Conor Kennedy might just be the hero of teenage boys everywhere right now, but he's not exactly making their moms swoon. The 18-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy is dating Taylor Swift, of course, and now rumor has it the young lovebirds are flirting with eloping.
Let's get this straight. Conor is 18. Taylor is 22. And they're already (allegedly) talking marriage? How has his famous father not locked this young man up and thrown away the key?
Well, let me say it again: Conor Kennedy is 18. Yes, he's a teenager, but he's legally allowed to get married in every state in the union. If this Conor and Taylor eloping rumor is true, his dad can't do much more here than give his son a little advice, then step back and let the chips fall where they may.
If you're a parent, I know you don't want to hear this: the hullabaloo about Conor's age may upset us, but it isn't really why a wedding between the two would be a bad idea. I say this as a mother myself, and one who will one day have to tell my daughter just how old I was when I tied the knot.
Yes, I was an 18-year-old bride. And my husband was, you guessed it, 22.
We've been married more than a decade now and have a daughter who is about to start the second grade. We're living, breathing, mortgage-paying proof that marrying young, even marrying someone a little older, is not a path straight to hell.
Yes, four years separate Conor and Taylor right now, and they always will. But that age gap will close in the years to come, is already closing. A 22-year-old dating an 18-year-old is acceptable in society, where an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old is a little more circumspect, a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old downright creepy. The older you get, the less those differences matter.
Do I want my daughter dating an older man, marrying him before she's finished college? No, not really. But if the right guy comes along, I could come to terms with it. Because I do believe that you reach a point when age is just a number.
At this point, my husband and I both self-identify with the same generation. We gravitate toward the same "old" music. We recall the same moments in history. He didn't lead me down a wild path. If anything, he straightened me out. We became a boring old married couple who stayed at home more often than not because we needed to save the money we were both earning to sock it away for our lives together.
Of course neither Conor nor Taylor exactly has a problem with money. What they do have a problem with is timing.
The duo hasn't been dating long, something that would definitely make me pull any adult child aside and say, "Hey, you, are you really thinking this through?" And, of course, Conor's mom, Mary Richardson Kennedy, just died in May. He's still coming to terms with that loss. This isn't exactly the time for making life-changing decisions.
That's what should make the Kennedys uneasy, not Conor's age. And Taylor, quite frankly, should know this too. If she really loves this guy, she should be aware that he needs time to heal.
Let's just hope they keep it in perspective when they talk to this lovestruck young man. The tone of that conversation could make all the difference.
What would you do if your 18-year-old announced they were getting married ... to someone older?
Image via oouinoin/Flickr