Ben 10? Should you date a

How to make your re­la­tion­ship work if there’s an age gap be­tween you and your part­ner

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Mo and Phindi Groot­boom

A COU­PLE’S VIEW Power cou­ple and co-au­thors, Mo and Phindi, ad­vise a wo­man who is wor­ried about dat­ing a man 10 years younger than her

IAM 40 years old and I am dat­ing a man who is 10 years younger than me. He is such a great guy; he calls fre­quently to check up on me, has taken me out on sev­eral dates and paid the bill and mas­sages my feet when I visit his place af­ter work. He is just too per­fect and ma­tured than other men older than him whom I pre­vi­ously dated. I have of­ten been of the no­tion that age is noth­ing but a num­ber, but my friends are adamant that he is act­ing this way be­cause this is the start of a po­ten­tial re­la­tion­ship and like all men, he will change as well. I like him very much, but I am wor­ried about the age fac­tor. Is age ev­ery­thing or just a num­ber? Can I go ahead and date a young man with­out be­ing scared of what peo­ple will say?

WOR­RIED LOVER

FIND­ING a lov­ing and car­ing man who is gen­uinely into you is not easy. Women of­ten be­come anx­ious when they reach the age of 40 be­cause al­most ev­ery man their age is un­avail­able. The re­main­ing ones are rid­dled with re­la­tion­ship is­sues such as fear of com­mit­ment, midlife-cri­sis and player syn­drome. Most of them be­lieve they’re do­ing fine, but fail to re­alise that few peo­ple want to hook up with them.

LIM­IT­ING BE­LIEFS

So if at 40 you caught your­self a good one, reel him in. Love him back even more.

There’s noth­ing stop­ping you from dat­ing him ex­cept your own lim­it­ing be­liefs and too much at­ten­tion to so­cial pres­sures.

It might work or it might not, but that’ll be the same as with some­one your age. We’re not so con­cerned about him, as he seems fine with dat­ing

a wo­man 10 years his se­nior, oth­er­wise he wouldn’t be there. How­ever, we’re more con­cerned about you and why the age gap seems to bother you.

What if you didn’t know of his age and were sim­ply dat­ing a man who seems lov­ing and car­ing to­wards you? If he has gen­uine in­ten­tions, does his age mat­ter? WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND There are some things to keep in mind when dat­ing a man much younger than you:

Less bag­gage: When you en­ter into a new re­la­tion­ship, you bring for­mer lovers along with you. But a younger guy likely has less bag­gage. Men can have pre­con­ceived no­tions about women and re­la­tion­ships based on past ex­pe­ri­ences. The younger and less ex­pe­ri­enced he is, the more open he’s likely to be in your re­la­tion­ship. How­ever, less bag­gage can also mean a lack of re­la­tion­ship skills such as com­mu­ni­cat­ing and re­solv­ing prob­lems and con­flicts. Be se­lec­tive about your battles and learn to com­pro­mise on stuff that’s not vi­tal to your re­la­tion­ship. More en­er­getic: You might have calm and ma­ture dinner dates ev­ery now and then, but be ready for a lit­tle bit of ad­ven­ture. Younger men are as ad­ven­tur­ous out­side the bed­room as they are in­side it and they’ll bring out a more youth­ful, vi­brant side of you. Don’t fight that, em­brace it. He’s likely to see you as smarter, so he’ll want to please you, not just phys­i­cally, but emo­tion­ally and in­tel­lec­tu­ally. He’ll come up with cre­ative date ideas that will bring ro­mance and a youth­ful en­ergy and make you feel em­pow­ered and ap­pre­ci­ated. Mis­matched pri­or­i­ties: It’s im­por­tant to set the ground rules and mu­tu­ally agree from the on­set about what both your in­ten­tions are about each other and the re­la­tion­ship. Depend­ing on which stage of life he is in, he’s likely not ready to set­tle down yet as much as you prob­a­bly are or want him to be. Get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing chil­dren may not be top of his pri­or­i­ties. Fur­ther­more, he may still want to re­main highly con­nected with his peers than cou­ple up with you. This is where he de­rives a big part of his iden­tity still. Un­so­licited ad­vice: When­ever he's faced with a chal­lenge, try to un­der­stand where he’s com­ing from, but don’t try to give him ad­vice or “when I was your age” lec­tures. He’ll go through a lot of first time ex­pe­ri­ences while dat­ing you and they may be a big deal for him. Let him be. Oth­er­wise you’ll start to sound pa­tro­n­is­ing and open up a whole new can of worms. Know when you can of­fer help and when he just wants you to lis­ten to him.

SO­CIAL TABOO

Fi­nally, dat­ing a guy much younger than you is a so­cial taboo. Ex­pect to be looked at funny and be talked about. It sim­ply comes with the pack­age.

How­ever, it’s more im­por­tant what you think and be­lieve than how ev­ery­one else, in­clud­ing your friends, feel about the sit­u­a­tion. You don’t have to de­fend your­self to any­one, but you do need to find a way, prefer­ably with your boyfriend, to shut peo­ple up. Re­la­tion­ships are hard work and chal­leng­ing, no mat­ter the age dif­fer­ence. It re­ally de­pends on whether both of your ma­tu­rity lev­els match. If your ma­tu­rity lev­els don’t match, you’ll be stuck with a child that hap­pens to shave.

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