When you look up in a search engine “what is the rule for dating someone older?” there are a variety of blogs and forums that will pop up: all having a very specific rule in place. Get out your calculators, folks.
Take your age, subtract 7, and then multiply by 2.
Let’s use me as an example: I’m 25. So the oldest person I should date, or marry, should be no older than 36. Hmmm…how old is Brandon, again?
We clearly violate this rule.
But who likes to live by rules? Not me. I’ve been a rule breaker more recently in life, as I felt for many years like I needed to color inside the lines. Follow the pack. Not be different.
The first real rule I ever broke was my parent’s rule.
It went a little something like: you’re not allowed to get a tattoo. Ever. Never ever.
And all good rules have consequences. What would be my consequence for inking my skin permanently, you might ask? They’d stop paying my car insurance, my college tuition, and any and all other personal expenses. Talk about harsh! My dad even used to joke that if I ever got a tattoo, it better say homeless. Ha ha ha. Very funny, dad.
Well I think you know where this is going: my first month of college, I went to a local Portland tattoo and piercing parlor, called Adorn, with some friends who were getting their noses pierced. While we were there, I thought “what the hell? I’ve always wanted a tattoo.” 15 minutes later I was inked up. At the time, I felt liberated. And this was my very first, distinct choice to really break the rules.
I proceeded to hide my tattoo from my parents for 6 months, despite being swimsuit clad throughout our annual trip to Cabo. But I finally decided to fess up to it on Easter. There’s always something about Easter that gives me crazy Christian guilt. It’s almost like a truth serum takes over me. Listen to our podcast to hear how I broke the news to my dad about Brandon and my relationship on a Easter Sunday.
But back to the Rule of Dating Someone Older:
I get that people are naturally curious about what’s socially acceptable and what’s not. So instead of asking your friends, Google is a safe place to get the gist of what your appropriate age gap should be. And then this weird equation pops up. At first glance, you do the math. For me, I realized my math was a bit off. According to the equation, Brandon is 14 years too old for me.
And you know what? That’s fair. I can understand how, at first, you could come to this conclusion. He is 25 years older, after all.
But it plain and simply doesn’t apply to us. He’s not too old for me and I’m not too young for him. Most people recognize this quickly after they’ve moved past the aesthetics and given us a chance.
The simple truth is: relationships are more than equations. Ours certainly is.
You can’t allow math to make your decisions for you. Use it to be aware. Use it to understand the odds. Let it aid you in the decision making process. But don’t use it as a black or white indication of whether or not your relationship is worth perusing. You get to determine that.
I am so very grateful that I never thought to search this on the internet before deciding to date Brandon. The articles would have caused nothing but doubt and insecurity at a time when I needed to listen to myself.
But for all the younger girls out there who are looking for some validation that an age gap can work for you, I hope and pray (and have done some serious SEO on this post) that you find this. And that we can talk. You’re not alone. You can absolutely do this if you’re eyes are open to the realities of what age gaps bring. And you’re going to have to work your tail off.
I’m not a cheerleader of all age gap relationships. Some are good. Others are bad. And a few are completely toxic. Just like any other relationship category. I root for the good ones, as I’m certain there are a whole lot of them, that could use a little reassurance that their love can work, despite a math equation saying otherwise.
As rule breaking goes, some rules are in place to protect us. In hindsight, I sometimes regret getting that tattoo as now I hate the font and think it was silly, rebellious phase. But it’s symbolic to me: I actually don’t think I’d be with Brandon today if I didn’t flex my rule breaking muscle on this tattoo.
So it’s staying on, for now. And as for dating someone who’s breaks the age gap rule? He’s staying around, too.
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