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She’s four years older than me

Being a BT with an immigrant background, I know that I’m better off dating someone from my own community than an “American.” But I keep an open mind, and whether I go for the ger, or go for the gerusha, to me a Jew is a Jew. So imagine my surprise when a friend recommended me a match to a girl with an excellent academic, professional, and religious background. And physically attractive too. But there was one catch (isn’t there always a catch?) She is four years older than me.

This choice made me wonder, how old is too old? For women, it is normal to marry a man four years older. But for a man, it is almost unheard of. That age gap may seem small when you’re in your twenties, but at your 36, she will be 40. At your 56, she will be 60. Those are some big decade marks, and the age difference will show. Will I still love her when such age pairs come up? Is it realistic for me do marry a woman 4 years my senior?

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{ 94 comments… add one }
  • S. February 17, 2011, 12:18 PM

    >at at your 36, she will be 40

    As someone who wonders how the 90s and the 00s disappeared so quickly, I would say that 40 just doesn’t seem old anymore when you’re 36. I mean, you’re old already yourself, right?

  • Anonymous February 17, 2011, 12:45 PM

    You got it backwards.
    Do you think of a 68 year old much older than a 64 year old or 86 to 82. When your 20, 16 is young when you’re 30, 26 might be young.
    I think as we get older more years are needed to make a big difference .

    • Anonymous February 17, 2011, 12:51 PM

      Im a 20 year old girl and a guy four years younger would be disgusting. On the other hand it won’t matter as much in my 40s. So I agree

    • stillwaiting February 21, 2011, 2:37 PM

      agreed, age gap matters less as you age. and for this girl it may be a good thing that you are younger, enough to make her “overlook” a past she might not otherwise.

  • Anonymous February 17, 2011, 12:45 PM

    yes. go for it!

  • Bridge and Tunnel February 17, 2011, 12:47 PM

    I have been shidduch dating since I was 19 and just never met my match. They didnt like me or vice versa for various reasons. Eventually I turned the dreaded 24 and then I was officially off the map shidduch wise. No one would even consider me once they heard my age.
    Older and older I got, and still no one would consider me unless they were well over ten years my senior.
    Nothing wrong with that except they usually already had kids – I really wanted to start my own family.
    So I started dating guys who were younger then me. Shadchans actually refused to even try to set me up with younger guys – they claimed “it wasn’t right” or “the boys want someone they can mold into their perfect girl. You’re too old”.
    I don’t look my age by any means and at 31 I finally met my chosson on my own who is the ripe old age of 25.
    Unheard of? Yes.
    Does it work? YES!
    If you can both support each other as a man and wife in every respect – with respect – then there shouldn’t be any outside rule that dictates otherwise.
    Shadchans don’t rule your life ppl! You do!
    (ok Hashem does but you get my meaning).

    • Philo February 17, 2011, 1:36 PM

      Not so unheard of. And it’s really sad that shadchanim wrote you off when you were 24. That’s really warped. Glad you found your match – good for you!

      • Guest February 17, 2011, 2:23 PM

        I think we finally know the cause of the shidduch crisis. Shadchanim.

        • Anonymous February 18, 2011, 6:17 PM

          You go girl!!

        • A. Nuran February 20, 2011, 8:23 AM


    • S. Tefilinov February 17, 2011, 10:08 PM

      mazal tov to you!

      • Bridge and Tunnel February 18, 2011, 9:55 AM

        Shadchanim mean well but they were honestly what made me most miserable through those long years of dating. They try to convince you of what you need and what you SHOULD want. The feeling is that if you keep saying “no I am looking for this type of guy” then they eventually will stop trying to help you, so you have to say yes bc “you never know”.
        I knew what I wanted but went out with literally a ton of boys who were not for me at Shadchans requests.
        I’m happy I stuck it out and found the one for me on my own who is exactly what I kept describing to them – The type of boy they told me I couldn’t have bc of my age.
        He IS young (25), he is even shorter then me (gasp! 5″6 to my 5″8), and he is super fun, frum, a ben torah and cute and perfection.
        so suck on that Shadchans!

    • A. Nuran February 18, 2011, 12:42 PM

      Congratulations. I wish you 90 wonderful years together.
      And good on you for finding a man of your own, not a product sold to you by a professional procurer.

    • DK February 25, 2011, 12:01 AM

      more and more I find these “shadchanim” to be the cause of many of the unnecessary evils in the “frum” society

  • Anonymous February 17, 2011, 12:52 PM

    Potential Pros: Money, stable career, “knows stuff”, she can put u in your place, super independent

    Potential Cons: Not too many ‘prime’ years left, fertility, u may feel inferior, she’ll likely be dead before u

    • Chani February 17, 2011, 1:10 PM

      Actually, since women have a longer life expectancy, she still may outlive you!

