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



  1. This is a thoughtful article on the pitfalls of getting involved with someone who is significantly older or younger than you. I remember when I was working as a counselor, a couple came into see me for marital counseling. She was around 40, he was over 60. She wanted to party, he wanted to tend his rhododendrons in the garden. Needless to say, their marriage didn't last.

  2. Im 41 and my husband is 32..we married a year ago. We become bf and gf for almost two years before we got married. My husband said that he doesnt care about my age and all...we are very happy and respect each other a lot. I dont find it hard to adjust in his age and so does he..it comes so naturally!

  3. I don't agree with some of the things that were written in this article. I am in a relashinship with a 22 year age difference. First I have to point out that when we go out to have fun, I am usually the first who would like to go home for bed, and he is usually the one who likes to go out more than I do. He also is the one that tends to spend more than I do. I am a cheap skate and he is a spender, but yes I do have to admit that even though I do not like to spend and I would rather save for our future I am still labled as a gold digger, and we get comments on how can you keep up with her, and other comments about our age. We have learned to just take comments and make light of them, but still it gets hard some times to deal with them. He will get comments that I am all for the money, and I will get comments that I am just arm candy, and after a while those comments will get to us. Well it seems to me it gets to me more than it gets to him. When it comes to music and going out, we like most of the same things. Like any other realashinship though, we have other things that the other dosent too. He likes to ice fish and me not so much. I like to dance at weddings and things and him not so much. We like the same music, shows, movies, and we fit together good. He has three kids and he wanted someone who had no kids and did not want to have any. I am not able to have kids, long story short... I made peace with not having kids and wanted someone who had kids and that was done having kids and would not want any more. I am just trying to say that not everyone is the same, we are all different and thats what makes us so great. If we are going to start saying that this relashinship to doomed because the couple over there did not make it, then we will have to say that about every relashinship that anyone has. Every relashinship has things that make it hard. I just don't like being told that I am the party animal and big spender, ect. because those are the lables put on the relashinship and they are not true every time. I am not trying to sound like I am putting down this article and I hope no one takes it that way. I am just trying to point out that it points out the comments and judgements that might cause problems in the relashinship but then almost in the same sense makes the same comments and judgements. This is why we are looked at like this people. I don't want to be judged on the other person's relashinship. This is my relashinship and you might not agree with it, but on the other hand I might not agree with your relashinships either. There has been times where people will point out your faults because of the age difference and they don't like the respose they get from me when I start pointing out their relashinship faults too. It is the same thing and people need to know that and respect that. Like I had said before, Everyone is different and thats what makes us so great!

  4. I like this article because there is so much to be discussed about the feelings of two people who decides to be together regardless if one is old enough to be the others parent , but what rest on my mind is a person at the age of 50 who is with someone 30 years younger what will happen 20 years later when 1 person is 70 and the other 40 prime of their life . will that love be the same.how do u handle seeing ur wife or husband in that state.

  5. Thanks for all comments so far. I suppose that all the possible relationship problems discussed here are more related to the beginning of the relationship. What you have pointed out is true, though. What will happen when one reaches a very senior age and the other is not there? I don't know, guess that is something else the couple has to discuss. Everybody is different, and has different tolerance levels.

    1. This is the road that I'm on. One of us has reached the senior age and other is not there. There is disparity with almost everything. At the beginning, it appeared that both were compromising for each other; however, somewhere the compromising moved to be one-sided. Now that all the 'parts' aren't working so well, and differences in opinions/concepts/views are widening, a view of the how we got here is now becoming clearer (for one of us). No one was rationally thinking about this 25 years ago.

    2. Hi thanks for sharing. You were together for 25 years. That is good. Hope you can work it out and go even more. If one of you has changed, though, that might be problematic. Good luck!

  6. I am dating a guy who is 10 months younger than me and I feel weird about what society will say. What can i do to feel better. Kel

  7. Hi thanks for the comment. In your case age should not be much of a problem. Don't get troubled by the opinions of others. Really if people bug you about this, they have nothing to do. What to do to feel better? Think about the pleasure this person brings you and how happy you are being with him. That should do it!


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