Yet Another Question

From anon:

I have another question for the gallery: Guys ages.

With all the talk around about guys looking for girls much younger, what do the girls say about going out with older guys? Whats your age limit- both on the upper end and the lower end? Whats ideal? Does this change as you get older? Im very curious.

I was once turned down  by a guy for being too young. He figured there were plenty of women closer to his age who could use getting married. Generous of him, and it made me wonder if I shouldn’t be picky for the same reasons. Why should a guy seven years older than me  go out with me instead of with someone his own age? But then again, not wanting to go out with “old” men seems like a frivolous restriction. And then, yet again, maybe it’s not so frivolous. Or, even if it is frivolous, isn’t one permitted a bit of frivolity in their life?

35 thoughts on “Yet Another Question

  1. There are advantages to being close in age and even older than your hubs but the focus should be on the person. If some guys sounds like “everyone else” AND he’s 11 years older I think that’s a good reason to turn him down but if he sounds fascinating and proves to be so once you meet him then I guess you can come up with the cutoff but don’t turn him down because of his numerical age.

  2. I’m 23. I’ll date up to 30, and down to 22 (This is usually because guys younger than 22 are far too immature. If there’s a mature 20 year old guy, I’d have no problem going out with him. Any younger than that, and it starts to get creepy.

  3. Amongst Sephardim there it is generally accepted that men marry no more than 16 years younger than them… That holds until the woman is over thirty. When R’ Kaduri needed to remarry in his 80’s his wife was 35…

  4. What a strange timing…I spent the last weeks debating with myself about this very issue.

    I am 24, and have come to realize that my limit is about 8-9 years older than me. On one hand, I am rarely comfortable with guys my age or a little older (not to mention younger!)- the magic age for me is 30. I have very few people close to me who are younger than that. On the other hand, I don’t especially wish to be somebody trophy/child bride/ego boost/pretend daughter, so I will not go out with somebody considerably older.

    Isn’t the old rule that the right age gap in a couple is half the man’s age +7? It’s a pretty good one – certainly more sensible than many others ancient pearls of romantic wisdom.

  5. Wellspring,

    Can you explain “half the man’s age +7”? Are you saying that if I guy is 28 so 14+7=21 and a 21 year age gap is ok? Like he can marry a 7 year old? Not criticising, I just don’t understand what you mean, please clarify…

  6. No, the way the equation works is that 1/2 the guy’s age +7 is the MINIMUM age for it not to be creepy. So with your 28 year old guy, a 21 year old girl would be the youngest he could date. Though you could also reverse the genders if you wanted to, so a 28 year old girl could date a 21 year old guy.

    However, I think the equation gets broken when the elder person gets older. For example: A 40 year old guy could date a 27 year old girl, which in my opinion would be creepy.

  7. Gosh, reading my first post again I can see I was VERY unclear. What I wrote sounded…creepy. My apologies 🙂

  8. I’ve just turned 24 (grandmother is panicked. But she thinks I’m still 22). I went out once with a 32 year old guy despite my father’s hysteria, and conversation fell flat. Like, I’m talking about Frank Miller’s Batman cartoon series from the ’90s, he’s thinking about the “POW!” “BIFF!” “BLAM!” version from . . . I’m not sure. But I think it predates my birth.

    Frames of cultural reference is just different. So if they can fudge his age as 29, that’s okay.

    But I can be proved wrong yet.

  9. I think there is nothing to be gained by precluding someone on the basis of age alone. I used to get set up with men who were up to 8 or even 9 years older (one of the ones who set me up actually apologized afterwards, saying she has mistaken my age). I ended up marrying someone a year plus younger. I wasn’t particularly after someone younger (I was still 22) but I was willing to give him a chance. Had I not done so, it’s possible there would be 2 more singles in their 30’s around ;-). On the other hand, my mother’s mother married at 18, and her husband was 28. That would not have been frowned upon at all back in pre WWII Europe.

