Do you suffer about an age difference with your partner?
Do people react to your and your partner's ages?
If you are fortunate or clever enough
to find a compatible partner, your
ages are only numbers; yet your ages may seem important to observers.
We help couples resolve emotional and partnership problems.
We are born with an energy for living
which, unless we actively restore it, fades with age. After about
age 25, unless we replenish our energy with a good diet,
exercise and healthy relationships, we may stop
growing up and start growing old.
The deterioration of bodily functions that accompany aging is
often seen as a one-way street to misery, suffering and death.
Yet most of the changes associated with old age are not from
natural aging but from unhealthy lifestyles.
As time passes, cellular damage accumulates and affects body functions. Common examples
hypertension and adult-onset diabetes, most of which you can manage
with diet and exercise.
Is Age a State of Mind?
Age is important in relationships - both subjective age and
body age. While an optimistic approach is that "You
are only as old as you feel", some older adults behave
like needy children, while some younger adults show powerful maturity.
If you are attracted to someone
significantly older or younger than you,
move slowly. Younger people
may be mature for their age, but they
are still their age.
Perhaps delay a commitment until you both feel ready and that you have aligned your life goals.
Older people may feel attracted to younger partners for
many reasons. They may seek lively companionship, assurance
that they are still attractive, and/or they may want to re-live their younger
Conversely, younger adults who seek more mature partners may
have tired of the immaturity of people their own age, and they prefer maturity, security and/or stability.
But increased age need not mean increased maturity ...
I wanted to get away from my parents.
This man was rich ... and much older than me ... I pretended to enjoy
sex with him and got pregnant and married him ... he flirted with my
friends, my son was sick ... I was only 23 and my doctor made me
take anti-depressants. Since your couple sessions we have a new start.
You can enjoy a secure, loving relationship with a
significant age difference ... if you and your partner understand the issues
and work together to manage them. Generally, maturity,
integrity and values are more important than age.
They reflect experience, attitudes and goals ... and predict behavior.
Partners with similar maturity, integrity and similar values solve problems much faster
and easier than immature couples
Shared values seem to be essential. While it seems healthy to have some
different interests, the pleasure of a long-term partnership usually reflects a
desire to cooperate to fulfill those shared values. And, whenever a couple have
different values, a key question is, "Are you willing to value something
BECAUSE your partner values it?"
While an age difference may affect activities such as
sports or making babies; most couples who enjoy activities
such as gardening, hiking, charity work or studying together can
keep their partnership healthy and vibrant. (Couples who work
together to benefit their families and communities often feel
On a downside, if a partner slows down as he or she ages,
a youthful exuberance of the other may become a liability. Some
people seem to use psychosomatic symptoms to stabilize their
I suffered with
chronic fatigue syndrome
for twelve years and was told that it was incurable. I heard
about Martyn's work from a good friend, and flew to meet him
for private sessions.
Within a month or so, many
of my chronic fatigue symptoms seemed to evaporate and I
planned to return to my career as an international trainer.
But after three months my partner and I were on the edge of divorce.
My regained high energy was not so wonderful for my older, retired husband.
After a crisis, my husband and I found ways in which I could be energetic
and he could be retired and we could stay married.
Do you want to concentrate on your career, focus on your children or travel a lot? Does your age difference interfere with your personal goals?
Do you and your partner support each other's desired
lifestyles? We help couples find solutions for these and similar challenges, to
create what we call double vision.
Your family, friends and community may pressure you to find a partner that they like. You may offend them if you choose a partner
from a different race, country, region or part of town. You may
offend them if you choose a person with a different education,
religious or family background. You may offend them no
matter who you partner!
I found a wonderful man! He's
quite a bit older than me, and when I announced our engagement there
was an uproar! My father hated him. My mother liked him too much.
A friend warned me that he only wanted to impress his friends.
I told that friend that
I would stay with my man ... that was years ago and we're still together.
Some people seem compelled to interfere. They may claim that
their happiness depends on your choices, or that
your choice may make them look bad. Most people accept that a
man can be older than a woman, but what if a woman
is older than a man? And many people condemn couples who prefer
If one is much older than the other, eyebrows may raise and criticism may be
heard. Parental objections can range from
mild disapproval to total rejection.
My parents were angry when they
met my older partner ... they said horrible
things and asked,
“Why does someone YOUR age want someone so old?”
Talking with them was a waste of time ... all I heard was prejudice.
They didn't want
my happiness, they wanted my obedience. After our
sessions, I relaxed a lot ...
but we were together for three years before my parents relaxed.
Younger adults may be desirable for their vitality and
sexuality. Some younger mates may be perceived as trophies to impress other people, while older partners may be
perceived as having greater resources and wisdom. Older
partners often provide a sense of integrity, maturity and emotional stability,
while younger partners can provide a sense of wonder and motivation.
I'm happier than I thought was possible. My
life partner is 18 years older than me ... and he treasures me.
I feel loved for who I am. He is mature and caring ... the younger men I
knew wanted to mess around with women or watch sports. We have been together
for eight years ... and we enjoy doing almost everything together.
Other important topics include finances, children,
career and retirement choices. We help people explore how
their age difference may affect their future lives together and to manage or prepare for whatever requires work.
If you are in a serious relationship with someone much
older or younger than you, be sensitive to your partner's concerns. Explore your own and your partner's feelings about your age gap ...
bring any issues into the
light and talk about them.
Does one of you feel threatened by younger or
seemingly more attractive people? Does one of you believe that the
other might be happier with someone closer to their own age? Is
a younger partner feel intimidated by the older partner?
Can they both enjoy each other's friends?
Relationships with significant age
differences require strong commitments.
Your families and friends may not care why you choose
to be partners.
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