Many in their 30s said they regretted the relationships with older partners and pointed to an imbalance in power.
Huge age gaps in relationships are always frowned upon but discussions surrounding dating a teenager with the huge gap is always very controversial. The arguments range from consent, maturity, power imbalance, and grooming in such relationships. Reddit user u/hazelnutmacchiato1 posed the question to Redditors and the comments sections triggered a massive debate. "What is your opinion on a 30-year-old dating a 19-year-old?" asked the Redditor. The thread went viral garnering more than 17K replies with many sharing their personal experiences of dating older partners.
Here are some of the comments that caught our eye:
1) I would not. But if a close friend did, I’d advise caution. Power balances and how well they relate to each other could be issues. I wouldn’t, but to each his own. - checkyourlibido.
2) I thought it was okay when I was in my 20s but now that I'm in my 30s it's a big no-no. - timelesscurium.
3) I’m 30 and if I met my 19-year-old self, I would probably be disgusted. The level of maturity between the two ages is so large that I can’t see how it could be a functional and healthy relationship in any way. - rben80.
4) It’s not the age gap, it’s the mind gap - Fogdevil_s
5) Yeah, a 40-year-old dating a 29-year-old is way different than a 30-year-old dating someone that is 19 in most instances. -actuaryba
6) The years between 18 and 23 are the first time most people have their first taste of freedom and responsibility. Everything is developing so fast and life feels like it's flying. Then usually somewhere between 23 and 25 most people find their footing and understand their needs and wants. That isn't to say it can't work out between a 19 and 30-year-old but successful relationships between those ages are usually outliers. -keudn883
7) When I was 19 I dated a 30 y/o. Not quite as big of an age gap, but still pretty significant. At the time I thought I was so cool and mature, but looking back several years later it was really messed up. I was at a completely different point in my life than he was. He used my immaturity and naivete to pressure me into doing things I was not prepared for, emotionally and physically. He condescended me a lot and acted like I was stupid for liking typical 19-year-old girl things. Perhaps my ex was an asshole (he was) but I have heard similar stories enough times to be aware that quite often, big age gaps like these when one person is still literally a teenager is a bad idea. - yomommafool.
8) My first boyfriend was 32. I was 19. We were “together” for 3 years. He f*cked me up. He did the “we’re close, but I don’t want a commitment.” And I was like “OK!” He must really like me since he’s so much older and wiser. This is what adults do. They don’t commit to each other and everyone just always keep their options open. Plus I was so young and he told me that I wasn’t ready to settle down. He said I was really smart for my age. All of his other girlfriends always went psycho and it was so nice that I was so young and wise and understands things that other girls don’t. And he said he’d pay for my belly button piercing when I lost the weight. So generous. And I was a virgin and he said he always wanted to be someone’s first. Such a f*cking creep. - Jamalpancakes.
Another person replied, "You've just articulated something I've never been able to articulate before. That feeling of "oh but I'm special. He likes me and not anyone else, so I'm happy to do what he wants because if I don't then I won't be special anymore" Except I wasn't 19. I was 15, and he was 28. And he f*cked me up. And I'm so God damn angry about that. Almost 15 years later and I'm still having to rage at the fact that there was no justice for me. Thank you for finding the words that I couldn't for so long."
9) So when I was 15 I started dating a 25-year-old. I thought I was cool AF. I’m 37 now. I have two kids (17 & 19). I 100% would try very hard to not let it happen. I know now why that guy wanted to date me. He manipulated me. Controlled me. Controlled how I dressed. Verbally and emotionally abused me. Etc. No one his age put up with it. I was a vulnerable kid who was used to abuse at home and he took advantage of that. Huge age gaps like that with barely adult children are for one thing only. Control. - nay2829.
10) Personally I think it’s weird. A 19-year-old is basically fresh outta high school, barely an adult mentally. A 30-year-old is a full-grown adult who is way older mentally and physically. - shadowfire786
11) Even if it doesn't work out. The older person should leave the younger person in a better place or mindset than before they got together. I dated someone 15 years older than me, and we broke up without any animosity or making each other feel bad about anything. We are still friends too. Honestly, he helped me set a higher bar or standards as to how I want to feel and be treated by my partner. He really is a great guy, but we are in different places in our lives so it wouldn't be compatible long term. - Moonwomb
12) "Why is a grown-ass man interested in dating a teenager?" Usually, when one of the parties is significantly younger than the other (especially teens or very early 20's) there is a big risk of exploitation. Lots of manipulation and power play can happen. The very young person usually doesn't know how to handle romantic or sexual relationships as well as somebody much older than them, hence it's easy to take advantage of them. Here come the whataboutisms. "What about women that do it?", "What about teenagers who exploit adults?" You all know damn well those are the minority of cases. Nobody is saying the opposite doesn't happen, but it definitely isn't as common. - Coolio86
13) I dated someone 20 when I was 25 and even that was drastically different. Like being an adult, and paying bills, starting a career vs someone living at home, and being a full-time student. It made a huge difference and even though we both eventually were on the same level. There was always something unbalanced in how we started. - Imfatletsprty.
14) I look down on a 30-year-old that even wants this, are they just trying to find someone easy to manipulate? Huge red flag. Kimber3-7
15) How can a 30yo and a 19yo be at the same point in their life? - beeds
One person summed it up saying it wasn't inherently bad but the chances of such a relationship being problematic was huge. "It's a "this isn't explicitly bad but can possibly be problematic" situation. And unless a specific couple is asking my opinion, it's not my business," wrote one Redditor.