  10. Some guys were creeped out when I went out with them at a young age (I started dating at 18). Some even accused the shadchan of lying to them. But I didn’t have a problem with it…it’s all about maturity. Though I suppose that if at 18, a guy had been redt to me who was in his 40’s- I probably would have fled the scene.

    Ariella- I actually went out, seriously, with a guy at age 18, and he was 28. But it didn’t work out in the end. Is that too creepy?
    Wellspring- I never heard of that rule before, but then I did the math, and my marriage works with it 😀

  11. I’d feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of going out with a guy who I felt wasn’t really in my generation. I don’t like the ages so far apart, but I think I’m also just being immature about it. I think it’s hard to come up with rules like this for yourself without actually knowing any people to base the rules on. I’ve never gone out with a guy older than 24 (I think? Maybe 25?), so what would I know?

  12. Was recently speaking to a girl regarding my single brother. She’s 20, he’s 34. Big difference, not crazy.

    The part that weirded us all out was that her mother was *38*.

    Rule of thumb: the age gap is too big if you could have been in high school with your future mother in law. 🙂

  13. “the age gap is too big if you could have been in high school with your future mother in law.”It does strike us that way because husbands and wives tend to be relatively close in age today. But there is no hard and fast rule. Avraham was 10 years older than Sarah, but Yitzchak 37 years older than Rifka according to the Chazal that she was 3 when Elizer brought her over. Yocheved was probably older than Amram, as she was his aunt. Also according to the midrash identifying Tamar as the daughter of Shem, she would have been quite a bit older than the sons of Yehudah whom she married when they were only around 9. So ages of couples can have great variation.

  14. Miriam-
    That is CRAAAAZY!!

    in answer to your question in this post: i’m 21 and the age range of guys i’d date would be 21 to 26. of course, that would change as i’d get older (but i hope i’m not single for too much longer!)

  15. I’m 22, and from my (bad) experiences I’ve learned that I’ll date no older than 30, and no younger than 21. With that being said, I’ll make an exception if he’s absolutely fascinating/awesome or whatever other positives I can come up with. Otherwise, I’ll stick to my age limit.

    The guy I’m dating now is 24, still in a bit of his “broski” phase, but we have similiar goals in life, and are in the same stage of life so it works quite well so far.

  16. Age is a personal preference but it surely shouldn’t be THE make or break item when deciding to date someone. Besides, the way people fudge the truth about age, you might not really know who old someone is, short of demanding to see a driver’s licence or birth certificate. My hubby and I are 6 months apart in age, and that’s worked out really well. Thing is, though, the person who fixed us up lied about his age and about mine. So whatever we thought we were getting wasn’t what we got anyway.

  17. As for ‘fudging the truth’ about age…just thought I’d share the Israeli genius invention which prevents that from happening: the Ministry for Internal Affairs has a software, called Egron, listing all citizens and their stats – including ages, of course. Everybody can download it from the net and find the truth about their dates. People use it ALL THE TIME for shidduchim. So there is really no point in lying anymore cuz you know the first thing the other party is gonna do is look you up on Egron.

    There is also an illegal version which lists health records as well, and illegal or not – many people won’t finalize a shidduch without getting their hands on this supposedly secretive info.

  18. My husband is 15 years younger than I am. It was never planned that way, we just found the right person to be happy with. Six years into our marriage and we have grown closer still. Are things perfect? No, and there are there the occasional moments we each feel the age gap. But mostly it’s a very strong, tight relationship. If you can find the right person who is trustworthy, kind, that really “gets” you, and that you find intrinsically attractive(and remember surfaces and people change over time, as do relationships) then do not let the opportunity pass you by. I married in my mid 30’s, having dated men spanning a wide range of ages above and below mine, and of varying hashkafas. Here is my best advice from 175 years of dating and six of marriage: Don’t look for a compatible mate, look for one who is complementary, one who( to borrow the phrase)completes you. If you spend all your time dating only amongst those who look “right” on paper, or to shadchans, or even to friends, you may miss out on the love of your life. That does not mean “settle” for someone who does not meet your standards or needs. It does mean some soul searching and carefully assessing your true inner needs vs. wants, or perhaps realizing that you are possibly overlooking people or places that might be worthwhile. If you feel that an age range is truly vital to your happiness, consider this: What if that special someone is a year or two off your range? Do you really want to miss the opportunity to meet them?… We’ve all heard the “nose” story. Thanks for the opportunity to chime in. Getting off soapbox now 🙂

