If you’ve read any kind of romance book about immortality or vampires, odds are you’ve come across the problem of awkwardly large age differences.
A few books with large age differences
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Assuming my research is correct, at the beginning of Twilight, Bella is 17 and Edward is 104 (but forever has the body of a 17 year old). That means they have an age difference of 87 years!
In Incarnate, Ana is 18 years old, whereas Sam has been alive for thousands of years. Physically, they are about the same age, but Sam has continuously been reincarnated and lived many lives. If I remember correctly, Sam has been ‘alive’ for about 5000 years, but it could be a bit less (maybe 3000?). So their age gap is thousands of years!
In Persephone—a book based on Greek mythology, Persephone is a 16 year old girl. She falls in love with Hades, who is a god, so naturally he’s been around since practically the dawn of time. At least thousands of years, but possibly millions. In this book he has the body of about a 20-25 year old man. Their age gap could be as much as millions of years!
Are these relationships awkward or inappropriate?
Sometimes I read these books and get really, really creeped out. But other times, it doesn’t bother me at all. I suppose ultimately it comes down to how well the author can convince me that the relationship is ‘worth’ the age difference.
But if I spend too much time thinking about the book and analysing it, then I usually get more and more weirded out. Just because their bodies are the same age, does that suddenly make their relationship okay?
Honestly, sometimes I think that if the author ignores the age difference then I tend to ignore it too. If it’s never ever addressed or mentioned in the book, then I start to imagine that there is no age difference and that it’s just a normal relationship. But if they discuss it or talk about ages in the book itself, then I can’t stop thinking about it and it becomes harder for me to accept it.
Are these relationships realistic?
I would think that in reality, someone with hundreds or thousands of years of experience, would look at a ‘normal’ 18 year old and find them young, immature, and inexperienced. And relatively, they would be correct. For that reason alone, it’s hard for me to imagine a real situation when someone that old (mentally) would fall in love with someone so young.
So how do you feel about huge age gaps in these books?
Do you get grossed out? Or do you tend to accept or ignore them? If we really had immortal beings in our world, do you think they would actually fall in love with younger immortals?