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Monday, October 15, 2012

Age Differences: She's 18, He's Almost 31

Dear Bro Jo,

Okay so basically, I'm an 18 and a half year old girl and I've recently been seeing a really really amazing guy.

He is a worthy member, he's polite and educated but most importantly he has the strongest testimony of the Church.

However, he's almost turning 31.

We aren't dating officially or anything, I don't even know if he likes me in that way but we are getting to know each other and I feel I am at the stage where I'm starting to fall for him.

We have discussed the age gap before and we have both agreed that it's quite weird but at the same time it isn't that important.

I was just wondering what your views were on this, is the gap too big?

Thank you,

Too Young?

Dear Young,

I can't promise I won't post it, but I can promise I won't post it any time soon.

18 and 31?

I'm sure it's worked out for people, in fact I can name a few, but for me this one is Too Big of a gap for me to recommend.

Go with whatever the Spirit tells you; it's never wrong and I sure can be, but in general I'm not a big fan.  Just be sure that you're listening to the Spirit, and not your own wants (or the wants of a Creepy Old Guy that wants to make out with a teenager . . .)

I might feel better if you were older. I know it sounds like a double standard, but 25 and 38 or 34 and 47 bother me a lot less.

I guess what I'm saying is that 18, for me, is pretty young to be dating someone in their 30's. It weirds me out. (By the way, if you're still at the point in life where you describe your age as "and a half", you're not yet old enough for a lot of stuff.)

He needs to get married.  You were Casual Group Dating last week.  You both should be dating much closer to your actual age.

"Quite weird" IS important.

Oh, and before I close, you aren't "seeing" anyone that you're not "officially dating or anything".  Just so you know.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

She's an adult and so is he. He has a strong testimony in the Church and happens to be single. Just because he's 31 and single doesn't make him weird and we can't assume that without knowing anything else about his personality. Maybe he has tried dating girls closer to his age and it hasn't worked out and so he wants to test the waters elsewhere. One of the benefits of dating young girls is that they're not yet drenched with the annoying weird Mormon dating culture taboos about dating. As Mormon girls get older it seems that they're influenced with so many negative thoughts about guys. I know most guys are a work in progress, but that's just it, a work in progress...not just "senseless jerks/idiots/etc that have no clue about dating". The Church does a good job at trying to boost female self-esteem but I hate when it goes overboard to the point of creating "perfect spoiled girls." The Church doesn't do enough to lift males when it comes to dating, and it's frustrating when guys are always blamed and girls are put on a pedestal. Guys have it hard enough trying to date and find someone with whom we're compatible, so it's annoying how our own Church members and leaders act as our worst enemies by warning girls against us, especially in situations where they don't personally know us. It's as if we men should be lucky when ANY member of the female shows interest in us...but if a guy likes a girl then the girl has to be picky. As a guy, I feel like I'm replaceable and not valued or respected as a son of God, while girls are placed at a pedestal as if the dating world revolves around them.


Dave Johnston said...

When we become emotionally vested in an issue it becomes difficult for us to see common sense.

President Monson has a strong Testimony in the Church, and is a pretty darn good guy, but I wouldn't want him dating my 18-year old daughter.

You might feel less "replaceable" and picked on if you took that chip off your shoulder, took the attitude up a couple positive notches, and realized that everyone isn't the enemy, bro.

The defensiveness . . . the whining . . . I'm guessing that most girls don't find it too attractive . . .

And, just so you know, I really don't buy the "it's hard to date" complaints.

I hear your frustrations, but I think you've got your finger pointing in the wrong direction.

Grow up. Get over it. And date some women your own age.

(Geez . . . if you weren't offended enough by the post, this comment ought to just about do it I guess. Sorry for the harshness; it's said with humor and love. But, seriously dude . . . relax, have fun, and think positive. Stop blaming and start achieving. You know what they say about who takes the truth to be hard . . .)

- Bro Jo

Frank Pellett said...

Age differences of 10 years or more can be an added difficulty in making a marriage work. It's mostly because you grew up in different generations, so you have fewer experiences in common. It's like strong differences in wealth, spending habits, culture - all of them can be overcome, but you've got to be ready to make adjustments for these differences for your entire marriage.

Can it be done? Sure. My parents were married at 19 and 39, and have now been happily married for 41 years. It was certainly not easy, and the generational differences came into play, but they are very much looking forward to the eternities together.

