability, the taking care of/wanting to be taken care of dynamic.

caitie_didnt caitie_didn't July 18, 2011, 4:38 pm

That’s a good point…but “taking care of” can mean different things to different people. For me, when I say a guy “takes good care of me”, I mean that he makes me feel safe, supports me emotionally and takes care of me sexually (and maybe kills the occasional spider and opens the occasional door for me). Because, really, I do just fine for myself in all other aspects.

Maybe the LW means something along these lines, maybe she doesn’t. And yeah, if he’s treating her like a pet, that is a big issue.

avatar AnitaBath July 18, 2011, 4:44 pm

Yeah, that’s something that the LW needs to think about and assess herself. The meaning can range anywhere from “He treats me with respect” to “He dons a red silk smoking jacket, gives me a room in his mansion, and a pays me a weekly allowance of $1000.”

avatar PFG-SCR July 18, 2011, 4:27 pm

Very well said, AB – you know I’m very supportive of you and your boyfriend. You are incredibly intelligent, well-spoken and mature for a person of your age, and I think this has strongly contributed to the success of your relationship. That just goes to show you that it’s really about the two people in that relationship, more than anything else.

“Mothers demand details, and when you don’t offer them up, they know something is wrong.”

This is so totally true, but we don’t limit our demanding of details to just our own kids! ;-)

avatar silver_dragon_girl July 18, 2011, 4:31 pm

Mothers are scary that way. I’m not even that close to my mom, and she always knows when something is up. Over the phone. It’s eerie…

avatar honeybeenicki July 18, 2011, 4:52 pm

I’m extremely close to my mom and she definitely has a 6th sense about stuff about me. It gets a little weird. Sometimes I’ll be at work and she’ll email me just to check in and make sure I’m ok and 9 times out of 10, something crappy is going on. When I ask her she just shrugs and says “its a mom thing.” Well, it must be a mom thing and not a step-mom thing because I have to at least be talking to my stepkids to know somethings up. I don’t just get premonitions!

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 5:03 pm

Me too but it also works the opposite way, I always know the second something’s wrong just by the way my mom says hello…

avatar honeybeenicki July 18, 2011, 5:13 pm

Just when I finished typing this, I accidentally called my mom. Or my phone called her. I listen to the radio through headphones on my phone when I’m at work and I took them off to look for something and heard the little ringing sound of a phone call and accused her of calling me when in reality I apparently called her.

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 5:20 pm

One time, I was on a flight back from a business trip and felt like something was wrong with my mom. I kept telling that to my business partner during the whole flight. When I got to the airport my dad had come to pick me up ( even though I wasn’t living at home anymore, he still loves the airport pickup duty ! ) As soon as I saw him I asked if something was wrong with my mom. He said, “how did you know?” she’s in the hospital since yesterday they think she might have had a stroke. ( thank god, it turned out to be something else ).

avatar Slamy July 18, 2011, 5:37 pm

My mom does that too – she’ll call to check on me and say she just “felt worried” and usually it’s exactly when I would have wanted her to call.

avatar Sarah July 18, 2011, 3:59 pm

Eeek, I’m going to be one of those people that is very uncomfortable with this. You’re still a teenager and really wont have the know how to spot a man taking advantage of you til you’re older. The line that struck me was “…who takes good care of me…”. Uh. I could be wrong, but that is exactly the wrong kind of lingo for establishing that this relationship is healthy. A grown man shouldn’t want to take care of you, especially as you’re so young! Its like betting on sports with a guy who already knows the scores (don’t date Marty McFly, kids!), it is a huge risk to gamble so much when the other person knows so much more than you. If you have an instinct to hide things about him from your family (age, fights you have, etc etc) don’t push it off as “social taboos”, there must be a part of you that knows something isn’t healthy.

I don’t care if he’s a Tibetan monk, if my 18 year old little sister came home with a 30 year old dude they’d have to keep all the sharp objects in the house away from me. Even then I’d probably try to shank him from toothbrush I made into a shiv. Whether you think its fair or not, a family’s first instinct is to protect, and this circumstance ends badly a lot. But if he’s willing to run the gauntlet until your family approves, then maybe you’ll know if you guys really can work.

avatar silver_dragon_girl July 18, 2011, 4:07 pm

Or Biff Tannin (Tannen?).

avatar LTC039 July 18, 2011, 4:07 pm

“Even then I’d probably try to shank him from toothbrush I made into a shiv.”

That’s straight up gangsta.

avatar Sarah July 18, 2011, 4:17 pm

My family doesn’t have a motto, but if it did, it would be “Prison Rules”.

