What are age relationships and why are they controversial? – Happy magazine

Can cross-age relationships really work? We answer the most frequently asked questions about age gap relationships and explain more about what the research says

If there’s one thing that should grab the headlines, it’s celebrity relationships with a huge age gap. From Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating history chart (which revealed the then-47-year-old had never dated anyone over 25), to top 10 lists of celebrity couples with successfully (and not so much) navigating large age gaps We are fascinated with the idea that there can be a “right” or “wrong” number of years between us and our perfect match.

I’m officially too old to date Leonardo Di Caprio… pic.twitter.com/ml0h4cbLGB

— Jack Hillcox (@JackHillcox) March 12, 2019

But why do age gap relationships cause so much controversy? And what does the research really say? Let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions about dating someone who is significantly older or younger than you.

What are age gap relationships?

An “age gap relationship” usually refers to a couple who are dating seriously or casually, with an age difference of at least 10 years, although some people use the term to refer to shorter gaps . The exact number of years for a relationship to “count” as an age difference can also vary based on what is considered culturally normal, with other factors such as a person’s gender or age affecting how of “acceptable” others can see this gap. how. For example, someone is more likely to show concern about a younger woman dating an older man because of grooming fears, even though young people of any gender identity and sexual preference can be at risk of dating preparation

Anyone can be in an age relationship: a celebrity, a friend, a family member, or a colleague. Age gap relationships can also happen at any point in your life, although someone in their 20s dating someone in their 30s is more likely to experience comments or rejection from other people than a couple in their 50s and 60 years.

Why are relationships between ages frowned upon?

However, many people in age-disparate relationships report that they face stigma almost four in 10 (39%) of us have dated someone for 10 years or less that we According to the research, men are more likely to have dated someone 10 years or more younger than them (25% compared to 14% of women), while women are more likely to have dated someone 10 years older or more (28% compared to 21% of men). ). More than half (57%) of us would be open to dating someone a decade or more older than us, while just under half of us (49%) would consider seeing someone 10 years younger.

Although about half of us are open to dating by age, research has shown an imbalance in the social acceptance we consider for men and women to date someone significantly younger than themselves. 55% of people believe it is more socially acceptable for a man to date someone 10 years or more younger than them than for an older woman to date a man of the same age difference.

But why is that?

One study suggested that our negative stereotypes and prejudices toward age gaps in relationships may stem from concerns that one partner is using the other in some way, either by taking advantage of their emotional immaturity, vulnerability, or inexperience, or different financial situations.

It is believed that others may care about those in age relationships, judging them based on their different life stages. For example, someone might assert that an older man dating a younger woman is having a mid-life crisis or trying to “recapture his youth,” while a younger woman might be seen as a potential matchmaker. gold or someone who is being taken advantage of. of Another major concern may be that a younger partner may feel financially trapped or indebted to an older partner, due to their different financial situations.

others studies have suggested that relationships in which couples are of a similar age may be more likely to last, as their similar life stage may make them more resilient to negative life events. However, experts have also highlighted that levels of maturity and lived experiences are not always linked to our chronological age.

Another concern that has taken particular media attention in recent years has centered around the discovery that our prefrontal cortex continues to develop and mature up to the age of 25. This means that although society often views us as fully mature adults in age. from 18, our brains continue to develop into our 20s.

Essentially, the rational part of our brain, responsible for complex behavior such as risk management, impulse control and long-term planning, doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. This revelation has led some people to consider any age difference too much. more than a couple of years to be potentially questionable or cause for concern for those in that age range.

What does the research have to say about age gap relationships?

Studies have suggested that it could be men’s general willingness to consider younger women as partners evolutionary roots.

Some studies have suggested that one of the main challenges people face in age gap relationships may stem from a lack of social support, rather than a lack of satisfaction within the relationship itself. This may be due to the stigma either or both partners face, judgment or criticism from friends, family or even strangers.

