- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 March 2016
- Written by ANNA BLAINE | STAFF WRITER
Forming relationships and dating is a common part of life. It’s a natural proclivity to want to share happiness with someone else. That is one of the many functions of human interaction on Maslow’s hierarchy of what people need as they grow into adulthood. When I think of what is the appropriate age to be in a relationship, I think of someone who is mature enough to understand what they are stepping into and what they will potentially have to do in order to keep the relationship healthy. So to answer the question of does age matter in a relationship? My answer is yes. The worst thing that can happen is a minor in a relationship with a legal adult. That can lead to problems, we see it happen on a daily basis.
Age should be an important factor in a relationship because people never stop learning. Life to me is a learning curve, and you are always learning something new about yourself even as you grow older. It is possible for a younger person to be more adept and mature than an older person. I can name plenty of young people who are more mature than Donald Trump, for instance. I also think that “maturity” is like a raft in a vast ocean full of unknown experiences. Explaining my analogy, you can be mature a person, but still not have the experience to know what it takes to make a relationship work. There can be a certain innocence when young people enter a relationship because they are in love and so many exuberate feelings, especially if it’s your first real relationship. Everyone has worn those rose-tinted glasses before and sometimes being naïve can lead to unhealthy relationships. Experience is the counter-argument for age in my opinion. With experience, you gain intuition and with intuition you gain a better understanding of what makes a relationship healthy and what makes your partner of choice someone who is compatible. That way you can meet each other’s needs.
Which brings me to celebrity pop culture, and the way age and relationships are viewed in the entertainment industry. I’m sure everyone has heard about the various relationships of older man with a younger woman. Many examples like Johnny Depp and his young fiancé Amber Heard who is twenty-three years his senior. Angelina Jolie was married to Billy Bob Thornton who are twenty years apart. Fifty-four year old George Clooney is married to thirty-four year old Amal Clooney. On the flip side, older woman date young guys as well. Jennifer Lopez was linked to Casper Smart, one of her young male dancers. Mariah Carey was married to Nick Cannon who is 10 years younger. Demi Moore was linked to fifteen year younger Ashton Kutcher.
It is the norm for celeb couples to have this huge age gap in Hollywood, and while I don’t subscribe to the idea that a large age gap in a relationship automatically means that couples won’t stay together, I do think that there is a superficiality to the rampant amount of times age goes out the window in Hollywood. It seems to be a hip trend to date someone way younger or way older and some of it has to do with image in my opinion. Because celebs are promoting an image most of the time, and if that image is to look cool or do something wildly eccentric, then that is what some of them will do. How many of these celebrities stay together anyway? I really don’t think that celeb culture, age and dating should be aspired to because it is rare in Hollywood to see a couple that stays together, regardless of age.
I have to mention the “cougar effect” because I remember that word being used to describe older women who date younger men. I always found it weird that women are described as cougars who prey on young men. That double standard is not applied to those older eligible bachelors who date younger women. It’s called a “mid-life crisis” when middle-age men date younger women, but women don’t get that same sympathy. If we are going to put labels on women who like to date outside of their age group, then men who do it should be called “lions.”
At the end of the day, I think grown people know what they are attracted to and find interesting in a partner so they will do as they please. But I don’t think age should be overlooked, especially the younger you are. It should be a factor worth looking at, parents should talk to their children and tell them to consider age when entering relationships.