We’re taught to view age gaps between romantic partners as problematic or inappropriate, but does age really matter in a healthy adult relationship? Join Master Certified Matchmaker Genevieve Gresset and Certified Dating Coach/Matchmaker Heather Drury as they discuss and break down the age gap stigma and why people are uncomfortable with it.
Heather: Welcome back. Hello, Genevieve. How are you today?
Genevieve: I’m good. And how are you doing?
Heather: I’m doing super good. Now that I’m here with you, I’m excited to dive into somebody that needs our help. So we’ve got our superhero capes on, and let’s see what we can do. I’ve got a letter from somebody that asks: “Is a ten year age gap a lot?” The letter goes on to say: “I am a 43 year old male, met a really nice woman at a singles meet up back in January, and after two more meet up events, we went out for drinks and lunch as friends. Recently during the lunch, I realized I really like her. I knew she was a lot older. At the end of lunch, I asked her out to dinner on a date and she told me that she was ten years older than me. She didn’t say yes or no. She does not look 53 and we get along quite well. But I think she was taken aback by someone younger asking her out. I don’t have a problem with the age gap as we get on really well, really enjoying spending time with her. Also, her children are grown up now.” So interesting, this is a good one. This is a fun letter. What are your initial thoughts, Genevieve?
Genevieve: I love age gap relationships! I think they bring a different dynamic to the table and as long as it’s not ridiculously wide. I’ve always I love these questions about age gap range because at the end of the day it’s about someone’s energetic age. It’s not about their birth age, it’s about their energetic age. So I’ve done lots of stuff on radio constantly about age gap relationships, and it’s one of my favorite favorite topics because I think you can have an old 28 year old and a really young 65 year old. Now, I’m not saying those two should be together. What I’m saying is we take out of the equation someone’s actual age. When I’ve matched and as you know, I’m doing this 32 years, I don’t put people together based on ages. When we’re trying matching to have a seven year radius as a sort of a rule of thumb. But occasionally if we’ve got someone where there’s a couple of years, one way or the other, we will introduce them. If we feel that there’s an energetic match there. I mean, I’ve put so many couples together where there have been 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15 years even. I’ve got one couple I know there’s a 22 year age gap and they’ve been together now over 30 years and are very, very happy.
Genevieve: So I think it is one of these things that it’s not about your birth age, it’s how you feel and how you resonate energetically and connect energetically together. We have a lot of celebrities, let’s just take what’s in the public eye. There was the cougar movement and the toy boy movement. There’s all of these things that we’ve seen over the years that have been fads and “fashionable” to date someone older and younger. But at the end of the day, if you genuinely meet someone that you have a really nice energetic connection with, does it matter how old they are? This is what we say to clients.
Genevieve: You can meet someone at a bar at a networking event, on a plane, a train, wherever, and you can be talking to them. The subject of age maybe doesn’t come up for a month or two. I’ve got one couple that I know they don’t even ask each other’s age now. They’ve been together for years and they don’t want to know each other’s age. They know there’s an age gap and they’re not interested in that. They’re interested in the connection that they have together and how the relationship works. I think society and online dating in particular has given us so many filters to filter people out and so many reasons why not to date people that we’ve stopped looking at people as people and look at people as a list of expectations and commodities. I could talk about this forever, but, you know, age is just a number. Fabulous old saying, age is is just a number. That’s my take on it. And that’s never going to change.
Heather: Yeah, I think it’s because after time and time again, with the thousands of clients that you’ve worked with, I think that after a certain amount of time, you kind of give up trying to rationalize. It just is what it is. Age is just a number. What I love with our matchmakers, I’ll give kind of an example. I hear matchmakers every day working with them, and I’ve done it myself. What I love is when a matchmaker makes such a good connection with their own client that they say, “Barbara, you trust me, right? I’m not telling you his age. You’re going to go meet him.” And what happens is this level of curiosity like, “Okay, I’m not going to focus on his age. I’m just going to go out and see because I trust you. I feel safe, I feel taken care of.” There is a luxury in knowing that you have a matchmaker because there is like, “You know what? I’m going to give this a shot because I know you have my back and I know that if this doesn’t work, I know that you’re there to protect me and care for me.” So you’re right, society puts such pressure on what we know we can control. I know I can look at age. I know I can look at height. I know I can look at education level instead of just going out and meeting this person and just letting there be a genuine connection. Society has put a little pressure on us and made it uncomfortable to date like that. But the best daters, the ones that get the most out of their dating journey, Genevieve, are the ones that you’re talking about that have the ability to focus on that energetic connection. But it’s scary. It’s scary.
