Love Isn't Bound By the Clock or the Calendar
In the past it was common to find marriages with a significant age difference between the two partners. Particularly with very old men and very young women. These marriages, in most cases, followed not only the values of the time, but also the agreements reached between the families of each of the concerned parties. In many cases, it was about improving the social and economic status of those who were married. Love came with time.
However, these days it is common to find couples not only where the age difference is great, but also where either sex could be the older one. Although it is more frequent that the man is the older, the percentage of pairs in which the woman is older is increasing.
“Love does not end when old age comes, old age comes when love ends”
Although society in general exhibits more freedom and rights than ever before, it is striking that this type of relationship is observed with quite a prejudiced attitude. The stigma is less in the case of an older man with a younger woman but much more noticeable if it is an older woman with a young man.
Studies about love at different ages
Some studies claim that the ideal age difference in a couple is five years, in order for the relationship to become stable. There is more chance of failure in a relationship with couples who have more than an age difference of five years, and this chance of failure increases as the age difference increases.
Other studies, provided by groups of researchers including psychologists, affirm that couples with a significant age difference are the result of an attempt to fill the emptiness produced by some sort of deficiency during childhood. They explain that deep down there are unresolved conflicts, which have to do with the paternal or maternal figure depending on the type of couple. If we believe this perspective, then for a couple to really love each other in this type of situation can be really impossible.
In one way or another, unresolved conflicts come into play in all relationships. Whatever the case, the union of two people, whatever their age, is based on a need for stability in their lives. This stability has to do with how the other person complements you, in terms of emotional maturity, social prestige, economic stability or simply the desire to love each other in an unconventional way.
The future of this type of relationships
What future can a relationship have where the ages are very different? Can they really love each other? If we draw on the statistics of most studies, a relationship of this nature hasn’t got much future.
The research states that the probability of lasting at least two years is less than 20%. It is worth clarifying that these studies are biased, because they follow minority groups of specific cultures and therefore can not be generalized.
In these same statistics, it is stated that couples who manage to love each other deeply and go beyond the five-year barrier have a high probability of continuing together for an extended period of time. Therefore, using this information as a reference may have some validity, but we must be remembered that it is not a rule.
Unfortunately, for these couples it will be more difficult to learn to cope with and to assimilate the rejection that their relationship may generate in some sectors of society. This hostility is mainly due to preconceptions, and in some cases even the relatives of the couple are targeted. However, this fact, rather than weakening the relationship, can actually strengthen it, because difficulty fuels the desire on many occasions.
The important thing in every relationship
When two people fall in love, it does not matter how old they are or where they come from. What is really important is the love they have. What counts is mutual respect, trust, good communication, empathy one with the other, sincerity, knowing how to share and that each one feels good with their partner and their partner’s lifestyle.
In any type of relationship, both must do their bit in order for this to work. And while it is true that in many cases it is necessary to make concessions, individual freedom should never be given up. It is also not a good policy to try and change something about your partner’s personality.
In the end, all that matters is how good they feel with each other in this type of relationship. If they truly manage to love each other, and accept themselves as they are, they will succeed. All the rest takes second place. In this sense, it is the couple who determines the degree of understanding and happiness that they want to achieve, what level of maturity and independence they have and how much support they give each other.
It cannot be ignored that the advantages of being loved are numerous, with or without an age difference. There are a lot of misunderstandings around the concept of “maturity”. In each one of us there lives a child and an old man, ever since the day we were born. Independently of our age, what gives nourishment to love is having understanding and the capacity to complement each other. If the two partners are different, they can learn a lot from each other.