Embracing Healthy Age-gap Romance

You can’t determine the longevity of a relationship based on age. In contrast, the longevity of a relationship is based on how strong the relationship is and the bond in question.
The Love Central - Embracing Healthy Age-gap romance The Love Central - Embracing Healthy Age-gap romance
Age-gap couple hugging each other. Photo: Thomas Ronveaux via Pexels #attachment_caption
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In a society where dating apps and online dating run rampant, people know what they’re looking for. Fundamentals and dealbreakers exist to guide those on their dating paths. Often, people rule out dating prospects based on money, appearance, and age. Despite society and the previous aversion to age, age-gap romance continues to increase.

In a relationship trends report by Bumble, the dating giant concluded that this year, there would be a rise in relationships with age gaps. In fact, not only have age-gap relationships increased online, they have also increased on-screen. You might think this is a good thing but considering the films that have come out this year, we’d argue otherwise.

Exploring the Movie Titled The Idea Of You

Watch this movie and you will see one of the healthiest interpretations of age-spanning romance in recent years. Picture this: Anne Hathaway plays a 40-year-old single mom named Solene who meets a 24-year-old (Nicholas Galitzine) Hayes Campbell. Haye is the lead singer of the famous boy band August Moon and the two fall in love despite the obstacle of Hayes’ fame.

Both individuals have their struggles and perceptions of life and love but their relationship still flourishes. There is no thinking about how age gaps affect love. Refreshingly, there is no predatory nature to their relationship or any power imbalance. Look and all you see is love.

Think about it. Why are age-gap relationships portrayed negatively in the media when healthy ones exist? We’re here to debunk that theory, starting with the Idea Of You movie.

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Myth 1: Age-gap relationships are problematic

Ask some people and you will find they consider age-gap relationships problematic. On the other hand, others say that they’re not. You see, age-gap relationships are all about mutual consent and understanding. What matters most is the emotional connection between two people and the mutual understanding that there is an age gap, but it is not the focal point of the relationship.

Between both people, there should be an acknowledgement that an age difference can create challenges in relationships. However, two consenting adults have agreed to enter into a relationship, knowing they are from different generations but are legal adults.

Watching the Idea Of You, Anne Hathaway’s character Solene is at a different place in her life. She is a mother and has a successful art gallery. However, Hayes is a single man in his twenties with the world watching his every move. Yet there are no issues of consent or their obvious age gap until the two parties discuss it and until their relationship gets blasted online.

Solene is very aware of her age and even tells Hayes that she is “too old for him” and he assures her that she isn’t. While the world considers their age gap wrong, the two continue their relationship, putting their happiness and romantic connection above the opinions of online trolls.

The nail in the coffin for Solene is how the relationship affects her daughter and not public opinion. Later, her daughter even tells her that there is a double standard that’s sexist towards older women in age-gap relationships. She understands she needs to put her daughter first and so she does. Amidst the chaos, Solene and Hayes end their relationship not because of a problematic age difference, but due to her need to safeguard her daughter.

Myth 2: Age-gap romance is predatory

A common misconception is that age-gap romances are predatory. Because of Hollywood, relationships with power imbalances and predatory natures are frequent in age relationships on-screen. While it is undeniable that there are some relationships of this nature in real life, there are plenty of healthy ones also. Many age-gap relationships are based on the same foundations as other romantic relationships. A mutual attraction, respect, and love.

Assuming every age-gap relationship is predatory is regressive, and there are valid reasons why you shouldn’t do it. We see Solene get labelled as a cougar when she begins to date Hayes. This suggests their relationship is predatory as she is likened to a cougar hunting its prey. Yet the two maintain a healthy relationship the entire time.

In a healthy age-gap romance story like this, two consenting adults navigate relationship problems with mutual respect and communication. He and Solene are well over the age of consent and are both adults who discuss their feelings about navigating a relationship so publically, as any real-life couple would.

Myth 3: Age-gap romances don’t last

You can’t determine the longevity of a relationship based on age. In contrast, the longevity of a relationship is based on how strong the relationship is and the bond in question. Societal stigmas around age-gap romances work to bring couples closer. Research in a 2020 study suggested personal relationship satisfaction far outweighed any other factors in predicting how long a relationship will last.

Take Solene and Hayes as an example. Hayes integrates Solene into his jet-setting lifestyle without a second thought. Even when they face controversy and scrutiny from their age mates, they push through the stigmas and go on to meet when they are older. The same age gap still exists, but is just a footnote in their love story.

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Myth 4: Age-gap relationships aren’t good for raising children

Another myth is that having kids with someone a different age from you is bad. Look at it and consider the health of your relationship before having kids. A healthy and stable relationship is crucial in childrearing. A positive environment is essential to the development of children and the relationships they form with their parents.

Couples of different ages can still provide a loving home for children. They can offer different generational parenting perspectives that similarly-aged couples can’t. So the next time you look at your partner, don’t sweat what others say. You might be doing a better job with your children than those who dare to judge you!

In Conclusion,

Damaging stereotypes drive the myth about age-gap relationships. They are not factual! To keep a relationship, success rates are based on universal factors such as communication, trust, respect, and shared values.

By challenging these negative assumptions, you can flourish in your relationship and not be influenced by outside factors. Also remember that yes, some age-gap romances are strange if the person is concerningly young or old, but that judgement call can only be applied to individual circumstances.

Focus on the genuine connection and compatibility between partners rather than letting societal prejudices sway you. Every relationship is unique, and what matters most is the individuals involved. Embrace this perspective to allow all couples, regardless of the age difference, to build fulfilling and lasting partnerships.

Ever asked yourself the question, “Am I destined to be single forever?” 

Read this article to discover why you might need a relationship coach.

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