Does Age Difference Matter in a Relationship?
Consider the gap
“I feel old, but not very wise.”
In An Education, Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a doe-eyed and brilliant schoolgirl on the brink of womanhood. She is rescued from the monotony of every day by a charming suitor, 30-something David (Peter Sarsgaard). He introduces her to a glittering world of fancy nightclubs and classical concerts, which make her long for a different kind of life. The coming-of-age drama is a far cry from Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial Lolita; vulnerable and heartbreaking, she lives out an alluring fantasy before she’s shattered by the truth.
There is a wealth of films available portraying drastic age differences: The Graduate, Rushmore, Lost in Translation—you name it. Age gaps are ever so present in the black hole of celebrity culture: David Foster and Katharine McPhee (35 years) , Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor (31 years), Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (25 years), George Clooney and Amal Clooney (17), to name a few. It prompts us to ask the question: Does age difference matter in a relationship? It may have been considered taboo in the past but it’s obviously no longer an issue.
On the other hand, the primitive “One Half Plus Seven” rule states that the age of the younger party (regardless of gender) should be no less than seven more than half the older person’s age. It’s frequently cited but we can’t quite pin down where it’s from. Is an age disparity alarming or is it just really because of an unspoken social norm?
I interviewed social media producer Sari Osorio on her relationship with her partner Dan Villa—33 years her senior—about the pros and cons of a wide age gap. Should we consider?
Wonder: How did you and your partner meet?
It’s a simple student-teacher relationship. It started with just cool, casual interaction. We laughed at shared jokes, and we [would hang] out together with friends and classmates. He was not really my professor since [I was] taking broadcasting but I had to take Advertising 101 as part of my subjects needed in the curriculum. Siya ‘yung prof! And he is the best in that field.
W: How broad is your age difference?
33 years, so I could just imagine that I wasn’t even conceived yet, and he was already an accomplished AD man.
W: In the beginning of your relationship, did you have any reservations because of the gap? If you did, why?
Yes, a bit. Because it’s new to me, and I’ve been dating men of my age range.
W: Now that time has passed, do you think age matters in a romantic relationship? Are there pros and cons?
Obviously not. Pros? He leads maturely on the intellectual and emotional side then he balances my perks and exuberance of youth. When my temper flares up, he immediately douses it with [a balanced], mature approach.
Cons? His era has a big gap to me [when it comes to] music, readings, thoughts. Obviously, we have different types in music. Totally! If I want to go to a rock concert, I can’t tag him along even if I wanted to, mapapagod lang siya. But there are commonalities that we have, that we enjoy immensely. Movies for example, I initiate the kind of movies that we watch—surprisingly, gusto niya. And at times, he prods me to watch the next “millennial movie.” That’s so cool ‘no?
We’re hitting 15 years, can you imagine? And we are already blessed with very smart and beautiful kids, Aidan (10) and Danaya (8).
For many, age is just a number. There may be challenges that come with it—as with any relationship—like conflicting stages or varied cultural references and even community disapproval, but when rooted to a common goal, it’s worth the risk.
Do you have you own age gap stories to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Art Alexandra Lara