With younger women dating older men, the relationships are no different than conventional ones, in that age gap relationships still require some ounce of effort on both ends in order to really work—as the old saying goes, “you’ve got to give a little to get a little.”
Even younger women dating older men expect to get something out of the relationship, and not all of them are going to be satisfied with just money, expensive gifts, fancy getaways, or even sex. A lot of women in age gap relationships are also looking for that emotional connection; they’re looking for a partner who will be there to support them through thick and thin. Does this sound like you?
In healthy age gap relationships, or any type of relationship for that matter, you’d naturally expect your partner to be there for you when something goes wrong, whether it’s just by listening to you talk it out or by doing something special to cheer you up, and most of them will. But is that enough to make age gap relationships work over the long term?
Being supportive during the rough times is great, but according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, your age gap relationships can be more successful if you and your older man discuss and celebrate positive events, too.
In the study, 79 dating couples were filmed as they discussed some of the recent events in their life. They were then asked to rate their level of satisfaction in the relationship, including how understood and cared for they felt in the discussions. The study also asked outsiders to observe the discussions and code the respondents’ behavior. Two months later, both the self-reported data and the outsiders’ observations showed the same thing: the couples who discussed positive events were more likely to be happy in their relationships than the couples who focused on the negative events.
These results show that if you really want to be happy in your age gap relationships, it’s important to not only support your partner when things go wrong (and vice versa), but that you celebrate the good times together as well.
What do you think: What’s more important to you, that your older man support you when times are rough, or celebrate with you on happy occasions?
Gable, S.L., et al., “Will You Be There for Me When Things Go Right? Supportive Responses to Positive Event Disclosures,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2006; 91(5); 904-917.