Age gap relationships are a common sight in the public eye. Look at Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as two examples of married couples who are different in age to one another. But can age gap relationships work?
This article will look at the advantages and disadvantages of entering into a relationship with someone who is considerably older or younger than you.
It is important to look at the motivating factors that draw a couple to one another in the first place. An older man may be attracted to a younger woman because of her youth, vitality and energy. A woman may be looking at the man’s maturity and how he is more settled in his life. But these factors alone cannot ensure a successful marriage in the long run. Some couples look at superficial qualities and claim that their young wife makes them also feel “young again”. But what about when she is 20 years older? Will the husband still feel this way? Boosting someone else’s ego should not be the foundation of a relationship. It will not last.
GoalsRead more in Relationships
Some couples who are in an age gap relationship claim that they have the same goals, but do they really? It is easy to make false claims at the start of a relationship in order to entice another person, and sadly this can lead to much heartache later on. If you are seriously contemplating making a serious commitment, such as marriage, then you will do well to be totally honest with yourself and your partner. If you do not openly express what you expect from the relationship, then it can turn sour later on.
A younger woman who is married to an older man will probably be his second or perhaps even his third wife. This will probably be her first marriage and so she may not have as much history as her husband does. With this comes emotional baggage. Exes may still have a claim on your husband, especially if he is paying her alimony or child support. Some exes are not concerned about their ex-husband’s new wife; others are jealous and controlling. This is something to bear in mind if you decide to enter into an age gap relationship.
It is important to discuss the issue of children early on in your relationship rather than leave it to chance later on. An older woman may already have grown up children, whereas her younger husband has not had any and wishes to start a family. Or a younger woman may want children but her husband is infertile. Before any of these situations come up later on in marriage, it is important to actually talk openly and honestly early on. Once you know your partner’s view on the issue of children, you can then proceed accordingly.
For example, if you are a young woman who desperately wants children, but your partner does not want any, why would you agree to marry a man who does not share your view? You will only end up feeling trapped and resentful in your marriage, however much you may believe that “love will conquer all”. But if you clear the air early on, you can decide whether you can deal with never becoming a mother or if you should look elsewhere for a husband. It will not be easy, but at least you will know where you stand.
Jealousy can do untold damage to any relationship and doom it to failure. The same is true for age gap relationships. Some couples in such relationships are not successful because at least one of the two partners harboured feelings of jealousy. Common concerns that people complain about is being abandoned for a younger or older partner. If the relationship is to succeed, couples need to overcome these feelings and accept that they have been chosen as a life partner, not anyone else.
What do you have in common?
As with any relationship, do you have things in common with your significant other? It does not matter if you are identical in age and are from the same town, you may still be incompatible. So choose wisely. Get to know your partner well before you decide to get married. You do not have to agree on every issue. After all, you are not a couple of clones of one another. But you should have things in common that will help to bind you to one another. Examples of this would include the same faith, standards and morals.
In conclusion, age gap relationships can and do work. The issue is not necessarily the ages of the couple, but how they are willing to deal with important issues such as their motives for being together, their goals in life and how they feel about having or not having children. As long as their relationship is based on a solid foundation, rather than a fleeting fancy, they will be successful in their marriage.