The rule is half your age, plus seven years. That is, unless you are under 22. However, this rule is really more of a guideline. Some take the opinion that age is only a number. Really, a lot of it depends on how serious you intend the relationship to be.
When in a relationship with a large age difference, there are many pitfalls. One source of embarrassment comes from pop culture references. When your partner has no idea what Wonderama is, you feel old. The problem is that the two are you experienced life phases at very different times. You may not even be at the same phase of life currently. You could be retiring, and your partner could be just starting out their career, or vice versa. The elder partner may downplay the significance of major life events with a been-there, done-that attitude. It is also difficult to reconcile your current goals; one person wants to focus on their career while the other wants to take it easy.
There are benefits to having an age difference, however. When balance exists, a younger person can add vitality to the relationship. An older person may add wisdom and perspective. Traditionally, men are the elder in the relationship, but this trend is changing. In some way a relationship may be healthier when the woman is the older person. The dynamic is less culturally driven, and therefore has less chance for abuse.
Women 10 or more years older than their partners report being more satisfied and committed to their relationships than women who are the same age or younger than their partners, according to a 2008 study in Psychology of Women Quarterly. That isn’t to say that the man in the relationship is equally satisfied. However, there are more and more high profile couples where the woman is 10 or more years older than her husband. Take Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, for example.
The key consideration is motivation. You have to be wary of a person’s motivation when they are dating outside their age group, and make sure you are on the same page with what you are looking for. Other than that, all you need is mutual consent.
The Good Men Project, Why Cougars Are Better than Silver Foxes: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-cougars-are-better-than-silver-foxes/
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StyleCaster News, Cougars and Silver Foxes: http://news.stylecaster.com/cougars-silver-foxes-field-guide-dating-outside-your-age-range/
Chicago Tribune, Age Gap: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-19/features/sc-fam-0918-age-gap-romance-20120919_1_age-gap-age-difference-age-matters
Marie Claire, Does a Big Age Difference Doom a Relationship? http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/advice/age-difference-relationships
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U.S. 2000 Census, Married Couples By Differences in Ages Between Husband and Wife (1999) http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/56_married_couples_by_differences_in_ages.html
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Keen, Does Age Difference Matter in Love: http://www.keen.com/documents/works/articles/love/does-age-difference-matter-in-love.asp