So you're in a new age gap relationship - or at least thinking about one. Great!!
Being less common, older - younger relationships bring some nuances that are unique to them. If you've not been in a May-December relationship before it can be a little overwhelming, and there may be a lot of thoughts going through your head. So straight from The Age Gap Guys, here are a few tips to help navigate and enjoy your new relationship to the fullest.
Please remember however that this is just guidance. Every person and relationship is different and should be treated as such, but we hope everyone can find at least a few principles below that can help
Relationship Tips 1-5
Tip 1: Don't Fight Your Life Stage Differences
Career, habitation situation, financial stability, family circumstances, etc. Life stage differences between older and younger partners are one of the common traits found in intergenerational relationships.
We are all - to a degree - conscious of and impacted by other people's perceptions of us. So as a new couple that perhaps yet lacks stability and confidence, we can sometimes unnecessarily fight against the stereotypes that exist around these differences. This could be in refusing career guidance, insisting on staying at a partners place, paying for a more expensive meal than they're comfortable with, and loads of other possibilities.
By ignoring the reality of situations we can be limiting ourselves and our partners from being their true selves. This can hinder a relationship from being authentic and honest, and introduce feelings of shame and guilt that can be challenging to deal with.
This is not to say to take advantage of your partner's financial/living/social/etc situation, but be realistic and open about your position and lifestyle. Through this you can find a balance on how you can work with and around the benefits and drawbacks of each others' situation.
For example when we met J (55 at the time) had his own place whilst I (23) live in a mice infested room above a pub/club. Whilst J was welcome, I didn't demand on him to split visits 50/50 mine/his, he didn't demand to always visit his nicer place, nor did I stay for days on end. This gave us both our freedom and flexibility in where we met, whilst being realistic on the situation. As our relationship grew I moved to a new place where we were both happier to spend time.
Tip 2: Talk Talk Talk
Communication is important in any relationship. Because of the different life stages, consequent challenges, and sometimes emotional issues (stigma, abuse from others etc) that can come with with age gap relationships, it can be even more important to be open and understanding with your partner.
Talking (and listening!!) about issues openly, honestly and with compassion can help both partners understand how the other is feeling, and both of you can be there to support and help each other. In new relationships this doesn't mean having super crazy intense conversations every evening, but as and when things pop up, proactively talking (not arguing) about managing situations can help any new relationship flourish.
Extra tip: Never go to bed angry. It's a classic rule but if you stick to it, can help make sure you talk things through.
Tip 3: Be Excited, Explore and Enjoy...just don't get too crazy intense
Cross generational relationships are more unusual than those close in age. So when you find someone that reciprocates your feelings and wants to enter a relationship, it can bring a wave of strong feelings towards that person. More commonly in younger partners that have likely had less relationship experience, the intensity of these feelings can result in slight confusion between love and infatuation. It's not unheard of for exclamations of love, soul mates, and relocating to happen after just a few dates.
Being with a new partner is all about exploration, fun, passion, and getting to know each other. It only happens once in every partnership, so enjoy that period of time, but try and see it for what it is and keep yourself grounded. Diving in too deep too fast can end up misinterpreting the situation, and also pressuring your partner - particularly when people talk about relocating or marrying (more common in long distance relationships) after a few months. When these emotions aren't immediately reciprocated it can result in feeling rejected and upset and possibly end up spoiling a relationship that could have been. So enjoy your new infatuation together, but keep mindful that your relationships is fresh out the box and there's no need to rush things.
If you're on the receiving end of some intense feelings, try and talk about them and address them sooner rather than later with your partner. This can help avoid the spiral of emotion getting too great that any such conversation feels like a dagger to the other partner, and gives you time to reposition and progress the relationship.
Tip 4: Let Yourself Be Pushed Out of Your Comfort Zone
One of the common 'polar attractions' for older/younger couples is the balancing of experience and exploration.
Introducing each other to new experiences and ideas, or sometimes re-evaluating the tried and tested favourites of older partners can be exciting and fun. It's something we as a couple absolutely love and trying new things is definitely at the heart of our relationship. We've learned that in pushing each other out of your comfort zones, you do however need to learn about and respect each others' boundaries. Everyone has things they just won't want to do - J definitely doesn't want to scuba dive, and O doesn't want to bungee jump. Together you can learn the 'rules' that can be bent, broken or won't budge as you delve into new and exciting experiences together.
Tip 5: Don't Freak About the Future
What will you be doing in 10 years time? How about 5 years? Don't know do you? A common concern people come to us about is 'but what about when i'm 50 and they're 75?!'
The unfortunate reality is that the majority of relationships don't last more than 6 months. So worrying about a scenario 10, 20 or 30 years away that may never come to pass is just foolish. If your relationship has the magic combo of fit, luck and hard work to last to the scenario where age becomes a factor for you, by that time you'll be a strong enough team to overcome any hurdle together. So our tip is to live for now, enjoy the moment and forging a bond together. Don't deny yourself potentially happiness because of a situation that may never occur.
There you have Part 1 of our tips to begin your age gap relationship strong - we split it up as we know there's a bit to digest there. Click here for Part 2 where we look at sex, dealing with judgement, and being yourself. We hope you found it useful!!
The Age Gap Guys x
(@TheAgeGapGuys on Instagram)