How Being 20 Years Younger Than My Boyfriend Made Me Uncomfortably Self Aware

By: Alison Reeves

I am 20 years younger than my boyfriend. This makes for some unique relationship conflicts, but we both seem to be up for the challenge.

It also makes for some strange self awareness, and that is what this post is about.

A few years ago I worked at Curves, a women’s only gym. The older ladies would always remind me of my youth and inexperience. They would reminisce about their own younger days, how little they knew, how much they changed. When they were younger, they didn’t know any better. They weren’t aware of their twenty-something-ness when they were in their twenties; but seeing me in their maturity reminded these ladies of themselves.

The thing is, dating someone who has this much maturity on me makes me unnervingly aware that I am a twenty-something. So not only am I stumbling around in the dark trying to find myself, but I am now completely aware that I a stumbling around in the dark trying to find myself…and it is weird. I know some of my reactions to things are immature. I know there are things going on in the world that I don’t care about because I’m focused on my twenty-something stuff.

I am also more aware of my lack of deep friendships. I have a small circle of women I’m close to, an amazingly awesome group of cycling friends, many random friends I met through my boyfriend, and a couple old friends I met through church or school. Twice now in the past two years, I disconnected from huge groups of people with whom I’d spent most of my social time. There were reasons for it. It was painful, but it also led to growth and independence. Even though the changes were good, starting over socially has meant that my inner circle is small. My boyfriend has many deep, meaningful, long-term friendships. I admire that.

I also feel like I am “finding myself” in regards to career. This year I think I may have found my niche; but its been a journey getting there, and I have a lot to learn. My guy had a clear vision and passion when he was my age, and he specialized and became really spectacular at something. I’m still floating around trying to do everything I like, and not really an expert at anything (yet).

The wonderful is being inspired by someone with more life experience. Most people like to give advice, but it is really nice just to observe and see someone’s experience, then decide what I want for myself.

So, yes, I know I am a little crazy and a little immature and a little cliche. I know I don’t even grasp the extent of my silliness. I’ll look back on these years, just like those women at Curves, and I’ll laugh at how seriously I took everything. I’ll also be grateful, though.

Have any of you ever dated someone older? Someone younger? What were the challenges? What did you like?


About Alison

I'm a silly girl with an old soul. Cyclist, artist, musician and animal hugger. My hair says I'm up for whatever, but my glasses say, Only if I'm home by 10.


  1. i approve of this message

  2. Alison, You may only be 20 something, but mentally you are light years ahead of most women your age! Love your blog!!

  3. My husband is only 3 years older than I, my contemporary by anybody’s standards. Yet, because of the circumstances under which he grew up and probably by virtue of his strong personality, he has always had a distinct, unwavering sense of purpose since his late teens. I can’t say that he’s wavered more than a smidge our two since I met him when he was 21. Not so for me. I was 30 before I settled in to my life’s work as a calling. Thank God, my dear spouse was enormously supportive and willing to let me find my own niche. So, I’m not so sure all the difference of which you speak are entirely age-related. Much of it is just very typically the stuff of two people coming together and trying to find their way as one.

  4. By the way, this kind of reflection is just what you need to make it work. Great reading!

  5. Chris is a super great guy! Charlie really likes him and enjoys his company! I love Chris to death! In all of your pics together, you always look so happy! I’ve told you this before, that all I really want for my children is to be happy! And you are happy!

    I love you to pieces, Baby Girl!!!!!

  6. Keri Bayne says:

    My husband is 22 years older than me. To us, it’s completely natural, because we are so much alike and I have always been an “old soul”. I keep him young and he keeps me… mature? LOL Are there difficulties sometimes? Yes. But we’re a perfect match. And that’s really all that matters. It rarely occurs to me that he’s so much older than me. We belong together and we compliment each other perfectly. At the end of the day, age really is nothing but a number. Would this kind of relationship work for everybody? No. It takes the right combination of people. And if you are that right combination, don’t let it go.

    • Keri, thank you so much for your comment. When my guy and I started dating, our friends told me the same thing: age is just a number. We are so compatible and life is very easy together. Things fell into place so nicely

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alison, life is a journey. Stay silly!

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