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Age-gap dating... is 18 and 21 too much?
I’m a 20-year old, almost 21-year-old soon to be college sophomore (I turn 21 in August). If it’s relevant, I’m gay. I met this guy, a soon to be high school senior, at a nearby high school soon after starting college, and I’ve grown to absolutely love him to bits. I’ve liked people before, but I’ve never felt quite like this around someone. I love spending time with him, I love talking to him, and recently we both expressed interest in each other.

I’m worried about the age-gap, though. He’s currently 17, and will turn 18 early next year. We’ve never done anything sexual (although it is legal, where I’m at), and I’d happily wait forever if it meant being with him. I’m considering waiting a few months until he’s 18, and then entering into a relationship. It’s legal now, but I think waiting a few months couldn’t hurt, and I think he deserves a few months to think and be sure of what he wants.
Is this age gap too large (~3 1/2 years), though?
I’ve never felt like I was talking to someone any younger than myself. I never feel the cognitive dissonance I fee when talking to someone that’s younger or older or more/less mature than I am. In fact, sometimes it feels like he’s older than I am. He’s had social experiences I haven’t. On the other hand, I suffered a lot of abuse and isolation as a teenager, and am perhaps less emotionally mature than other people my age.
Whether it’s believable or not, it isn’t a sexual thing. I’m attracted to him, of course. I won’t pretend I’m not interested in sex with him. But I’m attracted to a lot of people, and I don’t want to date them. I like him as a person, a lot. Being with him makes me happy. Thinking about being with him makes me happy.
I know things could be complicated with each of us at different schools, but I’m willing to put up with that. He may move next year to a college far away, but I'm willing to face that. It doesn’t feel like putting up with anything, in fact. I’m interested in listening to him, and what’s going on in his life. I don’t mind putting in the effort. I didn’t have much socialization as a child or teenager, and I love it now. I want to be involved in his life.
My sister dated a 19-year-old at 16. It went ok for her. Many married family members have 5 or 10 year age gaps, but then again my family isn’t exactly a gold standard. I know it may be more difficult than less complicated relationships, but I'm fine with that. I'm worried only that I may be doing something wrong.
I've had responses range from that I'm a "garden variety pedophile" to "that age gap is meaningless, go for it".
I don’t know what to do. I know what I want to do, but I’m not sure if it’s right.
Hi @Altruistic_Garage926,

I am firmly of the opinion that if it is legal, and both people consent, then go for it. To be honest, your age gap isn't even that big. Ignore the haters, there are always going to be people that judge. I know a gay guy who was 24 when he got with his boyfriend who was 17 at the time (legal here). 3 years later, they are still going strong and are happy together. It sounds like you may have some obstacles regarding distance coming up, but if this guy is someone that had made you have feelings that you never have before then he is definitely worth pursuing Smile. Welcome to the forum btw.
I’m 75 and have an 18 year old chasing me. I’ve warned him I’d probably die on the job but he’s persisting. Must be a genuine gerontophile but maybe he thinks he’ll get written into my will before depart the planet.
The Human Race is Insane.
@Altruistic_Garage926 So you're about 3 years older than he is. If you think waiting a few months will make you feel better that's fine. The thing is that although you're almost 21 you're both going to be about the same level of maturity compared to someone who's 18. The age gap isn't that big and the difference of 3 years will quickly become irrelevant as you both get older.

That being said there is a stigma about older guys dating younger girls. I know I'm talking about heteros here but follow me. Say some guy like me who's in their 30's were to date a girl who is say 19 or maybe 21. The parents are usually not a big fan of the older guy. However, it isn't that uncommon for there being 10+ year between partners, afterall my grandparents had 10 years between them. I don't know where the stigma came from, but certain dating apps have "closed the gap" only allowing people to look at a certain age range. For instance one app I can't look at anyone under 24. you might be asking why do you want to talk to people younger than 24? That sounds a little creepy, right? When did society decide on what age gap is appropriate? I think these are good questions.

At any rate, given the age gap of 3 years, it being legal that you being 20 and he 17 currently, I see no reason to not continue... I say go for it. I will admit that when I was 20, first coming out of the closet and mind you this was before 2015, I was pretty scared to find out that a guy I met was 17 (he lied about his age) and it was perfectly legal at the time. There's other threads that go into ageism, not sure the the discussion really got to the heart of the matter, at least not that I recall.
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
Check out my stuff!
Since when is a 3-year gap considered too big? Come on, it's just 3 years. Possibly it might feel so because he's still a teenager and you're not, if you were 20 and 23, there would be no problems at all. Waiting till he's legal is one thing, but there are many couples that have much bigger age gaps and still live happily.
@Tjemka88 3 years is more meaningful to someone who's say 20 than to someone who is 50. Apparently wherever @Altruistic_Garage926 is in the US his partner is of the age of consent. Some laws consider the age of the other person, for instance he's 20 and his partner is 17, if they were both younger say he's 18 and his partner 15, some states that would be legal. That being said, just because laws would allow a 30 year old guy to sleep with a 16 year doesn't mean it is socially acceptable, I think the parents of a 16 year old would take great exception to a 30 year old sleeping with their 16 year old.
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
Check out my stuff!
Just go with the flow... 3 years is nothing in the scheme of things. Waiting until he is legal is a good idea though! Wink
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.
Wow to be young again. Trust me three years isn't that great of deal when your older.

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