With the changing times, more and more topics that were once taboo now have a place in main-
stream media and in our daily lives. One of these topics is age gaps within relationships. Traditionally, it is rarely given a second glance if a couple is a few years apart in age. Some are even closer to ten years of a gap. The problem is when there is a larger gap of 15 years or more, of course within the acceptable legal age of adulthood. For those who are more traditional, it is frowned upon to have such a gap, and for others, age is just a number and is irrelevant when it comes to love and happiness.
For those who are opposed to the idea of large age gaps in relationships, psychologists have discovered the most common reasons. First, it is said that when there is a large age gap, there can be a significant gap in maturity. This can make it harder for the older individual in the relationship because they will be taking on the emotional changes and needs of someone much younger. It can easily be viewed as a more parental relationship rather than a mature adult relationship. Another reason these relationships are usually looked down upon is because outsiders assume there is an inequality to the relationship. They assume there is power struggles or dominance among the individuals (Drevitch, 2021). That type of situation can lead to manipulation and abuse.
In other cases, there is often a question of what the older individual expects from the younger. When they have so much more life experience and time under their belt, it is hard to imagine someone younger being able to emotionally or mentally stimulate them. Others have assumed the relationships are purely physical with nothing else to bond the two. This causes the assumption that the relationship will not last and will cause heart break to one or both parties. In some cases, either party in the relationship may have a hidden need they are less than forthcoming about such as financial support, shelter, or other monetary gains. It is natural for others to question motives when they first hear of a relationship with such large gaps.
For those who are supportive of relationships with significant age gaps, they have a different take on the situation. First, many are quick to say that as long as the individuals have common ground and are happy, there is no problem with age gaps. Some also consider the fact that someone younger may have a higher level of maturity than most and naturally look for someone older. According to a study published by Deakin University, couples with significant age gaps have been seen to have more successful relationships due to greater trust levels and lower jealousy concerns (Karantzas, 2023).
In order to have a successful relationship, there needs to be commonly known characteristics such as trust, loyalty, communication, and commitment. There are many relationships that succeed within large age gaps. When people find themselves being happy and at peace with a significant other, they see past age and focus on the relationship. This can be a challenge, especially if others are interjecting their personal feelings. At the same time, there are many large gap relationships that are genuinely rebound connections or temporary feelings of joy, even though this can happen with any age gap. At the end of the day, it is a matter of being happy and knowing your value and worth. If someone feels like their significant other is their best fit, it should be up to them to decide for themselves. That being said, it still opens the door for others to at least question the intentions of both parties.
This topic has been seen as very controversial. What do you think? I am curious, have you been in a relationship with a large age gap? Did it work out well for you? What is your opinion on this? (Please remember to keep ALL comments kind and respectful or they will have to be deleted. This is a conversation topic where there will be a lot of different responses).