How to Deal with Age Gap Dating Dilemmas
Description: For couples with an age gap, dating can throw up some difficult emotional dilemmas. How do you deal with being in a different stage of life from your significant other? Our article explores some of the problems faced by couples with an age gap.
Sometimes we meet someone unexpected, and everything just clicks. Whether you’ve been on the dating scene for a while, or you’re working through the best dating sites review platforms recommend, we sometimes fall for someone different from us. They might come from a different cultural background or work in another profession but, if the sparks fly, who cares? All you know is that you like who you like.
But what about when it comes to age? Can relationships work across generational divides? What are some of the potential problems or pitfalls that couples with an age gap can run into? We asked the relationship experts to help us get to the bottom of the age gap in dating!
Age Gap Dating: What Does the Research Say?
Relationship research shows that, when dating with an age gap, there are certain common patterns that couples tend to follow. For example, age gap dating statistics show that, in general, men are more physically attracted to younger women. Conversely, women are more likely to approach older men on dating sites than to pursue men in their 20s. These studies also reveal that, while younger men often desire older women slightly, this preference decreases with time.
Researchers suggest that these trends are present because of the biological nature of attraction. Women’s attractiveness to men is evolutionarily linked to their fertility, which peaks between ages 20-25 and declines steadily until menopause. Similarly, men’s attractiveness is often linked to their ability to provide stability and protection. In modern society, this stability is commonly viewed as financial. Since men generally reach the height of their careers and financial prowess in middle age, this is considered a desirable age for young women.
Confidence also often increases with age, and men may feel more confident in pursuing younger women once they have more professional power and life experience. However, while it is relatively common for men to desire younger women (and women to be attracted to older men), age gap dating is still relatively rare. Most couples fall roughly within the same age range, and a statistically normal age gap for dating is around 2-4 years.
Pros and Cons of Age Gap Dating
Despite most couples being within the same age range, many happy, functional couples date with a large age gap. Some people even actively seek this out and will want an age gap to date, someone. However, many people are wary of age gap dating and for some reason. It isn’t always easy bridging an age gap divide. Here are some of the pros and cons you might hear about when looking for age gap dating advice:
Pro – A Refreshing New Perspective
Age gap relationships work because younger people can often offer older people the feeling of a new lease on life. Older people may feel attracted to younger partners if they feel their life has grown stagnant. They may not want to settle down with someone their age who no longer wants to experience new things. A younger partner can give them this fresh perspective.
Similarly, a younger person may be attracted to an older person’s maturity or sense of perspective on life. If you’re tired of dating people your own age who seem immature, you could try dating sites for more mature partners. Check out a list of age gap dating site reviews and see if any fit the bill!
- Con – Societal Pressure
One of the biggest problems cited by couples with a large age gap is the judgment and criticism they receive from other people. Of course, if people are in a stable, loving relationship, they can choose to ignore what others say. But this is not always easy, especially when the criticism comes from friends and family. If this describes your situation, remember to put yourself and your relationship first. Partnerships are extremely personal, age gap dating or not, and no one knows how your relationship works except you.
- Pro – Wider Range of People to Date
When it comes to dating, it’s perfectly reasonable that you wouldn’t want to limit your options. After all, love comes in many forms, and you may not want to dismiss partners for arbitrary reasons if you feel that you have a connection. If you meet your perfect match, but there’s an age gap, dating rules may go right out the window – and rightly so.
Remember, things do not always line up neatly the way we imagined them when it comes to dating. Sometimes, you’ve got to think outside the box and try something new. You never know what you might discover!
- Con – Generational Gaps
Of course, the age gap dating does come with some legitimate downsides if the gap is too great. Generally, researchers have found that couples have the most success when their ages are within the same ten-year range. This is believed to come down to the generational gap between people born in different eras. Although there may be crossovers, people from different generations tend to have different values and prioritize different things. If there’s a large age gap, dating may be difficult.
On top of this, you and your partner may occupy different phases of life if your ages are too far apart. For example, if you are in your 20s, you’re in a very fluid, exploratory stage of life. However, someone in their late 30s is unlikely to share the same goals and may want something more stable. If you’re unsure about whether you and a partner match up age-wise, try out an age gap dating calculator to find out.
Still, wondering what’s an acceptable age gap when dating? When it comes to dating, what’s appropriate is up to you and depends on what you want from a relationship. So long as your age gap works for you (and falls within the legal age of consent parameters), then we’d say, good for you! Remember, what’s best for someone else may not be best for you, and age is just a number.
Final Call: Are you in a relationship with a large age gap? Tell us about it! What difficulties or judgments do you and your partner face? Have you ever broken up with somebody because of your age difference? Share your stories in the comments!
Miranda Davis is a freelance writer in the relation and psychology area. Miranda is interested in such topics as building healthy relationships between people, love/sex compatibility, and how to find the right balance in life in general. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves cooking and long-distance walking.