How Young Is Too Young?

The cover of the book "Lolita"

I’ve been thinking about age and dating recently, only to realize, I haven’t covered the topic much. Age isn’t seen as a huge issue, often people date around their age range. The topic often arises in conversations of older men dating younger women. That conversation really leads to the question; How young is too young? When are you too old to date someone?

Everyone’s first response is to say “as long as they are legal”, meaning if they are 18 and over, you’re in the clear. A 28-year-old dating someone who’s 19 is a bit creepy. Other’s refer to a “dating age rule”, a mathematical formula that determines if the person you’re dating is within your allowable age range. Someone is too young to date if they are younger than half of your age + 7 years. So if you’re 28, the youngest aged person you can date is 21 (half of 21 is 14, plus 7 equals 21). That makes some sense, but doesn’t completely address the issue. At the end of the day, we’re still left with the question, “How Young Is Too Young?”

Age is a moving target. There isn’t an age chart for everyone to follow. The minute you turn 30, everyone under 22 doesn’t disappear from your dating pool. I believe to help answer the question, one had to think in the form or age ranges. For someone who’s in their late 20’s, dating an 18-year-old is problematic. They can’t drink and often excluded from going to nightclubs and other over 21 events. For someone in their early 20’s this isn’t much of a problem. A 30-year-old, dating someone in their early college years may present issues that aren’t experienced while dating someone in their graduate college years. There’s certain age ranges, and circumstances that mesh better than using defined age rules.

I would like to say that age isn’t such a major issue, but having dated older women, I’ve seen first hand how it can cause problems. There are certain age extremes that seem to work, but often fail in the long-term. The answer to this question is somewhere between a guideline, some math and life. I believe someone is too young if they aren’t near your current place in life. A woman who’s in her 40’s, who hasn’t had any children (but wants them), is in a different place than a 23-year-old guy. Often a 23-year-old isn’t ready or willing to start a family. For that 40-year-old, he’s too young, but someone around 27 may present a different option. Dating an 18-year-old, if you’re 28, also falls in that “too young” category. Usually an 18-year-old is looking towards college, and a 28-year-old is looking towards their career. Your views of life are quite different.

Using this premise, there is a lot of grey areas. To best navigate them, get to know the person. See if they are in a position to mesh with you, and not your age.

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31 Responses

  1. Link

    Caitlin MacGregor said on March 4th, 2011 - 10:18 pm

    There is definitely grey area when it comes to age. It’s a bit of personal preferences.

    As a 25 year-old female. I’ve decided 24-35 for myself. It’s a hard thing to say though because there’s sometimes exceptions to rules.

    I blogged about it awhile back:

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      Bigb36024 said on April 2nd, 2012 - 2:30 am

       I have a huge crush on a 15, year old and her with me. I’m 21. Is this wrong?

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        Anon-Guy said on May 4th, 2012 - 8:01 am

         To have mutual feelings for someone younger than you tends to happen. It happens to a lot of us. She’s below the age of majority though so you might want to back off and just stay friends. When she’s legal and you two still have the same feelings for each other or willing to give it a try then go ahead.

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          guest said on June 22nd, 2012 - 11:02 pm

           age of majority depends on location in the Philippians the age of majority is 12 and several states operate off of the age difference like Colorado that would be perfectly legal its a good idea to check the laws for where you are before doing anything like this

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    Sammy R. said on March 5th, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Here’s my scenario. I’m 35, but I live a lifestyle that is quite different than most people my age. Most people my age are settled into a career, have a mortgage, want kids/marriage, etc (I’ve already done the marriage thing and am not interested in it anymore). In other words, their path is the generally accepted one that we’re grown up being taught, whereas I’m more living life in a transient state, day to day (or at least season to season) without much planning for the future.

    This means that almost all of my friends are in their mid- to late-20s, many of them travelers or students. I find it hard to relate to most people my own age. I’ve been thinking about this a lot too, that as I grow older, and if I maintain this lifestyle, then the majority of my friends will probably remain around the same age. As they get older and finish uni, get careers, find partners and marry off/have kids, their path will separate from mine and I will be finding new friends, again in the mid- to late-20s range.

    The good thing is that I look 10 years younger than I am…but as the age gap increases, the cultural gap also increases and relating to younger people will get harder. All this to say, I really need to find some people my own age who are living a similar lifestyle to myself!

  3. Link

    Elle Grace said on March 7th, 2011 - 11:29 am

    I’m quite a young woman. I’m not going to say how young but a lot of people are surprised by my age. I also like older men. I always have. I met my first boyfriend when I was 18 and he was 27. We were together five years. In the end it ended because he wanted to get married and I didn’t…. maybe you have a point…

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    Marvin B said on March 7th, 2011 - 5:04 pm

    A very interesting topic that always seems to rear it’s head and it was a discussion that me and a group of male friends had recently.

    I have been familiar with the half your age + 7 formula and as you mention, I can see the value and logic behind it but only from a numbers point of view.

    I tend to agree with you when you the major component to this formula is a person’s current life experience and outlook towards life, relationships and family building.

    I have kinda had a 5 year unwritten rule in my dating life where I wouldn’t really date a woman who was either 5 years younger than me or 5 years older. But whilst I still remain true to the younger formula, I have relaxed it a bit with older women, all things being equal.

    I think the most important thing here is to ascertain a persons sense of self and direction and make a decision based on that rather than a numbers game because I have been proven wrong a few times that age matters, not really in my own experience but of friends and family that I know so I guess it’s a question of where that person is mentally and where they’re looking to go.

