Guest Author - Kristina de la Cal
Age differences within relationships have long been a subject of public scrutiny, particularly when the gap is uncommonly large. Some people argue that age is nothing but a number and that as such; extreme discrepancies in ages between romantic partners should have very little, if any, influence within the relationship. Others, on the other hand, believe that dating someone much younger or much older can lead to a whole slew of age-related problems that can jeopardize the relationship. I suspect, however, that the truth probably lies somewhere in the area between both of these arguments. Depending on the particular circumstances of the relationship at hand, an age difference can be a hindrance in some situations and irrelevant or even helpful in others.
Though everything has its own set of related pros and cons, this article will focus specifically on the advantages that can be drawn from all sides of the age difference debate. If you are involved with or thinking about getting involved with a partner that is significantly out of your age range, review the advantages below and then decide what is best for you and your situation. Ultimately, only you can know what will make you happy and you should always let your heart and intuitions guide you in the right direction.
By dating somebody that is closer to your own age, you enhance your chances of being on the same page as your partner. Modern day life is set up in such a manner that people tend to go through phases that are very often age-related. For example, singles in their late teens and early twenties are usually looking for a good time and are rarely interested in or thinking about settling down whereas older singles are typically looking for more serious and mature relationships. If you and your partner are close in age, you are more likely to want similar things in life and have a similar outlook, which can prevent age-related differences from disrupting the harmony of the relationship. Another benefit of dating someone close to your own age is that you will probably be in similar physical condition so age-related health problems should not be much of a factor.
Dating someone who is much older also has its fair share of advantages. If your partner is significantly older than you, chances are that he/she will be more experienced and ideally, a bit wiser than the average single in your own age bracket. Additionally, an older partner is often more mature, more stable and more likely to be financially secure than their younger counterparts.
Fortunately, there are also perks to be had when you are the older partner in the relationship. Being with somebody much younger than you can help you to feel more youthful. Another benefit of dating someone younger is that younger singles are less likely to have a lot of baggage than older singles are. Older partners are more prone to have been jaded by previous marriages and/or relationships and are also more likely to have children from previous relationships, which can lead to more emotional baggage than the average single is willing to tolerate.
Keep in mind that despite the generalizations made above, there will always be exceptions here and there. It is entirely possible to find a handful of young singles that are particularly mature for their age and perhaps even looking for long-term love. In the same regard, there are probably even a few older singles that represent just the opposite of what one might expect by behaving immaturely and being more carefree about their romantic entanglements.
In spite of societal attitudes toward age differences within relationships, if two people are meant to be together and are willing to invest the time, energy and effort required to make a relationship work, then age differences should not be a major concern. Regardless of how old your partner is in comparison to you, what matters most in romantic relationships is the satisfaction and well-being of the people involved so keep the lines of communication open, tackle potential issues head-on as they arise and remember that when love is true, it can conquer just about anything life has to throw at it.