  19. Harry-er – that’s why I said I don’t think you can really make rules about this stuff, even for just yourself. Every situation and person is different. But if I had to give an answer not based on any specific people, I’d say that my general preference is someone who isn’t so old that I feel like I’m his younger sister instead of his peer. (At the same time, I don’t want a younger guy who makes me feel old.) I suppose, instead of age, I mean I want someone who is the right maturity level for me. I don’t want to feel way more mature than him, but I also don’t want to feel too immature next to him, either. I’d like a balance of maturity, I suppose.

  20. I’ve gone out with someone a year older than me (I’m a guy), and was recently suggest another person who is almost 2 years older than me… but I feel a little reluctant to accept the idea at the moment. Perhaps it may be worth a shot…

  21. I used to think I was only interested in someone older than me, and I didn’t care how much. But I guess that could be silly. Like some people said above, that kind of limit can cause you to miss out on the person who really is perfect in every other way.Some people have a cultural sort of age gap that is a problem, some people don’t care- maybe we just shouldn’t focus on age so much at all.
    I think it comes down to compatibility- in all the discussions going on lately in the world about age, and paying shadchanim on that basis, I would’ve liked to hear more mentions of actually setting up people who might like each other! Isn’t that more important to focus on?

    ps not related to this post but can you do something like this? These could be pretty bad4shidduchim. I know you’ve mentioned places for dates before but I couldn’t find where. I just thought it could be cute.

  22. Shades of Grey – it makes sense to date a woman who is older. Your lifespans will be more compatible.

  23. You really can’t make rules. I started dating at 21 and it just happened to be that I mostly dated guys pretty close to my age. As I got older, the age gaps got larger, but I personally feel that for me, large age gaps just don’t work. Most guys who are 6-12 years older feel like they are from a different generation. But I have friends who much prefer older guys. As far as dating younger, it just isn’t usually practical when someone is first starting to date because most guys aren’t dating at that young of an age, but as a girl gets older, the younger guys become ready for marriage.

  24. Comment by princess lea:

    “Like, I’m talking about Frank Miller’s Batman cartoon series from the ’90s, he’s thinking about the “POW!” “BIFF!” “BLAM!” version from . . . I’m not sure. But I think it predates my birth.”

    That is hilarious! Any girl who knows who frank miller is scores points! The older Batman with Adam West as Batman is from the 70s.

    On another note, I never understood why (as popularly held) guys want to date girls between the ages of 19-22. It’s my experience that girls 23 and older are: far more mature; know who they were; are more grounded and down-to-earth; and don’t have any leftover seminary brainwashing residues. They are also usually farther along in their education or are already working- a big plus because then you know the girl is not living in typical yeshivish fairytales.

  25. Drunk:
    If you’re looking for a colleague or someone to support you then you’re right. But if you’re looking for someone that still has to Torah ideals and values left in them and is not yet corrupted by Wall Street, then younger is better.

  26. Seldom Wrong,

    I highly disagree with you. If my future wife’s hashkafa is not strong enough to survive “wall street,” then it won’t matter if I marry a 19 year old because that 19 year old will eventually have HER hashkafa succumb to “wall street.”

    Instead, there are girls who, no matter their age, maintain their hashkafa at a constant level through their strength of character. These are the girls for whom I am looking. Age should not affect strength of character, period.

  27. If you’re looking for a colleague or someone to support you then you’re right. But if you’re looking for someone that still has to Torah ideals and values left in them and is not yet corrupted by Wall Street, then younger is better.


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