1. Tallandboring
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    Tallandboring Member

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    Is six years to big of a difference for a romance?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Tallandboring, Sep 22, 2011.

    My two main characters are separated by six years, originally, I wasn't planning for there to be a romance between them, but it just sort of happened.
    I'm wondering if I should adjust their ages to make it more appropriate or not.
     
  2. Summer
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    Summer Member

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    I think it depends on how old they are.

    30 and 36 isn't a big deal.

    15 and 21 is probably a little creepy.


    If it "kind of happened" than I would assume it was pretty organic and the age difference could be incorporated into the story somehow if it is in the "creepy" age difference group.
     
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  3. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I agree with the above. I'm 5 years younger than my husband and it isn't any kind of an issue, but if we'd have met when I was still at school he would probably have been viewed as a bit of a weirdo! So if your characters are young, you'll need to think what the older character would see in someone so much younger.
     
  4. Jayyy1014
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    Jayyy1014 Jerrica Contributor

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    Well it depends on the time period of your story, For example, things were a bit different when it came to romance back in the early 1900's and 1800's and so on. :p
    But as a writer it's your choice how it'll end up, like as long as the story makes you happy, that's all that matters! :)
     
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  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It should be fine if you are talking adults and mainstream romantic novels. Most publishers of romance like Avon, Mills and Boon etc don't like their heroines younger than 19 and don't accept the girl being younger than the man. They will tell you this if you ask. The girls at Mills and Boon are very helpful giving info about guidelines and which settings and periods they prefer.
    If you mean literary, YA fiction etc then criteria are different, of course.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine have 9 years between them and I don't see that as a problem, at least not in this particular case. But I agree with the others, it depends on how old they are.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as noted above, if both are adults, it makes no difference, but if one is underage, it certainly does!

    6 years is nothing for adults... i've had husbands and 'serious' lovers up to 20 years older and 14 years younger than me... and from my mid-40s on, even occasionally 'indulged' a then 22-year-old who was obsessed with me and would beg for 'attention' now and then, for years... a harry hamlin-only-better look-alike, he was just too hard to turn down!
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree- 15 and 21 is not only creepy here in the UK it is illegal.

    There was 6 years difference between me and my husband but I met him when I was 20.
     
  9. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    I had a fling in my mid-40s with a 20-year-old. Nothing wrong with it per se, but I actually felt a bit creepy about it. For starters I was older than his mother. :eek: And, although I was flattered at first, in the end I felt like a right old slapper! He was just so... unformed. It just seemed wrong. But this is just one situation. It's always going to depend on the individuals involved. My sister has been dating a man eleven years her junior for something going on ten years now.

    I agree with the others, though. Beware the jail-bait situation, unless, of course, it's part of the story.
     
  10. Tallandboring
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    Tallandboring Member

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    Well, sadly, they are in the creepy zone.
    Originally, (before there was any idea of romance) she was 14, and he was 26.
    But as the story evolved and the characters became more real, their current ages are 16 and 19, is that still too much?
     
  11. Melanie
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    Melanie Member

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    Though illegal in most states, I think 16 and 19 is doable. When I was 16 I had a few friends who dated guys in their early 20's. I didn't really agree with it but, it happened. I think that 3 years difference is alright, even at that young age. Especially if your heroine is smarter/more mature than most 16 year olds.
     
  12. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    It all depends really, in my group of friends/where I live a 19 year old would be considered a little odd if he wanted to hang around with a 16 year old, after all that is someone potentially in university going out with someone potentially still in high school (depending on birthdays). As silly as it seems, even 17-20 sounds better to me, but again everyone will have a different view on this.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    mine are 20 and 29...is that creepy enough to have to take away or add a year here and there? Think Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift had exactly that difference of age, and me myself is not concerned with it, but would you be?
     
  14. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    That's not creepy at all! My MMC is 38 and his wife is 35, but his new love interest is 22, which is 16 years difference. I personally see nothing wrong with consenting, legal adults having a relationship with an age difference, which is probably why I can't see why my own characters or your characters' relationships are creepy. As long as you feel comfortable writing it, go for it. :)
     
  15. MarmaladeQueen
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    MarmaladeQueen Senior Member

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    Not that different. There was about eight years difference in age between Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy, and Pride and Prejudice must be the definitive romance in the English language.

    Eight years is nothing at all. Not worth remarking on. As others have pointed out, it would only be significant if the younger character were under the age of consent.

    One of my best friends is married to a man twenty years older than her and I never think anything of it - they are both good friends of mine.
     
