Everyone feels a little nervous when they're introducing their new partner to friends and family. However, this relationship milestone is even more stressful when there's a noticeable age gap between you and your significant other. Keep reading to learn more about some of the challenges of an age gap relationship and how you can make it work.
Dealing with Others
In all likelihood, the first challenge that you have to face probably comes from the opinion of others. There is bound to be a few raised eyebrows and even a few rude questions when you introduce your significant other to the important people in your life. You may even attract the attention of people that you don't know as they try to figure out the connection between you and your date. Unfortunately, you'll probably be put into a position where you're having to defend the legitimacy and strength of your relationship. Even more unfortunate is the fact that it may cause you to doubt and question the relationship.
Before you make the first introduction, you need to be ready for the questions that you will undoubtedly field. While you certainly have no reason to be embarrassed or apologetic for the relationship, you can make life easier by having some quick answers ready for the incoming questions. Just remember: you have to be completely confident and happy in the relationship; if other people begin voicing the doubts and concerns that you're secretly feeling, it could be your relationship's undoing.
In all likelihood, the longer your relationship endures, the less interesting the age gap will be to friends and family. As they get to know your significant other and they see the two of you interact as a couple, they will have the opportunity to see why you and your partner are a good match.
Dealing with Your Relationship
Alright, now for the "real" challenges. Ultimately, the opinions of other don't really matter when it comes to who you date. The advice of people who love you is always valuable and should definitely be considered, but when it comes down to it, your decisions are yours to make. So what challenges are you likely to see within the relationship?
Different Life Stages
A difference in age doesn't guarantee a different life stage, but it does make it far more likely that the older partner will have a wider range of experiences. Say that you're a 25 year old who is dating a 55 year old. There's a chance that you and your partner will come into the relationship with similar circumstances: neither of you has ever been married, neither one of you has children, you have similar interests and you each want the same thing from the relationship. However, there's a much greater chance that those things will not be true. For your relationship to work, you and your partner have to be confident that you have enough common ground, shared values and similar goals for the relationship.
Different Levels of Maturity
When one partner has significantly more life experience, they should have a different level of maturity. Perhaps they've endured a painful loss, a messy divorce or other events that don't necessarily have to do with their personal relationships but affect them all the same. While differences in maturity level may not be a big deal when the relationship is fresh and new, over time they can become more pronounced.
To ensure that this doesn't doom your relationship, look at these differences as assets. If your partner is younger, look at their lack of disillusionment as refreshing. If they are older, consider how they can use their knowledge and experience to help your relationship weather the difficult times.
Finally, the biggest obstacle for age gap relationships is the future. Aside from the obvious fact that one of you is likely to die much sooner than the other (now there's a happy thought!), you have to consider the fact that there will be other issues that come up. If you're a woman who is rapidly approaching midlife and you want children, and your much younger or much older partner absolutely does not, you're unlikely to change their mind before it's too late. Also, while a 30-year age gap doesn't feel horribly significant when you're 25 and your partner is 55, it will feel quite different when you're 50 and they're 80.
Be upfront about not only today's challenges, but the challenges that you will face as the years pass. As long as you don't avoid frank discussions regarding these issues, you'll be prepared to deal with them as they come up.
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