Should I Date a Guy Who’s Younger Than Me?

    In high school and early college, much of life is divided by age bracket. We’re used to moving in circles of our peers, and an age gap of even one year puts us in a whole different group of people. Two years or more is an even greater divide. This separation causes many young women to question whether dating someone younger than themselves is a wise decision. Is it weird? Will it cause problems down the road?

    As someone now 10 years removed from high school, I have a perspective on this I certainly didn’t have at age 21. Age gaps felt bigger in school because age was a reflection of life stage, too. But the funny thing is this: Once you get past age 22 or so, most of those age-and-stage gaps close. You stop asking how old people are, and you don’t even notice an age difference—even in dating.

    But in case you need some reassurance on this issue, here are three things to remember when deciding whether or not to date someone younger than yourself.


    1. The Real Issue: Spiritual Maturity

    What’s more important than age, year in college or life plan? Spiritual maturity. A person can be 18 and far more spiritually mature than a 25-year-old college graduate. What matters is their walk with God, not their birth date.

    But what is spiritual maturity, exactly? The author of the Book of Hebrews talks about this:


    Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God… (Hebrews 6:1)


    A spiritually mature person doesn’t stay at the same level in his walk with God. He doesn’t simply go to church or read his Bible out of duty. He has an active faith relationship with God and is constantly growing in that faith. A man who is spiritually growing can be younger than you and still a great choice for a partner because his heart is in the right place.


    2. What People Think Doesn’t Matter

    This is probably the primary stumbling block for women considering a younger boyfriend: They’re afraid of what people will say. And I understand the concern; people can be mean. You’ll have to grow thicker skin when people joke about you “robbing the cradle,” even if your boyfriend is only a few years younger. But if he is a godly man and you love him, it really doesn’t matter what people think. They’ll get over it—and you’ll be with a person who encourages you to be a stronger woman of God.


    3. Age Is Just a Number

    Lastly, age is not a sign of maturity, spiritual or otherwise. I’ve met some pretty immature 30-year-olds and some pretty wise teenagers. While we all have something to learn and we all can do some more growing up in this life, age itself is not reflection of that.

    If the only thing holding you back from dating someone younger than you is his age, ask yourself these questions:

    • Is he spiritually mature? Is he growing in his faith, further along than he was last year?
    • Am I caring too much about what people think?
    • Is he a mature person in other areas of his life?

    Answer those questions, get wise counsel and go from there.

    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer is an author and speaker teaching women how to discern what is true, discuss the deep stuff, and accomplish God's will for their specific lives. She holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, where she met her husband, Josh, and now lives in northern Michigan with her two daughters, Adeline and Geneva.


    1. Helpful article, thanks for these thoughts. I appreciated the note, too, about seeking wise counsel from those God has placed around you. It’s important to seek counsel from parents, older women, small group leaders, and leaders in the church (somewhat in that order if necessary). You don’t have to tell everyone, but make sure to put yourself under someone who loves God, loves His word, and shows a love for you. Weigh everything you’re told with the truth of the word, don’t just do what someone suggests without having prayed over it and committed yourself to God’s will.

      Others see things that we might not see, and especially when we like a guy, it can be really hard to see clearly what some challenges might be. Conversely, we may not have any interest, but someone may point out things that we didn’t notice about a younger man. God is good to provide us with the body of Christ to share wisdom and pray for us!

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