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People Are Debating Whether A 30-Year-Old Can Ethically Date A 19-Year-Old

The heart wants what it wants, but there’s a certain kind of older person whose heart seems to want only the young and inexperienced. While it’s possible for an age gap in a relationship to work out, questioning them has become more common on social media.

On Reddit, a question from u/hazelnutmacchiato1 got very specific about that gap when they asked, “What is your opinion on a 30-year-old dating a 19-year-old?”

The vast majority of commenters seem to have a very negative opinion of those relationships, unless they’re actually in one. While many said that 11 years isn’t a huge gap between two people when they’ve had more time to grow up—both of them! When you’re 19, you haven’t even gotten through your college years, you probably haven’t lived on your own, and somebody over the age of 25 is likely in a completely different life stage from you. There will always be a power imbalance there and some of the folks who have been in that exact situation shared how those power imbalances led to dangerous situations for them.

Half your age plus seven is a little arbitrary (and still too big a gap) in my opinion, but it does at least keep the people over thirty away from the teens, and that’s a start.


As a 29 yr old I don’t date unless people are 24-25+ It’s more so maturity gap and the phase in which most gals are in. 22-24 right outta college, not really settled down yet and still partying like they’re in college etc. and don’t know what they want. I know not the same for everyone but that’s the main reason. —Shiggs13


This was me. I (18m) met her (30f) when I was moving into the apt she was moving out of. I was going to school and she, into assisted housing. We were together about a year, and were talking about marriage when my parents asked me to come home, alone one weekend. Stepping away helped me to see all of the possibilities. A fiery breakup ensued. Looking back, the age separation was one of the smaller issues. This was when I learned to walk away. She was done having her adventures. I needed to have my own. —Boba-Fret


I would not. But if a close friend did, I’d advise caution. Power balances and how well they relate to each other could be issues.

I wouldn’t, but to each his own. —CheckYourLibido


One of my hockey’s teammates was in this situation a couple years ago. He was around 30-33 and she was still at University, so around 20-22.

It did not last. She thought that he was boring as fuck and she was always on her phone, texting, instagramming. Even when they were Netflix and chill.

Would be the same for me. —Zemom1971


age gaps aren’t bad when both parties are fully-fledged adults. a 19 year old just isn’t. —yomommafool


Life stage matters more than actual age. A 55 y.o. and a 44 y.o. are both in midlife, probably similar career stages, life experiences, etc. and that 11-year age gap doesn’t matter as much. But 30 and 19? One is barely out of high school probably living on their own for the first time and the other has been in the “real world” for nearly a decade. Not comparable at ALL. —gingergirl181


I thought it was okay when i was in my 20s but now that im on my 30s its a big no no —timelesscurium


I dated a 28 yo at 20 and now, being his age, I don’t know what he was thinking. I couldn’t see myself dating a 20 yo, nothing against them it’s just a huge maturity difference.

Realistically he was pretty abusive, so I imagine that was probably why he went for someone younger. —TheLevyIsDry


18, dated a 28 year old. Once I hit that age, no fucking way would I ever date someone that young. Mine was extremely abusive and I know being a naive 18 year old made me a pretty good target. —chipmalfunction


When I was 20 I started dating my now-husband who was 30 at the time. We are now nearly-40 and nearly-50.

When I was 20 I thought I was plenty mature. Looking back I was NOT. There has been a number of things on which our being at different life stages was a much bigger deal than I would have anticipated.

I was very lucky that he is a generous and thoughtful person. It could easily have been otherwise. And without much life experience, I would not have known the difference quickly enough to not get hurt.

The difference really isn’t fair to both parties. It’s a rare situation where it works out ok. I wouldn’t count on it. —Assika126


I was dating a 33 year old man at 18. He started grooming me at 17. I’m 24 now and even at this age I’ve started to realize how disgusting it would be to try and date someone that young. I would never in a million years think it would be ok for me to date a teenager, let alone at 33?? —dillydallyally97


I dated someone 20 when I was 25 and even that was like drastically different. Like being an adult, and paying bills, starting a career vs someone living at home and being a full time student. It made a huge difference and even though we both eventually were on the same level. There was always something unbalanced in how we started. —imfatletsprty


When I was 19 I wouldn’t have thought it was a big deal. Butttt I was also a moron when I was 19 lol

Now that I’m 32, I think it’s a bad idea and unfair to the 19 year old. There’s a whole lot of life lived in those short years between 18 and 21/22, and I know for myself, I wasn’t “me” yet. —Meh_Society6


It’s not the age gap, it’s the mind gap —Fogdevil_s


The years between 18 and 23 are the first time most people have their first taste of freedom and responsibility. Everything is developing so fast and life feels like its flying. Then usually somewhere between 23 and 25 most people find their footing and understand their needs and wants.

