To quote author Abraham Lloyd, “Age is the vehicle by which we experience common milestones in life. These milestones give us the ability to relate to one another.” Dating someone significantly older or younger than you are can pose a real challenge for your relationship. Common knowledge dictates that if the age range is too great, neither of you will have enough similarities to remain interested in each other. While this may very well be the case, there are other factors to consider when choosing an age-gap relationship, and their accompanying pitfalls. As long as the two of you have your eyes wide open, there’s no reason why you can’t both be blissfully happy. Here are a few tips for these adventurous souls.
Be Sure You’re In It for Healthy Reasons
There are many reasons that people choose the partners they do. When dealing with a significant age difference, there are some traps you need to avoid. Near the top of the list is the mommy/daddy issue. If you are the older one, you could be looking to mother someone just as he might be looking for security and to be taken care of. Conversely, if he is older, you could be looking for a father figure, while he is looking to take on that paternal role in your relationship.
Another issue might be your, or his, inability to accept growing old. By dating a significantly younger partner, you can fool yourself into thinking and feeling decades younger than you really are. As this can be refreshing at times, you must be honest with yourself, accepting that, for instance, you can’t climb Mount Everest at forty-something, even if your twenty-something partner can. Finding things that may challenge you to feel younger without jeopardizing your health will allow you both to win.
Often, too, after ending a long relationship or marriage, a person might feel the need to regain their youth by dating much younger than themselves. They might be looking for assurance of their vitality and sexuality. This is often done with a sense of desperation and revenge towards an ex-partner and, as you are essentially using someone to feed your own ego, this can only end badly.
Age is a State of Mind
As the old saying goes, you are as old, or young, as you think you are. In viewing age as “just a number,” you and your partner are free to be nonjudgmental about your age difference. How a person lives their life – how active, adventurous, and youthful they behave – has less to do with age than outlook and perspective. If you two sincerely enjoy spending your time together doing a multitude of things, and don’t feel as far apart in years as you truly are, who’s to say you aren’t a great match, no matter the age gap.
People Mature at Different Rates
Often in society women are tagged as the ones to mature faster than the men. This might explain why a slightly younger woman may be a better match for an older man. This is not always the case though, and a person’s maturity level is usually parallel to their life experiences, and how they have internalized them. If two people view and approach life with a similar level of maturity, no matter what their age, they will have a considerable compatibility.
Fielding Friends and Family Concerns
Whereas you and your partner may have an open mind about dating outside your age range, this doesn’t always include those around you. They may be quick to judge your relationship, subtly or not-so-subtly imparting their disapproval upon your happy union. It is important to remember that they love and care for you, and may believe they are protecting you from an inevitable breakup, but do not let them sway you. You are the one in the relationship, so stand up for yourself and your partner. By knowing the ins and outs of your relationship, its strengths and weaknesses, you can transform an age gap from a perceived weakness to a surprising strength. It calls to mind the wise, old adage, “True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied where it does.”