LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single

Age Differences in Dating


An oft discussed question among singles: how much does a large age difference matter for a potential spouse?

This is an issue that I’m rather familiar with. After my mom passed away, my father married a woman (my step mom) who is 22 years younger than him.  (It’s worked out well for them, but I’ll talk about that in another post). As for me, I’m 41 in a ward for singles ages 31 to 45.  When it comes to making friends, I’m an all age opportunist, but as I’ve gotten to the “older section” of  mid-singles, I’m finding that most of the men in my ward are younger than me.  Even though I think most people in my ward who know me know that I have a 15 year old son and an 11 year old daughter, and that I served a mission, so they must know how old I am; but they still seem to think I’m younger than them, because, I guess, I appear younger than I am.  (I’m not bragging, that’s what they tell me. Not that I’m complaining! Thanks Dad, for the good genes.) Then after I become friends with someone or go out on a date, I find out that they’re (gasp) 5 years or more younger than me, and I feel awkward and *old*.  But, of course, 41 is NOT old.  Of course.  And my ex-husband, who at the time was the youngest person I ever dated, was only 20 months younger than me.  But my sweet daughter loves to remind me that “Mom, you’re the oldest one in the family!”  Why yes, yes I am.

So how much does it matter?  One concern that I have is that if I marry someone who is younger than me and has never had any children, what will it be like for him if for some reason I’m not able to have anymore children?  And I definitely want to avoid those older men who seem to want to marry a younger woman “just so he can have more kids.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of finding someone my age or older who already has kids, because we’d have that in common, but sometimes the older men at activities for all ages (just some of them) make us “younger” women feel like breeding machines.

Now, before anyone gets offended, I say these things with a lot of humor.  I most definitely don’t blame anyone for wanting children. And, as usual, I’m going to leave the expertise to someone else.  This is a topic I’ve wanted to bring up, and so when I came across this article  today, I thought it would be fun to share it:

Age gap: She’s old enough to be his … wife

Stigma?  Recently when with friends, one of them (who is actually older than me, yay) was pondering whether there’s more of a stigma these days for an older woman to date younger men, or older men to date women.  I’m not sure, but our general consensus seemed to be that it was only creepy if the older (or younger) person had ulterior motives.  I’m good with that.  But I still feel a little awkward when a guy is too young to remember Oingo Boingo, or when the first Star Wars movie (Episode 4, A New Hope) came out in the theater.  I guess that’s my issue.

And, as a last thought, The 1/2 + 7 Rule.  My in-laws loved to tout this as an efficient way to decide if someone else is in your acceptable age range.  I’m not sure that they felt it was a hard and fast rule, but it was a fun mathematical tool, and my father in law loves math.  So, for fun, I share this handy table from Wikipedia that I happened to find when I Googled “age gap.”  It’s true.  Just don’t think it’s a good idea to use as a tool to try and convince someone to go out with you.  Or do.  I’d like to hear what happens.  Just don’t blame me.

And soon to come, stories from friends with age gaps in their relationship (including those in my family). Because the stories are more fun than the “rules.”


Graph from: Wikipedia


Author: pickleclub1971

I'm a single mom of 2: a Southern CA native, who transplanted to Utah 4 years ago. I have one 18 year old who is off to the Ivy League, and one 14 year old who is in high school. I served an LDS Mission to Southern France and I’ve also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, Idaho, Northern Arizona, and New Hampshire. I love 80’s music, classical music, choral music, playing the piano, singing, speaking what French I still remember, and talking about history and music with whomever will listen. I love that my kids are better at math than I was at their age. (But they still get frequent historical references from me…anyone familiar with Ducky from NCIS? He’s that kind of medical examiner, I’m that kind of mom.) My kids also think I know all the lyrics to all the songs from the 80’s, mainly because I’m good at making them up and faking it when I don’t know. Sometimes they catch me. I’m currently disabled with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I want to get better (of course) and be an advocate for trauma survivors and others with mental illnesses. I like people in general. I suffer from the delusion that I can make everyone my friend, but of course that isn’t possible: but I still believe that the world can be a better place.

4 thoughts on “Age Differences in Dating

  1. As usual, a great post, I get hope from this. I am 45 dating a woman who claims to be 29, lol, glad I am in safe territory! I don’t know how she got into the 8th Ward at age 29?

    But really I think the half plus 7 rule is only realistic in certain age ranges, though I would like to believe that when I am 116 years old I can date a 65-year old!

    I will link to this article over on tonight, right now I am off to a Family History class in SLC. Thanks for the info.

  2. I like to talk about dating not in ages, but in stages.

    For example: I am in my 30’s and I have young children. So I am looking for someone in a similar stage. Someone that understands that most of my time is focused on the kids, and work. I can do things, but they require pre-planning, and need to be either kid friendly, or be scheduled around when the kids are at my ex’s for visitation.

    Someone who’s kids are out of the home, or is near retirement age would have different goals, or want to do different things with their time.

    Similarly someone who is just out of college and not ready for family life is in a stage of life where they like to go out in the late evenings or doing things spontaneously. They may be very close in age to me, but they are not in the same stage of life that I am in.

    It works as a general rule, of course there are exceptions. and everyone should be considered based on their situation. I have found that if I go based on age alone there are lots of guys who are in their mid 30’s who are just not a good fit for my situation. Either they are never married and still act like they are in their 20’s or they are just coming out of college and not quite ready to settle down. So dating someone with kids is a shock to them. I just don’t do spontaneous dates like they can. I need pre-planning so I can get a baby sitter, or make arrangement’s with the kids dad.

  3. Is that women for men or does it work on both genders. I’m 39 and met a young lady on mission while I was visiting SLC. She’s young. But at the same time, after talking with her for about 20 or 30 min I was really feeling a draw in my heart toward her. I was worried about her age difference. I was afraid she was like straight out of high school or something but it turns out she’s got her sophomore year of college behind her and she took leave to do her mission. So if she graduated at 18 that would make her at least 20 but not much more unless she waited a couple years to go to college. That’s still between 15-19 year difference. But I’m not an old man looking to breed or something. I’m just a young 39 year old man who’s been waiting all my life on one. And it was a strong draw on my heart toward her. I don’t know if she felt the same but we stood there and talked, her mission partner beside her of course. until they had to report for duty at another location.

  4. Everyone is as different stages in their development of soul. I’ve met 60 year old people who are filled with prejudice, not intelligent, nor wise. I’ve met 18 year old people with more going on than they do. This half the age plus 7 is non sense. If you have chemistry with someone, you have chemistry. Personally speaking, at age 43, I would rather date a 21 year old who is sweet and not jaded like most women who are 40 and single. Not to mention, I can’t stand the games that most women play of ALL ages. For me, I don’t care to date any American woman and much prefer foreigners. I see it more of culture problem than I do it an age issue.

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