If you’re sweating over what to set your age range on a dating app, or just sick and tired of rolling your eyes at questions over why you’re dating someone years younger or older than you, it may be a good time to take a step back and realize there’s no rule that you have to date someone your age.
Look at John Stamos now engaged to girlfriend Caitlin McHugh, 23 years his junior, or Kourtney Kardashian, who is currently dating Younes Bendjima, who is 14 years younger than her. Wondering how to handle a big age gap in a relationship? Take some of the advice below from our experts.
“A decade or more of an age difference between a couple brings up issues that need to be discussed, sooner than later, to avoid big misunderstanding in the future,” says Cindi Sansone-Braff, a relationship coach and author of two spiritual self-help, relationship books, Grant Me a Higher Love and Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships. “My best advice is this: A couple needs to discuss the deal breaker issues openly and honestly. If the gap between them is too wide to overcome, then they can see this as a sign that their relationship is not meant to last forever."
Daniel Sher, a registered clinical psychologist says that it’s important to embrace what makes you and your partner different.
“Don’t try to behave as if you are your partner’s age — there needs to be mutual respect and mutual recognition for your relationship to work; and this is unlikely to happen unless both parties are able to be themselves. Rather, look for the character strengths that are associated with your partner as someone younger or older than you.”
“Focus on your shared values, as opposed to shared interests, since sometimes people of significantly different ages are less likely to have many shared interests,” says David Bennett, a certified counselor, relationship expert, and co-author of seven self-help books. “Values run deeper than interests anyway, so bonding in that way is ultimately going to lead to more relationship satisfaction anyway.”
“Age gaps in either platonic or romantic relationships are more and more common,” says Klay S. Williams, an author and holistic lifestyle expert. “We’ve all heard 'age is nothing but a number' and this can be true when you can feel completely yourself. If your partner sees you, all of you, know that you are with the right person, regardless of the age gap.”
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