This is a lesbian love advice post that Dr. Frankie answered from a reader like you. We got so much traffic from it that we wrote a much longer and much more in-depth piece on our blog, about how to not let age limit your lesbian dating. If you’d like more info after you read this piece, check it out.
Hi Dr. Frankie,
I’m in my early forties and I’ve started to casually date again after being single for almost a year. A couple of girls have asked me out on dates. Both dates were a lot of fun but the girls turned out to be younger than I thought… in their early thirties. Not sure if I should ask them out on a second date because of the age difference of more than ten years is not really going to work for me, I think. Should I keep an open mind? What is the maximum age difference you think for a relationship to work?
Dear Young at Heart,
Depending on the maturity and energy levels of you and your dates, I see no problem with a ten-year age difference. I’ll use myself as an example; even at a young age almost all my closest friends were at least several years older than me. When I dated, I was attracted to women who were on average seven to ten years older. I found that I connected with them more so than women of my age. It probably isn’t a total coincidence that the last two women you’ve dated have both been about ten years younger than you.
I’m guessing that you probably have a youthful energy and are also attracted to younger women. On the flip side, I have found that relationships with an age difference of more than ten years can be challenging because the gap becomes almost generational, and differences in things like pop culture and worldviews become more glaring.
Couples with such a gap will share fewer cultural reference points to relate to. If the gap is too large it may seem as if you and your partner grew up in two different worlds. Common interests often differ as the gap increases, and activity levels may be different enough that it can create issues. Enter the “cohort effect”. The term is used to describe a group of people +/- 6 years of the target population. This age range describes a group of people who have had similar social experiences. For example, they grew up sharing similar music, culture and events.
Individuals from the same cohort will have more in common verses individuals outside of the cohort. If you are beyond the cohort you may find yourself out of sync on some matters with your partner. Given the extent of failed relationships in this day and age, I generally recommend trying to “stack the deck” in your favor by dating someone who has more shared experiences than differences. Couples with more things in common often navigate treacherous times together better than their counterparts who have little in common.
Now back to you. You said you had a lot of fun on both dates but also said that you didn’t think the age difference would work for you. Before you discount these women based on their ages, ask yourself two questions. 1: Are you attracted to these women? And 2: Are you interested in learning more about these women? If you answered yes to both questions then go on a second date. If after a second or third date the age difference becomes more glaring rather than less obvious, then it is time to trust your gut and look for someone a bit closer in age.