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When Does Age Difference in Relationships Matter?

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There are times when age difference in relationships really matter and other times when it really doesn’t. Find out if both of you are age compatible.

age difference in relationships

We build our entire life with plans and checklists.

We do the same with love too.

But almost all the time, we realize too late that love is blind.

You may have a list of traits and things you want in a partner, but you’d end up falling for someone else who’s completely different.

So does that mean your partner’s wrong for you?

It definitely doesn’t.

But with the unpredictability of love comes the uncertainty of confusing emotions.

One of the biggest confusions with love that most of us have is the age difference aspect that all of us make such a big deal about.

[Read: 25 relationship rules for successful love]

Does age difference in relationships matter?

Sometimes, the age difference between two lovers makes no difference.

But almost all the time, age difference can play a big role in the success of a relationship.

If you’re dating someone who’s several years older or younger than you, here are a few things you need to give a thought about.

And once you’ve pondered over these few details, there’s a good chance you’ll know if your love can survive the odds.

How old are you today?

How old are you and your partner today? Relationships are affected by time in phases, and what can seem blissful at one stage can make you panic at another.

If both of you are younger and in your teens or early twenties, even a few years of age difference can have a huge impact on the relationship. But as you enter your thirties or forties, the worry about the difference in age starts to diminish, only to resurface again in the fifties and the sixties.

Age difference in relationships for a teenager

Youth is wasted on the young, true, but it’s still an experience that’s cherished for a lifetime. Live your youth to the fullest and really, live like a teenager.

If you’re a teenager, don’t even consider dating an older person. It’s just not worth it. Don’t lose your precious teen years trying to pretend to be a mature adult just because you’re dating one. Older men and women know how to snag someone in their teens because they already know how to impress and draw a younger teen that’s always looking for attention. Almost always, someone who’s in their late twenties may want to date you only to take advantage of your naivety and innocence.

A word to the older men and women who want to date young teens, don’t rob someone else of their youth for your happiness even if they’re an easy catch. It’s selfish and can change a teenager’s life forever.

Difference in age and compatibility in relationships

For a teenager, it may be an obvious answer. But once you’re past your teens, every relationship that involves a significant age difference is a confusing complication. There are so many factors that test your compatibility that you really have to weigh your options and think twice about any kind of relationship you get into, let alone relationships with an age difference.

But if you find yourself tossing and turning in your bed over the age difference in your relationship, here are a few compatibility testers that can help you clear your mind.

Emotional maturity

Emotional maturity is the biggest hurdle in relationships with an age difference. It can play a huge part in deciding your fate as a couple. Younger lovers are almost always more restless, impatient and enthusiastic, while the older lovers are calmer and patient. How is it in your relationship? Is the difference in emotional maturity and experience driving a wedge in the romance? [Read: Tips to have a happy relationship]

Each other’s habits and interests

Someone born in the seventies or before, and another person born in the eighties or nineties can seem similar on the outside. But once both of you live together, you’d start to notice a huge difference in personal behavior and even expectations of their partners.

Do you work out every morning while your partner likes sleeping late? Are you an early sleeper while your partner stays awake till dawn? Do you prefer PB & J for breakfast while your partner likes a nutritious breakfast with calculated calories? Or is Lady Gaga on your playlist while your partner prefers Pearl Jam?

While these little details can seem cute at first, it can create serious differences that can end a relationship once you’re both past the infatuation. [Read: How to fight fair in love]

Insecurities and age

Nobody likes aging, and the older person in the relationship definitely doesn’t. When you do see your partner having a happy conversation with someone their own age, you may find yourself wondering if your partner connects better emotionally with someone their own age instead of you. Have you ever felt that? What are you going to do about it?

The additional baggage

Are you divorced with two kids? Does your partner have a past that has its own baggage? The problems of dating someone way older always means there’s an additional baggage involved in some form or the other. Can either of you deal with that?

Family planning

Do both of you have the same interests and wants out of life. A decade can make a big difference in the way a person sees life and creates expectations out of it. Do you want kids? Is your partner uninterested in having kids? These may seem like little nagging details now, but very soon, you’ll see that these kinds of details that involve wants and interests actually define your life and who you are.

Growing old together

Can you cope with the difference as both of you grow older? Would you be frustrated because of the different energy levels? If you’re 33 and your partner’s 48 years old, it may seem like nothing. But when you’re going to be 48 years old, your partner would be in retirement. Ever gave that a thought? [Read: Ways to have a long term relationship that lasts]

Does the age difference bother you?

Have you been pondering over the age difference and what other people and friends may think? Does it bother you that the ignorant staff in the supermarket thought you’re a parent and child, and not a romantic couple?

