By: Andrew Uyeno
They say age is just a number; then why are you hiding this new relationship from the ones you care about? It wasn’t your fault, you didn’t expect to fall in love with someone so much older than you. Now you’re terrified about how people will judge you—just imagine what your parents will think! What we forget is that dating someone who is a significant age difference from us can be one of the most enlightening and life changing things you can do, so never feel bad or ashamed. Now of course at first, this takes time. But all that really matters here is how you feel about that person who is holding you tight in their arms. That number everyone is so worried about goes away when you kiss.
Since dating someone who is years apart from you isn’t typically the norm, some people will look at it with distain and judgment, but that’s expected. Don’t let those few people control your life, be proud of your other half and tell the world you’re in love. That is probably one of the big reasons why you’re so afraid to share this new love. Now you’re not alone; about 10 months ago I felt the same way. Last year while at a cottage resort with my parents, I met the most amazing girl ever. You’re probably asking, “Okay what’s the issue?” Well see here’s the thing she was 17 and I was oh just a few years older… okay I was 23. So with 6 years between us I knew that nothing could ever happen. The problem with letting that number stop us is that we are yet again letting fear control us. Life is all about pushing past your fears, going out there and getting what you want. No one else will do it for you. If you love something or someone so much, never let fear stand in your way.
For days I let fear block my path to happiness. I ignored this incredible girl because I didn’t think I was allowed to fall in love with her. After my fear went away, we started to become closer. We started to fall for each other and that terrifying number was slowly disappearing. Telling your friends and family is a tough goal to accomplish because you don’t want the ones you love most thinking you’re some kind of a monster or that your relationship is “gross.” But here’s the thing, if they truly care about you, all that matters is that you’re insanely happy. To my surprise, all my friends were really supportive about it. I remember being so scared, I wouldn’t tell anyone her age until they asked me at least three times.
They say communication is key to any relationship, and I know you are probably afraid to tell your new partner about your fears, but trust me, they are worrying about the same thing. As I was getting over the age difference, my girlfriend started to get more and more concerned about it. Many of her peers started asking questions like “why would a 23-year-old want to date a 17-year-old? He only wants one thing!” I can never apologise enough for putting her through that. In the eyes of some, I became a monster all because I wanted to be with the love of my life.
Months have passed and our relationship has never been stronger. Once we embraced the differences, all of our fears went away. Yes, I lost some friends along the way who “didn’t feel right about it,” but that’s their loss. I’ve never been happier, and that’s all that matters. See, dating someone significantly younger or older than you is a life changing learning experience. It will teach you so many different things. For example, my girlfriend has taught me how she sees this magical world and she also taught me how to enjoy life again. Love isn’t supposed to be easy or fit into some kind of cookie-cutter shape. It’s weird, funny, strange but at the same time incredibly beautiful. Love can be different, but that’s what makes it so amazing.