It’s not unusual for celebrity couples to have a few years’ age difference—or even a couple dozen, in the case of couples such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas—but those of us who don’t earn millions of dollars and exude some innate film-star charisma are less likely to partner with someone so far outside our own age group.
According to relationship expert Melissa Ferrari, speaking in a HuffPost Australia article, couples with significant age gaps could face specific problems that their peers would never have to navigate.
Maturity can be a big factor in the success of any relationship; couples should (ideally) at least have compatible, if not the same, maturity levels. While younger people may still be interested in partying, experimenting and enjoying extravagant experiences, the older person in a partnership might be more interested in simply enjoying the comfortable companionship that a partner offers.
“An important thing to look at is—while the compatibility and affection might be really good—if one of you is feeling threatened the other person will run off with somebody else,” Ferrari says. “To have a threat like that hanging over a relationship .. that’s why maturity is so important.”
According to Ferrari, the beginning of each new relationship is an important time to “manage as a couple assumptions and accusations and thoughts that come from outside and to be able to protect each other in that”.
For example, addressing any inherent insecurities will almost always work better than flat-out accusing someone of being paranoid about an issue that has arisen as a result of the age gap.
“Real maturity isn’t about being able to negotiate everyday problems and who pays the bills; it’s about how you negotiate your own unconscious insecurities,” Ferrari says. “We all have them.”