I wrote some time ago that I was dating a younger man (he's 27, I'm 42). He definitely has no problem with our ages, but I had reservations for a while. I was feeling more at ease with the situation until recently. My brother found out about him (I don't see my brother but once or twice a year) and really gave me the third degree. Things like, what was I thinking...I should be ashamed...how does it look when we are out together...etc. Now, I'm beginning to feel all the insecurities come back. "Drew" (my guy) is funny, smart, a great cook, fantastic lover...all in all the perfect guy (for me). He tells me not to worry, but I do because the mentality of this type of relationship is different with a younger guy than with the older woman. Should I stress over this, or just enjoy the relationship? Am I wrong for dating someone so much than me?
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Age is always a concern when people look at a relationship from he outside because it is the easiest indicator of maturity or immaturity, since there is a general correlation. However, there this approach is a little unreliable. Even when a society-wide connection is correct, individuals do not always follow the correlation. Hence, some young people are occasionally far more mature than older people, and vice versa. Also, this correlation tends to fall off greatly after a person gets past their low to mid 20s. After that, it has less to do with age and immaturity levels than it has to do with the fact that some people will simply never mature.
People want to see you with someone that you deserve, and that will treat you well. To them, an immature person doesn't fit that description. So when they see someone far below you in age, they automatically assume that that person is too immature for you. However, it seems clear that you realize he is a mature, wonderful person. If so, then his age shouldn't be held against him. After all, he is a 27 year old man; he has clearly had time to develop his intellect, emotions, and integrity. This isn't a 20 year old that you're talking about.
The thing that concerns me is your wavering. Sure, your brother is an important person to you because he's family, but if you are so confident that this person is truly mature and wonderful then why do you let the broad, stereotypical doubts of others shake your belief in that? I think the best way to sway the doubters would be by example, allowing your boyfriend to shine on his own and eventually those who care about you will realize that there are far more important factors than his age that determine whether he is a good enough guy for you.1