Does Age Matter in a Romantic Relationship?

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“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” (Mark Twain).

INTRODUCTION

The saying that “Age doesn’t matter” is a popular expression among people for those who fall in love with a wide age gap. They say that love is blind. So, it’s okay to be blind by the age of one’s crush or lover. Experts on romantic love acknowledge that falling in love is indeed a strong positive energy that makes a person less aware of the consequences of having a big age gap in the romantic relationship. One can be so enamored with the other person’s beauty, popularity, personality, social status, or wealth, that he or she forgets that the other person is either too old or too young for him/her! I already encountered some people who fell in love or even got married despite a wide age difference. When I was a boy, our 20-year old nanny was having a secret love affair with our 60-year old neighbor who was a widower with married children. It was indeed embarrassing during their wedding ceremony as the officiating priest had mistaken the groom as the parent of the bride and one of the young best men as the groom! Despite the age gap, they manage to have 3 children before the old man died.

AGE AS A SOCIAL NORM IN SOCIETY

Age really does matter in a relationship despite romanticism of some people that it doesn’t affect romantic relationships. In sociology, age is an informal and unwritten social norm. Society has some standards on what age bracket is appropriate for a particular type of relationship, depending on the local culture. Whether one likes it or not, society has a way of classifying people engaging a particular type of social interaction. Defying this informal norm in a romantic relationship can lead to unintended informal and psychological sanction from the public, such as ridicule, suspicion, rumor, gossip, digital bashing in the social media, or even public shaming by people who strongly oppose the relationship. Try to hold hands and show romantic affection with an older man or woman while walking in a public park and you’ll never miss seeing people whispering or giggling in disbelief, or staring at you as if something is terribly wrong, especially when you’re in a rural setting! Generally, women like their men to be a little older and more experienced and mature in life. But if the age gap is quite wide, many people would probably start to think that it is not romantic love or true love that motivates the attraction but something else, maybe the wealth of the older partner.

Age as an informal norm in society is not, however, an absolute rule! One can see couples with a big age difference. Among the Hollywood celebrities, the famous actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones were married despite their age difference. These Oscar winners tied their knot in 2000 when Catherine was 31 years old and Michael was 56.

'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' Premiere

Michael, 56 years old, with wife Catherine, 31 (Photo credit: hollywood.com)

In the Philippines, the famous folk singer Freddie Aguilar fell in love with a 16-year old girl and managed to marry her in Islamic rites. Under the Shariah law, a 16-year old can contract a valid marriage but not under the current 1987 Family Code of the country for Christians. Apparently, both decided to change religion to tie the knot.

aguilar

Freddie, 60 years old, with his 16-year old wife (Photo credit: Poklat.com)

Another famous noontime TV host and comedian married a younger woman more than twice his age. The 61-year old veteran Filipino comedian Vic Sotto married the 27-year old TV host Pauleen Luna in a private wedding.

sotto

Pauleen Luna, 27 years old and Vic Sotto, 61 (Photo Credit: gmanetwork.com)

If it is not an arranged marriage sanctioned by culture, people can be suspicious of the motive if they see romantic couples with a wide age gap. They often suspect wealth and/or social status as the main motive why the younger partner “falls in love” with the older guy. This suspicion can have a grain of truth. Normally, people are first attracted to others through their physicality. People project and communicate to the world through their bodies. Appearance matters during the initial encounter of partners in romantic love. Many surveys showed that the person’s eyes as the sexiest or most attractive body part during infatuation. They say that the eyes are the window of the person’s soul. The woman’s big breasts and butts associated with femininity and fertility are also attractive to men, while a tall height, a flat and strong abdomen and chest are attractive physical traits for women. But old people generally cannot boast their physical assets to attract younger people to enter into a romantic relationship with them. Thus, people become cynical about seeing a young and old couple romantically linked with each other.

Physicality, however, can take a backseat if the young and old partners become intimate and learn more about the cultural or non-physical aspects of the relationship such as knowing the other’s attitude, personality, social status, and value system. So people can be suspicious if a poor young woman falls in love with an old rich man as the latter’s youthful physicality has already been deteriorated by age. If he is not extremely handsome and sexy despite his age, it is understandable for them to conclude that it is not the physical appearance but probably the person’s wealth and social status that motivate her to love the other. Age then matters in discerning whether the relationship is truly a romantic love that can lead to marital love or just what the sociologist Anthony Giddens calls as “confluent love” or a contingent form of love without commitment, a love that is based on mutual and temporal satisfaction of the romantic partners–“enjoying the relationship while it lasts.”

In the next blog, we’ll discuss why a wide age gap can be a problem in the interaction and adjustment of the couple as they stay longer in the romantic relationship and marriage. This will also show that age matters in romantic or marital interaction! Cheers!

