March 16, 2016
Age Gap Romance – Can it work?
BLC Founder &relationship therapist Helen Rice* offered some perspective on the age gap romance between Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and 22 year-old One Direction Star Liam Payne in a recent new! magazine article.
The article by journalist Sarah Morton asked whether the 10-year age gap might be a problem as Cheryl is allegedly keen to have children, while Liam is just launching his solo career.
Helen offered a non-judgemental view, suggesting that there’s no need for the couple to rush into things. Here’s Helen’s full response to Sarah’s questions:
What attracts a woman to a younger man?
Life has moved on from the time – not so long ago – when it was the norm for women to be financially and reproductively dependent on their male partners. It used to be widely understood and accepted that rich and powerful men would be drawn to ‘pretty young things’. These days, women too have the power and confidence to make life choices that suit them – including who to date and for what purpose. It’s unlikely Cheryl’s chosen to date Liam to be her long-term partner and baby-daddy (although she might), but more a case of it being an undeniable ego-boost to have such an attractive younger man’s attention and sexual interest as she’s emerging from a rather messy and painful marriage.
He’s at the cusp of a solo career – will he even want kids right now? And if Cheryl does how will they work it out?
Cheryl said recently that she’ll leave the decision to get pregnant up to fate and at 32 there’s definitely no hurry – biologically the optimum childbearing age is between 20 and 35 years old so the couple have a while yet to see how things work out. It’s the couple’s emotional, not their actual, ages that will determine how they’d cope with having children right now though. The age gap doesn’t really matter – it’s what they’ve been through and how they’ve learned to cope with life’s ups and downs that does. Building a relationship has everything to do with being on the same page and working towards shared goals so if they’re both ready to settle down and start a family then why not. If Liam is more interested in kick-starting his solo career then at 22 he might not yet be ready for that commitment.
Is it wise to go into a relationship with a sell-by date and wanting different things? Timing is everything, surely?
To be in a successful relationship, couples don’t have to do everything together or think the same as each other – that’s actually quite impossible. It is important though that they share core values and have similar priorities and goals when it comes to the big stuff. If each person wants different things – or the same thing but at different times in life – it can be incredibly hard to stay satisfied with a difficult compromise over the long haul. The person making the sacrifice can feel they gave way too soon or that their partner let them down in some way. The bottom line is it is much easier to build and sustain a happy relationship if a couple’s mismatched priorities are limited and relatively insignificant in the big picture.
NOTE: *The article mistakenly refers to Ann Rice, but the reference to BeLoveCurious.com is spot on!