However, it’s worth noting that other studies have found that there can be many benefits to being in a relationship with someone your own age. For example, women in relationships with younger men have been shown to have higher levels of relationship satisfaction than those with committed partners their own age, thanks to feelings of greater equality in terms of money and professional progression Studies have even suggested that those in relationships of age may live longer.

How much age difference is too much?

There is no hard and fast rule about what kind of age gap is or isn’t acceptable in any relationship. Although couples are typically one to three years apart in age in many cultures, each individual will have a different comfort level that they feel is right for them. How explains the psychiatrist Dr. Loren Olson, “We have a chronological age, a psychological age, a physical age and a sexual age. Age-gap couples are often compatible in the last three.” So just because our physical age isn’t a socially accepted “perfect” match, it doesn’t mean we’re not compatible.

It’s also worth noting that with greater age differences, greater challenges can arise. These can include different health and energy levels, different life priorities and experiences, as well as prioritizing plans to settle down, raise a family or even retire.

Why are age gaps still such a taboo subject?

Many people worry that age relationships are, in essence, a power imbalance that leaves younger and less experienced partners vulnerable to coercion, abuse, or being taken advantage of in some other way. While this may be a valid concern, especially when you hear about large age gap relationships between 18-25 year olds with partners in their late 20s or older, this automatic assumption that all age gap relationships are predators may also cause younger couples to be less. likely to open up about concerns or problems that may arise in their relationship. That’s why it’s so important to let friends, family, and loved ones know you’re there to listen if they ever need help.

Can cross-age relationships be healthy?

Whether a relationship is healthy or not can depend on many different factors. Although studies have suggested that relationship satisfaction can be high for couples in some relationship ages, other studies have found that satisfaction can decrease with age, especially if there are monetary difficulties.

Power dynamics, financial stability, and emotional well-being can all play a role in whether a relationship is healthy and successful for both parties involved. While we’ve all heard of celebrities with successful relationships with a huge age gap, and many of us will have older relatives who have been married for decades despite their age differences, only we can decide whether our relationship and individual circumstances are adapted to our needs.

What makes a healthy relationship?

Counseling Board member, sex therapist and couples counselor Elisabeth Marriner, MSc, explains more about what makes the couple’s relationship healthy. “Differences of opinion and occasional arguments are not only important in healthy relationships, but they are a sign that things are more robust… if they are handled reasonably within limits, and there is a shared expectation of repair.

“Every relationship is unique and complex. The combination of factors—belongingness, comfort, and room for growth—can lead to shared feelings of safety, security, and trust.”

Integrative Counselor and Advisory Board Member Fran Jeffes, BA (Hons), MBACP, explains more about the importance of self-love, kindness and self-compassion as the foundation of build healthy relationships.

“Building healthy relationships starts with being kind to yourself. Having a level of self-awareness and knowledge about your own past, as well as your present thoughts and feelings, allows you to represent yourself to the world with dignity and respect. This is the first step to creating healthy relationships with others.”

Find help and support in relationships

Our relationships can change over time, for better or for worse. If you’re concerned about your communication with your partner, changing life goals or priorities, or changing levels of satisfaction or happiness, working with a relationship therapist or couples counselor can help.

Relationship counseling, whether done individually or as a couple, can help provide a safe space where you can talk openly about your worries, concerns, and needs, without fear of judgment. Together, you can explore and express what you want and need from your relationship, gaining a better understanding of each other’s perspectives, while being guided and supported to strengthen your relationship.

Member of the Advisory Board i Councilor Jennifer Warwick Find out more about relationship counseling.

Over time, some relationships can make us feel like we’ve lost a sense of ourselves and who we are as individuals. Working with a qualified and experienced therapist can help us better understand how we feel, identify areas where we may feel we need extra help or support, and improve our communication skills.

Are you ready to connect with a counselor or want to learn more about relationship therapy and how it can help you? visit Directory of advice or enter your details below to find a qualified and experienced relationship therapist online or near you.

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