Most of us will say yes, because age is often equated to one's level of maturity. The older the more mature, the younger the less mature and that’s where the deal breaker is, right?
Well, I beg to differ just a little bit. Age doesn’t define one's level of maturity. Don’t get me wrong, I agree maturity is important for relationships to work. All I’m saying is maturity and age have two different definitions.
Maturity is actually developed from daily life experiences depending on our surroundings.
Age, on the other hand, is the number of years you have woken up to see the sun rise on the east and set on the west!
So let’s not blame age to be a hindrance in relationships but maturity.
Why maturity is necessary for a healthy and successful couple
Maturity enables individuals to develop behaviours that allow relationships to thrive. They include: effective communication, personal responsibility, right decision making skills, trustworthiness and forgiveness.
It means communicating openly and respectfully to each other. I know at times especially when you both come to a huge disagreement your tongue slips or you just aren’t on the same page. That’s where maturity comes in, the ability to understand situations and find a common ground to resolve your issues not forgetting to apologize for words or actions that may have offended your partner. Communication in your relationship not only allows for your needs to be met but also for you to be connected on a deeper level with your partner.
This is the ability to recognize that you are responsible for your actions, words, thoughts or feelings. It calls for emotional maturity and intelligence, to avoid blaming your partner for your own mistakes or for issues you’re facing. Remember you are the captain of your ship, you own the steering wheel that steers your life. Therefore, you are responsible for your decisions, actions and behaviour.
Right decision making skills
This means making decisions that will help in putting you and your partner on the same page. Before making any decision, think of how it will affect your partner. Make decisions that will positively impact you and your partner (bringing positivity into your relationship or marriage).
Trust lays the foundation for every relationship. It means that both parties maintain integrity in the relationship in terms of full commitment without looking for other partners. It also means being comfortable with giving your partner space while they pursue their individual interests. It also means trusting your partner especially when you’re not together, let’s say when they are out with friends or even at their workspace.
Trust comes in during communication as well. If you trust your partner, you are confident to speak out your issues which gives room for them to be solved hence propelling growth in your relationship or marriage.
Let’s just be honest, no relationship can work or survive for long if forgiveness is not involved. In one way or another, you may offend your partner or they may offend you, it’s part of life. What do we do in this case? Depending on how serious the matter is, we may be coerced to leave the relationship.
Well, maturity allows us to look at the situation at a deeper level, analyze and weigh why the relationship is important to us, is it worth saving or not? Depending on your partner’s personality and the love you have for them, is your love unconditional? Can you over look the imperfections?
Other factors that affect relationships with age disparity
Maturity is not the only important factor for a relationship with an age-difference to work. We have other factors that may cause issues in age-gap relationships. They include:
What do you want to accomplish for yourself, especially if it involves your partner? For instance, do you want babies? In some cases perhaps where a young lady is in a relationship with an older man, who feels he’s too old or doesn’t want to have more babies, conflict arises or vice versa an older lady who wants to finally have a family and raise children but her partner who’s younger feels it’s not the right time for him.
Also it could be financial or social goals. The younger partner’s priorities may not be same with the older one. The younger one may still be in party-mode and the older one is past that stage and wants to progress in other areas of their lives.
For any relationship to work or for a couple to have chemistry, most of their values must match. Otherwise, it may be a turn off if one doesn’t agree with the other person’s values. For example, if your partner makes money in a dishonest way let’s say steals or sells drugs and it does not sit well with you, it may cause conflict in the relationship. So since you do not share the same values and his/ her actions may impact you negatively, the relationship won’t work and the best decision is to leave.
Sometimes, conflict may arise between you and your partner due to the different generations you two belong to. Let’s say one belongs to the millennial and the other to Gen Z, most of your interests may be different since you both grew at different times. Your taste of music may not be same; ways you have fun or spend your leisure time may not be same. For that reason, you end having very little in common. This may be an inhibitor in your relationship especially when it comes to bonding. To grow in your relationship, you have to spend time together doing things you both love.
All the above are factors to look at not only in relationships with age disparity but also in same age bracket relationships. They must be present for every relationship to work. If you have a huge age-gap and all the above factors align in your favour, then age doesn’t really matter in relationships or marriage. Maturity, goals, interests and values are what matters!