A 20-Year Age Gap Makes No Difference

“Our ages didn’t come up until the end of the evening,” she said. “I remember thinking we have so many things in common, but the age difference could be problematic. When I asked James about it, he said it didn’t bother him, so it didn’t bother me.”


Ms. Axelrod was escorted by her younger brother, Mayan Axelrod. “They complement each other very well,” he said of the bride and groom.

Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times

Mr. Olson recalls their all-night talkathon a little differently.

“There were several kisses during the evening,” said Mr. Olson, now 33, who is also an adjunct English professor. “The age thing came up early in the evening. When she told me how old she was, I was shocked. I didn’t think she was older than 35. But I liked her and wanted to date her, so I was going to roll with it. And I remember her taking the 5:19 train home.”

What they agree on was that they planned to get together the next Friday at her place.

They texted while she was gone, and when she returned, she asked him to dinner.

The food was good. So was the company. The date lasted until Sunday, when Mr. Olson went home. “We both knew this was something special,” he said. “I didn’t feel the need to leave or get away for a few hours. I felt comfortable and happy.”

Valentine’s Day was that week. They went out for dinner, and didn’t make a big deal over the romantic holiday. Though they both knew they were done looking, the age difference was still a consideration.

“We were both really scared,” Ms. Axelrod said. “Neither of us knew if this would work, or how we’d handle the age gap. It’s a big gap. But then it became, ‘What’s so different?’ Six months later, it took a back seat. Now we don’t think about it. We’re pretty equal everywhere else. We challenge each other, debate, argue and inform. I’m a really strong woman, but he’s a strong man.”


The bride’s daughter, Maxine Axelrod, held her mother’s bouquet during the ceremony. “When my mom started going out with James, she was just so happy,” she said. “I think they’re really good for each other.”

Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times

Things progressed quickly, but another possible roadblock emerged: having children.

“We talked…

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