With much stigma surrounding age gap relationships, many that find themselves attracted to an older or younger partner can find themselves questioning if they are wrong, or bad for them.
Older younger age gap relationships are just one colour of a wide palette of relationships: Heterosexual, homosexual, non-monogamous, polyamorous, etc. Because of so many types of relationships and also the varying needs of individuals within these, there's no hard lines of what works for each and situation. That said, to assess whether age gap relationships are healthy or bad for you, there are a few common signs of a strong relationship that we can identify (skip ahead to the analysis if you'd like):
15 Key Signs of a Healthy Relationship
Open Communication and Good listening skills (1 and 2)
Being able to express yourself, be heard and valued, and reciprocating this is crucial to the success of any relationship.
N.B. In age gap relationships this can be even more important due to the different life stages people are in.
Support and Teamwork (3 and 4)
This doesn't have to be on every topic, but ultimately you have your partner's back, and hold their best interests at heart. You support one another and work well as a team.
Conflict Resolution (5)
Each person in a relationship having opinions and beliefs, it's perfectly normal to not agree on everything. What's important is your ability to create resolution together, in a balanced and positive way that doesn't diminish or belittle your partner.
Trust and Honesty (6 and 7)
You trust them in their commitment to you and your relationship in their actions and thoughts. You're able to be honest with your partner with your thoughts and feelings, both good and challenging, as you both know it ultimately helps you communicate and support each other.
Intimacy and affection (8 and 9)
Whilst sex, cuddles and kisses commonly form foundations of affection and intimacy, it must be remembered that different people like different things. Not everyone's a hugger, and not everyone likes sex or has a high sex drive. Making your partner feel loved however works for you both however is important in keeping that bond and fuzzy feeling.
After 50 years together, my grandparents have always said "The thing that's kept us together, is time apart." Whilst you can be a great couple, you're also an individual. It's good to get time to yourself to breathe, enjoy yourself and do some things for you. A supportive, trusting, loving partner will be there when you get back from your meal or trip with friends.
You can Let Things Go (11)
With all you do for each other, minor slip ups and annoyances aren't a big deal. You're happy to forgive their little foibles, as their irritations are heavily outweighed by their plus sides.
Joint Decision Making (12)
As a partnership, you make decisions together. You may have areas that one of you is stronger on and leads, but ultimately you make sure you're both happy with key decisions that affect you and your relationship.
Curiosity and playfulness (13 and 14)
Being curious about each others' thoughts, feelings, opinions, helps validate your partner and you grow as a couple and your understanding of each other. But it shouldn't all be deep conversations. Making time for fun and play is important to keep joy in your lives together.
The Four Key Phrases (15)
"I Love you."
"It's your turn to make the tea." (OK maybe not that one, but that's common in relationships in England)
So are age gap relationships bad?
You can see from the list, that age or an age difference doesn't impact any factor that goes into making a strong and healthy relationship. What does impact each aspect is the thoughts and actions of each individual within the relationship.
Some of the biggest concerns stereotypically had about age gap relationships that could make them be seen as 'unhealthy', are around one party taking advantage of the other. This typically comes in the form of an older partner taking advantage of a younger's naivety and life instability (monetarily, socially, residentially or otherwise) for intimacy, or the younger seeking monetary gain from an older partner through an inauthentic display of affection.
I'm not going to say that these situations don't happen. They do. However these scenarios arising is firstly uncommon, and secondly, arise in any type or relationship; just as any factor that can build a healthy or unhealthy relationship can occur*. As with all relationships, the nature of that relationship comes down to the thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and behaviours and of each individual. Any relationship can be loving. Any relationship can be supportive. Any relationship can be abusive. Any relationship can be healthy. Anything else is just around individual differences: Interests, physicality, hair colour, etc, All of which are just about how you connect with your partner, again having zero impact on the factors that can create a successful relationship.
Because of this, it is not that age gap relationships are healthy or not, but that they are neither better nor worse than any other type of relationship. In principles however there is nothing wrong with an age gap relationship.
As such, there is nothing wrong with an age gap relationship. In principle they are no more or less healthy, valid or loving than any other kind of relationship. If the two (or more) partners are good, loving, caring people; you're likely to be on to a winner.
x The Age Gap Guys x
* If anything, I would argue that due to the scrutiny that partners are aware will occur on their relationship, if anything those in an age gap relationship are more conscious of how they fit together than those in a more common relationship.