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No. of Recommendations: 3
17 year old
28 year old
dating, no sex
Discuss. . .

Very late to this discussion (this is one of many boards I check in on sporadically), but thought I'd weigh in from another angle.

My parents were 12 years apart in age, began dating when Mom was 19 and Daddy 31, and had the happiest marriage I've ever observed. Yeah, the 40s were different--marrying an older, established man was more of a goal for young women then.

My parents were from different socio-economic and intelligence levels, had different interests & hobbies, somewhat different ethnic backgrounds. When they started out, it was pretty girl and mentor, kind of like Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller (without the sleaze-). My mother told me recently that the first time she had sex was during their engagement, when she was 21 and he was 33. They must've been very careful as their first child was born more than 9 months after the wedding ;-)

Anyway, things change. Daddy's business died and Mom went back to work (as a part-time assistant bookkeeper, a word I learned to spell at a very early age (!) along with independent manufacturer's sales representative, which is what my father became after closing his business). Mom became the main breadwinner by the late 60s, which must've changed their relationship dynamic, but Daddy was still smarter and better educated (neither went to college but Daddy was a voracious reader with a retentive memory and came across as better educated than their friends with professional degrees). Thinking more about them, their dynamic was interesting...a neatnik and a slob, but both healthy and physically energetic, both practical rather than theoretical or idealistic, both valued nice clothes and nice things (good appearances), both people-people, social and popular, both loved their roles as parent and grandparent (for Myers-Briggs afficionados, an ESFJ married to an ESFP).

The sad part came when Daddy became ill in his 80s while Mom was a vibrant 60-70something. She found it humiliating and just too difficult to take her husband out in a wheelchair, and just stopped taking him out of the house although she was a devoted caregiver inside it. I'm reminded of another couple of my acquaintance, married when she was early 40s and he approaching 60. His health and career success went downhill a few years after their marriage, a very stressful situation as he was the masterful manly bon vivant and she the adoring lover. Is that often the result in these cases? Anotehr example from my real life of a younger woman marrying an older man with prior family...his deteriorating mental and physical health and career downslide were opposite to her coming into her own in middle age. They divorced. A Star Is Born syndrome? When my mother whines about the loss of her husband, I can't help but think, Did you not foresee this day? Yes, I know one is entitled to complain about even a predictable fate, not to mention "in sickness and in health" and that disability can strike at any age--my husband had strokes at 60 (luckily micro-strokes, but he has difficulty speaking now).

To be honest, I'm personally skeeved by very early marriage and by big age difference in couples, despite my parents' mostly successful model. I would've been stressed out if my daughter had been interested in a man even 5 years older, especially at 17, even though she was one of those early maturing girls (I don't mean so much physical maturity as emotional/mental maturity). But that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it. I guess I'm just suspicious of the motives of a man interested in a much younger woman.

I don't think there's much of a point in all this rambling. Maybe that some differences work against a couple, and some for it. Age and life stage may work against, but common goals, personalities, religion (both of my parents were atheists) are in their favor.

All that aside, I think it would be too bad if the 17-year-old doesn't have the freedom to date in college.
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