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10 real couples with a significant age difference share how they make their relationship work

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 08 Nov 2018


You cannot always help who you fall in love with, and sometimes, the person may be quite olderor youngerthan yourself. Naysayers may tell you it won't work out; however, according to couples who are in such partnerships, there are ways to make it work.Read more: 6 ways to make a relationship work if you're not the same age as your partner"I have seen couples with significant age differencesbridge that gap," relationship expert Rachel A. Sussman, LCSW, told us. "They have to have a sense of humor and be comfortable discussing the pitfalls. I also think it works well when the younger partner is very mature for his/her age, and the older partner is playful and perhaps a bit immature."Sussman, however, also said there is such a thing as too much of an age difference. "The more a couple has in common, the greater the likelihood they'll last," she said. "But when you're looking at a 30-year or more age difference, that's a huge generational difference, and those couples may struggle with certain issues that would be difficult to transcend."We reached out to real couples with significant age differences to find out how they make their relationships work. Here's what they had to say.Agree to disagree."My husband is 13 years my senior. We make the relationship work with mature wine, cheese, and conversationwe talk about everything, laugh hysterically, and forgive quickly. Because we are both professionals, we often negotiate and find arrangements that are as close to win-win as possible. Successfully agreeing to disagree when necessary has helped our marriage thrive, as well. Albert and I fully acknowledge that we may not have 50 years together, so we are on a mission to make as many fond memories as possible with one another and our children (and eventually their spouses and children)." - Lisa(48) and Albert (61)Accept your differences."My husband and I are 19 years apart; we were 21 and 40 when we started dating. It works because I gave up the notion that because I was older, I knew better, and how to love or guide a relationship better than him. We've been together for 14 years (married for two) ...We respect each other in every way. We are very different; opposite in so other many ways than our age. But we have found a balance in providing what the other needs, and that includes space: Space to be our true selves, warts and all; space to commune with friends separately; space to have differing opinions on faith. But always, together, we fundamentally know we support each other in a way no other could."- Carol (54) and Guy (35)It's all about compromise."Jake and I have been together for over 21 years. Our age difference has never really been an issue. Maybe at the very start, though I was more mature for my age so that probably helped. Our relationship differences are more about our personality differenceswhether it's hobbies and interests, introvert versus extrovert, cynical (I prefer 'realistic' or 'practical') versus upbeat, etc. These differences can be a source of frustration and annoyance, but when you learn to embrace and appreciate the differences, you realize they are what balance things out and lead to a more fulfilling and well-rounded life."No matter what the age difference, you both have to accept each other for who you are, including all those things that drive you absolutely bonkers (remembering that the grass is always greener until you get to that side; that's when you realize it has its own weeds). It's about compromise, being honest and communicative about what you're feeling, and every now and then doing something you'd rather not (or wouldn't normally) do." - Keith (42) and Jake (52)See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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