 

 

What’s the Difference between Romantic and True Love?

i love you kiss GIF by Kelsea Ballerini

It’s not true that one’s character is shown on one’s face. If it’s angelic and beautiful, then he or she is probably Mr. or Ms. Right or one’s long-lost soul mate or destined partner in life! Social science research has shown that there is no dependable association between facial features and personality traits. A person may look meek, soft-spoken, wholesome, and with sympathetic eyes, but may turn out to be abusive, violent and indecent in real life after a long acquaintance. Thus, a person cannot immediately identify his or her right partner in life based solely on facial or physical features during the first encounter or first date despite the strong feeling of romantic attraction or “love at first sight”.

season 4 ok GIF by Saving Throw Show

      Moreover, a person who is infatuated is usually blinded with romantic passion or intense feeling of attraction for his or her partner that he or she tends to neglect knowing his or her true character and personality. Just enjoying the current bliss of falling in love without a serious effort to know the real character of one’s partner is a dangerous attitude, especially if the person intends to find his or her true love and enter into marriage.

sweet in love GIF

       Relying merely on the attractive looks of one’s partner and intense romantic feeling for him or her can be deceiving.  Many marriage counselors would say that people in love could not really know the real person or character of their partners unless they live together constantly in a conjugal home for at least five years in marriage. Knowing the real person of one’s romantic partner requires time, effort, and scientific strategies to know the real person behind the smiling and loving face!

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Young people are prone to falling in love based on looks and physical appearance. But older people usually look for substance, personality, and, above-all, financial security their partners can offer in life. To avoid or minimize blunders in courtship, always remember that “Things are not what they seem!” There is more that meets the eye!

There are basically 3 kinds of love: Erotic love, which is basically sexual and physical in nature; filial love, which is a non-erotic love and based on spiritual love as bothers or sisters; and agape, the highest form of love–the self-giving love.

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For Christians, love is more than physical looks and personal traits. Agape is the type love Christ has done for us. Christian love is motivated for the desire to serve the Lord through one’s partner in life. It does not hesitate to sacrifice and to die for the other!

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How to Judge Your Partner’s Behavior

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People tend to judge the meaning of an action from the outside, and often fail to see what’s inside of the person’s mind doing the act. Most romantic relationships fail because the jealous partner only sees the social meaning of the external act of the other but not the motive behind it.

Web Hosting
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One girlfriend just broke up with her boyfriend when she saw him chatting with a beautiful girl from afar. She interpreted the animated conversation of the two as a form of romantic attraction. Without asking the boyfriend about the girl  and what they were talking about, she immediately stopped texting and communicating with him. She eventually broke up with his boyfriend without clarifying with him of what actually happened during that animated encounter with another girl.

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Max Weber, a German sociologist, has a very good advice for people who want to judge the meaning of people’s interaction. He called this approach as “verstehen” or “interpretive understanding”. This concept implies that a person must judge behavior from the actor’s point of view. If one really wants to understand the true meaning of the human action, he or she must put himself/herself into the shoes of the other.

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“Verstehen” implies understanding the social meaning of the person’s external act or the stereotype and the motive behind the act. It requires empathy.  Without learning the motive of the act, the observer would pass rash judgment and misjudge the true significance of the act. The girl could have investigated  or probed further on what was really the motive why his boyfriend had an animated conversation with the other girl.

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Many romantic partners and spouses separate because they pass rash judgment, they only know the meaning of their partners’ external acts but fail to understand the real intentions underneath them. Jealously and other forms of negative emotions can sometimes cloud their judgments and forget to probe what actually happened with their partners’ or spouses’  encounters with the significant other.

people-2590616_640

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com and Pexels.com

Thank you for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this site via email.

How to Judge Your Partner’s Behavior

adult-business-businesswoman-165907

People tend to judge the meaning of an action from the outside, and often fail to see what’s inside of the person’s mind doing the act. Most romantic relationships fail because the jealous partner only sees the social meaning of the external act of the other but not the motive behind it.

Web Hosting
loneliness-1879453_640

One girlfriend just broke up with her boyfriend when she saw him chatting with a beautiful girl from afar. She interpreted the animated conversation of the two as a form of romantic attraction. Without asking the boyfriend about the girl  and what they were talking about, she immediately stopped texting and communicating with him. She eventually broke up with his boyfriend without clarifying with him of what actually happened during that animated encounter with another girl.

boy-555577_640

Max Weber, a German sociologist, has a very good advice for people who want to judge the meaning of people's interaction. He called this approach as "verstehen" or "interpretive understanding". This concept implies that a person must judge behavior from the actor's point of view. If one really wants to understand the true meaning of the human action, he or she must put himself/herself into the shoes of the other.

couple-3157067_640

"Verstehen" implies understanding the social meaning of the person's external act or the stereotype and the motive behind the act. It requires empathy.  Without learning the motive of the act, the observer would pass rash judgment and misjudge the true significance of the act. The girl could have investigated  or probed further on what was really the motive why his boyfriend had an animated conversation with the other girl.

people-3422435_640

Many romantic partners and spouses separate because they pass rash judgment, they only know the meaning of their partners' external acts but fail to understand the real intentions underneath them. Jealously and other forms of negative emotions can sometimes cloud their judgments and forget to probe what actually happened with their partners' or spouses'  encounters with the significant other.

people-2590616_640

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com and Pexels.com

Thank you for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this site via email.

