07 Aug 2012

Does Age Matter in Relationships?

No Comments Featured Articles, Relationships

If you’ve ever wondered if age matters in relationships, you aren’t alone. Even in Hollywood you can find couples that differ in age by a decade, two decades or more. For those who’ve never experienced a relationship with a large age difference, there could be quick judgement regarding the obvious obstacles couples like this might face. However, many relationships with a large age span can and do thrive.

To examine if age matters, it will truly be on a case-by-case basis, for couples are made up of unique individuals, with different needs and life experiences. If true love exists between two people, if a couple feels a deep passion and friendship for their mate, then age should not discourage two people from having a relationship. None of us knows how long we have on this earth – age isn’t a guarantee of our mortality – so filling each day with deep love should be all that matters.

But when those opposed to age differences in relationships speak up, they do raise some very valid concerns. There are considerations unique to these couples, which should be discussed thoroughly and openly prior to any life long commitment. Age differences can present challenges that are overlooked in the initial honeymoon phase of a relationship, which can lead to heartbreak down the road.

With all of this in mind, let’s look at factors that can present challenges for relationships that have wide age ranges of at least a decade or more:

Having Children

This challenge is perhaps the most difficult for couples that share a large age difference. An older woman may no longer be able to have children, if she wanted more. Also, the older man or woman may feel they are past their childrearing years, looking forward to relaxing or planning for a future retirement, with no interest of becoming a parent again.
At the same time, the younger member in the couple might not have had a child to date and wants to become a mother or father.

Many couples can and do have a child, with absolutely no regrets. For couples with large age differences, it is important to recognize that there is increased risk (though no guarantee) of becoming a single parent, in addition to the older parent having concerns of not being able to see the child grow up. So even when both agree to have a child, it is important that both individuals feel free to discuss any concerns or hesitations first.

Decreasing Health Or Slowing Down

Of course any man or woman at any age can become ill – and there are many older, active adults than ever before, living well into their 90s. But it is important to acknowledge that, in the natural order or things, the partner that is older most likely will slow down, become ill or even pass away before the younger one.

Acceptance By Stepchildren

Often the older partner brings to the table grown children. If the age span between the couple is wide, the children can even be close in age to mom or dad’s new mate. Though many couples with age differences get through this hurdle with no problem, it is important to recognize that rifts or even estrangement can take place if stepchildren respond negatively to the relationship.

Of course, there are other unique circumstances or challenges that can present themselves in these types of relationships. The irony is that the topics above can impact any relationship, age difference or not. A couple of the same age may differ in wanting to be parents, a man or woman can become ill in the prime of his or her life and there can be problems with children from a previous marriage at any age. As with any relationship, communication is the key to success. The truth is that love is a gift and when two people find each other, regardless of their age, they should treasure their good fortune.


Grace Pamer is a full time romance and relationship writer. She writes romance and marriage proposal tip columns for various publications including YourTango.com and GalTime.com. As seen on FoxNews.com, Cosmopolitan.com, DivineCaroline.com and CanadianLiving.com to name but a few.

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