As if age hadn’t been a hot topic after the Billy The Kid incident, after dating two 25 year old’s – yes at the same time, though both in varying degrees of seriousness – it was once again at the forefront of my mind. How old is too old and, more importantly in this situation, how young is too young?

While with Frenchie it was incredibly easy, with absolutely no strings attached. Malaysian Persuasion, on the other hand, definitely brought more emotion and, dare I say, immaturity to our situation. And that in and of itself proves that the numbers making up the ages are not the concern. The number of candles on a cake is not the issue. The number of years on this earth is not the thing we should be focused on – it is the person, their motivations, their goals, their maturity (which is not directly correlated to that number) that is where you learn the most.

As I get older, and seemingly the majority of men on dating apps gets younger, the question of age appropriateness is often on my mind. Particularly as a woman. Because, of course, there’s something that makes it that much more shocking when it’s an older woman with a younger guy than an older guy with a younger woman. Oh society… how I abhor your double standards.

Friends, and I myself, have used the term “age appropriate” when talking about people I’ve been dating. And generally that’s applied to anyone a couple of years younger – at 33, it seems 30 and up is acceptable for me to date? – and then any age older. ANY! Why is a 38 year old guy (looking at you Filipeen) so much more appropriate for me to date than someone in their late twenties?

Yes, I know women mature faster and so by dating a younger guy you are potentially dating someone not only 5 years younger in age but 15 years younger in maturity. Ok, I joke, they don’t mature that slowly… But maturity can’t be assumed based on age. For either sex.

When it comes to society’s opinion, I’ve learnt not to care. I know that for me, for whatever reason, I have found more fun and more common ground with men younger than me. So I don’t care anymore, and my friends have learnt that generally when they ask the question of age in regards to someone I’m dating, my answer will start with “he’s twenty…” something. Though they did really draw the line at Billy The Kid, but to be fair, so did I.

The flip side of my comfort level with dating younger though, is how it feels for the younger guy to be dating an older woman. It’s a conversation I’ve had many times and from what I’ve experienced, issues arise because of two main factors…

The first is that there’s a misconception that because I’m a 33 year old woman I must be racing to get married and have babies. But as we all know, I’ve done the first and got the therapy bills to show for it, and I’m not entirely certain how I feel about the second… so rushing to do it? Absolutely not.

Now, yes, there are women who are desperate for those things and, for those women, that desire intensifies with age, particularly as society’s opinions (seriously, who gave society such a loudmouth?) and biology start to close in on us. But to believe that all women are looking for that and that just because your age starts with “thirty…” something means it must be the sole item on your agenda is terribly misinformed.

The second issue, and it’s one I come back to frequently, is that when you’re the younger age, you don’t know what it’s like to be the older age. At 25, I couldn’t have imagined what 33 would be like. It seemed so far away, and serious, and… old! And now, at 33, I remember what 27 felt like because it doesn’t seem all that long ago! And, yes, I’ve grown and yes, things have changed but ultimately I don’t feel that different at 33 than I did at 25. I mean I’m a little more husbandless than I was eight years ago, but same same.

And there is often a fear of the unknown. Particularly when you only consider the age. When it comes to friends of the younger guy – for them, they don’t necessarily know the old 33 year old. They just know she’s 8 years older than their 25 year old mate. They don’t take into consideration that maybe the 33 old is actually still fun and isn’t about to haul their friend down the aisle. Hell, maybe their friend actually has something(s) in common with the old lady – shock horror. But I can understand where the hesitation comes in, as misconceived as it may be.

As long as misplaced hesitation is all it is. If you take age out of the equation and there’s still something there – a connection between two people, an understanding, common interests, an attraction – then I truly don’t think the numbers matter.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you can meet a 25 year old with a tonne of life experience and maturity or you can meet a 38 year old who’s scared of commitment. And both could end up as a tale of woe on your blog so…

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