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Can Age Gap Relationships Work?

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.

  1. Motives

    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.

  2. Goals

    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.

  3. Emotional baggage

    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.

  4. Children

    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.

  5. Jealousy

    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.

  6. 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.

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User Comments
  1. Syam Prasad

    On December 23, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Generally, emotional demands, survival needs play role in age gap marriages. Though they can(need)not be avoided, a study and data on how they work is beneficial to the common soceity.

  2. brycah

    On February 2, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    does early relationship work?
    yes, right?
    as long as you love each other!

  3. K Marie

    On March 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Age gapped relationships tend to be harder than relationships that include people around the same age because the couple must deal with the critisizem of others. Both have to be strong and be in the relationship for love. As long as its about love, they will prevail. I am currently 17 and a in love with a 23 year old man. We both receive critisizem from everyone. But we dont bother to care, because age is truly nothing but a number. It all relies on maturity.

  4. m westwood

    On March 25, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    i am in a realationship with a boy of 29 i am 50 ,its been going on for a year and i can see it lasting a life time or whats left of mine ,we are just normal people who fell in love ,our familys are starting to accept ,and not many people comment ,so i say if your in love go for it ,you will be sorry if you dont x

  5. Alex

    On March 26, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I have been in a relationship with a man 19 years older than me for about 5 and a half years. It takes alot of talking and time to understand each other. I was 26 and he was just turning 46. We immediately were attracted to each other. That has never been an issue. But later comes the differences that age brings. We have recently been talking about getting married. I know that he is the love of my life. With with the age gap I think that both parties have to be very honest about where they are and what they want with there life. I know that I will be talking care of him at some point and look forward to all the years in out future.

  6. scougr

    On May 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I too am in a new relationship with a guy 20 yrs younger. At times I feel a bit intimidated by what people may think and insecure as to how long it will last before he either outgrows the novelty or just feels pressured to remain faithful. I’m hoping its real and have to maintain a strong sense of myself which is what attracted him in the first place. I believe weakness will only drive him away. With that said all the mature ladies looking for this type of relationship, stay strong, but be warned, ya gotta be prepared to deal with some obvious insecure thoughts. If he’s worth it you’ll know.

  7. jay

    On May 25, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I have been in a age gap relationship for several months.I am 32 and my girlfriend is 20 at times it seems very difficult.An most of the time it is wonderful!I belive in chemistry an it is a beautiful thing.what i am trying to say is no matter what the age diffrence is if u are happy an feel that you belong together work threw the hard times.No matter who u are with no one gets along all the time.So if ur with a wonderful person who makes u happy thats the only thing that matters!

  8. Ron

    On May 26, 2009 at 12:03 am

    Society makes too much of an issue about this. It’s not about age, it’s about your relationship. my wife and I are 15 (chronological) years apart. We are the same age in our marriage of 23 years.

  9. bridie

    On May 27, 2009 at 7:01 am

    i agree with ron im 33 my husband is 55 weve been together for 15 years married for 9 we love each other dearly we have 3 kids together 12 ,8 , 7.
    i believe life would be alot easier if people minded there own business, society definetely makes too much of an issue of it.

  10. Jase

    On June 2, 2009 at 6:59 am

    I am 26 and my partner is 16, we have to go through a lot of criticism about our relationship, people frequently telling us it won’t work or us being together is disgusting. I have found that has only made our relationship stronger, it was not like we meet and jumped at the chance to be together, it took 3 years before I could legally kiss her and honestly it was well worth the wait, I have never meet anyone as mature or someone I feel I can love as much as my beautiful cat.

  11. maria

    On June 3, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I’m 26 and he’s 63. And i know people see it as disgusting! Its weird because we have alot in common, and just fits with each other. he was not on my list but to my surprise he’s everything i love in a man. Maybe because he’s mature enough to understand the world. And he’s funny, it tickles me when he’s starting to learn the internet, very eager to know everything and it was cute to teach him as he learn fast! We argue like we don’t have any age gap just like a “normal” couple. I think only people who are involve with age gap relationship will understand whats it about, what the relationship is like. I too thought different age relationship is just not cool in public eye..until it hits me…so i’m eating my words.haha..but thats how it is.

  12. Buck the trend

    On June 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Relationships are hard enough, don’t do it. The younger person ends up leaving sooner or later.

  13. bridie

    On June 5, 2009 at 6:55 am

    just goin back to your last comment buck the trend
    have you been there done that just curious, or are you another one of those critics .

