Relationships with an age gap can be good, but they can also be bad. Here is advice to make sure you’re in one of the good ones.
Lots of people have an age gap in their relationships, this refers to when someone in their teens is going out with someone in their 20s, 30s or older.
Why they can be good
Having an older partner can be great. They are more likely to have their own place, more cash and a car. They might be more confident and knowledgeable about life. They might be really good at sex and relationships. All this can help them to seem really hot (see terms, MILF, Mrs Robinson, Sugar Daddy, Silver Fox, Cougar, Bear). So far so good.
When they aren’t so good
Lots of people get very worried about a big age gap in relationships, including people like me.
Young people lack the confidence, experience and knowledge that older people have (that is what being young is about): sometimes older people can use this to their advantage.
Young people often have less experience of healthy mutual relationships – sometimes people can use this to their advantage.
They can persuade young people to do things that they are not comfortable with, to go beyond their boundaries, or to have sex with other people or to get them to use drink or alcohol, or to get them involved in prostitution against their will. Often they can buy the trust and affection of the younger person with money or expensive presents. This can happen with same and different gender relationships.
Relationships, where one person has all or most of the power, aren’t usually very healthy (which is different to power play within relationships)
Make sure it’s healthy
However just because someone is older, doesn’t meant that they are evil. Some relationships with age gaps work well. Any relationship which has trust, safety, communication and independence as well as sharing good times and fancying each other can work out. However when you are in a relationship it can be difficult to step back and observe what’s going on.
So if you are in a relationship as a younger person think about these things:
- Are you being treated like an equal, or are they treating you like a kid?
- Do you feel you owe your partner anything (for example in return for gifts)?
- Do they let you do your own thing?
- Are you doing things you don’t like or think are wrong?
- Do you trust that they aren’t going to hurt you?
- Have you met their friends (or has your partner met yours?)?
- What do your parents say? Does your partner discourage you from talking to your parents about the relationship?
How do you feel about the relationship now?
© Justin Hancock, 2015