People Are Freaking Out About This Couple’s 33-Year Age Gap. Why Are We All So Offended?

Amanda Harper from California's boyfriend is eleven years older than her dad, but what is it that offends us about it?


by Millie Hurst |
Published on

An American couple with a 33-year age gap has been the topic of much internet debate over the last couple of days. Amanda Harper, 25, and Jay Horsky, 58 from Huntington beach in California met on dating website, Plenty Of Fish, and are clearly a very happy couple. They bonded over their passion for making Halloween props, and they've started up their own haunted house business.

But they’ve definitely had their fair share of negative comments over the three years they’ve been together.

Amanda says, ‘I don’t understand why I get called nasty things for being in a happy and healthy relationship, it just blows my mind.’. She adds, ‘Normally people who work up the courage ask, “Is he your dad?” which is a conversation starter, I then proudly say “he’s my boyfriend”.’

We’re used to seeing big age gaps between celebrity couples - Stephen Frymarried a man 30 years his junior, George Clooney’s wife, Amal Alamuddin, is 17 years younger than him and French president, Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Trogneux are 25 years apart. Defending his relationship, Macron told Le Parisien, ‘If I was 20 years older than my wife, nobody would think for a single second that we couldn’t be legitimately together’. Yet when it's an IRL couple, we seem to get skeeved out by the whole thing.

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It's a tricky one. We make a lot of assumptions about the motives behind the couple’s decision to be together when there’s a significant age gap, and when it comes to people we know, we just can't help but feel it's a bit weird. As much as we want to be cool with it.

There are all sorts of preconceptions surrounding the whole thing. For example, there’s the ‘rule’ that an appropriate age gap is a fifth of your age, so a 20-year-old could, according to whoever made up this theory, date someone between 16 and 24 years old. Other people believe the classic cliché that ‘age is just a number’, and that maturity is really what matters in relationships.

The average age gap between couples in the UK is around two to three between couples in their twenties and seven years once people reach their forties, and a study by Emory University in Atlanta suggested that the bigger the age difference, the greater the fragility of the relationship.

But what is it about age gaps that offend people so much? If you think about it, we could be limiting the pool we have to choose from drastically by only ever going for people roughly our own age.

I think it comes down to a mistrust, a sense that there must be something suspicious going on for HER to go for HIM. As exemplified by the Monica and Richard phase in Friends, it's not something we've always been totally comfortable with, and it's very easy to jump to conclusions.

Psychotherapist and agony aunt, Trish Murphy says, ‘While any parent would be justified in expressing concern about a 20-year age gap, having a good relationship at any stage of your life is worthwhile, and it would be good to cherish and value that relationship for as long as it makes sense.’

A gap in life experience means you definitely won't have everything in common, but as long as Big Things like children, marriage and so on are talked about early on, I tend to think we should just live and let live.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Why, When It Comes To Relationships, We Totally Need To Rethink The Age Gap

Why Do People In Relationships Cheat?

The Things People Wish They’d Told Their Younger Selves About Relationships

Follow Millie on Twitter: @milliehurst_

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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