The Hook Up: Does age difference matter in queer relationships?

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I’m 20, out but not loud, and have never been in a relationship (although I’d like to). I recently met a 28-year-old woman on a social/dating app, and we’ve been out a couple times. We get along fairly well with minimal awkwardness, and she seems to be treating these as dates. However, I can’t get past the age difference. I’m not head-over-heels for her, but if it weren’t for the age gap, I’d keep meeting up and hope it turns into something. But right now it feels weird, and I’m finding excuses to put off meeting again. Am I worrying about something I shouldn’t be worrying about? Or should I tell her I’m uncomfortable with where this is going and hope we can remain friends?—Anxious Baby Dyke

Dear ABD,

Is it just the “age thing”? Because it sounds like it’s more the “chemistry is meh” thing (to put it more eloquently). If it feels weird and you’re finding excuses not to meet up with her, then I would listen to those feelings far more than the fact that she’s been able to vote in a few more election cycles than you.

In terms of quantifiable data, we can apply to your sex life (the best kind of data, IMO), the average age difference among straight couples is 2.3 years, according to stats from the 2013 CPS (Current Population Survey).

When it comes to queer ladies, however, we don’t have reliable numbers from the government, but we do have Facebook! According to anonymous stats from United States FB users who made their relationship status public, the average age difference in queer couples tends to get wider as people get older. Facebook data showed that those in their early twenties had an age gap of two to three years, but once people hit puma age (33ish*), the gap increased to seven years. And gird your loins young ones, for the 45-year-olds are especially prowl-y, in that the gap shoots up past nine years.

Isn’t that interesting? So perhaps your 28-year-old lady is starting her own slightly early age-gap trend with you. Or maybe she just thinks you’re cute. I don’t know her sciencey proclivities.

You’ll notice that the gap for male-female couples remains far lower than that of queer folks, which seems to fly in the face of the older-man-younger-woman trope that plays out so often in the media. But again, this is Facebook, so take it with a grain of margarita salt.

Also, though I think in your case the not-seeing-her-again decision is fairly clear, I would also like to encourage you to keep an open mind as you chart these brave new waters. Another age-differential study showed that in the abstract, age was far more important to daters than it was in actuality. Meaning the most important factors for determining compatibility are still tried and true standards like physical attractiveness, meshing personalities, and whether or not she likes Carrie Brownstein or LOVES Carrie Brownstein.

Good luck, ABD, and remember: Your twenties are also known as “the time to make most of my life mistakes,” so don’t be afraid to say yes to things (within reason).

*omg, I’m a puma! Someone get me a silk robe and, like, a bunch of slouchy blazers.

 

Where can I find a phone lesbian date now?—Sent from my iPad

1985?

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