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Smiling Young Woman and Older ManWhen it comes to finding true love, sometimes it’s with someone you might not have expected. Many people believe that age is merely a number when you’ve found that special someone to share forever with. Falling in love with someone who is considerably older or younger may not have been in the cards, but it looks like you might have a winning hand. Such a relationship, sometimes called a May-December relationship, presents some challenges not typically found with couples who are close in age. Here are some things you should think about.

Originally the term “May-December” came from a relationship between a younger woman and an older man. She was perceived to be in the “springtime” of her life with much ahead in terms of growth and vibrancy. He was viewed as being in the “wintertime” of his life, closer to the end of vitality. Today, the term is used for any romantic connection between two people with a significant age gap, regardless of gender. The actual difference that constitutes “May-December” will vary. A 10-year gap at ages 20 and 30 wouldn’t necessarily have the same challenges as a gap at ages 75 and 85.  Generally, the disparity would be 10 years or more for this discussion.

Acknowledging Each Other’s Path

When there’s a large age difference between you and your partner, you’ll both need to come to terms with where each other is in life. A younger person may be focused on establishing themselves personally and professionally, whereas an older partner may be more interested in simplifying life and enjoying the fruits of a long career. Open and honest communication about where you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go is critical for a successful future. It’s important to make sure that the two of you are clear and connected when it comes to your destination as a couple and individuals.

Weighing Loved Ones’ Opinions

One of the biggest challenges that these relationships face is the thoughts and opinions of family and friends. For one thing, ageism and age-related discrimination do exist, and such attitudes can sometimes influence others’ perceptions. An older woman may be stereotyped as a “cougar,” while a younger woman may be viewed as a “trophy wife.” These prejudices are unfair and can negatively impact your partnership.  If you’re committed to each other, you need to let your loved ones know that you’re a team. While you can’t force people to accept your significant other, it’s recommended that you establish boundaries, especially where respect is concerned.

A May-December relationship can be especially complicated where children and families are concerned. An older person may already have children that are much closer in age to the younger person. There may be some awkwardness in such a situation, but sometimes the younger person may be able to connect better with stepchildren who are around the same age. Also, one person may not want or may be unable to have children. Have these conversations upfront so that you know where you stand on existing and future kids.

Consider Physical Differences

While there should be a strong spiritual and mental connection between the two of you, it’s okay to acknowledge and be mindful of your physical differences. Illnesses and health conditions associated with advanced age may impact sex and other activities. Differences in sex drive and performance may present other challenges. It’s unhealthy to ignore these issues and avoid these topics. Loving healthily means being candid about your physical needs.

Love is where you find it, and there may be several years between you and your significant other. Being romantically linked to someone who is significantly older or younger comes with unique benefits and challenges. Remember that honesty, openness and respect must accompany love in any partnership, especially May-December ones.

Category: Society


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