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Do age differences have to be addressed in romances? (4 Viewers)

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh okay I see. I was just going by the casting options I had available that I thought were the best. But also, in real life my gf is 16 years younger than me so maybe I am more open to the idea of a large age gap therefore in fiction, compared to a lot of people?

However, if it's a young man and an older woman couple, will people not be as on board with it? It's less of a Hollywood norm though, but is it so strange that people will not accept it unless the age gap is addressed?
I can’t answer for other people, sI maybe someone else will answer too. I thought I answered what I thought with this scenario already.
 

Tyrannohotep

Senior Member
Normally I don't have a big age gap between romantic partners in my stories. In fact, I tend to assume that the couples I encounter in fiction don't have age gaps unless otherwise stated. I understand why older people might prefer partners younger than themselves (that's one reason aging sucks), but it seems fairer to me for both partners in a couple to be of similar ages.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh I see. Well I guess I just don't get the big deal of an age gap in a romance. Do some readers still consider it a big deal?
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
Oh I see. Well I guess I just don't get the big deal of an age gap in a romance. Do some readers still consider it a big deal?
A twenty year difference in age is actually a big deal. Cultural references for the people involved would most likely be quite different. Do you think kids today would recognize the theme to MASH or Sanford and Son? The difference in music and art would also show the gap in age. Where they are in their careers and what things they'd want to do for fun would also differ. Having kids in your 40s is different than having kids in your 20s.

A big age gap is nothing to ignore, and 20 years is significant imo. It'll be a challenge in a relationship.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Cultural references for the people involved would most likely be quite different.

Culture is going to be a major factor. Some societies will likely handle it better than others, depending on how they're structured.

I think it's possible to have a decade-plus age gap and make things work. Admittedly, this hinges more on participants' commitment, aspirations, and expectations. Sometimes it's the best answer to a problem. Sometimes it's a problem looking for a place to explode.

Like most things...it all depends how you write it.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay I see. I guess I am just not sure why age gaps are not accepted as much in fiction. Because in today's world of tolerance where interracial, and LGBTQ relationships are accepted in fiction, then why not an age gap I wonder? Unless I am missing something?
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Oh okay I see. I guess I am just not sure why age gaps are not accepted as much in fiction. Because in today's world of tolerance where interracial, and LGBTQ relationships are accepted in fiction, then why not an age gap I wonder? Unless I am missing something?

All of those things will annoy readers if they perceive that the author added them specifically for diversity points, or cool points, or let's-piss-off-the-people-who-think-different points.

Nobody's saying you can't have certain factors and elements in your story. My angle is that people will generally gloss right over most of it unless You the Author make it a point. If you do, they'll assume you want them to notice and start looking at it in context. If you lack the context and the organic underpinnings to express why you opted to go this route...then you've got trouble.

I mean, I've got two secondary characters with a fifteen-year age difference in one of mine. It's not their defining quality, and aside from one of their daughters reflecting about it later nobody seems to pay it much attention. They love each other. They have a happy home life. They're together for reasons that tell us things about the personalities of both, and they live in a culture where such things aren't exactly common, but in the picture it doesn't raise too many eyebrows.

That white girl next door dating a Hindi guy, two lesbians downstairs, that oddball a couple of houses down that doesn't seem to know which pronouns to use...if this stuff bears on the story, that's fine. If not...don't belabor the point.

You've only got so much narrative film in the camera. Keep the stuff that matters in-frame and ignore everything else unless it serves a purpose.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Oh okay I see. I guess I am just not sure why age gaps are not accepted as much in fiction. Because in today's world of tolerance where interracial, and LGBTQ relationships are accepted in fiction, then why not an age gap I wonder? Unless I am missing something?
As we become more aware and value children’s rights and women’s rights then age gaps would become less acceptable, not more acceptable.

BTW, there is a good documentary on female child weddings in America right now on Hulu, showing men married to children which is legal in most states in America with parental consent. It is heartbreaking.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
Oh okay I see. I guess I am just not sure why age gaps are not accepted as much in fiction. Because in today's world of tolerance where interracial, and LGBTQ relationships are accepted in fiction, then why not an age gap I wonder? Unless I am missing something?
There's a difference in the power dynamic between an older, well-established person and a person who's just starting out in life. This is the main reason relationships with a large age disparity is frowned up. This is also why there should be some recognition from you, the writer, to provide a view of such a relationship as balanced or out of balance, and why.

