Oh look, Leonardo DiCaprio is dating another woman who is far too young for him – a 19-year-old Israeli model named Eden Polani. But this time, the running joke that he only dated models under 25 doesn’t seem so funny anymore. Huge age gaps in relationships are not a new concept. Chances are you’ve met a couple with a big age gap, either online or in IRL. Most of the time, it’s okay to date someone older than you — in fact, many successful relationships come with age gaps. But there’s a difference between dating someone 10 years older than you in your thirties and, say, someone whose age ends in “-teen” dating someone in their thirties.
While age gaps in relationships have become more acceptable in today’s society, and many experts believe people are more open to the idea of couples years apart, others argue that young people actually disapprove of love between mixed ages more than ever. Before. So when does an age gap relationship become problematic? And why are some acceptable? Let’s talk.
Celebrities are no strangers to age-gap relationships, and there are probably a few examples you can think of already. To put things into perspective, we’re going to focus on 2 celebrity couples who are many years apart: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds (11-year age gap), and Billie Eilish and Jesse Rutherford (11-year age gap). 10 years old). As you can see, the two couples are roughly the same age difference, but why is one so celebrated and the other scrutinized?
For one thing, when Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds first met, Blake was in his 20s and Ryan was in his 30s. She has just emerged from a relationship with former Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley as he filed for divorce from ex-wife Scarlett Johansson. While Blake was only a few years older than Billie Eilish when she reunited with her partner, there is a question of emotional maturity as well as experience that must be considered. Blake Lively has dated several men before (including Leonardo DiCaprio, unsurprisingly), so she has more lived experience. But of course, we have to take into account that when their relationship was announced 10 years ago, huge age gaps weren’t as stigmatized as they are today.
On the other hand, Billie Eilish met Jesse Rutherford when she was 16, and he was 27, and got together when she was 20, and he was 31. One of the reasons their relationship caused so much controversy was their dynamic before they became together. Billie Eilish has openly explained that she’s been The Neighborhood lead singer Jesse Rutherford’s biggest fan since she was twelve years old. When they met, she was still a minor and he was already in his twenties. Therefore, there is a power imbalance within the relationship, not only because he has more lived experience than Billie, but also because she idolized Jesse Rutherford as a celebrity since she was young.
Why do women date much older men?
Although there are instances where a much older woman is dating a younger man (e.g. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson, 23 year age gap), most of them involve a older man dating a younger woman. But why? Are women intentionally looking for much older men to date? Youth is seen as a negative trait in men, unlike women, where age is negative for a woman. This shows up in our normal dating talk, where someone says, “BUT, he’s younger,” even if it’s only a difference of one to three years.
But aside from the societal norms that drive younger women to pursue older men, there are also “benefits” to dating older men. For many, dating an older man means he has more experience, which makes them more skilled in romantic relationships. Also, older men are more mature and are considered more capable of “managing” a woman and her needs. But as you can see, all of the things that are considered the “benefits” of dating older men are things that create a power imbalance in a relationship. Since the older partner is in a more “stable” position in life, the younger partner may end up feeling pressured to “reciprocate.”
In many relationships, as you get emotionally closer, a person can also become dependent on the older partner, which can lead to a fear of abandonment. Indeed, they may fear that the older partner will leave them if they are no longer mature enough for the man, as he is perceived as much more stable and mature.
Why do men date much younger women?
Have you ever wondered why some men only date younger women? To quote Taylor Swift, “I will grow old but your lovers keep my age,One possible reason for this is that they are considered the “more experienced partner” in the relationship, young women often look up to them or look to them for advice, which gives them a boost to their ego. When an older man has a younger girl, it reassures him that he is still desirable and can still enjoy the things he did when he was younger. And of course, there’s the obvious reason that’s rooted in misogyny: youth is associated with beauty, and young women are seen as more capable of satisfying a man’s sexual desires. It all stems from the myth that “when women reach 30, their bodies are no longer desirable, and they begin to lose their sexuality,” which is completely untrue.
Overall, while there are many gray areas when it comes to age gaps in relationships and how each person defines “an inappropriate relationship”, there’s no denying the power imbalance evident in these relationships.
How do you feel about relationships with huge age gaps?
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