  16. Hawwyboo
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    Hawwyboo Member

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    Some writers try to make things like incest and bestiality 'romantic' (in a pretty loose sense of the term), and though highly controversial and certainly cringey as hell they don't always do a bad job of it. I really wouldn't worry about a mere age gap, especially seeing as neither is even old enough to be the other's mother/father, though if it suits the characters to worry about it then let them.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Is their age important to the story? If it's not, then who cares? As long as your characters get on, there's good development, dialogue and chemistry, that's all that matters.

    But if their age plays a significant role for whatever reason, or that you have to express it clearly that they're such and such an age in the story, then maybe make them 17 and 20 - just feels better. Sweet 16 still feels young, but by 17 people are more lenient, more willing to see you as an adult because you're so close to the consenting age anyway.

    Age doesn't matter - their life experiences matter a lot more. In my parents' generation when they had to really work hard and suffer, they were very mature even as children. Dad was only 24 when he had my sister!! (and I'm 24 now, so that's a bit scary!) But on the other hand, hanging out with a 19-year-old who was still a student and have never lived away from home was really tough because she was just so immature, when I myself was only 22 and started my first year of work, freshly graduated. Already the difference in attitude was stark, and it's not our age difference - it's the difference in our situations. My student friend couldn't understand why having dinner at 10pm isn't suitable for me who had to get up at 8am for work every morning. (now 8am is not that early I know, but as I said, it was my first year of work)

    Tbh if it just sorta "happened" it was probably quite natural, in which case, it's just like in real life and in real life, few of us actually care about age difference when we fall in love. We all say we agree or disagree with this or that, but when you're in love, none of it matters. It should be the same in your story. If it's supposedly "creepy", then make it so real, so natural, so right, that people don't find it creepy.
     
  18. MarmaladeQueen
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    MarmaladeQueen Senior Member

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    There's no right or wrong about this. Look at Lolita. Unpalatable as the subject matter may be, it's one of the greatest books of the 20th century. A six year gap between two romantically-involved MCs is not an issue. It's neither right nor wrong, nor good nor bad. It's the telling of the story that matters. I have a gap of 12 years between the MC couple in the novel I'm writing and it is largely an irrelevance. It just happened that he was married to someone else when they met, and he was in his early 30s while she was still a student.
     
  19. Hero-Jean629
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    Hero-Jean629 Member

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    As long as the couple are both over the age of 18 or as long as it's not a huge gap let's say like 23 years, I don't think it should be that much of an issue. In one book that I'm writing my characters are both young with her being only 16 and with him at 23, not much romance though just some fluff. They are unwillingly broken apart due to circumstances and meet each-other again four years later in a park where I will subtly hint at a potential romance but I'll leave it up to the readers to decide whether or not they'll end up romantic or just stay friends.
     
  20. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL - I certainly hope that the average reader wouldn't find this age gap to be inappropriate between consenting adults. My wife is 22 years younger than me, and we've been together for almost 8 years and have 3 gorgeous young children.

    You can't judge someone's maturity by their age, nor can you judge the suitability of a couple by the closeness of their respective ages. :)
     
  21. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    What's the age of consent in the US? I was wondering if romance publishers specify over 18 because the age of consent is higher there--but then, isn't it possible to marry at 15 in some states? It's 16yrs in many European countries, and you can get married then, provided there is parental consent. 16 and 22 doesn't seem strange to me--it frequently happens. I mean, 22 is very young as well.
    Personally, I prefer an age gap which is small enough to mean one or the other isn't old enough to be the parent, and to me it's boring to be romantically involved with someone completely outside my own generation, but there are happy couples around like Hal to prove me wrong.
     
  22. Tallandboring
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    Tallandboring Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the feedback everyone, I really appreciate it :)
    I don't need to worry about legality issues in my story, I takes place in the future, thus the world is entirely different.
    At first, I was going to a father/daughter relationship between the two, but that quickly vanished.
    I'm not sure what I will do with their bond, I will experiment with their ages, see what works. (I do need to keep the female on the younger side to fit the plot, and the male needs to stay an adult for, like earlier, the plot.)
    Who knows what will happen though.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends. 12 and 18 will bring the Sheriff to your door. 50 and 56 won't even cause a raised eyebrow.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say that the number of years only matters if one character is a minor, or will be perceived by the reader as a minor in the case of a story somewhere with a different legal system. In that case, I'd say that anything over a year or maybe two is going to raise somebody's eyebrows - many readers (including, yes, me) will need to feel that the characters are essentially the same age. If everybody's over eighteen, you can differ by decades if you want.
     
  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    20-29 is nothing... i was 19 when i married a 33 year old...

    and legal age of consent varies from state to state...
     

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