In-Depth

Age is just a number: relationships with a difference in grade

Senior Lanie Fleischer and boyfriend sophomore Luke Mugler take a
selfie during science class at the high school. (Photo courtesy of Luke Mugler)

Some relationships have differences in height, some in hobbies, and some in style, but what if the difference is in age?

For sophomore Kayden McKinney, she said the higher maturity level of her boyfriend, senior Clifford Padmore, allows them to have better conversations.

“When I dated this guy that was my age last year, it was hard to have serious conversations about what we wanted out of each other,” McKinney said. “Now with Clifford, because he’s older than me and more mature, it’s easier having those serious conversations.”

Sophomore Luke Mugler and senior Lanie Fleischer may be in different grades, but they have experienced many advantages in their relationship, Mugler explained.

“I think there’s more to talk about because you’re not going through all the same stuff,” Mugler said. “It helps me relate to other people around that age or of that age and helps me relate to what they’re going through if I’ve had her come to me with the same problems.”

Fleischer said there are many benefits associated with their relationship, such as her ability to drive.

“Being the one who drives him places gets us to spend more time together,” she said. “We don’t have to ask our parents ‘Can you drive me here?’ ‘Can you drive me there?’”

The differing ages of the two, Padmore said, can create deviations in what they are focused on.

“We’re on two different levels, I mean I’m a senior, so I’m thinking about college, and she’s still thinking about sophomore stuff,” he said.McKinney said has faced pushback from her parents because of the difference in age in their relationship.

“My parents do not like the big age gap, but his parents don’t care,” McKinney said.

Fleischer said that her relationship has prompted criticism. She said that many of her peers disapproved of her relationship. This lack of support, Fleischer said, led to her and Mugler having to break up in December for a brief period of time.

McKinney said that her friends have been supportive of her relationship with Padmore, and that their relationship was not out of the ordinary.

“We all date older, it’s not anything new,” she said.

An age gap of two years isn’t anything unheard of, or actually that different than dating within his grade, Mugler said.

Padmore said the age gap hasn’t changed anything for him.

“It seems worse than it is, but I don’t look at it any differently than any other relationship,” Padmore said.

In light of the problems faced with the way others view their relationship, Fleischer said they have been able to tackle them and come out stronger.

“It doesn’t matter what people think about it as long as we’re happy,” Fleischer said.

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Owen Parsons
Owen Parsons is a Bexley High School senior and in-depth editor for the torch and the member of the art staff. Outside of torch, Owen is the president of GSA, and he spends his spare time making clothes and riding horses.