Age is more than just a number
When she was 21, Dominique Beverly met her then boyfriend at work – he was her 28-year-old manager.
“I was always up for dating someone older because I assumed it would mean more maturity,” Beverly said.
“Nine years older would have been my limit. I just refused to date younger given bad experiences.”
Many college students agree with this dating tactic – going for older men and women.
Matthew Laken, for example, dated his former girlfriend, who is three years older, thinking he’d have similar outcomes.
“I thought by dating someone older they would instill a sense of maturity and responsibility, and ultimately by dating them I’d surpass the immature levels of being a college student, thus preparing me for a real world,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case. Older people have just as many problems as us, and their problems suck a whole lot more.”
Beverly had never been in a relationship with someone older and she said she learned the benefits and drawbacks to dating with a seven-year gap in age.
Beverly’s family and friends’ perception of her dating an older man turned out be a benefit.
“They never seemed to mind the age,” she said. “My mother was a bit shocked, but since he seemed nice, she didn’t really care too much about his age.”
Laken’s family was more amused than anything he was dating his then girlfriend of six months, he said.
“All of my friends and family made fun of her because they know how immature I am,” he said. “They said stuff like she might have had difficulty correctly picking from the litter. It was mostly playful jabs at me through her being older.”
The drawback to students in their early 20s dating older people lied within their partners’ insecurities and being out in public, particularly in Beverly’s relationship.
“When we go out, I get carded sometimes and I feel that they only card him because they’re carding me,” she said.
“His insecurities led him to believe I would find someone better on campus, since he doesn’t have a degree and is more of a hard laborer than a thinker.”
Beverly said the difference in age had an influence on their recent breakup.
“It was a different experience because all of his friends were 30 and older. Sadly, that maturity didn’t rub off on him,” she said.