Relationships in themselves are complicated irrespective of the individuals involved. This is because of the different lifestyles, parenting, and life situations witnessed by the two people before falling in love. These things influence a person, and when two people with these differences get into a relationship, they face some ups and downs. However, Age-gap is a factor to consider when you get into a relationship. Having a big age gap relationship has both advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss in the upcoming sections.
Do Age Gaps in Relationships Really Matter?
Besides the societal scrutiny, if your gut says that you feel good vibes with this person; if you love them enough, feel a connection, respect each other, and have a good understanding with them, then age should not be a criterion. However, all of this should be mutual. If this stands true for you, you are ready to stride on this unconventional path!
Is There an Ideal Age Gap between Couples?
The appropriate age gap in relationships is considered between 3 to 5 years, stereotypically with the male partner being the elder one. Spouses with a lesser age gap will have a few things in common, like similar belief systems, perspectives, and life goals. It might not stand true in the case of couples with a substantial age gap.
There is an age gap relationship rule that is more than 100 years old. It says, “you should not date anybody who is lesser than half your age plus seven.” Some couples also try to follow this rule; however, this shouldn’t stray you from forming a genuine connection!
Factors that Impact the Age Gap in Relationships
Whether you see it or not, some factors govern the age gap relationships as a whole. These are:
1. Family Background
If the person in an age-gap relationship has a history of a relative involved in a similar affair, there is a greater chance of being welcomed by the family. Similarly, if a relationship in the family has a woman older than the man, the family will be more welcoming to explore another such relationship than an orthodox family. But this is just a possibility, and it might vary.
2. Societal or Cultural Pressure
Certain practices followed in the community influence the decision-making capabilities of an individual. In most cultures, an age gap of a maximum of 5 years is preferred with an older male criterion.
3. Family Planning
Most couples want to spend few years together before opting to become parents. It helps them to create a bond and to understand each other better. And that is why a woman a few years younger than a man is considered.
There are both advantages and disadvantages in an age-gap relationship; let’s get a better understanding of those…
Advantages of Age Gap in Relationships
Following are the advantages of being in an age-gap relationship:
1. Financial Stability
The elder partner will mostly be financially stable as they started early. It solves a significant aspect of marriage.
Since the elder partner has seen more life than you, they are calmer to handle most situations in life. They will also be more mature in dealing with the problems in the relationship.
3. Different Viewpoints
Both spouses must have different perspectives in life since they were brought up at different times. So, this might help each other in understanding and accepting newer ideas.
4. Better Balance
Once the elder one retires, the younger one is ready to support the family financially and physically.
Drawbacks of Age Gap in Relationships
A decent age gap is advantageous but, the disadvantages of a wide age gap might outweigh the number of advantages. Here’s the demerits list for the substantial age gap relationships:
The prime problem in the age gap relationship problems is day-to-day instability. Instability in caregiving, power and financial matters can potentially lead to conflicts.
2. Becoming Parents
Such couples might have health illnesses when they delay becoming parents. The fertility rate might have finished by that age too.
3. Might Not Work Out in Longer Runs
The difference in opinions and perspectives due to age difference might lead to daily compromises and adjustments. It might end up making the relationship bitter with time.
4. Might End in Divorce
The elder one might act superior and try to parent the younger ones in the relationship. The younger one might get frustrated by the nagging of the elder.
5. Societal Pressure
The influence of society in age-gap relationships can put such couples under scrutiny. They might draw unnecessary attention that leads to excessive pressure on them.
6. Life Priorities
Different aged people might have different priorities at various stages in life. One’s priorities might look illogical to the other, thus creating the gap.
7. Displeasing Romance
The younger person in the relationship might wish for more active and frequent intimate moments. It might create dissatisfaction in the relationship.
8. Friend Circle
The couple might not have a common friend circle. They might attend gatherings with different age group people that they might not enjoy.