You're 18 (and a half). You both have time. Spend some time getting to know yourself as a grown woman before you jump into marriage. Marriage is great, but it's not going to magically turn you into a grown up. That takes time and work, and marriage will only make it harder, not easier.

p.s. Any thoughts/promptings on a mission? He'll still be there when he's 33, and you 21 (and a half).

Dave Johnston said...

I certainly HOPE he's not still single at 33 . . . sitting around and waiting for a 21-year old girl to come home from her mission . . .

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

Anything about the fact that girls are continually put on a pedestal while guys are repetitively put down? Seems to happen more often than what people think. Maybe it's because guys express their dating concerns less tha girls do, so it's easy to take sides of a group that expresses a higher quantity of concern.

J-Dawg Fluffy said...

Annon nailed it. Guys get a lot of heat, but truth be told we do a lot. But it's really annoying to be told it's our fault girls are single even though we've all been rejected multiple times.

Anonymous said...

@J-Dawg Fluffy: thank you, and I agree with what you said that it isn't our fault that girls are single. Last week I was asked why I'm still single, because as a guy I should "have no excuse for that." I laughed. Sure, I'll accept the responsibility of asking girls on dates even though I find it silly that some girls to sit and wait masochistically. Sure, it just takes the guy asking for a date, because most girls will give you a yes for a first date. However, I don't think the guy is the sole one responsible to create a relationship. I can do my part but if a girl doesn't reciprocate then I can't force it. If girl after girl is like that then of course a relationship won't happen! We have a false perception in dating thinking that most guys don't want to have a relationship and that most girls are victims and faultless in search for marriage; nevertheless, more guys are trying (and being shut down) to have relationships and pursue marriage than we think, and oftentimes they're shut down for the most meaningless shallow reasons. People say that us guys are shallow because we don't want to date girls that we don't find attractive (ugly, fat, too tall, too short, weird hair, acne face, etc.) and I admit that for many of us it's true and we get scolded for that constantly because girls complain. However, girls are very shallow towards guys as well, and when they reject a guy because of her shallowness, she gets nothing beyond maybe a soft slap on the wrist and the guy is told to move on. Double standard much??

Anonymous said...

@Bro Jo: "the defensiveness...the whining...I guess most girls don't find it too attractive..."

You say that as a response to my concern about the double standards that our culture has on dating. Don't you think that it applies to girls as well? You think maybe THAT's part of the reason why the girls who don't get dates don't get them? I sure do! The more girls whine, the less desirable to he around they'll be, and guys will be even less interested in asking them out. Most guys don't want to date girls who are bitter towards guys.

We believe that we'll be punished for our own sins, each of us is responsible for our own salvation. Sure we need to be married to receive exaltation just as we need the other ordinances, but beyond that we're all responsible for our own exaltation. It's silly for me to think that girls will just sit whine and not be proactive when they're not being asked out. It's your exaltation honey, maybe do a little more than just complain.

Dave Johnston said...

I can't imagine what the problem is . . . girls LOVE guys that whine and complain and blame their woes on someone else . . .

Perhaps you're right . . . perhaps we should lower the self esteem of women everywhere so you all will have a better shot at getting married . . .

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro. Jo:
As the mother of three boys and a happily married woman (for almost 20 years)who married an older man... I think you are being too harsh both on this young lady and on the young men who comment about the hardship of dating. First, I personally needed an older man who had experience in life and could help me keep perspective as I navigated the early adult years. Call it a father complex if you want. You may even be right - my father was not active in my life. But that is the beauty of our Heavenly Father's plan - he knew my needs (and my husband's) and placed us in each other's path at the right time. I say follow the spirit. Period. Next, I completely understand where the young men are coming from. In fact, I have to admit that the expectations I had about what young adult Mormon men "should be" contributed to me marrying a almost 30-year-old non-member! As I have watched my oldest son date (and not date) I have wondered at the process. I don't think girls should lower their self esteem, but I also don't think it is "whining" for a young men to point out the unbelievably high standards that are set for them by girls making lists of what they want in a spouse. No wonder the 30 year-old men look so attractive! They have had the time to attain some of what we expect our 19 year-old young men to already know and be. Everyone should strive for high ideals and stretch themselves, but a dose of reality doesn't hurt as well. Eternal relationships are built, not fallen into, and that means hard work at times and great joy in return. Building them requires selflessness and compromise and most of all the willingness to see each other as a work in progress, regardless of the age of each participant. Unrealistic expectations are the part of girls or guys in relationship are just one more obstacle to reaching that joy.