  14. bridie

    On June 19, 2009 at 9:16 am

    best of luck pudge hope everything goes well im not well these days and hes minding me and minding our kids good luck

  15. Angel

    On June 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I feel so happy reading some of your comments!
    Im 22 and Im engaged to a 37 yr old guy with 2 kids (8&12)
    I am the happiest women ever.. I love our relationship.. We’re so happy and in love, he means the world to me and I wouldn’t swap him for the world!!
    Sometimes (like at work!) I do get shy about people asking about him and asking who Im marrying.. and how old.. I get so shy when I tell them, but why should it matter? I’m in love – the age gap shouldn’t be a problem… its not for me so why should other people question it..!
    .. I’ll be marrying him in about 2 yrs hopefully (saving time!!)

  16. Pudge

    On June 30, 2009 at 11:05 am

    It is so refreshing to read a comment that is so upbeat and honest. I, too, was a little reluctant to discuss our ages at first. Of course, we have quite a few years more between us than you and your beau. But eventually, that reluctance went away and now I don’t even realize that we have an age difference. I’m aware of it, but it’s not foremost in my mind. Just our free we are with each other. Work was the biggest area of criticism for me as well, but you can’t let others dictate your happiness. Hopefully, your families get along and your parents like him and his parents like you. That will make things easier in the long run. But if not, don’t worry. If it’s true love, it will always prevail. :)

  17. RAL

    On July 7, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Obviously age is not in itself the issue. The generationgap in terms of thought process is a big part. The “generation me” members look at somethings that a “baby boomer” would consider to be an issue. These things cause hurts and my be imperceptible to the other party. The key is communication and trust … that will, I believe, help any couple survive anything. Breach the trust, and its a very long road back … if ever!

  18. angie

    On September 30, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I have been with my partner who is 16 years older than me for 8 years and i wouldn’t be without him, we are very happy together and have so much in common. I find men of my age (42) immature, but then i have a much older outlook than most of my age which is probably why we get on so well. We are planning to get married next year which is something we both never expected to do but are very happy. I know that my partner loves me and will always be true, i feel very protected and safe being with and know that nothing can ever hurt me whilst we are together, i love being together at the end of our working day.
    I am sure that we will always be together, the only thing i am dreading is that he is likely to die before me and i’m not sure i will cope with that.

  19. Dee

    On October 30, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I think it has more to do with the character of the person than the age gap. Ladies, ask yourselves why a man is not having successful relationships with women his own age. Teens and twenties often can’t spot the warning signs of an immature, controlling man. I’m sure there are some great older guys out there, but I would investigate the reasoning behind their singleness.

    I’ve seen divorced jerks marry someone 10 years younger because a younger women is naive compared to 30+. The younger women don’t even realize that they are being treated badly until 10 years down the line when they have given these guys their best years.

  20. Hill

    On December 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I’m nearly 20 and have been in love with my 35-year-old boyfriend for over a year now – my family is petrified of the age difference, but I feel very secure in my relationship with him. He’s never been married before and all his past relationships have been serious but never got to the point where he felt he should marry. He’s mature, an intellectual equal, and he and I share so many goals and passions. True, it’ll be hard down the road when I have to spend the last fifteen or so years of my life alone, but between now and then we’ll have a loving, constructive marriage.

  21. Tiffany

    On January 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I got a good one. I am 20 and my guy is 46. He has two kids ages 26 and 6. Things can be difficult and we have been through a lot in a short 6 months but I think it is completely worth it. We’ll be getting married and starting a family within a year if all goes well. Its so nice to hear about other coulples with large age differences. I get so tired of the negativity towards it. If it makes you happy that is all that matters.

  22. Carrie

    On January 17, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    i’m getting into a relationship with a guy of 31. He’s 13 years older than me. I’m not interested in anyone my age, i find them immature and just plain annoying. Is it really so bad? Its hard, because he works with my Dad, every so often. People find it wrong. Its so bad, the things they say about me.

  23. kerry

    On January 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    im im 21 now my boyfrend is 40 we have been together 2 and a half years and have two kids together….. we met because his daughter was my best frend which some people find bad but she has always been fine with it so im not worried what people think anymore…. i would say it is harder being in a age gap relationship but if u love each other it will work…

  24. VivienneW

    On March 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I am a 42 year old woman and my man is 26. 16 years difference and there isnt a day goes by that I wonder what the hell am I doing. Its been going on for nearly 3 years now but I love him. I also think its a lot more noticeable if the woman is older. If the man is older, society is more acceptable to that. we both find it hard and we dont really socialise at all and it gets to me and I have tried to get out it but always goes back. Im very confused but we love each other\\\’s company and I feel so comfortable with him. We just dont have much of a life. Thats a problem. Im all over the place.

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