      I honestly don’t think an age difference of 5 years or so is that big of a deal regardless of who’s older and who’s younger. My grandparents, on the other hand, were 19 years apart, and although they were apparently very happy together, my grandmother was left a young widow with a bunch of children to raise when my grandfather was niftar – not an easy situation.

      • Anonymous February 17, 2011, 1:46 PM

        With regard to a guy marrying a girl older than him- I’d put the cut off age for a guy at 26 for it not to be SUCH a big deal. 25 and younger- getting married to 5 years your senior is a big deal.

        The previous generation was more tolerable to this stuff- cousins, nieces, 20 yr age gaps- no one blinked.

        Chani – what were the ages at wedding- 37 to 18 or more like 50 to 31 ….?

        • Chani February 18, 2011, 5:06 AM

          38 and 19. This was in the 1920’s, and he was a wealthy, handsome widower with children from his first wife who died. My grandmother was the oldest daughter of a very large family and had lost her mother a few years earlier. She told me once with a wink that it was a great relief to go from keeping house by herself for 14 to keeping house (with a maid) for 4!

          It definitely was not a case of her being some malleable young miss that he could “mold” – anyone who knew her quickly realized that my grandmother was a firecracker who probably could have organized and run the U.S. government, had she so desired. By all accounts they were very happy together.

          • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 7:26 PM

            Well, I posit that’s another reason for the shidduch crisis today. In our grandmothers’ day, parents made their kids work around the house and such so girls were eager to marry. They were already on their hands and knees scrubbing the floors and such, but nowadays parents coddle their kids. Why should a girl in her 20’s want to get married and have to do housework and have kids that make poopy diapers for her to change when she can live at home and get a good paying job while paying little to no rent. Meanwhile, no one CAN LIVE ON a five figure income. SPARE ME!!!

            All these spoiled brats would never get by if their parents changed the locks on them after they turned 21 like my dad did to me.

            • Yankel February 23, 2011, 11:53 AM

              I think the frum community would be in much better condition if enough people among them had your dad’s attitude.

              People these days sort of train their kids to be dependent on others. Things like ambition and the responsibility to take care of one’s self are often sorely missing because of the way the system has developed.

        • AztecQueen2000@yahoo.com February 18, 2011, 6:26 AM

          Not really. My DH is three DECADES my senior. (and we married when I was 24).

        • Yankel February 19, 2011, 10:08 AM

          My mom told me there was a marriage in her days which was nicknamed “1965”.

          • A. Nuran February 20, 2011, 1:51 PM

            Better than 1066

  • Philo February 17, 2011, 1:34 PM

    Your analysis seems upside-down. The difference between a 20 year old and a 24 year old is much larger than between a 40 year old and a 44 year old. The older you get, the smaller the difference gets. I’m around 40, and I think of friends who are with 5 or 6 years of me in either direction as around my age. But when I was 20, a 16 year old was practcally another generation.

    • A. Nuran February 18, 2011, 3:15 PM

      Quoted For Truth

  • Philo February 17, 2011, 1:40 PM

    I know plenty of couples where the man is younger than the woman. Yes, it’s a minority of couples, but it’s not THAT unusual. Maybe in the Yeshivish world it’s almost unheard of, but not among UWS types. Usually it’s just a few months, sometimes a few years, and in two cases I know, the woman is around 10 years older. Both of those couples are very happy together.

    S. Tefilinov, how old are you? That’s a very big factor here.

    • Geoff February 18, 2011, 5:24 AM

      Yeah, one of my best friends recently got married to a woman who’s about 10 years older, and I think they’re a pretty good fit. Since he’s already 30, they’re reasonably well matched for emotional maturity, but that does make for some biological issues. Not that they would be likely to have more than 1 or 2 kids anyways, but they don’t likely have much choice in the matter.

    • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 7:29 PM

      He’s mid to late 20s

  • A. Nuran February 17, 2011, 1:52 PM

    Four years isn’t important past the early twenties. And it gets less important the older you get. Twenty years is a big difference. Four years really isn’t. If she’s all these things you find attractive you’d be throwing away a great opportunity if you reject her for that.

    Kids? She might not be able to have a dozen, but is that really what you want? Would one of each (boy and girl? heir and a spare? experiment and control?) be enough? You’ve certainly got time for that. I haven’t spent much time with you, but I get the feeling you aren’t mad for an enormous family.