Kendra B. said...

I'm noticing that some of these comments are being a little hypocritical. You're getting upset that people are always clumping guys together as people who are lazy and don't want to date. But then you go on to claim that all girls are shallow, vain, and looking for the wrong things in potential eternal companions.

I'm willing to guess that you didn't mean to clump all girls together like that, and you're just using your personal dating experiences to validate that claim. But just so you know, not all girls are like that. Just like not all guys are lazy about dating. We all have different struggles and different reasons for the way we date, so I think it's probably best to not make assumptions about people before you even know them.

And I agree with Bro. Jo on this one. Guys who complain about their dating life is a turn-off for me. Personally, if a guy complained to me about how all girls are selfish and shallow before asking me on a date, I would feel like no matter what I do, I'm going to end up the bad guy. I would feel like you're just waiting to jump on every decision I make to help validate your idea that all girls are the same.

Dave Johnston said...

@ The 20-year Married Anon with Dating Boys -

First of all: congratulations on your marriage! That's a wonderful thing.

If you go back and read the original post you'll note that I said that it can work, that I do know a few people for whom it's worked . . . I just can't recommend it.

Just like, regardless of how wonderful your personal marriage is, I can never recommend that a 19-year old LDS woman marry a 30-year old non-member.

My hope for her would be that her home is filled with the blessings of the Priesthood, that her husband would support and be actively involved in the programs of the Church, that her marriage would be Eternal, and that she and her husband would regularly seek the blessings of Temple attendance together.

I'd like to see her grow to maturity with her husband, starting nearer the same point in life, rather than the alternative.

That's not to say that your husband isn't all of those things, or that you two haven't found a wonderful way to make it work, or that being members of the Church and closer in age are any kind of guarantee . . . but there are advantages.

And, believe me, as someone who has sons the same age as yours, I get it when we talk about the difficulty that comes with dating some of the girls in the Church!

But there's a difference between Casual Group Dating (which is what I recommend for pre-Mission boys) and Serious Single Dating (where we're actively looking for a spouse); a difference between being 17 and new to dating, and being 25-35 and bitter about women.

Heck, the Jo Boys will be quick to tell you that some of the WORST dating experience they've had Casual Group Dating have been with LDS girls. (We don't require our teens to only date Church members.) Of course, they'll also tell you that they see the blessings of Eternal Marriage and hope for that for themselves.

As clearly you hope for your boys, too.


- Bro Jo

Haley said...

Yep, sorry, I have to put my two cents in. Clearly these young men who are complaining about the women they date are not dating the right women. There are PLENTY of women out there who have high stamdards for themselves, but still remember that everyone is human. We are imperfect beings. why should we believe that those we date should all be perfect. I have said for years that I personally hated the "list" we were asked to make nearly every year in young womens. Not only did they help us to create this imaginary figure, but it also hindered every man who looked our way towards the perspective of dating. Of course I have been preparing for a missionf for quite some time now and part of me wishes that I had been given better tools in young womens to help prepare (and clearly, the lists weren't helping much), but the women you men are looking for are out there, you do still have to search, but more than likely, they'll be searching too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Young,

Just in case you are following up on the comments to your question, I decided I'd chime in for the fun of it. I was in very similar shoes a couple of years ago asking a similar question but I guess I was vague on how much of an age gap there was. (I met him when I was 19 and he was 32, we didn't start dating until the next year.) I would recommend not shutting out the possibility of dating purely based on age. There is no magic formula to dating that fits everyone the same way.

If he does choose to ask you out and he isn't pressuring you to do anything you're not comfortable with, (and it doesn't seem creepy to either of you) give it a try and see where it goes. Statistically it is unlikely to last, but there is an off chance it will. Also, continue to pray for answers too because there is no one who knows your needs better than your Father in Heaven.

It can work out. In my case it has and we are extremely happy with the eternal family we have started, but like with every good relationship it takes commitment, hard work, good communication, and caring deeply for each other.

Former Miss May, Now Mrs. December