"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

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For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Age Difference

How many years apart is too big of an age difference for a couple? When you are older, it doesn't seem to matter as much. Although, personally, I think I'd draw the line if I was old enough to be his father, or he was old enough to be my father. Personally. I've almost exclusively dated* guys exactly my same age and the few older guys I've dated* were only two-four years older than me. My parents are 3 1/2 months apart. My in-laws are only months apart. My siblings are all married to someone within two years of their own age, as are Jed's. Jed is 6 months my senior. So I don't have a whole lot of experience with huge age differences.

The other night we watched Wait Until Dark - a great suspense movie. It was going to be our Halloween movie, but I didn't think of that in time and it was checked out, so we watched it a week late. As movie watching in our house goes, we also looked up all sorts of stuff about the movie and the actors on Wikipedia. Alan Arkin was married three times. He was old enough to be his second wife's father and his third wife's grandfather.** That's just too big of an age difference for me.

Here's why I'm thinking about it. I've been working on this story idea for... well... years now. Sad, but true. It's a girl falls in love with the boy next door sort of story, and the boy next door is her older brother's best friend. I think I finally decided that he's about 4 years older than she is. Not a big deal when she's 20 and he's 24 or she's 30 and he's 34, right? But how does it play out when they are younger, when she's 10 and in love with him and he's 14? Not so bad for her... but a 14 year old in love with a 10 year old? Ick, you know? That's where I'm stuck.

I read Love Walked In recently and it dealt with an age difference sort of like my story. The man solves it by saying something along the lines of, "I won't keep many things from you, but that's my secret" referring to how and when he fell in love with her. Sweet. But I still kept thinking... he's a few years older than her, did he fall in love when they were kids? When he was a teen and she was a kid? That's sort of gross.

So what do you think? How big of an age difference is too big? And any other thoughts.

*In almost every instance, by "dated," I mean, went on a date with... possibly more than one date, but very rarely in a long (or even short) relationship.

**I went back to Wikipedia to check my facts and the age differences between he and his last two wives had been removed.


Rae said...

Okay, are you sitting down? DK is 11 years older than me. Most times it doesn't matter or even come up but then there are times when it's crazy to think about. Like he was dating when I was in kindergarten! He graduated high school when I was in 2nd grade. But as we fast forward he graduated college 3 years before I graduated high school...not too bad. (Take into account his 2 year mission and 5 year degree program)

I have an acquaintance who is shacking up (has been for years...he's a live in) who is older than her dad. She and I are the same age and her guy is 58! Say what?! ICK!

I have always dated "older men". :) I have never dated anyone my age. They were always at least 5 years older than I.

Keep us posted on your book! Sounds exciting!!

Shelby said...

Well... sometimes love evolves into different kinds of love. So perhaps your characters at a young age could be in a different kind of love for one another that is not romantic, but more just a genuine, caring love. I don't know. Totally not a writer, but I could see something like that happen in real life. I actually know an older couple that are married that have that kind of situation. Good luck. Would love to read your book someday.

Kristi said...

I agree about the teen and kid thing being gross. I like Shelby's idea about the evolution of love. He may like her at 10 years old but couldn't be attracted to her until she was at least 12 and he was 16. Still a little odd, but not so gross. Maybe she looks and acts older too. Well, one or the other. That usually isn't a combo deal. I had a friend who looked 16 at 12. She was a beautiful girl and all the boys noticed her. She was very much a 12 year old in spirit though. That was just trouble.... Sorry for going on and on.

Cristin said...

I don't know - is the teen and kid thing really that gross. Think of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo. I used to watch Little House on the Prairie and they always showed her having a crush on him when he was an adult and she was like 12 or something. Then one season she was a grown woman and they got married. So - you could make the story work somehow.

LisAway said...

Okay, so I'm starting to write your story in my head.

Remember in Emma how Mr. Knightly was her brother in law and knew her since she was really little. He was like an older brother to her but she admired him and they teased each other.

That's how I imagine a 10 year old/14 year old thing. He teases her because she's his best friend's little sister, and she sort of has a crush on him because she's ten and he's older and that's what ten year olds do. As she gets older the teasing turns into flirting or maybe he gets a little shy with her or something.

I want to read your story!! Are you thinking of trying to publish it?

Angela said...

Heck if Stephanie Meyer can have a teenage boy fall in love with a newborn baby you can do whatever you want!

Erin said...

Nathan is 6 yrs older than I am. Sometimes he will make fun of me and say something like "well you don't remember that because you were only 3 yrs old when that happened". My cousin married a woman who is 10 years old his senior. I think people think it is stranger when it is the other way around, but I think it really doesn't make a difference. When you are in love it doesn't matter. Your spirits must be the same age or something cheesy like that.

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