Tips to Make an Age Gap Relationship Work
No relationship is perfect – you need to put effort into making it one! But in age gap relationships, the efforts required can be manifold. Although if you are in love, you will climb mountains for your beloved. Here are some tips to help you bridge the age gap:
1. Accept the Differences
When there is an age gap, there will be many differences between you, like differences in perspective, priorities, and interests. The most significant difference would be the different life stages you might be dealing with. So, talk about all this before.
You will disagree on a majority of things. This is because you belong to different generations and your upbringings were different too. But all you can do is negotiate these differences, accept them and appreciate them! Relish these differences and do not force your lifestyle choices on your better half. Be supportive of each other!
2. Open Communication
You can always talk about anything to your partner—foster honest and open communications. Do not let miscommunications create a ditch between you, so freely share your expectations and concerns. Talking can solve anything! If it can solve wars, it can solve a meager fight at home. Open up and do not keep things to yourself. If you are the younger one and do not want to become a parent right now because it is a critical time in your career life, talk about it. Active communication will help both of you understand the age gap relationships psychology better, allowing you to understand each other more. And if you are struggling with something major, try taking a couple’s counseling session, do not just walk away!
3. Do Not Parent
If you are the elder one, you should not consider yourself the teacher in the relationship. Treat your partner as an adult and an equal. Also, if you are the younger one, do not tease your partner of having a traditional approach to life.
4. Patch the Insecurities
When you are in an age-gap relationship, both partners carry a few insecurities. Both of them feel that the other partner might want somebody their age to understand them better in the longer run. Remember, these feelings are mutual! Do not think that you are the only one in the relationship who feels so.
In such times, be there for your partner, focus on the similarities, and remind yourself and your partner why you chose to be in this relationship. Tell them how much you love them and how much you mean to them.
5. Identify Common Interests
Spend time discussing with each other what your interests are. Go out, meet new people, try new adventures and find out common hobbies and pass-times.
6. Do Not Cling
Every relationship requires a balance. Successful age gap relationships require even more balance. Maintaining individuality in your relationship is equally important as creating common interests. Do not question everyone else in your partner’s life. Respect their space. Do not try to find answers to all your questions until you find a drastic change in your partner’s behavior.
7. Respect the Relationship
Do not blame the age gap for every fight or argument you both have. To run a successful relationship, you need immense respect for each other. A strong relationship requires you to be confident about your decision to love somebody elder or younger than your age.
1. What Age Gap is Best for a Relationship?
As explained in the previous sections, the half your age plus seven rules give you a rough idea about your partner’s ideal age. But yes, we can’t completely trust this formula. There are reasons why relationships of a narrower age gap do not fall apart. It is because similar age groups share perspectives, aspirations, and interests, unlike people of different age groups who will have to make an effort to match up to these for themselves.
However, this will surely not dishearten somebody in love with an older or younger partner. They know age is just a number, and to be in a relationship, there is no need to consider somebody’s age. The maturation age and level differ for everybody. So, the deciding factor to consider an age gap relationship is to understand who you are, where you stand, and whether you will be able to pursue this relationship.
2. What Age Gap is Considered Old?
When you are sure about getting into an age gap relationship, try asking these questions to yourself. If you are the younger one, are you okay with being the partner to an elder one? If you are the elder one, do you think your partner will consider others since you will be older after a few years? Or, if you are the elder one, will you begin considering your partner as someone younger and who needs to be disciplined? The age gap might become a significant risk if one partner is quite old.
3. Do Age Gap Relationships Really Work?
Yes, why not! There are many successful age gap relationship examples like celebrity couples. The age difference is barely a criterion for people in age gap affairs. The key here is to be mindful while making such decisions. Ask yourself questions like will you be able to take this up in the long run? Imagine or find out how couples actually in age-gap relationships feel? Are you ready to face society because you will be scrutinized?
Talking to a couple’s counselor might help you in this regard. However, remember to be content with whatever decision you take after this!
The most crucial elements for a relationship to work are love, respect, understanding, care, and trust. If these elements are present in a relationship, then you can make any relationship work. As long as the spouses are ready to put in endless efforts to keep the relationship intact, age should not be a barrier. It is entirely a personal decision to take, whether you want to be in an age gap relationship or not. But once you take this decision, put all your energy into making it work!