The Age Old Question or the Old Age Question?

By Becky Larson,

Each year I get closer to the big 3-0 I become more aware I’m entering a time in my life where age can become an issue.

I’ve noticed I now sometimes cringe when people ask how old I am.  We frequently hear “age is just a number” but is that really the case?  And, in the dating world, how does age factor in?

It’s not unusual to see a younger woman with a significantly older man but it still seems to be a bit taboo when the roles are reversed.  People often claim they feel it’s acceptable but snide remarks are not uncommon and vary depending on the gender situation.

Comments like “Thatta boy!” are frequent for men dating younger women while comments like “What’s that boy toy doing with that cougar?” are all too familiar when older women date younger men.

So, in the dating world, maybe the rules don’t apply and age isn’t just a number.  Or are there a certain number of years between the two parties involved that’s socially acceptable?  Is a 10 year age difference all right but a 20 year difference too much?

I’ve dated both younger and older men but I seem to play it safe and be a little more cautious with younger men nowadays.  I sometimes place them in the “this is just for fun” category when that might not always be fair.

But is it realistic to think a twenty-something guy could be interested in a relationship?

Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with age at all.  Maybe as we get older and find ourselves still single, we’ve been through so many failed relationships we’re just extra cautious to begin with and the age factor becomes our excuse for not trying something new and a bit out of our comfort zone.

So, I did a little research to find some answers.  Please keep in mind, this is not scientific by any means, no offense to my very wise friends and family who participated.  The consensus is age isn’t a factor as long as the two people are on the same page.

There will forever be 50-year-olds who act like they’re 21 and 21-year-olds who act like they’re 50 and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what’s socially acceptable as long as the parties involved are compatible and make each other happy.

It comes down to wanting the same things out of life and knowing whether or not you and the other party involved can provide those things for one another.  It’s not easy to find someone you truly want to spend time with and put in effort for and whether they happen to be older or younger is just a small part of the big picture.

That love spark is a spark at any age, proving that age really is just a number even in the dating world.

About Jimmy Spencer

Jimmy Spencer has extensive experience in journalism and new media. As the founding editor of, Spencer combines his writing, reporting and editing skills to produce a "pretty good site about midtown." During the day, Spencer covers government and also covers the NBA. At night, he watches T.V. and plays on the Internet. Every now and then, he walks around his midtown neighborhood. Spencer began his professional journalism career with The Sacramento Bee, finishing his tenure with the McClatchy-owned newspaper in the new media department. Spencer moved to Connecticut where he continued his growth in new media as a writer/content producer for NBC Sports. Spencer also worked in media relations with the Sacramento River Cats, Minor League Baseball Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s. Spencer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from California State University, Sacramento where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The State Hornet campus newspaper. Spencer was raised in Marin County and currently lives in Sacramento, Calif. Spencer works in the community as a high school basketball coach in the Sacramento area.


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Posted by on May 3 2011. Filed under Dating. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Comments for “The Age Old Question or the Old Age Question?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sean walker and Shele Belle, Reb Andrei. Reb Andrei said: The Age Old Question or the Old Age Question? […]

  2. Tony

    Age doesn’t really matter, and is dependent on the two people involved. I’ve read, though, a general “rule of thumb” as far as social acceptability is half your age + 7 years.

  3. Lisa

    No Tony, that math doesn’t add up for me! I’m 43 and am not at all prepared to date a 72 year-old! The OLDER MAN may think it’s acceptable, but in most cases the younger woman DOES NOT!

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