Budj Budjer July 18, 2011, 4:30 pm

Does your family accept cigarettes as a form currency?

avatar honeybeenicki July 18, 2011, 4:44 pm

I flipped when I found out my little sister (just turned 18 at the time) was dating a guy that was *gasp* 20. I haven’t had that small of an age gap since mid-high school, so I don’t know why I turned into such a nutcase but I did. I felt very protective of her. She was smart enough not to bring him around me, so there was no need to make a shive :)

avatar Renee July 18, 2011, 4:03 pm

I remember being 18/19, and my mother thought I should date older men. Young men do have maturity issues. There’s reasonable caution, but one can proceed.

avatar Renee July 18, 2011, 7:38 pm

Should note I never took my mother’s advice, I just stayed cleared of immature men.

avatar Schwinny July 18, 2011, 4:06 pm

Why the rush to meet the parents? If you have not been together all that long, there is no real rush for introductions. In fact, I would recommend you wait a while to see how your relationship develops. Start with friend introductions first and work up to family introductions once both you are ready. Also, as others have said, you do not have to declare his age to your parents or anyone else. There is no reason to lie to anyone but you do not have to invite everyone to criticise the age difference right from the start. Let them ask if there is a concern. Having been in your position once at 18 and again now (since I was 31), I can tell you that there is a big difference in how that age gap really works, but a lot of it depends on the individuals not the age gap. Back then, both of us were worried about appearances and it was crippling. In this relationship, we had the conversation initially and decided to see what happened. Occasionally, we trade barbs about who remembers what (Him: Do you remember TAB cola? Me: Yeah, my dad used to drink it.) but that’s about as much worrying about the age gap that we do.

Good luck to both of you!

avatar AnitaBath July 18, 2011, 4:11 pm

Not to be a naysayer, but I just don’t see how it’s going to work to NOT tell the age difference when straight-up asked. When they innocently ask, “Oh, how old is he?” they’re expecting an answer like 18,19,20. When the LW responds with, “I prefer not to say,” or, “We’re keeping that to ourselves,” it raises all kinds of red flags. The mother will most likely go crazy and won’t let up until she has a concrete age. You can maybe get away with that with more distant relatives (which, actually, my mom has suggested to me), but I highly doubt that tactic will work on parents.

avatar Jshizzle July 18, 2011, 8:14 pm

I agree, mom’s always want to know how old…and then flip out if the age difference is more than 1 year at that age.

avatar Quakergirl July 18, 2011, 9:04 pm

Yeah, when my brother first met Quakerboy he pulled me aside and was like “he seems great, but seriously how old is he?!” Of course once I told him he was fine, but parents and siblings will want to know if they think there’s an abnormal age difference. For the record, when my brother met Quakerboy he guessed he was 23– in reality he had just turned 18 and I was 17. I can only imagine the freakout if he had thought he was in his late 20s or early 30s.

Budj Budjer July 18, 2011, 4:19 pm

She may be living at home which could be why the introduction is being rushed. If that is the case and her friends all meet this guy the word will get around to her parents that she is dating a 30 year old man regardless if she wants it to or not.

avatar TheOtherMe July 18, 2011, 4:22 pm

True. And if she tries to keep it a secret, one day, her mom might be driving by and see her making out with him when she should be in school… Ouups !

My mom still talks about that one !

avatar MissDre July 18, 2011, 9:08 pm

I’m 25 and my boyfriend is 6 years older than me. When we first started dating (a little over a year ago) my mom freaked out and wanted to know what the hell a 30 year old man wanted with a 24 year old girl. I told her to chill out. Now she knows him, she loves him to pieces and wants to know when he’s going to put a ring on my finger.

It’s funny, just today she was talking about how men under 30 are just too immature and won’t be able to give a woman what she needs, when a year ago she was freaking out and saying he was too old for me. Go figure!

avatar LTC039 July 18, 2011, 4:16 pm

If your mom is going to have a problem with your relationship, she’s going to have it whether you tell her now, or wait 5 months. I say be honest.
My parents did NOT like my bf when they first met him (he has gauges & tattoos & they’re really conservative). I could’ve waited longer to tell them, but that would’ve just ended in the same result. I wanted them to meet him & get to know him so they could see how great he really is. I remember getting into a screaming match with my mom in the car the day after he met them. Well now they love him. & it honestly didn’t take them that long to accept him. It’s all about getting them to interact with him.
Of course for me it was different, I lived at home so eventually they’d figure out I was seeing someone.
If you really believe your bf is great guy & you guys are going to work out, then let your mom see that…If you have some doubts, well that’s something you need to evaluate. I, too, am slightly put off by that “he takes good care of me” mention you made.
On another note, you are only 18. Just as everyone is saying you will grow up A LOT, don’t lose sight of your youth. Live it up now, because it’s not something you’ll be able to get back.

avatar AKchic July 18, 2011, 4:31 pm

Coming from experience, you need to do a little research into your guy first.

1) Does he have any kids? If so, where are they? Where are the mother(s)?

2) Does he have a criminal record? Any assaults, domestic violence, etc? Any of them against family members, females, girlfriends and especially, mothers of his children (if he has any)?
2a) Does he have any sexual crimes on his record?

3) What is his dating history like? Are you comfortable with that history?

4) Have you met HIS friends/family? Does he have any younger siblings, and do you know them? Have you heard any family stories from them? Do they jive with his versions of events?

