Here is what I think. The idea that a relationship is exploitative or somehow impacts agency because of an age difference is ridiculous and I don’t want to waste any time discussing it.
But a problem that actually exists is the following. Say, people meet and fall in love when one of them is 20 and another is 35. It’s all good for the moment. But in the next 10 years, the person who is 20 is going to grow a lot. And the one who is 35 is not. Yes, you can still grow at 35 or 45, blah blah. But it doesn’t happen nearly at the pace or with the intensity of what a 20-year-old experiences.
So if the goal of such couples is just to have sex and have fun, it’s going to work out fine. Probably deathly boring for the guy if he’s the one who’s 35 in the relationship (unless he’s insecure or inexperienced). But it’s not a big deal. If the woman is the one who’s 35, they will at least have the same degree of. . . erm, eagerness.
But if they start something serious, then the change of the dynamic from one between a wide-eyed silly little innocent and an experienced, knowing adult to one between two adults is going to be very harsh. The younger one will either self-infantilize or rebel.
Again, I’m talking about significant age differences only. And the difference needs to grow as the people become older. So when a 30-year-old meets a 40-year-old, that’s not a difference worth discussing because they are both adults and have stopped massively growing.