Is Age Important in a Romantic Relationship?

engagement-2268947_640

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” (Mark Twain).

INTRODUCTION

The saying that “Age doesn’t matter” is a popular expression among people for those who fall in love with a wide age gap. They say that love is blind. So, it’s okay to be blinded by the age of one’s crush or lover. Experts on romantic love acknowledge that falling in love is indeed a strong positive energy that makes a person less aware of the consequences of having a big age gap in romantic relationship. One can be so enamored with the other person’s beauty, popularity, personality, social status, or wealth, that he or she forgets that the other person is either too old or too young for him/her! I already encountered some people who fell in love or even got married despite a wide age difference. When I was a boy, our 20-year old nanny was having a secret love affair with our 60-year old neighbor who was a widower with married children. It was indeed embarrassing during their wedding ceremony as the officiating priest had mistaken the groom as the parent of the bride and one of the young best men as the groom! Despite the age gap, they manage to have 3 children before the old man died.

AGE AS A SOCIAL NORM IN SOCIETY

Age really does matter in relationship despite romanticism of some people that it doesn’t affect romantic relationships. In sociology, age is an informal and unwritten social norm. Society has some standards on what age bracket is appropriate for a particular type of relationship, depending on the local culture. Whether one likes it or not, society has a way of classifying people engaging a particular type of social interaction. Defying this informal norm in a romantic relationship can lead to unintended informal and psychological sanction from the public, such as ridicule, suspicion, rumor, gossip, digital bashing in the social media, or even public shaming by people who strongly oppose the relationship. Try to hold hands and show romantic affection with an older man or woman while walking in a public park and you’ll never miss seeing people whispering or giggling in disbelief, or staring at you as if something is terribly wrong, especially when you’re in a rural setting! Generally, women like their men to be a little older and more experienced and mature in life. But if the age gap is quite wide, many people would probably start to think that it is not romantic love or true love that motivates the attraction but something else, maybe the wealth of the older partner.

Age as informal norm in society is not, however, an absolute rule! One can see couples with a big age difference. Among the Hollywood celebrities, the famous actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones were married despite their age difference. These Oscar winners tied their knot in 2000, when Catherine was 31 years old and Michael was 56.

'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' Premiere

Michael, 56 years old, with wife Catherine, 31 (Photo credit: hollywood.com)

In the Philippines, the famous folk singer Freddie Aguilar fell in love with a 16-year old girl and managed to marry her in Islamic rites. Under the Shariah law, a 16-year old can contract a valid marriage but not under the current 1987 Family Code of the country for Christians. Apparently both decided to change religion to tie the knot.

aguilar

Freddie, 60 years old, with his 16-year old wife (Photo credit: Poklat.com)

Another famous noontime TV host and comedian married a younger woman more than twice his age. The 61-year old veteran Filipino comedian Vic Sotto married the 27-year old TV host Pauleen Luna in a private wedding.

sotto

Pauleen Luna, 27 years old and Vic Sotto, 61 (Photo Credit: gmanetwork.com)

If it is not an arranged marriage sanctioned by culture, people can be suspicious of the motive if they see romantic couples with a wide age gap. They often suspect wealth and/or social status as the main motive why the younger partner “falls in love” with the older guy. This suspicion can have a grain of truth. Normally, people are first attracted to others through their physicality. People project and communicate to the world though their bodies. Appearance matters during the initial encounter of partners in romantic love. Many surveys showed that the person’s eyes as the sexiest or most attractive body part during infatuation. They say that the eyes is the window of the person’s soul. The woman’s big breasts and butts associated with femininity and fertility are also attractive to men, while a tall height, a flat and strong abdomen and chest are attractive physical traits for women. But old people generally cannot boast their physical assets to attract younger people to enter into a romantic relationship with them. Thus, people become cynical of seeing a young and old couple romantically linked with each other.

Physicality, however, can take a backseat if the young and old partners become intimate and learn more about the cultural or non-physical aspects of the relationship such as knowing the other’s attitude, personality, social status, and value system. So people can be suspicious if a poor young woman falls in love with an old rich man as the latter’s youthful physicality has already been deteriorated by age. If he is not extremely handsome and sexy despite his age, it is understandable for them to conclude that it is not the physical appearance but probably the person’s wealth and social status that motivate her to love the other. Age then matters in discerning whether the relationship is truly a romantic love that can lead to marital love or just what the sociologist Anthony Giddens calls as “confluent love” or a contingent form of love without commitment, a love that is based on mutual and temporal satisfaction of the romantic partners–“enjoying the relationship while it lasts.”

Photo credit of Header Photo: Pixabay.com