Genevieve: It’s totally scary because what you’re doing is you’re actually surrendering to everything that society is telling you is a must. You can have people that you have to date with this list of requirements. And, you know my thing is ditch the list. Just ditch the list. The list is your enemy. You are your own best friend. When people go into this journey with an open heart, an open mind, yeah. Guess what? They become successful very, very quickly. They ditch their list, they ditch their expectations. They ditch the expectations other people have put upon them. One of my favorite questions that I get matchmakers to ask all the time when people come with these long lists is: “Where have these expectations come from?” Are they from you? Are they from your family? Are they because you’re in fear of what happened previously? Have you got these lists together to protect you from repeating the patterns, where actually, these lists are going to only get you down one path of meeting the wrong person for the wrong reasons. You’re going to keep rinsing and repeating the patterns.
Genevieve: Stop focusing on age, stop focusing on height. Stop focusing on everything that is superficial in a relationship. At the end of the day, if the two of you get on, why are you questioning it now? What is there to question? It doesn’t matter how old somebody is, it’s how you get on with them. Are your values the same? Do you want the same thing? The only thing I ever question with age is if one wants children and one cannot have children. If one is beyond that, especially as a woman biologically, there becomes a time when women can’t have children, in case you didn’t know. There is a biological clock for men as well as women and sometimes as women don’t realize that. We’ve got to be mindful of if you’re an older woman with a younger man and that younger man wants children and you can’t have children, those are things that you need to discuss. You need to agree, you need to perhaps compromise in some way and find the right solution that’s right for you. So that’s the only time I think it gets particularly complicated is when your wants, wishes and desires are not aligned. That would be complicated for any age. You could be two 35 year old young people and one of you wants children and one of you doesn’t.
Heather: The thing that I like about this letter writer and I think where you and I both probably got really excited is he did exactly what we’re suggesting. He kind of said “Screw age. I feel an energetic connection with you. I went out a couple of times with you as a friend with no agenda.” That’s your three date rule right there. See this person a couple of times to explore and then ask them on a real date. If you feel like “I feel good with you, I’d like to explore this.” Letter Writer, don’t let one person’s inability to respond to you or get excited with you stop you from this behavior. Because for me, you’re looking at the right stuff. The stuff that really matters.
Genevieve: The stuff that actually is the foundation of a healthy, loving, long lasting relationship. You could be with someone the same age as you and never have that same connection. You’ve got to look at what that means and what that brings to the table. That’s the most important thing. Don’t let people try and throw you off the scent. There’s always these naysayers that try and interfere when it’s something a little bit different, but is something that’s different from their comfort zone. More often than not, when people are interjecting and throwing their opinions into the mix, it’s because they’re not brave enough or bold enough to perhaps step outside of their comfort zone and do something like that. Often I find when we dissect it, and I’ve spoken to bigger audiences about this, there’s jealousy and all sorts of other things that are going into play that people are projecting into the situation. “Oh, well, I know people where it hasn’t worked.” Well we ALL know couples that haven’t worked. Who’s to say one way or another if it’s going to work or not. So don’t listen to others. Your intuition is your best guide. It will always stand you in good stead is when you go against your intuition and you “come a cropper.” (Genevieve’s version of failing) So really trust your instincts and follow that. That’s my opinion on the matter. Age gap relationships DO work.
Heather: As long as you’re not chasing the age, what does the age matter?
Genevieve: And that’s a really good point. Are you putting your energy and your focus around the age? Are you an older man wanting a much younger woman because you want them as a trophy? Are you an older woman that wants a younger man because you want to feel young again and relive your youth? You’ve got to look at your motive as to why you want that. If it’s a genuine connection with someone that you’re attracted to, that you are invested in, that’s completely different than saying from the outset, “I want to be with someone 20, 30 years younger.”
Heather: There you go, different. You know, I always like to give homework or food for thought here for this Letter Writer. Two points of advice. Stop asking the whole wide world “Is a ten year age gap a lot?” Because you’re going to get a different answer from everyone
Genevieve: Don’t even tell anyone, it’s not anyone’s business!
Heather: Exactly, and your opinion is going to be different than someone else’s opinion, which is going to be different than my needs. So stop asking people that. Instead, I would love to say you need to be the one start giving some advice. An age gap is not the question here. You did so beautifully with. “I realized I liked her. I asked her just as a friend. We met up.” So lean into what you’re doing right here. Explore that a little bit and have some confidence and celebratory moments in reflecting in this letter itself. Because if we take that question out and we just read again what he wrote, he’s giving some really cool advice. Stop asking other people for advice. Sometimes Letter Writers, you think that you have questions, but actually you’re doing just fine.