age gap relationships

‘Guys my age aren’t mature’: Meet the students in big age-gap relationships

Here’s everything they want you to know

If you’ve been on the internet at least once over the last decade, chances are you’ve got some pretty hot takes about age-gap relationships. Whenever the conversation crops up again, every Keir Starmer-esque fence-sitter fades into the background. People are either pro age-gap relationships, or vehemently against.

It’s a real understatement to say that relationships with significant age differences are complicated – particularly if you’re the younger one. But, like everything else, they’re not clear cut and always nuanced.

A lot of people think they’re an excuse for older people to take advantage of young adults, no exceptions. Some think young people only ever enter into them for the money. Others really just want you to know they’re as complex and rewarding as any other relationship.

Keeping an open mind, I spoke to three girls with older partners. This is everything they want you to know about their age-gap relationships:

Robyn, University of Salford – six year age gap


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“We met when I was 18 and he was 24 – we both got jobs at a pub and he was my manager,” she told me. 

“I asked someone we worked with about him and when they told me he was 24 my heart sank because it seemed like such a huge age gap at the time!”

Robyn worried constantly that her partner wouldn’t see her as “mature” enough to date. “I remember worrying about him thinking I hadn’t got myself sorted enough for him to want to be with me. He’d just graduated from uni while I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.” 

She admitted that the age-gap relationship gave her some much-needed stability during a rocky period of her life. “Fast forward to now, I’m a uni student and he’s 30. I now feel that the age gap was exactly what I needed at that time in my life – he helped me see my options, encouraged me to take risks and make my own decisions.”

Olivia, Royal Holloway – five year age gap

age gap

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Olivia met her boyfriend on Tinder during the first lockdown (March 2020). She was 19 when they first met, while he was in his 20s. From the beginning, she felt like their polar opposite lifestyles highlighted the difference in maturity.

“If I go out on a weekday, my boyfriend is in bed by 11PM for work, which makes me feel very disconnected when I get home early in the morning.

“Another learning curve has been making sure my boyfriend considers my work as important as his. I’m the first person he’s dated who actually went to uni, so he assumed my lifestyle must be very chill compared to his.”

With club nights and lectures opening back up again, Olivia feels slightly worried she’ll miss out on the full uni experience. “I don’t feel like I want to be involved in hook-up culture but, as [my boyfriend] can’t come to SU nights out, I end up going with all my single friends and coming home alone.”

She feels as if the stigma surrounding age-gap relationships is wrong, and often finds herself at the butt of people’s jokes. “His friends have made comments in a jokey way because I’m younger than them and their girlfriends. Also ‘sugar daddy’ culture doesn’t help.

“For me, it was about finding a guy who was mature and knew what he wanted in his life, whereas guys my age didn’t tend to know that.”

Mira, University of Essex – eight year age gap

age gap relationship

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Mira was 19 when she met her boyfriend, who was 27 at the time. “We were really good friends for a while but slowly he caught feelings,” she told me. “I didn’t reciprocate at first and I felt really hesitant – but I ended up falling for him and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

“I feel so secure knowing I’m with a guy who has their shit together while I’m still learning things as a student,” she said. “I think uni hook-up culture is a pile of wank, and I don’t feel any pressure to get with anyone my own age.

“I see him as my mentor, which I think is really lovely. At the moment, he’s teaching me all about credit cards and savings.”

As well as practical knowledge, Mira admitted her boyfriend just has more emotional maturity than guys her own age. “He’s so good at reflecting, taking my feelings into account, he provides a stable base for us and he’s supportive. We’re not old fashioned but I let him take care of me.”

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Featured image via Unsplash before edits.