Age difference in dating and marriage

I have a dating and church teaching question. I am a chaste 33 year old man and I am friends with a young woman who is 18. I have developed feelings for her in the last year or so. I am a virgin, don’t believe is premarital sex and I truly care for her, so would it be immoral or sinful to date her?


No, it would not be immoral or sinful.

Dating is for the express purpose of finding someone suitable to marry.

Watch “The Quiet Man” (1952) sometime – note that even at the advanced age of the couple in this movie, they had a chaperone.

God bless you for your commitment to purity. :slight_smile:

I don’t beleive it would be immoral or sinful, but I don’t think you date her. At this point, you are both at completely different stages of your life. She, I assume, has barely graduated high school while you are already well established in your adult life. It just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

I don’t see anything immoral, but you were in high school when she was born. I just feel like y’all should be at different stages in life. You have lived and possibly have learned, she is fresh out of high school.

You are a 33 year old man. She is an 18 year old girl. A fifteen year age difference is really quite large.

I would encourage you to seek a young woman closer to your own age.

I think it depends on the maturity level of the girl and what her goals are. If she is mature and can handle marriage and children, then that would be fine, especially if she wants that above further education and a career. If you can support her and children and she is willing, then I think it would be fine. :slight_smile:

I also wanted to make it 100% clear that I am not some creep that likes young girls. We met in church choir, not a the mall or something. She is a very mature and has a great understanding of the Faith, very devout as well. We pray together and go to confession together. So I got a follow up question, if we’re in different stages of life and if we dated then wouldn’t this be very unwise and foolish? Showing a lack of prudence, which would mean it would be some what immoral then. I just don’t understand why it is anymore foolish if I was 23 than being 33, or if she was 28? So are you saying that a guy closer to her own age would be better, because of the age, even if he is a jerk?

I know a good Catholic couple where the husband was 31 and the wife 19 when they started dating. They’ve been happily married for many years. So I do think it’s possible for such things to work out for the right man and the right woman.

However, I wouldn’t underestimate the age gap, particularly at her age. The “generational divide” between me and 18 year old girls was readily apparent by the time I was 23. :stuck_out_tongue: Of course, now the difference between me and someone 5 years younger than me is much less noticeable.

Have you considered asking your priest who knows you both what his thoughts are?

It’s simply a fact of our lives and culture that most 18 year olds and 33 year olds are in very different places personally. This may not have been the case for prior generations, where life options were more limited. But is she interested in college, and if so, where and in what? If she’s not, what does she see herself doing? If you’re thinking marriage (which I’m assuming you are), are you prepared for the ways she might want to grow and change as she enters into full adulthood?

This isn’t a question of immorality, and whether it’s foolish or not depends on the particular individuals involved. I couldn’t say that it’s unwise or that it won’t work, only that while it might work well for you, she could (now or later) very think that she didn’t actually know herself well enough yet. Also, lots of people, if not most, will look at you very suspect even though you met under normal circumstances. Generally people would expect that a man in his 30s would not be interested in someone just graduating high school and will wonder why you are.

But maybe you all are perfect for one another! Is she interested?

It is not inherently immoral, but the difference in ages means a difference in life experience and maturity. I am 28 and have a very hard time imagining dating anyone still of undergraduate age (18-21). They are in a different stage of life than I am.

I am not sure Joe. Her and Father are pretty close but I don’t think he cares for me much.

Ah. :o

My daughter is 17-1/2. I am aghast at the very idea of her dating a man of 33 (or 32 to perhaps more closely match the situation here). That is my first reaction.

Would it be immoral or sinful for you to chastely date a girl that young? I don’t think so, but a 33 year old and an 18 year old are at very different places in life. It could work. But, I’d have huge reservations about the age difference.

That’s very good point about her knowing herself or not. It would very bad for me to confuse her if I haven’t done so all ready. But it still begs the question: why does the age difference matter, if I was younger then all the objections being made could still be made but with nothing to suspect and even encouragement…anyways its only dating, not sinful sex, not marriage. Although, my feelings could be blinding me to reality…

Good post, this. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

Your last point is important. She may view you as a father/older brother figure not potential date/marriage material. You may want to ask her what she wants out of life and what her plans are. That might give you a better idea of how she sees your relationship. And how does her family feel about you and the potential of their daughter dating/marrying a much older man? There are a lot of pitfalls here, that’s for sure. :o

I don’t know why anyone would want to build-into their relationship that kind of adversity, and I believe that much diversity is adversity.

Well here some more fun facts about myself. I’ve been alone and miserable most of my life and have been discerning religious life as well but haven’t got really anywhere with it…I have been talking to her about what she wants out of life and she is discerning between and marriage and religious life like me. I’m not sure how she feels about me, what I have found out is, woman at all ages are hard to figure out. I’m not too sure what her parents would think about me dating her but their fine with us being close friends.

As a woman I think you should simply ask her if she would like to start dating you. If she says no, you’ll have your answer and can look elsewhere. If she says yes, I’d say take it slow and let her set the pace. If she wants to go to college or some other kind of further education, be supportive of her. And continue to pray that God will show you both what he wants for you.

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