Monday, 30 January 2012

The Impact of Age Differences on Relationships

Age is just a number. When it comes to relationships, does that really hold true? Not sure, the question of relationships  with age gaps invoke such strong feelings in people that it can make life for the persons in the relationship very uncomfortable. It can work, but the couple must be prepared to deal with the impact of potential problems that come along with relationships with age differences.


The first of the potential relationship problems the couple must consider is maturity. The age disparity between the two means that they are at different stages of their lives as, of course over time, we learn more and begin to want different things out of life. So they will be prone to clashing when it comes to handling certain matters. For example, how they manage finances or their lifestyle. The younger of the two would probably be more frivolous with spending and may want to paint the town red every night. Whilst the older might be a little bit more cautious with money as, having  gone further in life, he/she has learnt the benefits of proper budgeting. The older companion may not want to party every night either.

The younger of age difference couple may just want to party


Secondly, the couple in the age difference relationship should consider each other’s goals. Again, because of the fact that they are at different stages of their lives, their goals might not coincide. Matters of children, marriage and retirement can present much disagreement. For instance a woman in her 30s might want to get married and have children right away. Her maternity clock is ticking, she may feel like she is out of time. On the other hand, her younger partner might not be so keen on  starting a family: he feels like he has a lot of time before that  and now is the time to explore and have fun.

The perceptions of others

Thirdly, the perceptions of others. When you might be able to manage the disparaging comments of strangers, you might not be as prepared for the impact of scathing stares and remarks of family and friends. If the older partner has made a good life for himself/herself, the younger might be viewed as a gold digger in the sight of family and friends. If children are involved, they might not be very warm to the idea at first either: if you think about it really, it is hard to see someone almost the same age as you try to be a mother or father figure to you. They will put up resistance. The impact of others’ perceptions on relationships with age gaps can be stressful. It puts a lot of strain on the relationship. The couple may begin to blame each other and doubt what they have. Thus, adding to the relationship problems.  

This is a couple with a 32-years age gap. Listen to how they make it work.


Types of friends

Lastly, the other thing that may be a problem is the fact that the couple may not have friends that they can both hang out with. This goes back to maturity levels. If there is a major difference in age and maturity between the two groups then there could be a problem. One set may like jazz  while the other group would want to visit the club and enjoy themselves with pop music.

All these factors can cause significant strain on the relationship. So, if two persons with major age differences decide to enter into a committed and loving relationship, they must look at these relationship issues squarely and decide  how best to deal with them. In an attempt to solve them there is one thing that is very important right across the board, conversation. They must come together and discuss things that they can control; example, what is the timetable for children and marriage and how to deal with retirement and finances. Compromise is the order the day.

As for the things that they cannot necessarily control, they have to make a concerted effort to deal with it as the perceptions of others will never go away. They can try talking to family and friends about their reasons for entering a relationship with age difference, but ultimately  no one can control what others think. They just have to be strong and try to surround themselves with those who do support them. It is a difficult road to start travelling but, if you are in it for the long haul, it can be done.

For further reading:


Why people enter into relationships with age differences


Why people Enter Into Relationships With Age Differences

Cougar [a relatively new term in this context] and sugar daddy are words that are becoming common place these days. More and more persons are entering relationships with major age differences, more and more are becoming ok with it. Not everyone, though. Seeing people together who are obviously of completely different age groups can invoke very strong feelings in persons looking on. I think that that is mostly because we do not understand it; well quite frankly, if my child came home with a partner who is twice his age I am not sure I would understand it either. So, apart from the negative reasons [like for money], why do people enter into relationships with major age differences or gaps?

Cougars are natural predators in the wild. The term, however, is now used colloquially to describe a woman dating a younger man
a cougar laying motionless

An obvious reason that everyone would probably guessis physical attractiveness and sexual capabilities. Yes younger persons do not have sagging skin and wrinkles, drooping breasts, grey hair [at least most of them do not] and are certainly vore vivacious and full of energy for sexual purposes. Not everyone wants to grow old and grey with their partner, some prefer to look at young blood to help them keep young themselves.

Another reason is the commitment factor. I am not saying that everyone in relationships with age differences are not committed to one another and do not plan to have long lasting relationships. However, there are persons who enter these relationships just because they do not have to worry about commitment. They simply want a companion for the time being to travel, explore and have fun with.

A professionally dressed woman sipping a glass of wine
Also, people enter into relationships with age differences for flexibility. For instance, a man who is already grounded in his career would probably not want to be bothered with a woman who is also already set in her way of life. By choosing a younger partner, he finds someone who may be willing to go anywhere his business would take him. With the rise in women taking their place in the working world, women are becoming more and more business oriented and less and less traditional. Such a woman would want a partner who would be willing to play more of a part in the household. A younger man would be more ideal  for such a purpose as, again, they are not heavy set in their ways and are more easily adjusted owing to cultural differences nowadays.

Oh and, of course, let us not forget about love. Two persons just become very fond of each other and decide that, in spite of all the  negative comments and potential problems withage difference relationships, they are going to be together. I mean, hey, love is love right?

If you know someone who is in a relationship with a major age difference or age gap, do not be too quick to judge. Maybe we should look at the reasons for such a move and see if it fits the person that we know. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everyone will be the same and want the same things out of life. Just hope, though, that they are prepared to deal with theimpact of age difference on relationships.

