Having Boyfriend Who Much Older

Dear Bridestory,

After a series of bad boyfriends, I have finally met a man who makes me happy. He’s everything I’ve wanted to have in a serious relationship. The problem is he’s older, much older than me. Since he and I got together, I’ve received weird looks from my family and friends. Am I really crazy for doing this? What are the potential problems I will face by being in a relationship with someone who is from an older generation? – YoungGirlfriend

Dear YoungGirlfriend,

First of all, thank you for sharing. Although you’ve gotten your share of “jokes” when it comes to your relationship, we believe that the significant age gap does not make your relationship any less meaningful that those who are close in age. Even though yours maybe somewhat uncommon by society’s standards, it is still just as special. To understand that your relationship is “special” is to also know the challenges that you may face, that people whose partners are close in age do not. To navigate through a new relationship is already tough as it is, and when you add in the possibility of a generation gap, yours can become even more challenging. However, looking on the bright side – a significant age difference can give you the chance to consider new perspectives and to appreciate the offerings of a different generation.

We think the first thing you need to ask yourself is this: Why are you doing this?

Take a look at your motivation and understand why you want to enter a relationship with someone who is much older than you. Love knows no age, we believe that. But if you’re always attracted to someone who is part of an older generation, you might want to look at the underlying reason. A significant age difference doesn’t always mean that there’s something wrong, but to examine yourself is always worth the effort and to understand your motivation will benefit you in the long run, especially when it comes to establishing commitment.

The second question you need to ask yourself is: Are you ready to handle the generational differences?

It takes a thousand similarities to bring a couple together and takes only one difference to break them up. No matter how understanding you are and how much tolerance you have for each other, you are bound to find some difference, especially those the come as a result to the generation gap. Not only might you have different political views, you might also find each other’s interests boring and you might not understand each other’s tastes in music. The key is not about discovering them, but rather in overcoming them. You can bridge the differences by learning more about each other and to make the effort to understand each other’s point of views.

The third and last question you need to ask yourself is: Are you ready to handle the criticisms?

It’s true that you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself when it comes to choosing the person you want to give your heart to. However, we are all social beings who live in a society with other people who might disagree with our choices in romantic partners, no matter how perfect our relationship will be. With your close friends and family, this might mean taking the time and making the effort to explain why you are in love with this person. You need to consciously and continuously bring the spotlight on your partner’s personality and not on his age. You also need to be prepared for snide comments and inconsiderate remarks. To continuously get into arguments about your choice in romantic partners won’t be good for anyone, so have a simple yet polite response to the criticisms that may come your way.

When you have answered these questions and have found the confidence in your relationship, understand that age is one of the (many) difference you may have as a couple. Learn about each other and deal with your differences. At the end of the day, your commitment to the relationship is what matters. Make sure that your commitment is bigger than your differences.

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