Hello again! Do you have any advice about relationships between mortal and immortal characters? I know Twilight got some flak for the relationship between 104-year-old Edward and 17-year-old Bella. Would it be less creepy if someone around Edward’s age dated, say, a recent college grad, or perhaps someone a bit older than that? If that could work, do you have any advice for that sort of pairing? Thanks again!
Hey Tony, great to hear from you again!
In my experience, age itself is rarely the issue in immortal dating scenarios—it’s just an easy bit of trivia for people to latch onto. In most of these cases, while an immortal could technically be very old, they are effectively frozen at the age they were bitten, or whatever process made them immortal. Edward has been on the Earth for 104 years, but he’s been 17 for 87 of them.
Instead, the problem usually has to do with maturity, power, and behavior. The real issue with Twilight’s romance is that Bella has no power in it and Edward is a major creep. That’s a bit more complicated to explain though, so people fixate on the age difference.
Any time you create a relationship based on unequal power dynamics, there are going to be problems. Looking back at Buffy’s relationship with Angel in the early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you can see a similar problem at work, and it has nothing to do with Angel’s immortality. Buffy is the slayer, so physically she’s on the same level as Angel—in fact, she’s more powerful than he is. But Angel seems to have been frozen as a guy in his 20s, and he acts like it too. So we have a girl with a 16-year-old’s emotional maturity dating a guy with a 22-year-old’s emotional maturity. It may have slipped by when the show first aired, but it’s not great in a rewatch.
The takeaway is that when considering any romantic relationship, but especially one involving an immortal, remember to keep the power dynamics equal. That could certainly be easier if you age up the mortal character a bit. But if you want to have an immortal high schooler, you can do that, they just have to act like a high schooler.
Hope that answers your question, and good luck with your story!