Turns out, there’s an age gap

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This summer I met someone while out walking, and we hit it off right away. She appeared young, but age never really came up. We went on a few coffee dates, all of which were interesting and full of joy. When she wasn’t working her retail job and I had some free time from my 9-to-5, we’d go on long walks in the town we both grew up in. It felt like a great summer fling that never went too far – but then something happened that has put me in an awkward spot.

It turns out her job was just a summer job and she was returning to college. It was then that I realized she was just 21 years old. I can’t get over how much of a connection we had, but now I feel like I am in a position that would result in me being judged by others even if we did ever get together for a true relationship. I am in my early 30s and haven’t had many connections as strong as this. Do I wait, or is this something that’s just never going to happen?  

– Anonymous


I remember the day a psychologist friend told me that most people’s brains don’t fully mature until they’re 25. Suddenly, a lot of my own choices from that era made sense!

I’m not saying a 21-year-old is incapable of making good decisions or that they can’t be wonderful company. But the fact is, you and this person are in very different places in life. At 43 and 31, things might feel better, but at 21 and 33 (or whatever you are) this doesn’t work. You’ve made that clear in your letter.

The decision has been made for you because she has other priorities. She’s back in college and you’re home, and there’s no reason to wait for her to return. Please wish her the best and stop communication.

Even if she were staying around town, it would be time to move on. I say this not because of the judgement of others (although yes, that’s part of it for you), but because you’re looking for a big connection.

Seek out more people who seem like peers. Ask them all about themselves – including their age and where they are on their path.

Know that people over 30 can be busy with work, friends, and responsibilities. Sometimes it takes longer to click with them, but it’s possible.

– Meredith

Readers? Wait? For what? Was this connection as meaningful as the LW says if age wasn’t discussed? Does age always come up on your dates?

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