Home Personal Wellness Why Age Gap Relationships Don T Work

Why Age Gap Relationships Don T Work

by Kristin Beck
Why Age Gap Relationships Don T Work

Why Age Gap Relationships Don T Work

“If you’re looking for love, the internet can help you find it. But if your soulmate isn’t right in front of you, there’s always dating websites that offer compatibility matchmaking services. One popular website is eHarmony.com which claims to use cutting-edge science to create matches based on personality traits and shared life goals. In addition to the site’s online questionnaire, users also receive a report with information about their personalities, preferences, values, and beliefs. Users must pay $39.99 per month or $299.99 annually for access to this service.
However, not all daters turn to such sites when they want to meet someone special. Some prefer to search for potential partners at bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, etc., where they can interact directly with other people. Others might prefer to set up dates via an online dating site for two reasons: 1) they don’t want to risk meeting someone inappropriate, and 2) they don’t want to waste time arranging dates. Online dating allows them to screen prospective mates much faster than if they were going out into the world to look for new friends — especially since most people today are so busy making ends meet.
Online dating has its pros and cons. For instance, because of the anonymity of online interactions, some people feel comfortable expressing themselves in ways they wouldn’t do face-to-face. The downside? Potential suitors could say whatever they wanted without fear of being judged by others. On the other hand, some women complain that men tend to lie about their ages (and sometimes their height!) in order to appear younger.
One thing’s for sure: While online dating definitely saves time over traditional methods, it can result in mismatched relationships. That’s because while we may think that our lives resemble the movies “”The Graduate”” and “”When Harry Met Sally,”” the reality is that most people are not as free as Benjamin Braddock or Billy Crystal’s characters in those films.
A recent study published by the American Sociological Association found that older adults are more likely than younger ones to form romantic relationships with people outside their own age group. Researchers said that although the majority of participants reported having dated within their same age range previously, they preferred to date across the age gap. They believed that the benefits outweighed the disadvantages. So what exactly are the benefits? And why does it work? Read on to learn the answers to both questions.
Benefits of Age Gap Dating
First off, let’s talk about the advantages of age gap dating. There are several factors that contribute to whether people choose to pursue age gap relationships. Research indicates that people from different generations often share similar core values, including openness to change, self-reliance, independence, egalitarianism, respect for authority, traditionality and social activism.
But even though individuals from each generation may hold certain commonalities, they still bring unique experiences to their relationships. As a result, age gap couples need to develop skills to deal with differences between their perspectives. Dr. John Cacioppo, professor emeritus in psychology at University of Chicago, says that couples have to make a lot of joint decisions for example, where to live, how many children to have, and how to spend their money. Couples who are more dissimilar, and age difference is one source of dissimilarity, may be less likely to agree on these joint decisions. This will then become a source of conflict.
Another advantage of age gap relationships is that they allow older people to experience intimacy without feeling pressured to take care of their partner’s needs. It takes time for elderly people to get accustomed to living alone and adjusting to changes in their lifestyle. However, studies show that older people who are married or partnered suffer higher rates of depression compared to single seniors. By contrast, research shows that those who are involved in age gap relationships don’t seem to suffer from loneliness despite living alone.
Finally, some psychologists believe that age gap relationships give older people greater freedom and flexibility to follow their interests. Many baby boomers grew up during the Great Depression and World War II, which shaped their political views and personal values. These values include hard work, financial security, family stability, community involvement, patriotism, religious observance, and cultural continuity. With age gap relationships, boomers can continue fulfilling their values without worrying about bringing another person along.
So now that we’ve learned the benefits of age gap dating, let’s examine why it doesn’t work.
Disadvantages of Age Gap Dating
Unfortunately, just like any type of relationship, age gap relationships come with risks too. Not only are they vulnerable to conflicts due to differences in values, but they also run the risk of becoming emotionally entangled with unsuitable partners.
It’s important to note that before embarking on a romantic relationship with someone of a different age, it’s vital to conduct a thorough background check. Do your research; ask around among friends and acquaintances who know the individual well. Ask about his/her job, education level, income, hobbies, childhood years, health issues, credit history, criminal record, mental condition, substance abuse problems, etc. If you spot red flags, don’t hesitate to back away.
As with any relationship, communication breakdowns happen in age gap relationships. However, there tends to be fewer misunderstandings as a result of age gaps. Experts say that because of the distance between generations, they don’t need to rely as heavily on nonverbal cues to communicate effectively. Rather, they use verbal language, gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body posture to convey their feelings.
Also, because of the physical changes associated with aging, some experts worry that age gap lovers won’t be attracted to their partners’ appearance later in life. According to Dr. Jeffrey DeGroat, clinical psychologist, “”Older persons may be turned off by younger partners’ perceived lack of interest in their growing old gracefully.”” He believes that the best way to avoid this problem is for older partners to take classes designed specifically for the mature crowd, such as art lessons, dance classes, cooking courses, travel seminars, exercise programs, and day trips together.
While age gap relationships aren’t necessarily doomed, they should be approached with caution. Before jumping into bed with someone of a different age, consider the following tips:

Make sure you understand your partner’s expectations. You’ll have unique responsibilities as a caregiver and provider. Consider taking classes to improve your ability to handle these roles responsibly.

Be open about your weaknesses and limitations. Your partner may expect you to be stronger physically, mentally, financially or socially. Let him/her know your current situation and future plans.

Learn to accept compliments and praise from your partner. Remember that no matter how old you are, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Accept that your partner’s maturity level differs from yours. Treat him/her accordingly.

Try to compromise and listen carefully to each other. You don’t have to agree on everything.

Be realistic about your expectations. Understand that you’ll probably grow apart eventually.

Have fun! After all, regardless of your age, everyone deserves a good time.


In conclusion, age gap relationships are nothing to sneeze at. Even though they carry some inherent risks, they can lead to long-lasting connections. Just remember to proceed with caution, and always keep safety as your top priority.
Source: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-relationship-expert/201307/is-age-gap-dating-a-thing-of-the-past-or-future”


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