Does Age Really Matter?


Relationships are not easy and in my experience, a large age gap adds complexities to an already often challenging situation.

I consider a large age gap if a man is over 15 years older than the woman, or the woman is 7-10 years older than the man.

One of the issues that arise with a large age gap is that there is usually a generation gap which often means a parental dynamic between partners which ultimately becomes annoying, unsexy and dysfunctional. This generation gap between partners becomes more pronounced as partners get older, oddly enough.

In a typical situation, the age difference is not an obvious problem until partners start to age. In fact, when they are relatively young it feels great to be with someone who is wiser and more experienced in life, who knows more, "has been around the block." However, with aging not only the generation gap becomes greater, but also the barring unusual circumstances, the level of physical activity, including sexual activity and desire, becomes different. This leads to resentment and frustration and, ultimately, diminished attraction and connection. These differences result in feelings of aloneness, guilt and sometimes depression.

As partners age, there is often a difference in their mental acuity and activity. With physical slow down and health issues, there is often less interest in outside activities as well as social life. As much as I hate to say this, there is just less attraction to your aging partner, which many couples experience, fueled by the limitations it places on the younger partner.

What one of the most common complaints partners with a significant age gap talk about is the discrepancy in sexual desire and functioning. It leads to anger and depression in both partners and often to infidelity and abandonment. It is a real and serious issue which can and does happen to couples that are close in age, however in this scenario; it is a given at a certain point.

Finally, an obvious issue is that while most of us are fearful of our partner's mortality, this fear is greatly magnified if your partner is much older.

Consider these points before you say "yes" to a partner much older than yourself.

For further inquiries:

Check out Irina Firstein, LCSW, at

Phone: (212) 953- 1388