Should I Date a Younger Man?
February 8, 2016 6:38 AM   Subscribe

A few weeks ago I started seeing a guy I am now completely smitten with. We met through mutual friends and it started out as a drunk hookup (hah), but the following weekend I saw him again in a sober hang out context, and we ended up both canceling our evening plans and talking well into the night. I didn’t expect to have such an intense and wonderful connection with him. I feel like he is alive in the same way that I am. We can talk about anything, and we spend a lot of time just laughing about nonsense. Like I said, we’ve only been seeing each other for a few weeks, but I already feel like he could be someone who is very very special in my life.

Previously, I dated a man for five years who told me he loved me, told me he wanted to spend his life with me, proposed, and then broke up with me (completely out of the blue) two weeks before our wedding. I’ve now been single for a year and a half. I have enjoyed living on my own as an adult and being independent. I needed time to heal and embrace life by myself. I traveled, focused on my career, built a cozy home, dated casually, spent time with family and friends, etc. Just lived for me :) I am now 29 years old, and feel more confident and happy than ever. So I am not surprised that I have now found a great connection with such a sparkling person.

The only potential problem is that the sparkling person is 24. Which makes him approximately 4.5 years younger than me. When we hang out, I do not notice the age difference. He is confident, kind, and mature. Not that it matters much, but physically we look the same age as well. I look a lot younger than my age, and sparkly guy has a deep voice and facial hair, so looks-wise I would say we make quite a natural looking couple. Career-wise we are also on the same page. We both work for global companies and are mid-level managers. So in all of these regards, age does not bother me at all. We have a great connection, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I am happy when I am with him, the end.

Except it's not the end, because I can't kick the voice in my head that's saying I'm making a HUGE mistake by taking a gamble on a 24 year old. When I go on dates when men in their 30's, they are often very open and honest about wanting kids and a family. I know for a fact that my current 24 year old beau is no where near ready to settle down. Personally, I am 29 and would love to have a family in the next few years. I do not want to rush into anything, and absolutely want to have time to explore the world with my partner before settling down . . . . BUT my eggs aren’t getting any younger lol. Family is a deal breaker for me, and this would be the case regardless of the age of my partner. If he’s 35 and doesn’t want a family for 10 years, it’s not going to work.

So my questions(s) . . . .

Even though it's only been a month, I've made it clear I really like him and only want to date him right now, and he has expressed that he feels the same. Unfortunately, I have some baggage.

When is it the appropriate time to navigate this question? We've only been dating for a month, so it feels too soon to talk about family, but it's such a deal breaker for me. This is honestly my biggest concern about his age. Should I be honest about what I want? Or should I coast along and date him for a few months and just see how it goes? When I was dumped by my ex-fiance, I promised myself that I would begin my next relationship with intention. I want to be honest and up front about what I need in a relationship. But I'm just not quite sure how to navigate this one, as this guy really really does seem special. Any thoughts appreciated!
posted by alipie to Human Relations (47 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's not too soon to talk about family. The way you met is a bit of a red flag to me because it sounds very accidental and like it's mostly about having fun and good chemistry. I think mature relationships that lead to kids generally start with both people on the same page about that from the very beginning. Google "sliding vs. deciding."

There are mature 24 year-olds, but you really can't trust anything even a mature 24 year old says about their own maturity, in my experience. Everyone thinks they're more mature than they are until 2 years pass and in hindsight they realize they were not. This is sort of like 21 year olds "knowing everything." He may genuinely believe he is ready and still be completely wrong. That's the problem.
posted by quincunx at 6:45 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


He's 24 and you're 28? Or 29? You both are BABIES. Go for it. It's not going to matter in the end.
posted by xingcat at 6:45 AM on February 8, 2016 [89 favorites]


This age gap is not a big deal (at all!). Date and enjoy! 10 years in your 20s is a big deal that you would need to consider.
posted by Kalmya at 6:51 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


The age gap is not important. Don't focus on the numbers, focus on compatibility. With that in mind, talk about possible future plans. If he is childfree, for example, you'll want to know that as soon as possible. Especially since you seem to want children, and it sounds like this is important to you. He may or may not want a family, but even if he does, you'll have to talk to find out what this means to him.