I was 18 when I married my 1st husband (we’d been together since I was 16). He was 32. I won’t go into particulars on how we got together (because I’m still not sure how, to this very day), but had I done ANY of that research, I would have run. I went to school with his youngest sister, and while I knew her casually, it didn’t really do much at all to prepare me for just how dangerous my first husband really was. Questions 1, 2, and 3 could have saved me a lot of hassle, and will save you a lot if you choose to employ them prior to making any big decisions with him.

Other than that, if he checks out, I wish you luck. Some May/December relationships work out very well. Some don’t. It just depends on the maturity levels of both parties.
If your parents balk, you could always remind them that 300 years ago, it was common practice for fathers to promise their 15 year old daughters to 30 year old men. But, I wouldn’t.


avatar honeybeenicki July 18, 2011, 4:31 pm

LW – I am 10 years younger than my husband (but act 10 years older than him). It was hard for my mom to understand the relationship at first, but I did pretty much exactly what Wendy suggested – I introduced him as himself, not as his age. She asked some basic questions that I now know she asked because she wanted to make sure he wasn’t taking advantage of me in any way.

But I also agree with the rest of the commenters – take it slow. You will change SO much in the next few years. I had to grow up quick, so I guess I didn’t see much of a change, but I know for a regular 18 year old, 25 is much different. If you feel like you aren’t getting the life experiences you want/need because of the relationship, it may be a good idea to distance yourself a little. And if you find that you are growing into a person who still works with this man, well great! I waited for a few years before my husband and I married just for that reason.

avatar Elrig July 18, 2011, 4:40 pm

A few months ago I ended a relationship with a large age gap. I’m 20, and the guy is 34. To be quite honest, it was one of the best relationships I’ve ever been in. It would have continued if I weren’t so bad at LDR. Point is, I think the “age-gap” argument is, as a lot of people have mentioned, about the fact that you’re going to grow and change, whereas older men (or women) tend to be more set in their ways. My ex and I didn’t have many age-related issues, except that I started to get uncomfortable with the speed with which he expected out relationship to progress to marriage. He wanted kids by the time I was 25, which, looking at it as just a 5-year plan, is very reasonable… but not something I was willing to commit to.
I think this was one of the biggest issues my family had with the relationship. When you talk to your parents about your boyfriend, don’t bring up his age unless they ask about it. If they do ask, don’t lie! It’ll probably come out eventually, and lying is rarely a good idea. In my case, my parents knew my boyfriend’s age because he worked at the same company as my father (a whole other issue in itself). If they begin to question the age gap, ask them why it’s a problem for them. I think the best way to go about this is to calmly sit down and have a discussion about it. If they begin screaming and yelling (which obviously happens with parents sometimes), try not to enter in a screaming match with them. Ultimately, if you deal with any confrontations about your boyfriend’s age with maturity, your parents will eventually see this, and hopefully realize that “age compatibility” has nothing to do with actual physical age, but rather mental maturity.
When you talk to them about the age gap and ask them what their hesitations are regarding your boyfriend, you may have to reassure them that you’re not about to jump into anything too quickly that drastically changes your life. Honestly, they’d probably be most worried about you throwing away your “childhood” or youth. Though young marriages are common, and often successful, be careful not to feel pressured into anything prematurely. As a man who has just turned 30, your boyfriend may feel that he’s closer to settling down than you would have been, had you been dating someone in their early 20’s

avatar MiMi July 18, 2011, 5:06 pm

Everyone has made excellent points, but I think there’s someone else you should discuss this with: your guy. How does he want to handle this? What is he going to do to reassure your parents of his sincere caring? Does he have your back? What he does here will be educational – you want someone who is forthright and open, who will stand with you if things get uncomfortable, and defend your relationship (if it requires defending) just as vigorously as you do. It’s pretty easy to spot a stand-up guy when you meet one so if your guy is solid, your parents will (eventually) learn to trust him.

landygirl Landygirl July 18, 2011, 5:18 pm

I remember when I was 19 I thought I was very mature and I knew it all. Now of course I realize at 19 I knew nothing. Please be cautious because while you think you may know what’s best for you, sometimes we overlook things in order to achieve instant gratification.

At 19, What seems to you like a mature, confident man to you will look completely different to your parents, people who have more life experience than you do. I admit that I have issues with the older man/younger woman scenario but that’s because I’ve have to deal with more men than a 19 year old girl and I lost my rose colored glasses along the way.

avatar twiglet July 18, 2011, 5:37 pm

Get yourself sorted with a good career * or further education. Show yourself to be an adult, capable of taking care of yourself and making your own choices. Then tell your parents you have chosen this man. But if you can’t do the first bit do ponder a bit before doing the second.You are at the beginning of the peak of your powers,and you really want to limit your limitations.You are very young to miss out on freedom.

*(and anything is a career if you choose to be good at it. I’m a great barkeep and a lousy shop-assistant, you are whatever you are up for.)