What is an acceptable age gap for couples?
While you shouldn’t let society dictate what is or isn’t “normal,” there is definitely a serious ick factor that needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to age gaps. Personally, I am of the belief that if it’s not hurting anyone and it works for you, then embrace it. But if visions of Mary Kay Letourneau dance in your head, that might be cause for concern.
First and foremost, all participants should be of legal age. But hopefully that’s a given. Generally speaking, if you partner is old enough to have given birth to you, that’s probably too wide of a gap -- but it all depends on what age you are when you meet and fall in love. A 40-year-old with a 60-year-old is way less off-putting than an 18-year-old and a 38-year-old.
"Age will always stir the pot in terms of interest," says Dr. Judy Scheel, PhD, LCSW, author, and national speaker. "It’s hard not to assign a value to age. With that said, people are motivated by different things when they fall in love. Whenever there is a subordinate role, or a role where the intent on either party is to use the other person in some way, take advantage of them, or put them in a victimized role, that is a red flag. Generally if the age of one partner is 21 or younger and the other partner is more than 10 years older, that is suspect."
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Meagan Drillinger is a contributing writer for Thrillist. All of her dates are tax deductible. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @drillinjourneys.