Whether or not he is mature, we have no way of knowing. In order to get an idea of that, pay attention to his actions, not his words.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's not too soon to talk about it, but I encourage you to cut yourself some slack with your larger family plan. It's good to have goals, of course, but especially when it comes to children, things RARELY occur as you envision them. You sound like a smart and thoughtful person, and I'm sure you know that a million things can happen. Leave yourself open to a wide variety of futures - with this man or without, with children or without - and see how it goes. It would be a shame to miss exploring a potentially-fulfilling, satisfying, happy relationship that is right in front of you because it may not align with a fantasy future.
posted by nkknkk at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


Uh, yeah, I met my now-wife when I was 27 and she was 19 (just a few days shy of her 20th birthday). The age difference's effect on our marriage is exactly zero. Go for it.
posted by jpolchlopek at 6:58 AM on February 8, 2016


I met my partner when I was 32, going on 33 & he was 25, we've been together for 10 years with no issues because of age. I was initially worried the age difference might be an issue & we discussed it early on, but really in your case, 4.5 years is not that much, really it's nothing. Any issues you might have would be the same ones that may arise in any other relationship. Give it a chance. Good luck!
posted by Laura in Canada at 7:00 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the age gap is a red herring; what really matters is, are you on compatible life schedules? This would be a concern whether he was 24 or 34 or 44. The age gap may not matter in the end if you stay together (note: "if"), but spending a few years with someone who is not ready to settle down could absolutely matter a great deal.

Listen to that voice. Pay attention. It's telling you something important. You came into this with ideas about your life goals. You can choose to adjust your plans if the situation warrants, but you should do so consciously in a way that honours that voice and recognizes the importance of the things it is saying.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:02 AM on February 8, 2016 [29 favorites]


It isn't too early to talk about kids. I'm single now, but my most recent girlfriend literally brought up kids on our first date. (Our reasons for later breaking up had nothing to do with that.) Just talk in terms of whether either of you could see yourselves eventually having kids, period. Don't phrase it in terms of whether he wants to have kids with you.
posted by John Cohen at 7:09 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am 17 years older than my husband. We have known each 11 years and been married for 6 of them. He was ready to settle down and have a family long before me. . Treat the relationship like you would any other. It's on top make what you want clear but don't use age as an excuse not to pursue the relationship.
posted by wwax at 7:11 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


He was a freshman when you were a senior? Heaven forefend! There are 100 hurdles for a good relationship, this is not one of them.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:24 AM on February 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


I know for a fact that my current 24 year old beau is no where near ready to settle down.

Yeah, I dunno. He may be mature, and of course everyone's different, but 24 is kind of young (for a man in 2016) for settling down and marriage, most that age still have unsettled-type things they want to do. Talk to him about it, sure. Could you date him for fun? (It sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun. Life's short, etc.) 29 isn't old, by the way. But if you want kids soonish, maybe date him with an eye on the clock.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:29 AM on February 8, 2016


Yeah, compatible life schedule/vision of the future is much more important! I'm 37 and my boyfriend is 32. If I wanted kids and he wasn't sure yet, that would be a problem, but that's not inherently a younger-man issue - it would still be a problem if he was 42.

That said, yeah, a 24-year-old guy is probably on average less likely to be interested in settling down than a 29-year-old or a 34-year-old. Of course, it doesn't matter what MOST 24-year-old guys want, it matters what your particular 24-year-old guy wants. But you say "I know for a fact that my current 24 year old beau is no where near ready to settle down." If that's true, then... yeah, no one knows how long it will take him to go from "nowhere ready" to "ready."

Although it is scary and kind of risky, you will probably actually have to talk to him about this stuff. But regardless, I say give it another month or two to see if you naturally find out more about where he stands on this kind of stuff and where his life is headed. You guys barely know each other yet.
posted by mskyle at 7:32 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's not the age difference, it's this:

Personally, I am 29 and would love to have a family in the next few years.


