How Age Differences Can Affect Dating by Isabel F. William
Relationships come with numerous obstacles and challenges, but sometimes, age differences are the crucial factor that can determine the “destiny” of some couples.
While age gaps are much more common in the modern relationships, they are still an important issue that couples should have in mind before taking their relationships to a more serious level.
If you’ve been dating a person who is much older or younger than you, you should be familiar with different ways how this can affect your future together.
Although some people believe that age differences are just numbers and they aren’t such a big deal, the truth is, they are much more than that. An age gap in your relationship can greatly affect the compatibility between you and your partner.
If there’s a huge age difference, chances are that you and your partner will have different worldviews, experiences, attitudes and opinions. This can vary from basic dissimilarities, such as the preferred leisure activities and hobbies, to major incompatibilities regarding important issues, including dating, marriage, politics, religion and general attitudes towards life. Of course, if you’ve both agreed on an open, casual relationship, these differences might not be such a great obstacle.
However, if you both want a serious, long-term relationship that might even end with marriage, it’s a completely different story. This can affect your time together, the way you spend money, as well as your long-term goals as a couple.
Such great incompatibility between your personalities can eventually cause major problems that can affect the future of your relationship.
Relationship expectations and goals
Typically, people in their 30s have different relationships goals than people in their 20s. And in some cases, that’s not even such a big age difference. If the age gap between you and your partner is more than 10 years, you might have different expectations concerning your relationships.
If you’re dating someone older than you, they might be at an age when they’re looking for someone to settle down and start a family. On the other hand, if you’re dating a younger person, keep in mind that they may want just a short-term fling.
While these differences in relationship goals and expectations can even be a problem for couples who are the same age, age-related factors certainly play an important role in these cases. Individuals in their early 20s are simply less likely to settle down than people in their late 20s or early 30s. Younger adults who have just entered the dating world might want to have fun before finding a long-term partner.
Older adults, on the other hand, have already experienced that and may feel ready to leave that chapter of their life behind.
Support from your friends and family
Although age gaps in relationships are more common and accepted nowadays, they can still cause your caring friends and family to raise a few eyebrows, especially if the age difference is a large one. Many age-gap couples may experience disapproval from their families and friends.
Such disapproval can make them feel isolated and pushed away from their loved ones, which can put additional pressure on their relationships. Frequent negative remarks and meddling can weaken their commitment to each other.
Furthermore, they might even come across general social disapproval and more than a few stares in public if the age difference is noticeable.
Judgemental comments and disapproval can really weaken your relationship, especially if you already have doubts about whether you’re right for each other.
If you’ve just started dating someone much younger or older than you, you shouldn’t be surprised if you come to realise that your dating styles differ. Perhaps you want to go to a club, while your date wants to take you out to an elegant dinner.
On the other hand, you might want to sip wine and chat while listening to some smooth jazz, but your partner wants to go to a metal concert. Furthermore, you might even notice that common first date questions greatly differ depending on the age of your partner.
Younger individuals might ask casual questions and avoid relationship talk, while older individuals who know what they want aren’t afraid to ask more straightforward questions. Some confident young people might even skip the questions and go for the “action” straight away.
Older individuals who are looking for more serious relationships might want to take some time and get to know their date before moving forward with their relationships. A younger person might even “play games”, such as trying to seem uninterested and waiting several days to call you because they’ve just started dating and don’t really know how to behave. Such different dating styles can drive you apart even if you do go out on a second or third date.
Dating someone significantly older or younger than yourself can present you with numerous relationship problems and challenges. Nonetheless, if you really love each other and make each other happy, an age gap shouldn’t stand in your way.
Isabel F. William Consultant and lover of literature and philosophy. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.