Is an age difference of 22 years too much?

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Posted 11/27/2012 by TamraC in NSBR Board


PeaNut 120,842
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:09:09 AM
My niece is 26 years old and the guy she is now living with is 48...(which is coincidentally her mom's age)

I don't really want to get into too much personal detail.That said,I honestly think she started dating much older guys(this isn't her first) because she is looking for a kind of father figure and boyfriend rolled into one.She and her jerk of a dad are not very close...

As far as I can tell he is a decent enough guy,I suppose.Though only time will tell, being as they have only been together for about 5 months.

Maybe I am just being an over-protective aunt?I would personally rather she be with someone her age,but she is an adult and can make her own decisions,but d**n,,he is almost too old for me and I am 40!

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PeaNut 172,235
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:12:40 AM
That is a significant difference but she's a full adult...not 19 or 20 years old. Maybe she is looking for a father figure, that's not unheard of.

As you say, only time will tell whether the age gap is too much for them to making it work!

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PeaNut 50,756
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:13:30 AM
My sister is 41 and her dh is about to turn 65 (or 66, I am not 100% sure). Works for them.


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PeaNut 143,106
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:25:44 AM
My sister is 35 and her husband is 62. We thought that was too much, but hey, I'm not the one that has to deal with it.


PeaNut 544,018
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:29:08 AM
For ME, the age difference is too much. And if it were MY niece or daughter, I would not be happy about it.

But she really is a full adult, and she alone will have to decide if this works for her.

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PeaNut 190,373
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:31:47 AM
My FIL is 25 years older than my MIL and they have been together almost 45 years so it can work. Only time will tell.

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PeaNut 26,836
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:52:44 AM
For ME it would be too much. I do find that I think older men are attractive, but typically men who are less older than 22 years.

Plus for ME, that much of a difference would concern me for various reasons.

However, I fully logically know that all of my reasons could be pointless and wrong, but it's just one of those things, you know?

If another couple was happy in a relationship with that type of age difference I certainly wouldn't have an issue with it.


PeaNut 196,615
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:54:13 AM
For who? You or her? maybe it'snot right for you, but it could be right for her. I try not to judge relationships I am not in by my standards. Would I have that big of an age difference? Probably not, but I know people that do and it works for them.


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PeaNut 247,594
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:07:37 AM
I have a hard time thinking of a specific set of ages where there wouldn't be some serious caution flags to me. That doesn't mean it isn't right, but I think for most people, those caution flags should be heeded. The place in life for most people is just too different. There are always exceptions.


PeaNut 288,074
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:08:02 AM
I think it depends on the people. I can't imagine being with someone that much older (or younger) than me, but if it was the right person, I suppose the age difference wouldn't matter

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PeaNut 268,398
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:08:26 AM
For me that would be too much of a difference. Who's to say what's right for her. If he is good to her and she is happy that's all that matters.


PeaNut 299,148
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:35:14 AM
Right now I don't think the age difference will matter. My ex was 25 years older than me and you would never know for the longest time. We traveled. Did all kinds of things like camping, fishing (had boat). Learned so much from him. It wasn't until years later that his age made the difference. It then became a "why do you want to do that". He no longer had interest in going to the movies when he could watch a dvd at home. Health will play an important role.

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PeaNut 145,006
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Posted: 11/27/2012 8:31:26 AM
I think it depends on the couple. My mom is 60 and her s/o is 39 (just a bit older than me). He is the oldest acting 39 year old I've ever met and she's a young 60 year old. They kinda meet in the middle. lol

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Posted: 11/27/2012 9:41:20 AM
Well, if they are in it for the long haul, then yeah, when she is HIS age and he is 70, it WILL be a big difference.

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PeaNut 82,319
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Posted: 11/27/2012 9:47:47 AM
For me that is too old. For her, maybe not. She's 26, she's more than old enough to make that decision and know who she is by now.

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PeaNut 96,783
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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:09:57 AM
Unless I saw signs of strangeness in the relationship I'd be ok with it/ At 26 your niece would appear to be an adult. I'd be encouraging about the relationship, or at least neutral.

Will you be spending time with them over the holidays? I'd want to see how he interacts with family members. My only concern would be if he tries to cut her off from her family.


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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:15:00 AM
She is an adult, as others have posted.

That said, in the similar relationships I've witnessed, things are ok when the couple is at the ages where that couple is, but the woman ends up spending the last 15+ years of her life as a home health aide/caretaker, until she is just old enough that she needs care taking herself.

That may not be the case for all couples, and many may be very happy. But my father is "only" 11 years older than my mother, and what he can do at 80 vs what my mother can do at 69 ... It is hard, and unlikely to get easier.

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PeaNut 78,236
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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:24:01 AM
I don't get it. Too much of a difference for me - plus they are totally different generations.


