I dated an older guy, he was eleven years older than I was. His personal life, has baggage, if you know what I mean, and that baggage came at my expense. I let myself into it, and I let myself out of it, but the biggest stressor that I never even thought of until it was almost too late: the pressure to conform.
Conformity is a word we use when we want to talk about us accepting and 'fitting in' to whatever the scene is. Whether that be facial impressions, laughing at someone's joke that you didn't even hear, or eating vegan food because your friends will think you're an axe murderer if you don't pretend to like it. Conformity in dating is different. When you meet someone, after a while, you begin to act like them, talk like them or use certain sounds even like they do. Dating someone your own age and in the same financial, housing, and even status as you, makes conforming easier because you don't have to change a lot of who you are to be more accepting to this other person. When you date someone older than you in college, and that person already has a good job and a house, and you're still stuck working in retail and writing research papers on the weekends, there is a form of resentment that can be secured while you are in this relationship. The pressure to be more, the pressure to get that bigger job now, and look for apartments now, and be able to match their level of society. This is a warning of how much it sucks, how much you have to acknowledge reality, and how you can help yourself.
When you're in college, everything at your fingertips it feels like. You have friends, you go out and meet people every day, you have so many career options to choose from and several different sources of income that you can explore. Out of college, that goes away. Older people make fun of you for going out and laugh about how hard it is to bounce back after a night out. They have real jobs that allow them to be unavailable to a lot of the day, they don't play the mind games that college kids test out, and they are very good at arguing. All that being said, when your in college and dating someone out of college, there is a chance that you will start to adapt into that mindset as well, whatever your own version of that pressure is. It might be fun to be more mature and feel as if you are more mature because of this person, but I can ASSURE you, that you have to do the things that you will lose once that mindset starts to take over and stick with them.
Do NOT lose your friends, they are not going to like that you date this older guy/girl (unless all of you do that kind of thing), usually it's out of envy, or they don't want you to forget about them. And you are going to have to accept that and work around it. Don't skip out on days with them for a work party with him/her. Keep updated on their lives and keep your college life independent of your significant other, keeping things for yourself is good.
Do NOT spend money on things for him/her, just because you feel as if you owe them something because they have more money and pay for more than you can. Your money is your own, and you can't be blowing it on people in college.
Do NOT start looking for big girl/boy jobs while your a full time student if your schedule does not allow for it. Be okay with where you are in life, and that that time is not yet yours to have.
DO- keep working out and keeping your schedule on YOUR time, don't let their 9-5 work and 6pm gym time disrupt the way you live. I know you're wondering how that could affect your life, but you will want to start to conform your life into that lifestyle, and it is never a good idea.
DO - keep doing everything that YOU like to do. They might see some of your hobbies as childish or just not be able to relate because of the age difference, it doesn't matter, keep doing them as long as they keep you sane.
AND - when you start to not feel like enough because you are not where they are, and you wish you were. You need to tell them, and you need to either give solutions on how to fix it, or cut it off. It is almost 2020, we need all the time in the world to figure out sh*t out. Don't let anyone older than you make you feel bad for being your age, you cannot change your birth certificate, and neither can they.