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In Relationships When Is The Age Difference Too Great?

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 247

When Being Different Ages Is The Difference That Can Make The Difference

Recently I was asked about my thoughts on the impact that a difference in age might have on the future success of a relationship. Let me scatter some thoughts here before I answer the question specifically.

I have known of marriages that had thirty years difference between the couples which have been loving and successful. And while most often the man would have been the elder sometimes it goes the other way as well.

I have also known of marriages where the age gap has been too great and has caused endless problems especially when the older of the two has needed care for aging issues at a time when the younger still wants to be out and about living an active life. What often happens in these cases is that either the younger person in the couple stays around to care for the elder, sometimes cheerfully and sometimes resentfully, or this becomes the time for them to separate.

On the other hand I have known of marriages where there was no age difference at all and which have not been able to survive.

There are equally many stories of failure and success on both sides of the gap. And how big an age gap is too big is also a question open for debate. So is five years really too big a gap, or ten years or twenty or thirty?

How about Hugh Hefner? For those of you who don't know him, he was the man who created the Playboy Media Empire. He was to marry Crystal Harris last year but just days before the planned wedding date Crystal called it off.

Hugh was 85 and Crystal was 25. While it might have been on every one's mind that maybe that was just taking it a bit too far, and maybe she was really only after his money or fame, it seems that whatever changed her mind maybe sixty years was just a little too big a gap between them to really have had a chance of working.

But maybe it's really nothing more than a maturity thing. I'm sure we all can name people out there who are twenty and have the maturity of someone twice their age and then there are some fifty, sixty or seventy year olds who are still acting as if they are adolescents.

Maybe maturity and adult sensibility is really not about age at all as much as it's about the character of the individual.

Maybe these two could come together and create a very successful relationship.

And while we are talking about age maybe we should also be talking about gender and whether it is better that the man is the oldest of the couple. But you may be aware, as I am, that there are an increasing number of relationships in which the woman is the older and sometimes substantially so.

And we have some interesting pet names for these once unusual situations. The very much older man may be labelled a "sugar daddy", a very much older woman is labelled a "cougar". Are these people really in love or are they fame and fortune hunters, "gold diggers" even?

Who's really to know other than the couple themselves? And it's been said that sugar daddies particularly tend to have a longer life expectancy because they date younger women. Now that can't be bad can it? MMM Maybe that's why Hugh is still looking so good for his age.

So let's get serious again here. For me age, is no more or less indicative of whether a marriage can be successful or not than religion, social standing, financial position or any other cultural differences that exist.

I will put a qualifier on this statement. Any difference in the ages of a couple can cause issues for the couple and the greater the difference the more challenging it can be for the couple to overcome them. So the further apart in age you are the more likely you will face issues just as there will be issues if you attend a different church, or you live apart or your experience with money and the lifestyle you may have been raised with or your education level can also become issues for you.

The critical thing in any event is that you have open conversations about the potential issues that might be there and decide how you will manage them. All things are possible, without shame or guilt, about the choice in partner that you have made. The important thing is that you love each other and embrace the best each other has to offer in love.

So until next time - Relate with Love

Lidy Seysener

About the Author

As a qualified Counselor, Lidy Seysener specializes in helping individuals and couples make the most of their lives and their relationships. She's been Counseling for more than twenty years and can also boast having been in an enduring relationship for as long.

For more information about me or what I do take a look at my newest website: where you will find lots more information including quizzes and questionnaires. enter your details and you will get a free copy of my limited edition ebook titled 'Relationships - A Couples Journey'.

© 2010 Lidy Seysener - all rights reserved

Source: EzineArticles
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Cultural Differences Between Couples


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