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In the last episode, we decided that a relationship with your first cousin who also happens to be young enough to be your child equals ICK. But Sarah writes:
I utterly adore your podcast. So imagine my chagrin when, in the last episode, you guys ranted about the unsuitability of relationships such as mine. No, I am not dating my cousin. But my girlfriend and I are 23 years apart in age, precisely the same as your anonymous questioner and his girlfriend. Answer me this: what’s is so wrong with that?
Jenny and I are coming up on our five year anniversary. We have a circle of mutual friends that doesn’t suffer from the fact that they’re of different generations. Jenny is only seven years younger than my mom and nine years younger than my dad but that didn’t stop them from welcoming her into our family, something Jenny really appreciated as her own family, believing same-sex relationships to be wrong, have distanced themselves from her.
Come on, guys – you’re too smart to believe that age difference in a relationship is inherently wrong or icky or exploitative.
We agree that age difference isn’t inherently wrong, but this is influenced by the age of the youngest half of the couple. For example, although Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison would always seem an insanitary pairing, the 35-year age gap wouldn’t have appeared as bad had she been 26 or 36 when they got married, rather than 16.
Had our questioneer been 54 and his cousin-lover been 31, perhaps we would have been more generous to him (although, obviously not, because SHE IS STILL HIS FIRST COUSIN), and if children were not involved. You don’t mention, Sarah, whether Jenny has children that are almost the same age as you. Children are prone to being freaked out by their parents’ relationships, but surely more so when the new partner was in the same nursery school as them. (And even more so when said partner IS A BLOOD RELATIVE.) You see the difference between your relationship and his, we hope!
Mark from New Zealand chips in with an equation:
In terms of what a minimum age for a partner is, the standard creepiness rule: don’t date under (age÷2)+7 seems reasonable, so on that score your mid life crisis cuz-banger falls a bit short.
Oh maths, forever butting in to ruin everything.