    Is she smart and kind? Is she responsible? Are your values and plans compatible? Do you find her attractive, not drop-dead hormone overload gorgeous but that baseline “Yeah, I like what I see, and she smells good” attraction? Those sort of things are infinitely more important than a couple extra trips around that mean old Sun.

    • OfftheDwannaB February 18, 2011, 2:14 PM

      “Yeah, I like what I see, and she smells good”

      That’s a keeper Nuran.

  • Guest February 17, 2011, 2:25 PM

    I think we finally know the solution to the shidduch crisis. A. Nuran.

    • Mahla February 18, 2011, 1:04 PM

      Yes, he should be a Shadchan and get couples together! I always wonder if these matchmakers are known to have truly happy and stable marriages themselves; whereas we know Nuran does, and people who are happily coupled should be the ones who get to set folks up!

      • Yankel February 19, 2011, 11:06 AM

        His attempts to “clean up the gene pool” might not go over so well.

        • A. Nuran February 20, 2011, 8:29 AM

          A pro never lets private opinion affect professional judgment.

          If I were in that field I’d suggest Jews take a look at other Jews with a similar level of observance regardless of sect or background. I’d strongly encourage them not to look down on gerim or for Sephardim and Ashkenazim to reject each other.

          • Yankel February 20, 2011, 11:08 AM

            I dunno.

            I’ve heard from a very many people that the majority of arguments at home stem from cultural differences.

            Even my elders who are both from chassidish families from the same place, have had their share of difficulties due to the conflicting priorities and minhagim of each of their original chassidus’s.

            • A. Nuran February 21, 2011, 5:13 PM

              At that point tradition has stepped past its useful and important role, keeping Jews Jewish in a larger world. When it drives committed, pious Jews apart and separates them from one another it has become destructive and needs to be reigned in.

            • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 8:42 PM

              “I’ve heard from a very many people that the majority of arguments at home stem from cultural differences.”

              But it’s ok to push All-American gerim and BTs into dating immigrants from the countries where the men are chauvinistic as a cultural norm? Talk about a cultural difference!!!

            • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 8:47 PM

              Oh, but Yankel, it’s ok to push All-American BTs and gerim into dating Persian, Bukharian, Israeli etc men who want an American girl to get a green card or status or whatever it is they want. I can’t figure out why a man from a country that teaches them that men are better than women would want an American girl when we expect to be respected.

          • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 8:38 PM

            Hahah, I agree, but FFBs will never do that. Being an FFB is often all they have to feel good about themselves.

  • b February 17, 2011, 2:51 PM

    who cares–if you guys feel compatible, you feel like you can relate to her on her level (and by that i mean you don’t feel significantly less mature than she is) and like each other nothing else matters. btw, i’m a 22 year old girl and i look like i’m 17. my mother had me well into her 40s. my point is that a 4 year age gap (at least in my case) would probably not be noticed.

  • x February 17, 2011, 3:18 PM

    If she’s your soulmate, why should you let an age difference of 1,461 days get between you two?

    • Mahla February 19, 2011, 11:13 AM

      X, that was a great way to put it! :^)

  • Rina February 17, 2011, 3:33 PM

    “Will I still love her when such age pairs come up?”

    Will you still love her? Did I read that right?
    Last time I checked, love wasn’t and shouldn’t be based on some arbitrary number. Will you still love her if she gains weight because she gave birth to your child? Why should your love for her be based on a number? Who cares? It definitely would not bother you if she were four years your junior.

  • peretz February 17, 2011, 4:06 PM

    does she have money …

    • Yankel February 20, 2011, 11:16 AM

      You remind me of a joke a hispanic friend of mine once told me.

      There was once a guy who had three girlfriends. He didn’t know which one to marry, so he decided he’d put them all to the test, and see how each of them would function as a wife.

      He gave each of them $5000 and told them to do something special for his birthday.

      The first one bought him new golfing gear, souped up his car, bought him a nice watch, and prepared a nice expensive dinner.

      The second got her hair done by the best hair-dresser in town, got herself a beautiful new dress, bought a gorgeous new necklace for herself, and got a dazzeling new pair of expensive shoes.

      The third one invested the money in a sold out security bond which doubles every 3 years with interest and compound.

      In the end he married the one with the biggest t!ts.

      • 'Swald February 20, 2011, 12:28 PM


      • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 8:51 PM

        If that were how men picked their women, we wouldn’t have all the white men running off with Asian girls. They’re all carpenter’s dreams.

