This is a very popular topic among my followers. In fact, I once made a video about the very same topic and still continue to receive comments (mostly negative) about my generalizations about gay relationships with a huge age difference. Since I was asked again, I will try to answer this question again incorporating all of the feedback I received the first time around. This particular follower states that he is 20 years old and the man he’s in a relationship with is 51. That’s – count them- 31 years apart. In other words, when this follower was 10, his man was 41. When he was 17, his man was 48.
The reason I like to point out these crucial years is to highlight how major this age difference would be considered along the way. If any of us agree that it is ok for a 10 year old to be in a relationship with a 41 year old, we have problems. But what about 17 and 48? That would still qualify as statutory rape. So now, three years later, we have a 20 year old and a 51 year old. Everything is now legal (besides the 20 year old buying alcohol), but has that much really changed in such a short period to make this couple an ideal match? Answer: it depends. For most of us, it makes sense to find a life partner that is more or less our own age so we can generally experience the same phases of life together. Our crazy college years, our young professional years, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids, our kids graduating college, retirement, etc.
I also believe that this is not always realistic and doesn’t work for everyone. We all mature at different rates, so an extremely mature 20 year old may not relate to someone his age. Until very recently, most men my age did not interest me as far as maturity and I always felt a bit “beyond my years.” And yet, for me, I would not feel comfortable being in a serious relationship with someone 20 years older than I. Note – I say serious relationship. This is because I do believe there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a 20, hell, even 30 year age difference in some casual relationships. For one, this many years tends to be positive on the intimate side. It is exciting for a younger man to be with someone more experienced to show him the ropes. I’d have to guess it is equally exciting for an older man to be with a younger man. It may also be good for the younger man to learn from the older, share life experiences, etc. It may give the older man some perspective, an opportunity to have fun again and be more lighthearted about life, etc. There are positives on both ends.
There are also some major potential issues. You are dealing with a person that likely has way different concerns in life than you. Thus, if you fall in love with someone at such a different place, you will have to deal with some issues. An older man may not have much time for a younger man if they are in different places in their career. An older man may not be taking the younger man seriously. So many times I have followers in this situation where the older man is clearly in it for the sex and the younger man has fallen in love with something that doesn’t exist. Communication is key with big age differences. Similarly, the younger man has the benefit of age on his side. When he’s done with the situation, he can walk away and start over fairly easy whereas the older man may have a harder time dating someone new after investing in this young man. Both men may find it hard to share their relationship with their friends and family due to the judgment they will likely receive.
In sum, I would say this. A relationship is healthy if both partners are on the same page and happy because they are together and enriching the lives of one another. Many relationships with major age differences are successful when both partners are on the same page and happy. However, having a major age difference in a serious relationship should mandate consideration of the above issues (and others) to determine if it is right for you. I think they can be successful but they often are not due to lack of communication and one party (usually the younger one) not understanding the full scope of the older one’s intent. I think a lot can be gained from dating or even just having a friendship with someone older or younger than you. In casual situations, just be sure you are with a good person not abusing you (older or younger). In serious situations, communication is crucial!