If you want a serious relationship with this man he needs to know this and decide for himself. If he still wants to have fun, I'd walk if i were you, unless you're not the type to get invested after six months or so.

I also disagree that you're "babies." 24 and 29 are adults. Lots of men are ready for family and children at 24, or at least the prospect of marriage - most of the weddings I have been to, the couples were seriously dating at 24 and got married in their early 30s.

He is either that sort of man right now or he isn't, or he might want to be that man for you (I've seen that happen, but it's not great to try to count on that). You definitely seem like a family oriented/interested person, so don't sacrifice about that.
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 AM on February 8, 2016 [25 favorites]


If he’s 35 and doesn’t want a family for 10 years, it’s not going to work.

(Assuming you meant 25 there:) It's fine to talk to him about your plans, and it's only fair to talk with him about your plans and his instead of making assumptions that might be wrong (or, at the very least, right but forever unconfirmed, leaving you wondering).

I would approach it like this: "Hey, I am not trying to push you to do anything you're not wanting to do, and I'm not going to make any effort to press you into a mold you don't fit, but I think it's only fair to put it out there that I've reached the 'dating for permanence' point rather than dating for fun. And if that's not where you are, I totally understand. If you're not quite ready to say one way or the other, that's fair enough and we can circle back in a few weeks."

At least give him the chance to say no, and don't talk yourself into waiting around for a maybe, but let him at least weigh in.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:35 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know for a fact that my current 24 year old beau is no where near ready to settle down. Personally, I am 29 and would love to have a family in the next few years.

This is your problem - not his age. There are men who are 34 and 44 who don't want to settle down and have kids. Conversely, there are men who are 24 who want to start a family. Many others upthread are telling you to ignore the age for a moment and focus on compatibility. I think they're right.

Family is a deal breaker for me, and this would be the case regardless of the age of my partner.

Then have your fun but walk away and find a guy who can give you what you want.
posted by Gray Skies at 7:39 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


You've only been dating a month? I'll be honest if someone brought up the conversation about dating with the goal of marriage and a family in that period of time I'd be freaked out. Give it some time before having that conversation with him. Have fun for awhile. You guys may not even like each other in six months. He may not be the dream you think he is. You barely know him!

That being said, your age difference is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Even if you did fall madly in love with him and him with you but he was not ready for kids when you are there are options to explore. I have a friend who was in a similar position and froze her eggs at 32. Don't give up on a shot for true love because you are afraid what will happen in 5 years.
posted by teamnap at 7:45 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm almost 10 years older than you, but my husband and I are 4 years apart and I consider us to be the basically the same age.

But I'm worried about the kids conversation and what it means for you. 29 isn't old enough to panic, but I agree with others up thread who have said to keep an eye on the clock. (And yes, this is probably early to have the "What do you want out of our relationship" conversation, but nothing wrong with going exclusive for a while and seeing where it goes)
posted by getawaysticks at 7:48 AM on February 8, 2016


You never know unless you ask. I met my husband when he was 26 and I was 38, and he already knew that he wanted the whole family package.
posted by cabingirl at 7:49 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


The age doesn't really matter. Typically the 4.5 year age difference is a mere nothing, but 24 is really a different time than 29, especially if it's Man/Woman (male brains mature on a different schedule) HOWEVER. He may be an exception. If he's mature, has his shit together and you're connecting...those are all wonderful things.

I'm HUGE for saying up front what it is that you want. 29 is not the time to be investing years into a relationship that may or may not end up in marriage and family. He may not be ready to settle down, you're not ready either until you know him for around a year or so, until you've weathered a few storms, until you've tested yourselves with real life. That said, it's perfectly prudent to ask him, "hey, I know we're not far enough into this for us to contemplate the future per se, but ultimately, how do you view marriage and children?"

If he doesn't really know...I might not pursue it. Guys who don't really know at 24 will probably decide at 29 that yes, they do want a traditional family. But for you, waiting 7 years to find that out would be catastrophic if that's what YOU want.

If he knows, for sure, but isn't ready yet, that's perfectly fine. There are plenty of folks, especially mature folks, who DO know. "I've always seen myself married with a family." If that's the case, I'd see where it goes.