        • A. Nuran February 21, 2011, 11:12 PM

          You have to look at the other side of the equation. All those Asian women are running off with white boys. Many look at a future as a traditional Chinese or Korean or Japanese or Vietnamese wife and decide the alternative looks pretty good.

  • Yankel February 17, 2011, 4:32 PM

    Go for it.

    (Unless of course there’s a girl 15 years younger than you who you think you can get. That would mean more kids.)

    • anon February 23, 2011, 11:41 AM

      not if she’s barren.

  • Julia February 17, 2011, 8:37 PM

    Are the MonsterIDs (or whatever they are called) broken or is one person talking to him/herself in most of this thread?

  • HannaH February 17, 2011, 11:58 PM

    if it is right, it’s right. just dont waste time before having kids.

  • Jewlicious February 18, 2011, 12:31 AM

    Look at Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. They seem happily married together despite the age gap. Me these days sometimes marry women older than them. For a guy, 28 to marry a girl, 32 is not the same as a guy,18 to marry a girl, 21. Don’t allow the age difference to stand in your way. Some guys prefer older women because they are more mature and grounded. One of the famous Rav (I forget which) had a wife who was a couple years older than him. He said he was looking to marry a woman; not a girl.

  • Jewlicious February 18, 2011, 12:32 AM

    Look at Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. They seem happily married together despite the age gap. Men these days sometimes marry women older than them. For a guy, 28 to marry a girl, 32 is not the same as a guy,18 to marry a girl, 21. Don’t allow the age difference to stand in your way. Some guys prefer older women because they are more mature and grounded. One of the famous Rav (I forget which) had a wife who was a couple years older than him. He said he was looking to marry a woman; not a girl.

    • OfftheDwannaB February 18, 2011, 2:16 PM

      Did u really just bring Ashton and Demi to prove your point?

  • ahshvhipe February 18, 2011, 2:44 AM

    It’s nice the way you don’t let things like love, affection, and compatibility enter into your decision making process.

  • Ha_Safran February 18, 2011, 6:39 AM

    “How old is too old?”

    if she’s old enough to be your grandmother, it’s a problem. If not, you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

    And if, out of ALL the things that COULD be a problem between two people, THIS is what you’re worried about, then I’m not sure what your issue is. Are you looking for a way to sabotage the relationship?

  • Leibel February 18, 2011, 7:34 AM

    Age difference matters less as you get older, if you were say 19 and she was 23 it would be a little freaky. But 28 and 32 respectively (I just made the numbers up) is okay.

  • mike February 18, 2011, 7:46 AM

    I say do what you do when someone offers to sell you a old car, take it for a test drive and see you if you like it. 🙂

  • conservative scifi February 18, 2011, 9:43 AM

    The 4 year age difference only matters when you are in your teens and early twenties. My Father in law was eleven years older than my mother in law, so you’d assume he went first. You’d be wrong. She died in her 70’s and he made it to 90, still cooking dinner until right before he died.

    I have a sister in law who is a couple of years older than her husband, and that has never been an issue.

    While a 20 year old dating my 16 year old daughter would be creepy (and I would not let it happen), if she dates a 25 year old when she graduates college at 21, that would be no problem.

    So I say go for it. Especially if she is sweet, successful and nice as you’ve described, you’ve got nothing to lose and a wonderful and fulfilling life to gain.

    • A. Nuran February 18, 2011, 12:46 PM

      When conservative sci-fi and the left-wing heretical amphibian give exactly the same advice you know a miracle has occurred. And who are you to argue with a miracle?


  • eytan February 18, 2011, 2:39 PM

    Seriously, 4 years? Unless you’re in high school the thought should not cross your mind. If you loved her you wouldn’t care if she was 10 years older.

  • Beverly February 19, 2011, 5:57 PM

    Yeah, like was already mentioned, a 4 year age gap in your twenties is much worse than in your thirties, fourties, or beyond. a 21 year old has barely finished college, is still trying to figure out how to do normal adult things like pay bills and set up a bank account, and is generally not financially independent. Add into that the fact that in this case, the guy is the younger one, and you are even more doomed. I know plenty of 21 year old women who are looking to “settle down” (from what, I do not know. how many wild years could they possibly have behind them?), get married and start a family, but I don’t know that many 21 year old men yearning to tie themselves down.
    It’s a simple biological fact that the prefrontal cortex has not finished developing until age 25, and therefore, the maturity level gap among people in their 20s is much wider than in those 30+

