If we are going by stereotypes, men my age (mid-twenties), are still out on the weekends looking for a girl to bed, to add another number to their list of conquests. Since I have turned 20, I’ve found myself in age-gap relationships. And never has the grass seemed greener.
An article published in April this year by ABC, reports on some studies which suggest age-gap couples have higher satisfaction. Despite the social prejudices age-gap couples often face, they enjoy the same longevity and outlook as those with partners from the same generation. What the article states, is that “age should be no barrier”. Beliefs, commitment, trust, values and everything else needed to make a partnership work, is what counts.
Though older men and younger women are most common, society is adjusting to the opposite scenario. Priyanka Chopra is 11 years older than her husband Nick Jonas, and Heidi Klum is 45 and engaged to 29-year-old Tom Kaulitz. The French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife is 25 years older than him – in an Elle magazine interview, she said, “If I did not make that choice, I would have missed out on life”.
Prejudice is based on the idea of pervy rich men wanting to reclaim their youth and status with young women. Disgusting gold-diggers who are willing to sleep with wrinkles in exchange for cash. Older women meanwhile, are cradle snatchers out to steal boys away from their mothers. Least forgetting, the parental issues discussed whenever dating someone older.
Society accepts “boys will be boys”. Yes, they will sleep around because of their testosterone, and they will seek a girl with an attractive appearance because that is how they are hardwired. When a below average man dates a woman considered above average, that man receives a pat on the back. He’s a local hero who other men wish to emulate. If a woman wants a man with success and an above average income however, she’s a villain.
She’s a villain who doesn’t receive praise amongst her friends. Instead, she has to defend herself. And those pervy rich men, suddenly seem naïve and sympathetically stupid. Why are men always the innocent fools while the women are manipulative handlers? Young men are intelligent enough to receive a bigger pay-check, but too dumb to understand the sorcery behind an older woman, who must be dominating the relationship.
My age-gap relationships involve three men, though one serious. Described on my post A Short Story About Love, my boyfriend is a substantially successful solicitor who has charm, intelligence, and a shared love for sarcasm. During the beginning stages, I found his success awe-inspiring. How incredible that he can afford to dine at luxury establishments casually without worry, when I save up for months and check restaurant prices.
When I fell in love on the other hand, I found his career overwhelming. I wanted to treat him in the same way and didn’t know how. There was a feeling that I should cook, clean and send explicit photos, as some kind of thank you pay check. What I later realised, was I couldn’t heal from my insecurity. The more I praised, admired and loved him, the more I compared and marginalised myself.
Fast-forward to now, and like any couple, we have issues and stubborn traits which stop us from always understanding. But we also have a tremendous amount of respect for one another. We see the world very similarly and have chemistry which, without over spilling on a corny scale, is pretty electric. And the establishments no longer have meaning, because anywhere with him is a great feeling. I’m an analytical mess who analyses their own anxiety, and his wisdom just banishes what I find stressful.
Whether age-gap relationships or similar age, we each need certain things from the people we love. This including friends – some of mine are older and their extra decade or two of lessons and knowledge, has shaped many of my strong character traits. Sometimes a younger person brings an energetic glow and an older person adds profound wisdom. Or maybe vice versa.
Society has to move past the attack on women and who they date, because judgemental views hold no factual meaning. Providing we are talking about men and women old enough to date whoever they wish. We seem to avoid attacking same-sex couples like Ellen DeGeneres and her younger wife Portia de Rossi, but when a man is involved in a woman’s romance, strong opinions are formed.
Age-gap relationships help break stereotypes on generations. I think it’s nice to see two different upbringings put together. What counts is the ability a couple has to interact with each other’s friends, find common interests, and how confident they are as people. Because if you’re going to buckle each time you receive criticism, you are in a relationship riding on rocky ground.
Regardless of age, it helps to have a good self foundation. Knowing who you are, what you want, and what you stand for is critical. That is how you create equality and partnership. Sometimes an age-gap fails when one doesn’t have that stability, but can that not be said for every relationship where one is less secure?
How do you feel about age-gap relationships? Have you been in one yourself?
If you love this post, read:
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