It is a risk, relationships always are. As you discovered, you can be together for years, become engaged and get to the starting post and still not have a wedding. People can marry and it can fall apart.

Honestly, give it a few more months, talk about how you envision the future. I recommend this corny-assed book all the time, but it gives you a method for discovering his depths quickly. It was written in the eighties, so please ignore that which doesn't apply, but the questions and the ideas behind it are solid. It was the voice of reason when everyone else was doing The Rules. (Although, technically, there are a couple of things in that book that resonate as well, bless my heart.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:12 AM on February 8, 2016


My wife is 7 years older than me. We've been together for over 20 years, married 13.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:26 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think the age gap is a red herring; what really matters is, are you on compatible life schedules? This would be a concern whether he was 24 or 34 or 44. The age gap may not matter in the end if you stay together (note: "if"), but spending a few years with someone who is not ready to settle down could absolutely matter a great deal.

Listen to that voice. Pay attention. It's telling you something important. You came into this with ideas about your life goals. You can choose to adjust your plans if the situation warrants, but you should do so consciously in a way that honours that voice and recognizes the importance of the things it is saying.


All of this! But also, the only way to know if you are on a compatible life schedule is to ask. You've been dating for a month, you're getting along so I don't think they're anything wrong with sharing your goals with him and asking what sort of plans he has in mind.

So many 24 year olds wouldn't be ready. But you're not dating the average of all 24 year olds. You're dating one man who is 24. You need to communicate this to him and figure out if he's open to this being a long-term marriage kids thing (not committing to it, but open to it) or if he really is just interesting in dating and companionship for now.
posted by GilvearSt at 8:49 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Agree with others that the age difference is really a red herring. The question is whether or not this guy can see himself getting married and having a family in the next few years. Try asking him casually when you guys are out and you see a kid. "Hey, that kid is pretty cute. Could you ever see yourself having one of those? "
posted by corb at 9:04 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I just got a social media note from some dear friends who are one of the sweetest most perfect couples I know. It was all about how they are planning next steps of their life together, and while a bit hippy for some preferences, was just about perfect. They've been together for years - I think five? I believe he is now twenty seven or twenty eight and she is in her early forties. Just a piece of anecdata to support everything being said above.
posted by meinvt at 9:11 AM on February 8, 2016


Personally, I am 29 and would love to have a family in the next few years.

Does he know this about you?

Like, look, there's two ways to bring up the issue of marriage and kids in a relationship. There's "Let's talk about whether we want to have kids together." And then there's "Okay, let me mention to you how I feel about wanting kids myself."

As others are pointing out, it may be too early in the relationship for Conversation #1. He could have life goals that are totally compatible with yours, and still be freaked out by Conversation #1 just because it feels like pressure to commit to someone he barely knows. But I see nothing wrong with having Conversation #2 right now. If sharing that fact about yourself — not pushing for a response or an answer, not making it obvious that you're watching his reaction with eagle eyes, just stating the honest fact — is enough to scare him away, then he's not the right guy for you right now.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:14 AM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


You've only been dating a month? I'll be honest if someone brought up the conversation about dating with the goal of marriage and a family in that period of time I'd be freaked out.

If someone brought up the conversation about marriage TO ME and family WITH ME after a month I'd be freaked out. But talking about your visions of the future is perfectly normal at this time. You're doing it for exactly this reason: to see what goals you came into the relationship with, and whether they match up, and if they don't how much it matters.
posted by babelfish at 9:39 AM on February 8, 2016


Compatibility is WAY more important than age. 4.5 years is nothing. Unless he's 17 and you're 21.5, perhaps, and that could still totally work.

If you're not compatible, then it doesn't make any difference if you were both born at 11AM on the same day. If you can enter this relationship knowing that it might not work out (ref. you seeming to want different things), then go for it. If you really really really want to have a child by the end of 2018, and that's a dealbreaker for you, then think long and hard about getting into a relationship with someone who doesn't really really really want kids. He might decide he wants kids, he might not, but either way, you need to think about what you're going to do and how you're going to feel if he decides he doesn't. Burying your head in the sand won't do you any favours.
posted by Solomon at 9:42 AM on February 8, 2016


I browsed for the gist of what you were looking for, and you seemed to be saying that a four year age difference is a serious problem. That couldn't be right, so I read everything, and, yeah, that's what you're saying.

