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Does age matter?

Does age matter?
Highlights

Age difference does not need to be a primary concern in your relationship, if you have mutual interests and friends, and you are able to discuss your uncertainties in a frank and honest manner. As long as you have love and respect for one another, and a deep connection, age really is just a number, say relationship experts

Marriage is a beautiful and sacred institution. But it is marred by the wrong selection of partners, exaggerated expectations between spouses, adjustment problems, low tolerance levels and the failure to understand limitations of marriage.

They say biologically, sexually and reproductive health-wise short gap up to four to five years, where the girl is younger, works well. If there is compatibility, love and affection, age may not matter for some. Ultimately it is the individual's choice.

But does age really matter? And do couples with large age gaps experience poorer (or better) relationship outcomes compared to couples of similar ages?

Age difference in marriage

It is said "age is just a number". The age gap does not matter when there is mental maturity, love, understanding and compatibility. Different age gaps work differently for different couples. There cannot be a single rule.

In wide age-gap marriages, the reality will hit hard after some time and the initial love spark may fade. Such marriages tend to split faster.

Why doesn't age matter to some?

Although men and women place importance on a partner who is warm and trustworthy, women place more importance on the status and resources of their male partner.

This is largely because, with women being the child bearers, the investment is very high on their behalf (time and effort in child bearing and rearing).

So, they are attuned to looking for a partner who will also invest resources into a relationship and family.

Does age matter?

The success of a relationship depends on the extent to which partners share similar values, beliefs and goals about their relationship; support each other in achieving personal goals; foster relationship commitment, trust and intimacy; and resolve problems in constructive ways. These factors have little do with age.

So, the reality is, while an age gap may bring about some challenges for couples, so long as couples work at their relationship, age should be no barrier.

Reproductive aspects

In olden days of early marriages, the norm was that the boy older than the girl. A woman attains menopause around 48-50 years.

Her fertility potential or reproductive capability is best between 20-30 years. Later the capability decreases and eggs in the ovary start reducing. But when it comes to man, he can produce sperms even at 70-75 years and also can father a child.

Here are some ways to handle a relationship when there is a significant age gap.

Be open about expectations

You need to be aware of your partner's expectations from your relationship. This applies to any relationship, but it's of particular importance if there is a significant age difference.

An older man may want a younger woman to give him a child while the woman may be more focused on financial security. Different expectations may not always be the case, but they have to be considered.

Accept responsibilities

At some point, the aging spouse may need long-term health care, and may no longer be able to do certain things that you both enjoy.

In that case, you have to ask yourself if you are prepared to become their caretaker, give up some activities, live a celibate life and take on extra household tasks.

You may say 'yes' without hesitation now, but will that still be the case in 5, 10, or 20 years' time?

Accept your partner's immaturity

You must view your partner as a full-grown adult, not your 'prodigy' to teach, shape, or mold.

No one likes to hear criticism when the basis is a large age difference and, presumably, more wisdom. Furthermore, age alone is not the only barometer of maturity.

Deal directly with uncertainties

Do not allow the age gap to become the elephant in the room. Discuss your concerns openly and honestly, and try to come up with mutually acceptable solutions to any problems you may be experiencing.

Treat this relationship like any other

If you are not focusing on the age gap, then this relationship should be viewed the same as any other one! It's not better or worse for the age difference...it just "is."

Be confident in your decision to be in this relationship. Having a strong connection is the most important part of any relationship regardless of age, gender or cultural differences.

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