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    anonymous said on October 27th, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    Fuck off im 18 and dating a 28 year old, and have a baby on the way. We have the same views in life. Its not the internets place to tell you whats to young or old for you, yeah it would be creepy if i wasnt 18, but i am, and im more of a man then most thirty year olds out there. So i just so go with your heart, not the internet.

  6. Link

    Sarah M said on October 30th, 2011 - 10:36 am

    I also think it’s a personal preference when it comes to dating age. I’m 27 and my BF is 40, but we are in the same place financially and everything. I would even consider dating older than 40 as long as we wanted the same things in life. I don’t have a problem with age gap relationships as long as both people are over 18! Courtney Stodden and her husband are too creepy for me. She’s still in high school and he’s in middle age! Weird, but if she had been at least 18 I wouldn’t really care. I also don’t like to see 14 and 19 date – when you’re still a teen you should date plus or minus 2 years MAX.

  7. Link

    ME said on December 13th, 2011 - 4:10 pm

    Im 14 and the guy I like just turned 22, im soon to be 15 when im 18 I don’t think that age will be a problem. Do you? What do y’all think?

  8. Link

    timothy said on January 15th, 2012 - 2:13 pm

    I have decided on the ages between 18-35

  9. Link

    Carly said on January 28th, 2012 - 11:18 am

    I’m 18 and my boyfriend just turned 21. It doesnt seem to be an issue.

  10. Link

    Michael said on February 15th, 2012 - 10:28 am

    I’m a guy. I was 18 and was going out with a 25 year old and it was amazing, but short lived. Only lasted a couple months, but I can easily say that I’ve had more fun in those few months than I’ve had in years with any other woman, and she can say the same thing about me. The passion was just mind blowing.

    If you’re a guy and you have a thing for older women, no matter how you feel about her, or she feels about you, don’t expect to have a stable long-term relationship. There’s simply going to be too many obstacles and issues to endure once you get past the three month mark.

  11. Link

    Moiseslab530 said on April 16th, 2012 - 1:00 am

    So if ur 14 what’s the rule for that uh?

  12. Link

    Colourwinds said on June 10th, 2012 - 10:33 am

    hi im 35 and i would like to date a mature 25 year old, or younger… where would i  find a good forum for this, or a dating site–i dont like bars?

    • Link

      SingleCityGuy said on June 10th, 2012 - 12:58 pm

      I think, if you’re really looking to date younger, and don’t want to come off as sleazy any dating website is your best choice. and OkCupid are probably your best choices.

  13. Link

    Hans said on July 20th, 2012 - 2:51 am

    As long as two are happy give a big middle finger to outsider opinions!!!

  14. Link

    love said on April 3rd, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    im 17…the guy i like is 22….uggggggg i feel like hes the one…..

  15. Link

    love said on April 3rd, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    im 17…the guy i like is 22….uggggggg i feel like hes the one…..

  16. Link

    Kyle said on June 16th, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    Here’s a sick blogpost about how young AND old you can date and even when you should START dating using math.

  17. Link

    dating guide said on July 21st, 2013 - 1:49 pm

    You’ll be able to definitely visit knowledge in the art you are writing. The entire world desires of a lot more ardent authors just like you which are certainly not afraid to say how they feel. Always comply with ones cardiovascular system.

  18. Link

    shalay R said on August 8th, 2013 - 4:07 am

    I want. to have sex with a guy my name is shalay im 21

  19. Link

    shalay R said on August 8th, 2013 - 4:18 am

    I,m 21 my name is shalay

  20. Link

    shalay R said on August 8th, 2013 - 4:23 am

    I,m 21 my name is shalay and I want have sex with a guy k

  21. Link

    Allyssa said on December 3rd, 2013 - 4:53 pm

    I’m 19 and the guy I’m seeing is 23. He just got out of the US Marine Corps, so he’s in his partying stage. I have a two year old and I’m ready to settle down and he just wants to go out, so I’m ahead of him mentally. But he never hangs out with me because all he ever does is go drinking, which I can’t do because the legal age in America is 21. Then that leads to “you don’t see me enough” fights. It’s hard but he’s immature so I feel like the older one most of the time.

  22. Link

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  24. Link

    Josh said on December 3rd, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    Well 10.5 is half of 21 actually. I think if a persons is of legal age then it’s up to them who they want to date. However, I had went on a date with a 22 year old about 6 months ago, I’m 34 years old. We had absolutely nothing in common. That’s not to day that any circumstance of this nature that would be the case. It’s depends on a number of factors. The person’s maturity level, common interests, etc. I actually felt uncomfortable going out with that woman, or I feel like calling her a girl because I have a daughter that’s less than 7 years younger than her. I guess if the other person is comfortable with dating you & you’re comfortable with dating them then go for it. As long as it’s consensual & legal I don’t see an issue.

  25. Link

    Ashlie said on February 25th, 2015 - 11:16 pm

    Hi all,
    I am 18 and my boyfriend is 27. We both want the same things long term. I’m not a party girl and very into my studies. He owns two businesses and we are buying a home. I think it is a different experience for everyone. You can never put a limit on love, except for, ya know, a age gap that is just wrong. I’m actually very frustrated by the anonymous comment above because they made all 18 year olds sound very immature and just plain rude. So, therefore, I’m sorry on their behalf!


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