First reaction is a "whuh?". This age diff isn't enough to even idly remark upon. If I were producing a TV show about "Age Gaps: Do They Matter?", I'd interview you two as a "control" group - an example of a couple well-matched in age.

Pondering more deeply, this, and other things you say, seem to indicate you're casting around for a certain image you have in your head. That explains the strange age rigidity...it's not what you've been imagining.

Thing is, you're not casting a movie here. I'd suggest that it's a mistake to try to find the guy personifying the qualities you have in your imagination, ticking boxes. That's how many people do it, I know, but many relationships don't last. How can they, when partners are chosen for their personification of a projected image?

That's backwards. The person has to come first, not the image. Otherwise, he'll always be doomed to fail, because he's a real person, not a placeholder/roleplayer. Unique. Not a balance of positive/negative qualities according to how close they come to your projected ideal, but a perfect, flawless HIM.

If you love him, embrace him in his uniqueness, even if he's 19 or 60. Also, if you're putting your eggs first, then you're not in love. Love transcends goals and expectations. Love is everything. And love is about him - really him - rather than your mental images, goals, and projections. Real love is selfless and irrational. Not something you can diagram or rationally select. Not something you have to post to AskMeFi about.
posted by Quisp Lover at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2016


As many already have told you: the age diff here is not very much and, more important, it does not matter. It will or will not work out, as do most marriages, no matter what the ages. I am 29 years older than my wife and now 32 years married.
posted by Postroad at 9:58 AM on February 8, 2016


For the older men saying age difference doesn't matter, there is unfortunately a double standard with women, where some men find two or three years' age difference to be an "older woman." I think there are a lot of reasons behind this but it's overall a bit gross - on the part of men who consider a few years a deal breaker. And while there are a ton of counter examples, even in this thread, there's still a stigma, and I've seen it even among the very young.

So I can see why the OP would be cautious, EVEN IF the guy were 100% cool with it, just because it's definitely a thing in society that a woman can date ten years older but not three years younger. It's one of the things we're soaking in.

Also, worrying about your eggs does not mean you don't love him - honestly after a month I wouldn't be thinking love anyway - but it's just smart.
posted by sweetkid at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Regarding kids, you should ensure his expectations are in line with yours sometime in the next few months, but 29 seems very young to be concerned, see e.g. previously on the blue.
posted by nat at 10:29 AM on February 8, 2016


Worrying about your eggs or any other goals doesn't connote a lack of love, it's obviously something every one of us does. Leaving someone because they are in conflict with some goal or expectation is a completely rational and understandable action, but this is not something a person deeply in love (which is irrational) will/can do.

You can override a crush, you can override an infatuation, but you can't override love, at least not without taking on a truly crushing burden.

Our society often confuses crush/infatuation with love. Many of us remain highly rational throughout our relationships, because we've never known love. Love transcends these other concerns (we may sacrifice them, but that doesn't by any means negate them). Those of us who've experienced this know it to be true.
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, just because 29 isn't necessarily the end in fertility, if a 29 year old wants to have children within the next few years, that is an entirely reasonable thing to want outside the scare tactics. It's true that the stats aren't as dire as popular belief, but that doesn't mean you have to wait till you're at the outside edge to care about it, or to have relationships where marriage and family isn't a possibility because of overriding love or something.
posted by sweetkid at 11:09 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm nineteen years younger than my partner. I say go for it.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:13 AM on February 8, 2016


Also, if you're putting your eggs first, then you're not in love.

This is extremely wrong.

The age gap is not a big deal, but talk about kids sooner rather than later.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:32 AM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Yeah, if love meant never using an AskMe, I think 75% of the Mefite population would no longer be married.
posted by corb at 11:36 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


For the older men saying age difference doesn't matter, there is unfortunately a double standard with women, where some men find two or three years' age difference to be an "older woman."