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PeaNut 52,841
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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:24:13 AM
When my mother remarried, she was 42 and he was 66. It worked for them at that time in their life. He was a very active 66 year old and was very active until he died of a massive heart attack when he was 83 or 84. He had taken heart medication for over 50 years. They knew that eventually the heart would go. But, they had 17 happy years together.

At 26 and 48, she does need to think past the here and now and what life might be like for her when she is his age. It would be too much of an age difference for ME if I was 26.

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PeaNut 59,094
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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:27:56 AM
Too much for me, too much if it was my children. I wouldn't be thrilled. But she is an adult.

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PeaNut 43,843
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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:38:48 AM
Not something I would do.

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PeaNut 87,597
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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:43:00 AM
She is 26, so not at all. My husband's cousin is 44 and she has been dating a 22 yr. old for a year. He is also an adult, so he can make his own decisions.


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Posted: 11/27/2012 4:23:25 PM
Too old to me...

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Posted: 11/27/2012 4:37:26 PM
When I was her age, I liked older men, too, as I felt (& still joke) that guys are still "puppies" until they're 35. I drew the line at "old enough to be my father," just because it sort of creeped me out, personally. Wound up marrying somebody (slightly) younger than I am.

Whenever I hear about a difference that vast, I always hear that Steely Dan song play in my head, "Hey 19, no we can't talk together, no we can't talk at all....." If he's from Peter Frampton's day & she doesn't even know what a pay phone is, what will they talk about on those long nights?

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PeaNut 12,875
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Posted: 11/27/2012 4:45:18 PM
At 26, I would worry about it less than if she were 18 and he was 40. I am 47 and can't imagine having much in common with a person in his/her mid twenties, but that is because I have already been married a long time and raised children to adulthood. It would just be different points in our lives. If I were still single and childless, it might be very different.


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Posted: 11/27/2012 5:12:36 PM
It totally depends on the couple. My Dh is older than I am. I certainly don't wish him to be old and sick, but if that day should come, then I will take care of him as best I can. But you never know - I could end up being the sick one. We've already had 20+ years together, and I am so blessed to be married to him.

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Posted: 11/27/2012 5:23:26 PM
It's too much of an age difference for me. But, I certainly wouldn't say anything to her unless it appeared to be an unequal balance of power in the relationship.



PeaNut 30,940
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Posted: 11/27/2012 5:39:38 PM

That said, in the similar relationships I've witnessed, things are ok when the couple is at the ages where that couple is, but the woman ends up spending the last 15+ years of her life as a home health aide/caretaker, until she is just old enough that she needs care taking herself.

Having seen this happen in three marriages that I can think of offhand, this would be my main concern.

Nothing is guaranteed in life, no matter what your age, but when one spouse is significantly older than the other there is the very real likelihood of this happening.

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PeaNut 104,551
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:15:17 PM
16 and 38? Hell yes.
22 and 44? Probably looking for a daddy, but she's an adult.
42 and 68? Kind of a spread, but they must really love each other.
74 and 96? No


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PeaNut 115,077
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:17:21 PM
My DH is 22 years older than I am (he's 63, I'm 41). We've been married for almost 12 years, together for almost 15. It works well for us!



PeaNut 120,842
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Posted: 11/27/2012 6:31:58 PM
Thank all of you so much for your experiences and opinions

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Posted: 11/28/2012 4:48:54 AM
My husband and I were 25 and 46 respectively when we started dating. 10 years later (8 of marriage) we're still doing just fine.


That said, in the similar relationships I've witnessed, things are ok when the couple is at the ages where that couple is, but the woman ends up spending the last 15+ years of her life as a home health aide/caretaker, until she is just old enough that she needs care taking herself.

that is really important. It's difficult to look that far ahead when you're young.

There are other things to consider too that I didn't notice anyone else mention.

Finances are one. As he's that much older, will he be expecting to retire in his 60s (say) potentially making her the main breadwinner from that point? Unless he has a very well funded retirement plan, that could mean a significant change in their lifestyle compared to the earlier years of their relationship, which might be ok for him but would be from a relatively young age for her.

Family is the other. By which I mean children. They really need to be sure they're on the same page on that one. Will he want to be a father to very young children in his 50s, potentially to still have children in school when he's approaching 70? Finances come into that again in terms of things like paying for college too. In my experience it's likely that even if he does want children, the timescale in which that would need to happen is relatively short - if they're going to do it, the sooner the better so no waiting until she's in her mid-30s, if you see what I mean.

I love my husband and we're very happy, but if I'm honest I DO worry sometimes about how our life will be in 15 or 20 years time. I don't know that any hardship would be enough to have made me change my mind and pass up what we have together, but in truth I probably didn't think enough about these things before I made the commitment.

I would never say it's too much of a gap - that's down to each individual couple - but it's not a decision to be made lightly either.


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