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Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black: Why the age gap is none of our business

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black: Why the age gap is none of our business

I’ve been watching Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black’s romance and confirmation of their relationship closely – and one thing has struck me about the public’s reaction, especially on Twitter.

So many of the negative tweets and comments have been about the fact Tom is 19 and Dustin is 39 – ‘old enough to be his father’.

So I have to ask: Does an age gap between partners matter? Does not love turn a blind eye to such trivialities? Does age define the success of a relationship?

‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter,’ wrote Mark Twain.

It is entirely one’s choice whether we decide to date someone considerably older or younger than ourselves.

To some age isn’t a significant factor in dating. To others it is a prerequisite before they will even consider meeting a potential partner. But it is a personal choice.

There are no rules to say you shouldn’t date someone much older or younger than yourself. So why should there be a negative judgment from others if there is a considerable age gap?

The decision is between the two individuals concerned and if they are happy, why are others so bothered?

Even if the age difference exists, just like in any relationship, one has to look at what you both enjoy, the common interests and desires. If that is right, an age difference of any size can be overcome.

There’s no sense throwing away happiness because of a number, especially if two people are committed to making something work.

I fully understand when there is a large age gap, a relationship can face difficulties. With an age gap there is always going to be lifestyle differences.

A younger person may enjoy nights out with their younger friends, whereas, their older partner might be at an age where they want to settle down and spend quiet time alone with them.

But there are, in fact, also many upsides to age differences in relationships that can have an extremely positive impact.

The younger partner has the potential to spark in the older partner a will to live life again and perhaps do all the things he never did when he himself was young.

Equally as beneficial, an older lover can provide emotional stability and offer guidance and security, allowing their partner to live life and enjoy their youth without worries.

Despite the potential problem areas, many relationships with an age gap are highly successful.

The key is honesty and communication.

Being open, truthful from the start about what they are looking for in a relationship and even life, is the best way to ensure they are able to achieve this.

Most of all, it is not pederasty if the younger is above the legal age of consent, as is clearly the case with Tom Daley – but that is what most, unfortunately, imply.

Some of the perceptions that come to people’s minds are the younger man is a hustler or needs a sugar daddy. That the young man must be a kept houseboy and can’t stand on his own two feet.

The perception, especially in the gay world, is an older man pays all the bills or is getting used by the younger partner.

Or that the older gay male is trying to recapture youth or just don’t feel comfortable in a relationship with his generational peers, and needs a ‘trophy’ to stand out.

If you asked Freud he would no doubt say a younger man has father issues and is looking for a father figure; the older man is using the younger partner as a means to sort out his unresolved feelings.

I say boloney to all that!

What about compassion, feelings, warmth, caring, stability, spontanity, strength and most importantly love?

Is that not what true love is about?

Helen Keller said: ‘The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. This also applies to true love.’

Though I hate to break the illusion to you, there are some older men who don’t have the sense god gave a dodo and some younger adults who have both feet on the ground and their nose to the grindstone.

I know all this from my personal experience, and just like all aspects of life, hopefully everyone will find another they cherish and who shares their values.

I know I have, despite the age difference in my relationship, which is greater than that of Tom and Dustin’s. And he will make me the happiest man alive by sharing my name when we get married later this year.

And to those who are criticizing Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black in regards to their relationship and their age difference – all I can say is acting like a green-eyed monster suits nobody.

I’ll end with what Benjamin Franklin said: ‘It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.’

Does this not also apply to love too?