And a physical difference in terms of fertility, although I agree that 29 is probably too young to worry. A relationship between an older man and a younger woman isn't precisely relevant to the OP's situation of not feeling like she has years to commit to a serious relationship that won't lead to children.
posted by babelfish at 12:10 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Be honest with him about the fact that you want kids AND continue to date him for several more months so you can get to know each other better. Neither of you has to make a decision about the relationship right now, just don't invest multiple years in him if he's not into the idea of kids. And for what it's worth, young guys who are interested in starting a family are rare, but they're out there. My cousin was 28 and her husband 22 when they married and they're still together three kids and twenty years later. My brother was in his late twenties when he met and married my sister in law, who already had a daughter.
posted by MsMolly at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2016


should I coast along and date him for a few months and just see how it goes?

Yes, and have fabulous sex.
posted by lizbunny at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I dated a guy who was seven years younger when I was 32 (we met when we were out, and at first I thought he was older, he thought I was younger). I agree that a lot of 24-year-old men are not ready to settle down, so it makes sense to let him know what you're looking for in a partner. But you might be surprised at what he says. In my case, we talked about it, and he was on board for something serious. We broke up for other reasons.

You could wait to talk about it, but since it's already on your mind, I think it's better to just be honest, personally...
posted by three_red_balloons at 4:01 PM on February 8, 2016


I am six years older than my male SO, and we are in our twenties where that's a pretty significant gap. OP, I am on the opposite side of your question, as I have kids and was wondering if he would fit in. (So we took it very slow).

It is good for you both to know you have these ideas in mind. (Obviously, my bf knew I had kids when we started dating.) It is a totally different conversation, "I want to do this" and "I want to do this WITH YOU."

We had them, and I was honest that I wanted a long-term relationship, but wasn't sure if he fit in. He was honest that he wanted that, but wasn't sure if he was ready to settle down quite that much. We discussed our occasional anxieties and hopes on the matter and supported each other through. It was so important to know how the other felt, even while exploring individually if they were the right person for those goals.

FWIW, he has a great relationship with my kids and we are very happy together now. The typical young 20's person would probably not have that in their plans, but he's not your typical young 20's male. So yes - see what he thinks, not what other people think 24 year olds think. And feel free to memail me if you'd like.
posted by blue_and_bronze at 4:33 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I will go a bit against the party line here. I am 38 and I've always been able to go either way on kids. I was in a long relationship with a definitely-no-kids person. (Big age gap, for the record.) Because I am (on the fringes of) a religious subculture, it is actually not too late for me to just find a nice guy who wants to settle down. BUT I am now putting my money where my mouth is, choosing not to just find a good guy, and thus all but ruling out biological children.

This is to give my no-kid bona fides. That said. It was just YESTERDAY I was 29. It was just YESTERDAY I started my period, hell. If you know you want kids, no question, break up with this guy now and start looking for someone on the same path. Think of it this way--if your present man of interest decides he really, really likes you and comes to want to settle down, he can always look you up in the next couple of years. You never know.
posted by 8603 at 4:36 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just came in to say that you made a promise to yourself, so you'll have to speak up in order to honor your promise. Go, you!
posted by jbenben at 4:51 PM on February 8, 2016


The age is not the issue (my 4 years younger boyfriend is and always has been more mature than me) - the issue is that you know what you want and are afraid to communicate that. When you kow you can honour your commitment to yourself that you'll walk if this relationship is not going to give you what you want, you'll feel ready to discuss it with him, imo.
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 6:05 PM on February 8, 2016


This was around the same age and age difference between me and my boyfriend when we met. Although we are no longer together, we had a great relationship, mainly because we communicated and were on the same page regarding future plans.

You have nothing to lose by bringing up the discussion with this fellow at this stage. If it turns out that he doesn't want kids soon, that's fine, you can release him into the wild and free yourself up for someone else who does. If he is into it, then that's great!
posted by roshy at 9:51 PM on February 8, 2016


Hey. As everyone says, it just depends. It depends on the people involved, and there's no hard and fast rule because everyone is different.