  • liza February 19, 2011, 7:31 PM

    it isn’t something people TALK about, but most certainly it happens every day. I know two couples almost a decade apart each, the two women were friends with each other, and had never told each other that they were each so much older than their spouses (I inadvertently told, and advertently told the other). In one case the man grew a beard to look a little older, in the other case the couple were both older (early thirties and late thirties, so the man did not “need” a beard. Each couple had more children than they could handle 🙂
    More than a few couples in my (very frum) family have a woman who is only one year older than the man. They NEVER talk about it. Sooo,
    maybe you never heard of it, but you definitely know a couple like that, you just don’t it about them

  • Tirtza February 20, 2011, 10:17 AM

    Have you met this girl? If you’ve met her and are still this is first and foremost on your mind then something is wrong. If you haven’t met her then give it a try and you may find you notice no difference and need to stop projecting ten years down the road. Many, Many things could be different when you are 36 and she is 40. That is actually a small age difference.

    • S. Tefilinov February 21, 2011, 10:12 PM

      we met once so far. Age is not as much a concern to me anymore. I’m looking into her health, career, observance at this point. Which is the same thing I’d examine at any age in a match.

      Thanks for your advice everyone.

  • hELLO February 21, 2011, 8:46 AM

    I know that woman. Did I see her at a bar mitzvah or is she a regular on OLDER BABES?

  • Hello Larry February 21, 2011, 8:48 AM

    I know that smoking woman. Was at the Finkelman bar mitzvah or is she aregular on Older Babes?

  • Michaltastik February 21, 2011, 9:04 PM

    Do you really care or are you afraid if you marry her people won’t seethe in jealousy when you tell them you’re getting married and they ask for standard details? As a Jewish community we need to stop trying to make each other jealous and start living and enjoying our lives.

  • Borit February 22, 2011, 11:35 PM

    Big whoop about dating a cougar milf. Try dating a woman 4 inches taller than you, who earns 4 times as much as you, and is 4 years older than you, and 1/4 Matses jungle woman, 1/4 AFrican, 1/4 aborig woman, 1/4 gypsy mayan pidgeon duckmite. Then get back to me . Borit

  • frum movie fan February 23, 2011, 9:16 AM

    From the 1999 romantic-comedy film “The Bachelor”:

    “It’s a wonderful thing, as time goes by, to be with someone who looks into your face, when you’ve gotten old, and still sees what you think you look like.”

    Say what you want about Hollywood, but sometimes those writers do good stuff.

    For people who have a more cynical taste in humor,
    I offer the following Hollywood writing (just to make sure
    everyone is entertained, the sentimental and the cynical):

    Kramer (from Seinfeld):
    “. . .what are you thinking about, Jerry, marriage? Family? They’re prisons! Man-made prisons. You’re doing time. You get up in the morning, she’s there. You go to sleep at night, she’s there. It’s like you gotta ask permission to use the bathroom. ‘Is it alright if I use the bathroom now?!’ And you can forget about watching TV while you’re eating.”
    “I can?”
    “Oh yeah. You know why? Because it’s dinnertime, and you know what you do at dinner?”
    “You talk about your day. ‘How was your day today? Did you have a good day today or a bad day today? Well, what kind of day was it? Well, I don’t know, how about you, how was your day?'”

  • anon February 23, 2011, 11:50 AM

    Once someone suggested a shidduch to me. We spoke on the phone. The friend thought that I was two years older than him. It turned out that the difference was seven years. So I told him that if he didn’t feel comfortable it was fine to drop it. He couldn’t decide. So I said that we could meet, and if the difference was an issue, we weren’t a zivug, and if we were a zivug the difference wouldn’t matter. He seemed to like that. In the end I chose not to go out with him as he wasn’t that frum.

    Back in the 1930s, my grandparents z”l, married, with an eleven year age difference between them. Big deal you’re thinking. Granny was eleven years older than Grandpa, divorced with a kid. They had a very happy life together. It was true love.

  • BiggestFish February 27, 2011, 2:35 PM

    24 year old guy and 20 year old girl? Anyone? Is that gross? definitely good for the guy!

  • ilana Gutman February 27, 2011, 3:38 PM

    I would pay less attention to age and more attention to intelligence, heart and integrity. As Albert Einstein said, Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.

  • Aaron February 27, 2011, 10:53 PM

    4 years is nothing. And definitely does not a Cougar make.

    I just married my 10-year older Cougar last year, and we’re very happy together.

    If it’s possible you both could have attended college together, it’s not even a blip on the calendar. If you like her, go for it!

  • nilesh December 31, 2011, 12:02 AM

    well my problem is also like my girlfriend is elder then me about 4 years but i want her should i go for marry?

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