Originally Posted by Oriole
Well... Here is what I have to go by: DP and I met when I was 17, we have 11 years difference. Couldn't have been happier for the past 10 years.
* he is, handsome, supportive, funny, patient, doesn't mind cooking dinners, is romantic, I would consider that a catch
* he never pressured me sexually, if it wasn't for his standards, I wouldn't have waited until I was 18.
* he did drink socially, but I never did outside my family (we both have European roots, and neither family would frown upon a teenager having a glass of wine or beer); neither one of us ever been drunk, or driven a car after drinking. He never bought me a drink until I was 21.
He is the most wonderful dad to his now 15 y.o. daughter who lives with us. And yes, my parents were very cautious about him in the beginning, but they love him now. In fact, my mom calls him "her favorite son in law", and we are not even married (yet)
It's very much a US thing to judge a couple by the age (I think). One of my sisters is happily married to someone 9 years older than she is. They have three kids, and as far as I can see, her and her husband fit each other to a T (and not the "trouble" kind).
So... I can't say I wouldn't be worried, but to tell you the truth, I think I'd be worried no matte who dsd chose to date.
Funny! My husband is 11 years older than I am, too, and I think we're an excellent match for each other. I wish I could remember where, but I read some study that concluded 11 years' age difference is the best bet, in terms of a marriage lasting, as long as the man is the older spouse. I love that statistic!
That said, I think there's usually a big difference between couples with a significant age difference who are in their 30's or older; and couples where one is a teen and the other, an adult - or even where one person is in their early twenties and the other person, in their thirties. I think most people, by their 30's, are as mature as they're going to be, and have as solid a sense as they're ever going to have, of who they are, what they want, etc. So, it's not a stretch for 30-somethings and 40-somethings to feel like equals. And there's a good chance neither of them will change dramatically, over time. Whereas, a 17-year-old doesn't have nearly the maturity she will, 10 years from now. And it's quite normal for her to want, expect and tolerate things from her life and relationships that are fundamentally different from what she may want, expect and tolerate, by the time she's 27.
It's wonderful and romantic when a teenage girl meets a guy in his twenties and it actually turns out to be a relationship that will stand the test of time. But I think that scenario is less common than a scenario where the guy in his twenties is attracted to the teen girl because he's too immature to deal with girls his own age; and dating a younger girl lets him feel like he has the upper-hand in the relationship. When my little sister was 17 and dating a guy in his twenties (behind our parents' backs...), it bothered me, wondering if she was spending that time learning to accept not being treated as an equal by her significant other; when her time might be better-spent honing the skills of maintaining a functional, balanced relationship with someone who did think of her as an equal? Of course, my sister "knew what she was doing" and I was just too old and conservative to understand. Until she got to know the guy better and decided I was right.
But IMO, your job isn't to remember how you felt at 17 - or hear what the rest of us felt, or did, at 17 - and make sure your daughter gets the same opportunities. You're supposed to guide and protect her (for a little bit longer, anyway). And I think the chance that a relationship with a 21-year-old guy is something you should protect her from is greater than the chance that this guy is her True North, who will marry, have kids and grow old with her. And if he really is? He'll still be around (or he'll come back) when she's too old for you to tell her whom she can date!