Ages between MC and Love interests

That’s a good point. I’ll have to keep that in mind when writing that particular path.

I kissed a 700-year-old Justicar, Behold! My Legendary Smooche! :joy:

But joking aside (I did Smooche her lol), seriously back to the topic:

This remind me of a mod that shall not be named, where the romance was like 15 and the mc was in their 20 I think? and there was a lot of brouhaha about it.

The community was split in 2, one side though it was icky because of the age difference. The other side pointed out if the romance can hold a sword and be allowed to kill…then there is no issue for them to be a romance.

Of course, what kept this mod alive was how it was also done. It was done in a way where there was nothing crass, you flirt a lot and explore the relationship which will lead to a marriage. And the sex stuff is fades to black.

So, I would say it is really how it is done and that is very important.

But also, why do such X and Y ages? that too is important.

And finally, who is your target audience? Because everyone feels different, we all have different backgrounds and different upbringings, and we tolerate and see things differently.

And one age also make a difference. I remember when I was way younger, in 19-- something lol seeing the romance between Buffy and Angel and I though ‘Ew he looked too old for her’ lol

With age, you see things differently though. Nowdays it wouldn’t bother me, but knowing how their romance is doomed…that would bother me more.


I’d say it also depends on the vibes you’re going for in the story! Is it dark and gloomy, period accurate to a certain time, and there’d therefore be more wiggle-room for age-gaps to not seem as questionable? Or is it a lighter story where someone wouldn’t expect possibly dubious dynamics in a romance?

On a personal level, I think any age-gap is fine in fiction so long as it fits whatever the story you’re looking to tell is. “Acceptable” really depends on the circumstances surrounding the age-gap when it comes to stories!

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Personally, I don’t mind those age gaps. The brain stops developing in your early-mid twenties. So people who were turned into vampires or otherwise immortal before that point are closer in maturity to the age they were turned to their actual age. At least that’s my interpretation

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In XoR2, there’s an opportunity for an f/f romance between a 18-19-year-old MC and her…40something?..Theurgy teacher. And I totally went for Cerlota.

Ultimately, once you’re an adult, you’re free to choose your partners, and that has to go in all directions.


Rosy is 30, so exactly ten years older. I think it’s done quite well, IMHO, because they are very reluctant about displaying any sort of favoritism towards Button. It’s also not easy to remain on their romance route because Rosy can object to Button’s character and/or their other romantic exploits.

As for the teacher thing, I quite liked what Jo (Mind Blind author) had to say about the matter of power dynamics on Tumblr. The question was how the Rosy/Button relationship will evolve despite their student/teacher relationship:

As ethically as possible. I’m not here to glamorize iffy power dynamics, which a romance between a student and teacher can very easily fall into. Rosy’s desire to not engage in clandestine canoodling is a somewhat big part of their route, but Rosy is willing to fill out lots of paperwork to be with Button openly. As a result, Rosy’s romance is the beginning of a serious relationship. They’re not going jump through legislative hoops with Aeon for a fling.

I’m blurring the insights into Rosy’s character that Jo provides in case there is somebody here who would consider them an unwanted spoiler. Still, it’s exactly the sort of thing that makes me want to play such a route. I want somebody who takes responsibility for their feelings and has enough integrity to honor the position they are working in. (Provided that is possible without anybody dying or suffering severe punishment!)

Rosy/Button is probably my favorite age-gap romance in IF. To be fair, though, the appeal is heightened by the teacher/student aspect. I simply love how the relationship dynamic matters to the game world. Because it should. If something is considered forbidden, there should be consequences for choosing it. The MC’s older brother hates Button’s crush with a passion, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the reactions of Button’s parents considering that they, too, know Rosy on a professional level. It also helps that you can play Button as this quasi-genius who’s exquisitely dumb in other areas of life being the ~true love~ of a pretty stuck-up and serious teacher character – which is a whole joke in itself.

Speaking in general, I love age-gap romances though I consider myself too old to be particularly interested in risqué teenager flings anymore. I was definitely into them when I was a teenager myself but these days, I care more about 30-somethings hooking up with 50-somethings. In general, I’m relatively pain-free when it comes to age gaps as long as the younger party, at least, feels “established” and mature as a person. Other than that, I’m all for actively pursuing the older character before they ever express any interest though it’s certainly a fine line not to outright harrass them if they are reluctant to be wooed.

An age difference between a fictional 17-year-old and a 20-year-old wouldn’t even seriously register with me because, to me, both are babies. Obviously, a mentor/mentee relationship would change things but that really depends on a couple of factors: Is there a history of MC having a crush on their mentor? If so, is the mentor aware of it and how are they handling it? Are there “sparks” already or is it a developing romance with both characters catching feelings during the course of the game? How emotionally mature are both characters? Who is the pursuing party and what is the nature/tone of their advances? In which ways are the characters compatible (not just romantically)? Why is their relationship considered forbidden/inadvisable and what would be the reaction of their environment to this relationship?


If you think you might catch controversy or feel uncomfortable with writing an age-gap with a 17 year-old, is there a way for you to write the RO being receptive to the flirting only when they’re 18 instead of 17? If it’s a teacher/mentor, you could even make it obvious that they’re aware of the power-imbalance and experiencing guilt and shame in even wanting their student? Less of a blow to the internal creep alarms we all have if the person is just as unsettled by it and unwilling, but pining nonetheless. (Ugh, the delicious angst of it all. Can you imagine??) That way you can still make it obvious the RO is indeed an RO, but they’re not panting after a high-schooler like they wanna catch a case.

Personal opinion though, I’m down to read whatever if it’s captivating enough and the RO doesn’t come across as sleazy. But if I caught wind of a mentor-figure flirting back with a teenager irl-- sis, I’d be blasting that shit on forums like it’s my full-time job and getting in touch with Chris Hansen ASAP lmao.


That’s a really great point and those are some interesting questions. That’s definitely something that I consider when I read about mentor/protege relationships.

I also think that the idea that it’s popular especially from the POV of the younger partner is something worth exploring and questioning. I wasn’t very romantic as a teen (or at all), so I completely don’t relate to the “all girls want older boyfriends” idea that I have sometimes heard expressed (back then; not so much now).


I think time period & culture matter a lot when you have an older RO and younger MC. For instance, in the Regency, young women came “out” in their teens and often became engaged during that time. However, the world looks askance at a 30-year-old RO getting together with a 17-year-old girl in modern times. People are much more aware of grooming these days, so context is important. This is true even in fantasy settings.


I think the ick factor always comes down to a disparity in life stage.

A 23 year old dating a 17 year old but they are both in college? Fine.

A 23 year old dating a 17 year old but the 23 year old is out of college and working and the 17 year old is still in high school? Ick.

That’s in reality however. I don’t have any issue with those sorts of situations in fiction, as long as it is clearly expressed that everyone is entering into it with clear consent and there isn’t a creepy power dynamic even if in real life there could be.