Age gap Psychology Today
Age-gap couples can enjoy a loving relationship.
When older-man-younger-woman age-gap couples first marry, they generally feel emotionally more or less the same age. Some of these relationships may include aspects of a father-daughter kind of closeness. In many cases though the kinds of marriage problems and delights that they face are the same as those faced by most new couples.
During the long period of "midlife", ages 25-65, such couples often enjoy life together quite comfortably. How well they fare, however, is likely to depend on the extent of their skills for talking cooperatively about their differences. When, for instance, one spouse would like to have children and the other is more interested in visiting his grandchildren, the spouses need solid skills for talking cooperatively to create solutions that work optimally for them both.
As they continue to age, they will continue to need to negotiate differing life-stage desires . Strains between his desires and hers may arise as he faces retirement while she is still heading upwards career-wise. Similarly, as his physical decline brings age-related decreases in ability to enjoy sports or travel, the couple may need to find new leisure interests to pursue together. Again, as with any couple, the more, quantitatively and qualitatively, that spouses differ, the higher their skill level needs to be at talking sensitively together and finding win-win action plans.
The same age-gap may feel larger in the elder years.
Then comes the potentially toughest part. The challenges may increase exponentially for age-gap couples as an elder spouse enters the twilight years.
A thoughtful friend of mine, author and teacher Joan Baronberg, wrote the following brief essay that encapsulates the realities of the autumn years of aging.
by Joan Baronberg
I've been thinking about parallels between growing up and growing older.
The older we get, the more like little children we become. Very old people are often quite self-centered, focused on their own primal needs. They require progressively more physical help to accomplish the basics of eating and toileting. They whine and cry, sometimes as easily as, and sounding like, little kids. Anger too is closer to the surface.
Then there are the "growing pains." We talk about aches and pains in the legs of youth as "growing pains." As we age we get more aches and pains in all our bones. So are these "ungrowing pains?" Is all the other aging stuff "ungrowing" too?
We talk of life as a cycle. I picture the changes like a graph on a chart. We move to the apex and then down from it.