Updated: Jan 5
Dating an older man or woman can be wonderful – trust me, I’ve been in a 30 year age gap relationship for 6+ years now. However whilst all relationships are unique and have their own trials and tribulations, an older younger relationship comes with some nuances compared to one more age normative.
Below are some areas that may arise for couples with big age gaps. This 'relationship advice' isn’t in any way there to put you off. It's there merely to provide something to think on, and help understand how you might deal with these scenarios together with your partner should they arise for you.
As most people typically get kids in their 20s and 30s, if you’re dating someone in their 40/50/60/70s, the chances that they want children have likely dropped a lot. It may be that things just haven’t happened for them yet, or it may be that they already have them! If children are a hard requirement for you and not them, it doesn’t mean you can’t date. It may however change the dynamic of the relationship and how you approach it long term.
People can have health issues at any age. However the likelihood of things cropping up increases as you grow older. Injuries can be easier to obtain and can take longer to heal. This can depend on lifestyle, and a younger person can be a positive influence on keeping fit and healthy.
Many 40+ people are in great shape - see #fitover50 on Instagram and feel envious! However as you age metabolisms slow, injuries can be easier to pick up and fitness can become harder to maintain. This can lead to people’s bodies carrying more weight, chests drooping and wrinkles appearing. Throughout all our lives our bodies change, and this is just the natural progression as you pass through being middle aged. Loving people is primarily about who they are as people, however this physical aspect may/may not be an issue for you.
Older people are likely to have their friendship groups fairly firmed up. The good thing is that people generally are friends with people like themselves, so the chances are you’ll likely get on with their friends. As their friends however are likely to be of a similar age to them, it does however require some open mindedness from them.
Some closed minded people may fall prey to reducing your relationship to stereotypes. Gold digger, perv, etc. Unfortunately the media has popularised these opinions and they can be the default position of the narrow minded. Be comfortable and confident in yourself and ignore the haters. Being true to yourself shall lead others to see what’s really there anyway!
As previously mentioned, there’s a chance they could have children. Potentially being around your age this can be something to navigate, as many can be protective of their father/mother and wary of why you’re dating them. Their parents are going to be in their advanced years, less well, or potentially passed away. This can potentially put strains on your relationship, however being there for your partner can bring couples closer and make you stronger together.
Having their youth in a different era means a lot of their base reference points can be different to those of a younger person. They may compare a song to Ellain Paige rather than Adele for example. This doesn however afford a wonderful learning opportunity for both parties to educate each other and learn. If anything I see this more as a positive than a hurdle, but it does require an open mind and occasionally patients with each other.
It is generally agreed that men’s sex drives peak between 18-25, and women between 25 and 40 (silly there’s no overlap right?). If you’re 22 and they’re in their 50s it doesn’t mean they won’t want any sex, but it could mean there’s an imbalance between desires that needs to be worked through together. The benefit of age though is experience, so it may be beneficial to opt for quality over quantity! For some a more open relationship can be an alternative to help relieve any tensions here. N.B. This should be carefully considered between both parties before embarking on, and strict ground rules are recommended.
As you gain life experience and figure out what you do/don’t like, your flexibility can reduce. This can mean that older people are less willing to try new things. This isn’t always the case though, and a common role for the younger party can be to bring a bit more spontaneity into the mature person’s life. Understanding each other and where the wiggle room lies is important to make the most of experiences and see where you can compromise.
As you grow older your energy levels can start to drop a little. This can mean going to bed earlier, or not wanting to party as much as in your youth. Understanding can be needed in things you do together and separately. It’s very healthy to have time apart for yourself in relationships, so this can be turned into a positive e.g. going out for guys night. For some younger people, learning to enjoy quieter times reading a book or chilling on the sofa can be positive for your mental health.
If you’re in your 20s and they’re 40+, there may be a disparity in finances to work through. See here for a broader discussion on this. However in a nutshell, a successful older younger relationship requires openness and maturity to understand and appreciate each other’s position. The older party may also have financial obligations you don’t necessarily have for you to consider. Relationships aren’t necessarily about splitting everything 50/50, but ensuring you contribute your share and value the contribution of your partner is crucial.
As much as you may not like it, he had a life before you. This can involve partners, families, children, careers, friends, flings, etc. It can take a while and be a lot to comprehend, but you’ll be closer and understand them better for it. If they have relationships with previous partners, it’s worth understanding what that relationship is to avoid jealousy and paranoia. Set up boundaries if genuinely needed; though avoid seeking to control their life. Remember their life has made them into the person you’ve fallen for so don’t begrudge them for that.
So there you have it, hopefully you’re a little more informed as to scenarios that can occur. There is no age gap too big if you can figure out how to handle situations as a couple. Now go and have a great time with your silver fox, ‘daddy’, cougar, mature woman, DILF MILF….or just someone that you find attractive and seem to get on well with.