Yes, I believe you should date a younger man. In this early stage, you don't have that much to lose and a lot more to gain. I don't think you should make a decision based purely on your age difference (which isn't very much at all).

To add the the anecdata: My fiancee is early 20s, and I'm actually 10 years older than him. We're a pretty similar level of maturity, been together two years now and he proposed a few months ago. Some younger guys absolutely know what they want and who they want to be with, and aren't afraid of commitment. Heck, I was talking to the plumber we had over and I found out he was married and had a kid at 22-- 15 years later, he's still in love with the same woman, and had another kid with her a couple of years ago.

But prior to this I was interested in a guy who was 26-- only four years younger than me--and although he said the right things, and offered commitment, he definitely was not on the same page at all, and not ready; something held him back. It was probably incompatibility, but there was also an element of immaturity there. Even though when we'd discuss the future he'd deny it til he was blue in the face, deep down in my heart of hearts, I could tell that he didn't see that future with me and definitely wasn't ready to settle. I just kinda knew someday didn't mean with me. Hindsight is always 20-20, though. In the end, he found someone he could see the future with, and I kinda wish I'd trusted my instincts sooner and bailed. Being strung along has nothing to do with age at all-- so don't let your past heartbreak dictate your future decisions.

In your case? It's super early days to really worry about it. A month is only four weekends; that's not long at all to get to know anyone. It's okay to think about it and wonder about the future but it's too early to make a decision to bail, because nobody knows if the relationship is viable or not-- and age isn't indicative either way. Moreover, You said it yourself; you're smitten. That kind early love clouds judgment; it hasn't given way to actual deep love yet. It's very easy to promise the world when you're in that euphoric limerent state, and don't have the full picture of someone and their faults yet. Give it some time. Don't self sabotage it with your fears. Just get to know each other better, figure out if your personalities are even long-term compatible or not, and if you even really see HIM in YOUR future. If that comes back affirmative, then ask him what the story is.

In the end, he shouldn't be scared of a talk about being on the same page, or discussing future wants. If he is the kind of guy that will balk and run away from you just bringing it up, then bullet dodged, and the sooner you find out the better. But I do think one month is a little early for that talk.

That said, don't take TOO long to find out, either. With my SO, we had the 'where do you see yourself? Do you see yourself having kids?' talk about six-seven weeks in, and after about four months, we took a next step and defined the relationship; 'do you see yourself with me? What do you think about marraige?' and had a serious discussion about our future together and how we were going to achieve that. But we'd shared 'love yous' by then and were getting pretty serious.

Make sure you trust your instincts, though. In the case of my now fiancee, I could tell he was serious about me in a way the guy who strung me along for two years just wasn't. He always said the right things, about me and our future--but it was always me wanting to believe, rather than him actually taking steps to make that future a reality. It was all talk, no action-- an avalanche of broken promises. My fiance, by comparison, had a different feel to me even from the start and with hindsight, it's like, 'oh, so this is how someone who is actually serious about you is supposed to treat you!' It was like night and day. It feels ridiculous to me now, like, how did I not notice? Why didn't I walk away sooner? It's easy to become complacent when you love someone and you want a certain thing to happen; it gives you tunnel vision. But deep down I kind of knew that things weren't working and I avoided the signs.

But perhaps that isn't you at all, though, perhaps you were truly blindsided by your ex and had no idea they were going to leave. And if so, that sucks-- but it's not dependent on age and can happen to anyone at any time. Don't be afraid to set a timeline for your wants and needs (like, get married before I'm 30) Don't be afraid to break up if things don't progress in that way. Talk is cheap; someone serious about you should always put their money where their mouth is.

Good luck, have fun.
posted by Dimes at 1:41 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


He's 24 and you're 28? Or 29? You both are BABIES. Go for it. It's not going to matter in the end.

This is bugging me, especially since it's a highly favourited comment. Calling someone a baby is a way of invalidating them. A 29 year old woman seriously weighing her future reproductive options deserves to be treated with an adult level of respect.
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:00 AM on February 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


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