The age difference in the relationship would matter only if it matters to you. You’d be bothered by it only if it bothers you deep inside. If you’re uncomfortable dating someone who’s outside your age group, then don’t date the person. It’s not worth the trouble. At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable in your partner’s arms, whether you’re at home or at a party. If glances and conversations of other people bother you, could you ever just be happy? [Read: Signs of a great relationship]

How much can you sacrifice for love?

Relationships need work, whether they have an age difference or otherwise. And it’s in your own hands to make something work. Relationships involve a few sacrifices on both sides.

You now know what it takes to make a relationship with an age difference work. So how much can you really sacrifice for love and where do you intend to draw the line?

[Read: What is the right age to get married?]

At the end of the day, age difference in relationships is all in the head. If you can’t learn to overcome your doubts, it’s better to stay out of it.


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Have your say!
  • Dilemma
    November 15, 2011 | Permalink |

    Relationships with age difference are great especially if there’s compatibility in the relationship. I’m a 31 year old woman who’s in a relationship with a man who’s 45. It’s all perfect, but he doesn’t want to have any more kids.

    I thought I didn’t want kids until now, but all of a sudden I really feel the need to have kids. But he’s just undergone a vasectomy and all of a sudden, I feel so shattered. I mean, I’m in love with a man who can never father a child for me. I really love him, but would the fact that he can’t have a child be reason enough to leave him?

    Could I ever live with myself knowing that I’d never be able to have my own children in my life? It’s such a complicated mess, and at times I wonder if things would have been fine if I had fallen in love with someone my own age where our maturity levels and wants in life would have been similar.

  • Alex
    July 5, 2012 | Permalink |

    Dear dilemma-

    Have kids! If he truly does not want children maybe this is not the man for you. You only live once, and you have been childless these 31 years. If the relationship does in fact last, would you like this to be your life up through the rest of your life? Ask yourself it having children is an experience you want in your life. Life is in fact about experiences and we ONLY LIVE ONCE! Choose wisely, and think of the bigger picture here.

    I was going to say that age is a huge difference because of emotion maturity. It is true. People seem to go through different emotional pinicles as we age. Sometimes the age difference is just too much. I am only 20, and for the first time “dated” a man that was 32. This was an interesting experience for me since I have always loved men in their 30s. But this situation made me realize I’m not a woman quite yet. And instead of going for my first reaction of “do everything possible to be his level” since I adored him, I am realizing my youth is only about 20% of my life if that. I will make the best of it. I can feel myself turning slowly into adulthood, but while I still can I WILL listen to those Taylor Swift CDs because they relate to me. And not be in a hurry to grow up for once.

  • anonymous
    September 3, 2012 | Permalink |

    i am 21 years old turning 22.im dating a guy 35 years of age and has two kids…i feel as if i am making a mistake and i need to pull out before its too late.i feel as if im rushing into marriage nd might regret there after.i feel as if the age gap is big for we think differently and understand each other.i love him but i feel that something is not in place.what should i do?confused

  • selly
    September 26, 2012 | Permalink |

    I am 21 and turning my 22 soon and i’m in love with a 35 year old guy! I don’t really know if i should fight it and forget about it all or should i go ahead and see what’s coming up! I ‘m scared of regretting this later and wasting my early twenties in a long term relationship. Don’t really know what to do… sooo confused !

  • anny o
    October 23, 2012 | Permalink |

    I just turned 36 and I look very young, it seemed that I’m in my late 20′s, my boyfriend just turned 30. We met online. The first time we saw each other we both new our ages. I didn’t want to have a relationship with a younger man, instead I thought that maybe we could be friends. But after the second time we saw each other again we started a relationship. Since then we have been together for over a year, actually he asked me to move in with him six months ago. At first everything was perfect, but for the last three months we have been struggling to keep the relationship alive. Sometimes it seems that we are living different stages or interests.. he has told me that he is committed to the relationship but he doesn’t think about marriage or children right now, and by the time he would like to bring that topic it would be too late because I will be too old.. so that makes me feel that I have short time.. like if I had cancer and I’m going to die soon. I have been kind of depressed because all this situation makes me feel like a dinosaur. Sometimes I feel that I’m on the wrong place. At this point I feel that I don’t have anything in common to share with him. I just realised that my self esteem is vanishing. I don’t know if I want to fight for this relationship.

