When Age Matters in a Relationship

Falling in love doesn't require taking age into consideration. If you and your partner are both at the same-ish place in your lives, understand each other and want the same things, then age ain't nothing but a number. But finding yourself in a latent power struggle or divide, or having to defend "your generation," means the age difference definitely matters. Here are three red flags that let you know a serious relationship re-think is in order. 

You and your partner don't have the same ideas about aging

Cold, hard and cringe-inducing reality: aging is different for women than men. Susan Sontag said, "getting older is less profoundly wounding for a man, for in addition to the propaganda for youth that puts both men and women on the defensive as they age, there is the double standard of ageing that denounces women with special severity."  If your relationship isn't outside of this dilemma, that is, if you feel on the defensive about age when you're together, then it'll be impossible for your partner and you to really "see" each other. Being different ages shouldn't create a difficult divide or power struggle that you have to grapple with in your mind, just like gender roles shouldn't.

Your partner rags on "your generation"

Lumping you in with an entire generation isn't conducive to respecting / empathizing with age-specific issues you're experiencing. If your partner doesn't take your issues seriously, how can they take you seriously? Help your partner understand where you're coming from, and understand where they're coming from. You don't have to agree on everything, but you have to respect each others opinions. If they can't, ditch your partner and find some supportive people to surround yourself with who know what you're talking about – and listen to you.   

Your partner can't accept their age

If your partner can't accept their age, hearing them talk about the age difference between you will be confusing and irritating. Your partner probably isn't trying to deliberately mislead you – it's possible they're not clear on their own feelings about where they currently are in life. If your partner is going through a major quarter / mid life crisis and feels like their lives are spinning out of control, then being in a relationship will be destructive for both of you if you can't be honest about your feelings. You might feel used, taken advantage of, or left by the wayside. But first, your partner needs to be honest with themselves. Nothing you do can force that. 

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Tags: age, age difference, aging, agism, bad relationship, balanced relationship

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