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Age-gap relationships - The pit falls

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To keep the spark in your relationship spend at least half an hour every day talking to each other every day with no distraction - and yes, that's means turn the telly off!

Being the older woman in an age-gap relationship is not all sex and fun. There are disadvantages, too. Here we look at some of the problems that can occur, and ask psychologist Nazanin Azimian for tips on dealing with them.

1. Social expectations

Age-gap relationships are still seen as going against the norm, especially when the woman is older. That can put things under serious strain.

'Age gaps also attract comment when the man is older,' says Nazanin. 'Think of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, who are 25 years apart. But generally speaking, it's older-woman relationships that create the most gossip.'

If you're getting embarrassing questions or bitchy comments, ride out the storm. 'Show friends and family that you're perfectly suited,' says Nazanin. 'The novelty will soon wear off, and the age gap will be forgotten.'

2. The Sugar Mummy problem

If a younger woman is with a much older man, his bigger earning power seems natural. He earns the money - she has kids and stays at home. But when the woman is older, traditional roles go out the window.

'You may worry about becoming a meal ticket,' says Nazanin. 'Try not to let your fears wreck things. Discuss it with your lover.

'He may be hurt by the implication that he's a freeloader, but you must be honest and open about your fears. A couple who can't discuss difficult things shouldn't be together.'

3. Different ages, different pop cultures

Never underestimate the power of a Top of the Pops reference. It's never nice when you mention seeing Blondie on telly, and he says he wasn't born at the time.

The problem here isn't just gaps in conversation. It's an embarrassing reminder that you're older and wrinklier than your man. However it soon turns into a non-issue.

'Different pop culture references may seem like a big deal when you're both relatively young and you've recently started seeing each other,' says Nazanin.

'But once you've spent 10 years watching films, going out and listening to music together, your cultural references will be far more similar. Also as you grow older, your references are more to do with personal taste, and less to do with the year you were born.'

4. The sex isn't always great

You may grow more confident, experienced and frisky in bed as the years pass, but you may also grow more demanding - and your 28-year-old boyfriend may not measure up.

'Look on the bright side,' says Nazanin. 'What he lacks in experience he probably makes up for in enthusiasm. He'll also be eager to learn, whereas an older man may be more set in his ways.

'Show your younger man how to please you. Tell him what feels good. He'll love that you're turning him into a sex god - and you get to reap the benefits.'

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