That isn’t to say it cant work out between a 19 and 30 year old but successful relationships between those ages are usually outliers. —Keudn883


When I was 19 I dated a 30 y/o. Not quite as big of an age gap, but still pretty significant.

At the time I thought I was so cool and mature, but looking back several years later it was really messed up. I was at a completely different point in my life than he was. He used my immaturity and naivete to pressure me into doing things I was not prepared for, emotionally and physically. He condescended me a lot and acted like I was stupid for liking typical 19-year-old girl things.

Perhaps my ex was an asshole (he was) but I have heard similar stories enough times to be aware that quite often, big age gaps like these when one person is still literally a teenager is a bad idea.

TLDR: yes, most likely a creep. —yomommafool


This. I dated a 30 year old when I was 22 and it was a train wreck. It was fun but no substance, I wasn’t mature enough to be with him. Then I got married at 25 to someone who was 32 and those few years made a world of difference in my maturity. Still married 11 years on and our age is never a thing. —MayaButtreeks1985


I dated a guy who was 30 when I was 19. It didn’t last long and it just didn’t work out. We re-connected when I was 26 and started dating again and 5 years later we are about to get married. —pegolson


My first boyfriend was 32. I was 19. We were “together” for 3 years. He fucked me up. He did the “we’re close, but I don’t want a commitment.” And I was like “OK!” He must really like me since he’s so much older and wiser. This is what adults do. They don’t commit to each other and everyone just always keep their options open. Plus I was so young and he told me that I wasn’t ready to settle down. He said I was really smart for my age. All of his other girlfriends always went psycho and it was so nice that I was so young and wise and understands things that other girls don’t. And he said he’d pay for my belly button piercing when I lost the weight. So generous. And I was a virgin and he said he always wanted to be someone’s first. Such a f-cking creep. —JamalPancakes


So when I was 15 I started dating a 25 year old. I thought I was cool AF. I had a terrible mom who thought it was totally fine. She loved him. Wanted me to marry him. I eventually broke up with him for whatever childish teenage reason.

I’m 37 now. I have two kids (17 & 19). I 100% would try very hard to not let it happen. I know now why that guy wanted to date me. He manipulated me. Controlled me. Controlled how I dressed. Verbally and emotionally abused me. Etc. no one his age put up with it. I was a vulnerable kid who was used to abuse at home and he took advantage of that. Huge age gaps like that with barely adult children are for one thing only. Control. —nay2829


Personally I think it’s weird. A 19 year old is basically fresh outta highschool, barely an adult mentally. A 30 year old is a full grown adult who is way older mentally and physically.

Edit: some of the comments seem to thing the 19 year old is the woman. That’s not how it works, its just a 19 year old, gender does not matter here. It could be a 19 year old guy and a 30 year old girl, vise versa, or anything. That shouldn’t change anything —Shadowfire786


When I was 30, I dated a woman who was 39. I still had a college-kid type of apartment and she had an adult apartment. I still couldn’t figure out what I wanted in life (two years of military and lots of grad school) and she was finishing up a doctorate to get a real job. At the time, I just felt too immature for her, so it never went anywhere.
Now she’s 76 and I’m 67, and about every day I regret that I let her go. —BerthaBenz


The younger person should be wary of the kind of person who is in their 30s and is pursuing someone who is still in their teens. Why do they not want someone who is closer to their own age? Is there something that they do that someone who is a bit older would recognize as being a red flag?

I have always been a fan of the old rule “half your age plus 7”, anything outside of that is a bit weird to me.

That being said, I am being a bit hypocritical here, I dated a 32yo woman when I was only 19, and the reason why I mentioned the above red flags to watch out for is because I missed a lot of them during that relationship. —Lau_wings

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