Question - Why is the age difference important to the story? If it's not important or even useful, take it out. Honestly, you don't seem to be aware of the difficulties or problematic themes in such a relationship, so why have it?
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh well it's just I was writing for casting choices, that were two actors with an age gap. The age gap is not important to the story but since the actors have an age gap, I was wondering if I should bring it up in the dialogue or not at any point.

I was more open to writing a relationship since in real life, there is a 16 year age gap between me and my SO, so I was also writing from my own experience while thinking of the casting choices as well. I never thought there was a power dynamic there though in my experience.

I will check out that documentary though.
 
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ironpony

Senior Member
As we become more aware and value children’s rights and women’s rights then age gaps would become less acceptable, not more acceptable.

BTW, there is a good documentary on female child weddings in America right now on Hulu, showing men married to children which is legal in most states in America with parental consent. It is heartbreaking.
What's the name of the documentary, if you know?
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Okay thanks, I will check it out! I was also wondering, does it seem weird that I am more open to age gaps in fiction because my real life SO and I, have a 16 year age gap? Does that prevent me from writing objectively perhaps, or can that be an advantage in writing, because I would be writing from personal experience more so?
 

Lawless

Senior Member
I am more open to age gaps in fiction because my real life SO and I, have a 16 year age gap? Does that prevent me from writing objectively perhaps, or can that be an advantage in writing, because I would be writing from personal experience more so?

Of course it's an advantage. People who haven't experienced it tend to have no idea what it's really like. How could they write about it believably then?
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Okay thanks, I will check it out! I was also wondering, does it seem weird that I am more open to age gaps in fiction because my real life SO and I, have a 16 year age gap? Does that prevent me from writing objectively perhaps, or can that be an advantage in writing, because I would be writing from personal experience more so?
I’m curious about age gaps, but it’s not something you can easily ask a couple about.

My parents are 9 years apart and it has only been an issue now that his health is failing. I guess some differences of culture are there too but my mom is the driving force in their relationship and in everything else. My mom is a true contender, my dad much more relaxed but game to help in her projects. He has been a great partner and balance for her (and for us kids) and they have had plenty of adventures. Only a few repercussions have been there in the past, only my mom knowing she would likely live without him for a long time at some point, but until this year he was fond of saying he expected to live until he was about 105, and he was always athletic enough for us to believe him. She was 28 when she married my dad, so with their personalities and with their ages, the question of any coercion like what you (I) wonder about with age gaps is moot.

On the other hand, I know a 37 year old divorcee (domineering and unsuccessful in his past relationships or career) who met an 17 year old girl online gaming (she was very inexperienced, very reclusive, basically like a child) and at 18 she converted to his religion, they got married, had a baby at 9 months after marriage, and she divorced him within 18 months. Figuring out what you don’t want at 18-22 should usually be a bit easier process, figured out alongside your peers without danger of bringing other babies into the mix. I personally think young college-age days with a smorgasbord of choices and hopefully with some values to guide you is a sacred part of childhood and learning who you really are. I’m glad she didn’t feel trapped in that marriage and got out since some other girls might have been more mentally abused. brainwashed and trapped. Luckily he wasn’t emotionally abusive, just imposed on her and took advantage of young age and inexperience to try to reach his goals of a having a wife who he thought liked what he did and a family. He is raising their child for the main part.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Oh okay I see. Well in fiction, what if you had an age gap romance in a screenplay that didn't have anything to do with age gap romance themes, but they were forced to have the age gap do to the casting? For example, what if in a movie like Die Hard, there was an age gap between the couple of 15 or plus years noticeably? Would that have to be addressed, or would the audience think yeah, it happens, and just go along with it?
 

Xander416

Senior Member
I really don't think it's relevant unless the romance is the focus of the plot. If your story is about a detective chasing a gang of rapists, then deviating to go into the intricacies of May-December relationships is only going to slow it down and distract the audience.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Okay thanks. It's just that I've never seen a may-decemeber romance in the horror thriller genre before. I've seen it in the drama and comedy genre, but never thriller/horror so I would be doing something that I have never seen done before, and wonder if it will be accepted therefore, if never done before.
 
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