Check out this article: Woman's Motivation to date Older Man 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

How to heal and Cope After a Break Up

Woman covering face with handsand cryingBreaking up can be very taxing on us all. After investing so much into a relationshipand/or marriage, it is hard to see it melt away. Sometimes even when we know the relationship we are in is not healthy, the fear of breaking up is so strong we simply cannot admit that going or separate ways is probably the best thing to do. Here are some tips to help with the healing and coping transition of breaking up.

1] First thing, you must grieve. During a relationship we tend to become co-dependent on each other. So after breaking up we mourn the loss of companionship, support [whether it be financial, social, intellectual or emotional], and hopes and dreams.  It is hard but you must face it and deal with the pain. The pain and the withstanding thereof is exactly what gives us the stamina to go on and think of new beginnings. Denying it only delays the reality. You must understand also that, during your period of mourning, your feelings will fluctuate; that is normal. ,

Girl sitting and staring off into the sunset across the waterDuring this period also, you have the opportunity to find yourself. Take the time to observe and analyze yourself. What went wrong in the relationship? How did you contribute to its demise? When you figure out your part in the break up, you will be able to make yourself better ready for another partnership. Remember, once you make yourself whole, then is when you will be ready to share yourself with someone; you do not become what someone else wants you to be but you are a whole who is capable of intertwining your life with somebody else’s.

2] Give yourself a break. You are going through a difficult thing, remember? It is understandable that you might not be as efficient as you usually are. Do not be too hard on yourself. Just pick up on your interests. When going through a break up it is easy to slip into depression and forget about or simply become not interested in doing the activities that once made you happy. However, now is the time to submerge yourself in fun activities. Instead of pressuring yourself to work when you cannot concentrate anyway, why not do something fun?

Man enjoying himself surfing

3] Do not go through this alone. You might not feel like company, but you need to talk about it. Let your good friends and family help you healand cope. Tell them how you feel. Let them help you sort out the confusion in your head. They may not always have a solution but sometimes you just need a listening ear. Talk it out with the end goal being healing, though, do not just dwell in the pain as this does you no good and only leaves you resentful and fearful of relationships and you  never move on from the break up. Isolating yourself only makes it worse, your stress levels rise and your overall health suffers.

Breaking up may seem like the end of the world but remember that once you still have life you will find a way. Just motivate yourself and press on. The lessons you learnt from the experience will remain with you and help you make wiser decisions in the future.



Photo credit: all pictures courtesy of morguefile and pixabay

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Jealousy in Relationships

Jealousy or “the green eyed monster”, as it is otherwise called, is a strong emotion that us as humans tend to experience. If not controlled, this emotion can get the better of us and can have crippling effects on our relationships. But why do we get jealous? How do we lessen its impact on our relationships?

What is jealousy?

picture of an Angry man with his hands around a woman's neck
Ben Pollard, http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2401/2204677106_a8f0a3befc.jpg

According to Wikipedia, jealousy is an emotion which typically refers to the negative feelings and thoughts of insecurity, fear and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values particularly in reference to human  connections. So, in terms of relationships, we see someone flirting with our partner and, for fear of losing them to another, we feel jealousy. Jealousy manifests itself in the forms of anger, sadness, resentment and disgust. It is these feelings that jealousy invokes that makes it have potentially debilitating effects on relationships.


Why do we get jealous?

There are many reasons as to why different persons become jealous. Maybe in past relationships you were cheated on and so you transfer that to every relationship that proceeds, finding it difficult to trust anyone after being hurt the first time. Some argue that jealousy goes as far back as childhood. 

Sometimes, too, jealousy rares its ugly head because of our own insecurities. For instance, a woman might be worried that because she has put on some weight her husband is no longer as interested in her as he used to be. She sees him looking at a slim woman and immediately she jumps to the wrong conclusion. Or, maybe the partner getting jealous is the one who is stepping out and so transfers his/her own insecurity to their partner and starts blaming for things that might not even be there.  

Also, it is said that jealousy came about so as to discourage the desertion of persons by their mate. This helps to strengthem the family bond and helps with the survival of the young [http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Understanding-Jealousy-Helen-Fisher-PhD-on-Relationships].

Children playing together


The effects of Jealousy in our love life

For the most part, jealousy can have terrible effects on our relationships. It tears away at a very important building block for our partnerships, trust. If you find yourself unable to stop from snooping on your mate’s facebook page or in their text messages, then you may have a problem. All that time spent snooping around could be used to do something that you both enjoy instead of driving a rift between you. The ways in which jealousy  is expressed can be dangerous. Anger can make a person do things that they may regret later. All of this negative activity eats away at the relationship.

It can have positive impacts, though. Some people’s jealousy from someone flirting with their mate may turn into flattery; flattered that someone else wants the lover that they own. In other cases, some people like when their partners feel a little jealous over them. It serves to remind them that their partner still appreciates and loves them.


Whatever the cause or effect of this monster, we must try and control it to make sure that it does not destroy our love life. Suspicious about something, discuss it together and find out if there is reasonable cause for worry. If there is not, let it go. Also, we must consider each other’s feelings in a relationship. If you know your partner is uncomfortable with your association with a particular person perhaps because of some history, then you should try and lessen your link with that person. It is not that your partner should control you but, in my opinion, relationships are about give and take and limiting that link could not hurt if there is really nothing to worry about there. Always try and keep the trust element firm in your partnerships.