For UK relationships, the average age gap is around two years. But just because your relationship’s age gap is outside the average, that doesn’t mean it can’t work. In fact, age gap relationships are much more common than they used to be, and while these “May-to-December” romances used to raise a few eyebrows, that’s not so much the case any more. These days, we understand that relationships aren’t that predictable, and that it’s just as easy to fall for someone outside your age group as it is to fall for someone who’s close to your own age.
However, while these relationships are just as wonderful as any other, there are certain unique problems that can sometimes be difficult to overcome. But for every problem there’s a solution, and it’s definitely possible to make these kinds of relationships last.
Dating outside your own age group means being with someone whose life experiences are probably significantly different from your own. That means it’s sometimes difficult to connect, because chances are you see and experience the world very differently, but it also means you both have a lot of unique insights to offer your partner.
Whether it’s security or the wisdom that comes with life experience, a sense of adventure or delight in everything the world has to offer, your partner has a lot to share with you. The key is being open to it, even if it differs widely from what you’re used to. And, even though you’re different in many ways, you’ll have fun finding the common ground that you share, too.
In an age gap relationship, it’s often the case that at least one if not both partners is used to living alone, or used to doing things in a certain way. When that’s the case it’s often hard to come together and agree on some of these things, and this can be a common source of friction for people in age gap relationships.
For instance, your partner might be upset by something that doesn’t mean as much to you, or you may find that something that’s important to you isn’t important to them. Or, you may have specific household tasks or rituals that are important to you. To solve this problem, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that these differences do exist, and respectful enough to try and see things from your partner’s point of view. Make sure your partner knows that you respect their point of view, and you value what makes them different.
Two people who are of very different ages are typically at completely different points in their lives. Someone in their thirties might be ready to think about becoming a parent, while their 50-something partner has an adult child and perhaps isn’t interested in parenting again. For any relationship to work, it’s important that you have the same desires and goals—and for an age gap relationship it’s particularly important that you’re honest about what you want from life and from the relationship, and realistic enough to know when your goals are too different to mesh.
Although age gap relationships are definitely more common and more accepted than they used to be, there are still bound to be people who will be negative about your relationship simply because of the age gap. Ignore them as much as possible — only you and your partner know what your relationship is like, and only you have the power to decide whether your relationship will work. If you’re happy, you can safely ignore anyone who has anything negative to say.