They say age is just a number, but age gaps in dating remain a debatable topic. People’s dating preferences vary by age and are frequently imposed on others.
Though we must admit it, society seems to be embracing different age range preferences, and the large age gap in dating is proof. It’s refreshing that age is no longer as major a factor in dating today as it was in the past.
However, we are not there yet, as some people still ask uncomfortable questions and stare if they notice a huge age difference between lovers.
This means there’s still a socially accepted age range in dating that everyone is expected to observe. So, what is this age range?
But first, what does “dating age range” mean?
Read on to learn this and more!
Dating Age Range Meaning
Range means variations between specified limits. We, therefore, can say that the “dating age range” refers to the preferable age variation between certain limits (the highest and lowest age) a person prefers to date.
For example, I might prefer dating someone between 25 and 30, meaning anyone between 25, 28, or 30 years old falls within my range, so I can comfortably date them.
But anyone who is 24 or 32 is out of my preferred age range, so I might not be comfortable dating them.
Of course, my age affects my preferred age range in dating. I might prefer dating someone older than me by a few years or someone the same age as me. I might also be willing to date someone younger by a few years.
Putting all this into consideration, I can come up with an age range that includes all my preferences. So if I’m 27, my dating age range could be 25–30.
Dating age range preferences vary from person to person; while some may prefer dating their agemates, others prefer dating someone older or younger than them.
As such, you might be 25 and have an age range preference of 30–40. You can also be 25 and have an age range of 20–24.
Another factor that may influence dating preferences based on age range is gender. For example, men often prefer dating younger women, and the scenario of being 25 with an age range preference of 20–24 is likely to be a man’s preference.
In the same way, women often prefer dating older men, so the scenario of being 25 with an age range preference of 30–40 best applies to a woman’s preference.
Does Age Matter in Dating? Why or Why Not?
As Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
It is as simple as that; if you don’t mind your partner being older or younger, it doesn’t matter.
Anytime the issue of age comes up in a conversation, I always ask: If you meet someone you are compatible with in all aspects and they love, respect, and treat you right, would you leave them because they are a few years older or younger?
In my opinion, it makes no sense to reject a potential life partner because they do not fall within your preferred dating age range. But at the same time, if the issue of age matters so much to you, date someone who falls within your preferred age range.
Think about it; overlooking this while it matters to you won’t solve anything. You will still make it a serious issue that breaks your relationship.
My 26-year-old female friend believes that with age comes maturity. As such, she prefers dating guys over 30. A few months back, she met a guy, and after some time, they realized they were compatible.
For some reason, the issue of age never came up, so nobody knew how old the other was. They started going out and had a successful three months of dating until my friend came into contact with the guy’s identification card.
She realized he was 24; this immediately became an issue. She started saying the guy acted immaturely at times, and they wouldn’t relate. My verdict was that my friend approached any misunderstanding with a biased mind.
She would bring up the issue of maturity in any genuine mistake and make it a big deal. Of course, they didn’t last a month after this.
So if you are like my friend, stick to your age range preference, but if you don’t mind, an age difference will never be an issue.
Dating Age Range Preferences in America
As previously mentioned, we all have different ideas when it comes to the topic of what is an appropriate dating age range and choosing a potential life partner.
According to Ipsos, a lot of American adults have previously dated or are dating someone with an age difference of 10 years or more.
And though the issue of gender imbalance still exists, most Americans believe an age difference of ten years is socially acceptable.
Shaneco conducted a survey to determine Americans’ dating age range preferences in different states. While their findings revealed different dating age preferences in different states, the takeaway point was that age is not crucial when choosing a life partner for most Americans.
But when respondents were asked if they preferred dating someone younger or older, most preferred dating someone older.
The Socially Accepted Age Range in Dating
When it comes to dating, we live in a lawless era where people do what suits them best. However, we still deal with social stigma when in an age-gap relationship.
This means there is a socially accepted age range for dating. Generally, women are expected to be younger than men in relationships. But then again, they shouldn’t be too young, as people will still ask questions.
And if the woman is older, that’s even worse. You will deal with serious stereotypes that may affect your relationship.
Even worse, there are double standards in age-gap relationships. For example, a female is often judged harshly when dating a younger man compared to a man dating a young girl equal to his daughter’s age.
The socially accepted age range in dating defines the minimum age of a partner as half your age plus seven. And the maximum is your age minus seven times two. So if you are 30;
Minimum= (30/2) + 7
Maximum= (30-7) x 2
Going by this, a 30-year-old is not expected to date anyone younger than 22 or older than 46. But this is not always the case.
Can You Date a Younger or Older Person Successfully?
You sure can. We’ve seen age-gap relationships turn into beautiful love stories.
But that doesn’t mean it was a smooth ride. Such relationships had to overcome social stigma from close friends or even relatives.
You can date anyone you are compatible with, whether they are five years younger or ten years older than you. If you and the other person are okay with it, why not?
Though I must say, apart from the stigma, there might be differences between you that relate to your age. For example, if you are the older person in the relationship, it might seem immature to you when your partner acts their age.
You might also find it hard to relate to or agree on some things. For instance, while your 24-year-old partner prefers clubbing, you might prefer staying indoors and enjoying each other’s company.
You need to find a balance and accept the differences that come with your age gap for your relationship to work. Otherwise, I’m afraid there will be more sad times than happy ones in your relationship.
While some people don’t take the issue of age as a determining factor in a partner, others take it so seriously that they want to know your age on your first date.
Each group is right, provided they don’t reflect their age preferences on others. But whether you date someone your age or someone younger or older, no relationship is perfect.
You just focus on making things better each day.