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We all know that, when it comes to love, age is nothing but a number. Many couples have met and fallen in love even with age differences of 30 or 40 years. It may be a cliché but it remains true: we can’t always choose who we fall in love with.

Successful relationships with large age differences are in the minority. However, with online dating sites such as eHarmony allowing people to meet others based on their shared values, more people than ever could be dating outside their normal age range.

Dating an older person means facing a number of issues relating to differences in lifestyle, the longevity of the relationship, and the feelings of our family and friends, among other things.

Before you begin dating someone older, consider the following:

Are you both looking for the same thing?


Age is not necessarily a predictor of what someone is looking for from a new relationship, but it’s important to think about what stages of life you’re both in.

If you have young children, or are looking to begin a family soon, it may be difficult to be with someone whose children have left home and who is enjoying their freedom.

Equally, if you’re looking for some light-hearted and commitment-free fun, dating someone who is looking to start a family soon could make for a troubled road ahead.

What will my family/friends think?


The negative opinion of family and friends doesn’t have to be the death knell for any new relationship. However, it’s important to consider how their opinion will make you feel, and how it will affect your new partner’s involvement in your social life.

Research has shown that couples with mutual friends are happier overall, so it’s always a good sign if you know that your partner will get along with your friends and enjoy the same kinds of social activity.

Do you feel comfortable with them?


The strongest relationships feel like a pairing of equals. If your potential partner makes you feel silly or childish that may be a strong indicator that your age difference is a problem. Many experts believe what’s important is your mental age, including eHarmony’s relationship expert Dr Seth Meyers. He explains;

Though we all have a chronological age, we also have what I refer to as a ‘psychological age.’ How old do you feel, for example? Does your age accurately reflect how old you feel?

Should you have an age limit?

You will perhaps already sense how old is too old for you personally. But because everyone has a different mental age and outlook on life, it’s best to consider potential partners on an individual basis rather than having hard and fast rules for who is too old to date.

If you’d really like to make a rule, a good guide can be found with a simple equation. Take your age and subtract 7 years, then double it. But don’t forget, you can always break your own rules!