One of my favourite Aaliyah songs is ‘Age ain’t nothing but a number’ from the album of the same name. Thinking about it now, I can hear it “age ain’t nothing but a number, throwing down ain’t nothing but a thing.”
I have never understood the fuss over someone dating a person significantly older than them or someone significantly younger than them. It has always been presented as a cultural taboo. You have offended your dignity, family honour and ancestors when you date someone 10+ years older or younger than you.
I have always understood people’s reservations thinking that the difference in age may cause a lack of connection, unavailability of similar interests but that is all very subjective. There is also the notion that any younger person dating someone significantly older can only be there for the financial benefits that come with dating someone more accomplished and successful in their career.
While this has also happened and has been glamourised as much as it has been demonised in the media, it can also be false. There are people that meet and genuinely prefer the connection of an older person over that of their peers.
It is very easy for one to enter a relationship where the age gap is considerably and noticeably larger and say “ignore the haters”. But societal judgment can take its toll on you emotionally and subsequently have an effect on how you relate with your partner.
I have heard the terms “He only wants her money” “What will she do when he dies?” “What do they talk about?” and I find them quite unimaginative and dull. If I met a couple with a 25-year age gap that would not be my concern, but what I would ask I will save for another day.
The societal construct has convinced many of us that only one specific idea of love is acceptable, which we unfortunately still grapple with today. Even love between people born to different generations is still considered wrong, it is laughed at and mocked.
The question remains, how big of an age gap is too big? And why does it matter at all? If a 28-year-old male enjoys the company of a 60-year-old woman should we care and should we make outcasts of them in society? If they mean no harm to each other or those around them should we make such a huge case of it?
What strikes me as bothersome, is the fact that many would consider being in a cross-generational relationship should they genuinely fall for the person but would not maintain the same school of thought when it comes to other couples.
If your lifestyles are in synch and you enjoy each other’s company, then by all means you should explore the possibility of love. If both parties are legal adults and of sound mind I see no reason why societal expectations and judgment should keep two people who love each other apart.