I, Brittany Touris, am not qualified to be writing a post on dating. My social phobia, awkwardness, and commitment issues have caused me to, in all twenty years of my life, have only one successful relationship. That’s right, only one. And it’s with a younger man. So, I have no frame of reference, but I can tell you what I’ve learned from this one relationship.
Dating someone younger is sometimes silly and sometimes frustrating. My boyfriend and I started dating when he was still in high school and I had two years out in the “real world” under my belt. As he was going through high school drama that had been a thing of the past for me, I was struggling to make rent in my tiny New York City apartment. Sometimes it would be frustrating when I would stay the night with him on a school night. I hadn’t woken up at six in the morning since high school and then dropping him off at school and making sure he had a Poptart in his bag, because I couldn’t get him to eat breakfast, made me feel like less of a girlfriend and more of a… well, we won’t go there. On the other hand, it was nice to have that naïve, fresh perspective grounding me as I struggled with things that seemed very real and frightening to me.
Our age difference was probably the most evident when he graduated. I became very aware of the fact that being twenty years old and at a graduation made me look like I was a sibling or relative and not his girlfriend. We ate out at Olive Garden with his family after the ceremony; the waiter asked me if I had just graduated too. I just responded with an awkward, “no…” When the thrill of grad parties and the feeling of “the summer after senior year” began to wear off (it had for me two years ago but had come back a little bit), I began to feel our relationship morphing. He began to have more real worries, the type of worries that I was accustomed to. We began to relate to each other more and go through our problems more as equals.
I’m hopeful for our ever-growing relationship. As we get older, the weird factor of our age difference will get less and less. I’m hoping never again to have to hide a Poptart in his bag (which he did thank me for after the fact).