According to statistics, for quite some time the average age difference between partners has been between two and six years. However, the latest trends indicate that men and women may choose a partner fifteen to twenty-five years older or younger. Love may be blind, but apparently, it no longer has an expiration date. These "May-December" relationships are much more common these days, thanks in some part to society's acceptance of age gaps.
There are advantages and disadvantages in age-gap relationships, and several factors can impact whether the union will last. When the age difference is only a few years, husbands and wives usually have more in common and share similar belief systems. Growing up in the same generation definitely has its advantages. If there is a significant age difference, however, couples are likely to have different goals and perspectives, which may not always be compatible in the long term.
Here are some ways to handle a relationship when there is a significant age gap.
Be Open About Expectations
You need to be aware of your partner's expectations from your relationship. This applies to any relationship, but it's of particular importance if there is a significant age difference. An older man may want a younger woman to give him a child while the woman may be more focused on financial security. Different expectations may not always be the case, but they have to be considered.
Accept Responsibilities as Caretaker If You Are the Younger One in the Relationship
At some point, the aging spouse may need long-term health care, and may no longer be able to do certain things that you both enjoy. In that case, you have to ask yourself if you are prepared to become their caretaker, give up some activities, live a celibate life and take on extra household tasks. You may say 'yes' without hesitation now, but will that still be the case in 5, 10, or 20 years time?
Accept Your Partner's Immaturity If You Are the Older One in the Relationship
You must view your partner as a full grown adult, not your 'prodigy' to teach, shape, or mold. No one likes to hear criticism when the basis is a large age difference and, presumably, more wisdom. Furthermore, age alone is not the only barometer of maturity.
Focus on Mutual Interests
One way to minimize the effect of the age gap is to identify and focus on mutual interests. Spend time doing the things you have in common, and the age difference will be less of an issue. Also, meet each others' friends -- socializing with different generations can be very stimulating and empowering for both of you, and it will help you to be more involved in each others' lives. Explore each others' worlds by trying new things and meeting new people.
Deal Directly With Uncertainties
Do not allow the age gap to become the elephant in the room. Discuss your concerns openly and honestly, and try to come up with mutually acceptable solutions to any problems you may be experiencing.
Treat This Relationship Like Any Other
If you are not focusing on the age gap, then this relationship should be viewed the same as any other one! It's not better or worse for the age difference...it just "is." Be confident in your decision to be in this relationship. Having a strong connection is the most important part of any relationship regardless of age, gender or cultural differences.
Age difference does not need to be a primary concern in your relationship if you have mutual interests and friends, and you are able to discuss your uncertainties in a frank and honest manner. As long as you have love and respect for one another, and a deep connection, age really is just a number.