  • rose wood
    December 31, 2012 | Permalink |

    i wonder if 4 years of difference is a lot if your a female? I I quote anny o ” this situation makes me feel like a dinosaur”. People say that i look young for my age but he as well looks young for his age. I believe that in those for 4 years i have had such a crazy life that makes me feel worn out compared to his vibriant spirit. At the moment he doesn’t want kids but i thought the same way when i was his age but today things have taken a different turn.I left my ex because he was 6 yrs older, this also brings doubts.

  • Tanya
    January 4, 2013 | Permalink |

    AT DILEMMA you should leave the guy. You will regret it when it is to late for you that this guy took from you the chance to have children. I talk from experience. Dump him before it’s to late for you to have your children.

  • Siobhan
    January 23, 2013 | Permalink |

    Currently, I’m only 21 but as a teenager, I lived a little too wildly. The calmness that my older partner brings into my life makes me safer and happier.

  • Blue Skyy
    February 17, 2013 | Permalink |

    It seems the age difference between myself (48) and my boyfriend (36) bothers me the most. We have so much fun together, he treats me like a princess, and is a gentleman. He always does things to show his love. We always have plans for the month ahead, and he spends most of his time not working with me. But, he is a good looking man, smart and would have no problem finding someone his age. Every once in awhile he makes comments about me and things I could do to look younger and I am finding myself pushing away, even telling him good-bye. I feel he will become more unaccepting of the way I look even though he says he would not. I know he loves me deeply because he has proven this in many situations. I just do not see this lasting with out severe hurt by him. Has anyone experienced this?

  • Genuine Rich
    June 21, 2013 | Permalink |

    I hope Siobhan is still happy in the relationship.
    As for myself, I went through an emotional ordeal
    with my 21 year-old sweetheart (and co-worker)
    in December 2012 when she suddenly decided to
    break our bond and gave me the silent treatment,
    though she continued to work with me until March
    when she left to pursue her own goals.
    We had the right chemistry and interests and I
    believe that I can reunite with her again, except
    I will have to take a different approach to win her
    affection (she knew the wide gap in our ages when
    she initiated the relationship and we enjoyed
    our short “honeymoon” phase at work: it was very
    discreet). I hope her friends did not influence her
    to turn away from me. I care about her and want her to
    be happy and hope she doesn’t make the mistake
    of searching for Mr.Right, who may have the wealth
    but not the true heart.

  • Anonymous
    July 19, 2013 | Permalink |

    Hey I’m 18 and I find myself thinking about this guy I’ve had in my life for quit awhile. We always had amazing chemistry and he makes my day better when I get a text from him or I get to see him. I’m mature for my age due to personal upbringing in life. He’s also very mature for being his age. He’s against being with girls who arnt within a four year radius of his age. But I had a sit down with him and expressed how I feel towards him. We came to the same conclusion that we both like each other but because of our age we want to stay friends. But it’s becoming more and more complicated because the feelings I have for him are becoming so overwhelming and he knows it. He feels it as well. We live in a society where being judged for dating someone with a crazy age difference is frowned upon. Or the fact how can he go to his family and say he’s dating someone whos 18. How are my parents gunna react when I tell them I’m interested in someone whos 9 years older than me? I always said if I don’t feel comfortable introducing a man to my parents than it will never work out. He’s around the age my brothers are and they are protective of me. So many complications but crazy feelings mixed in. I don’t know if being together which I truly want to be with him for as long as the life we have left to live is worth the complications that will arouse between friends and family who mean the most to us or will it all blow over in time? Please give me some advice…

  • jinnie
    August 13, 2013 | Permalink |

    hi im jinnie, 23 yrs old, im in a relationshp with a married man whose age is 48, we have been together from last 11months. we were havng a grt grt tym together..our age gap has never been any issue..we r like best friends we share everything,wether it is happy or sad.. he s a really nice person, he truly luvs me i have seen dat, but he has a family with two daughters.its been 22 yrs they are but from the very beginning their relationshp is all broken. they wanted to give divorce as soon as theirs daughters are setllted into their life.both of them are 16 and 18 of age. he cant live without me but recently his wife nd children caught him and they know the entire story…from the past two months we been that close to each other.. now for the time being we are not into touch with each other.he calls me often he told me to wait fr the time being…what should i do now? i cant think of any person except him bcz i truly luv him.i knw he luvs me too he told me he will cm back again may b aftr few mothns wen thngs get into place.

  • mc
    October 16, 2013 | Permalink |

    Jinnie, please get out before it is too late. A married man having an affair with a woman half his age is not a “really nice person”. There’s a reason older men (or women) seek out relationships with people in or barely out of their teens. Chalk it up to experience. Or in a few years you may find yourself in the same boat as his wife; with a couple if kids and him looking for another young naïve person to romance.

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