Is love enough to quell fears about the age gap?

‘I love him but I’m not sure I can be his carer in later years.’

Age gap fuels marriage fears

Commitment, when there’s a considerable age gap, is troubling Margaret, so she asks psychologist Dr Emmanuella Murray for advice.


Q. Margaret
He’s 15 years older than me and wants to get married. I love him but I’m not sure I can be his carer in later years. Is it selfish to want the relationship but not the responsibility?

A. It’s not selfish to want to be happy! How lovely that you have found someone you love, but I think it is important that you are asking these questions.

First, is it the age gap or are you not ready for commitment? We all need to take off our rose-coloured glasses when we enter a relationship.

I’m sure the age gap wasn’t a big deal when you first met because you got swept up in the excitement and skipped over the troublesome feelings about his age.

We tend to not give any of these issues any airplay at the time, but the thing is, they come to the forefront at some stage. Your partner may slow down before you do, and these are important issues to discuss with him before committing.

It’s hard when one person wants to commit sooner than the other. There is nothing wrong with wanting more time to decide, but when you commit, you are deciding not only to spend your life with another person, but to do everything you can to make the relationship work. This means accepting each other’s faults and being tolerant of your differences.

Remember, there are some advantages to an age gap. The older person’s experience and financial stability can be beneficial and the younger person’s youth can keep the older person feeling young.

In a nutshell, approach him with empathy and talk to him about your concerns.

Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples and presents to professionals and community groups.

If you have a question for Dr Emmanuella Murray, please send it to



    To make a comment, please register or login
    18th Jul 2018
    Why would 15 years age gap be a problem? Ours is 14 years and we are very happy together. Mt parents were 10 years apart in age.
    But the caring thing should not be an issue, she should have understood that. I have never been so cared for and loved.
    18th Jul 2018
    New older relationships can be complicated. There are children from both sides to consider. There are also the centrelink payments to consider if you live full time together you could be worse of.
    Ted Wards
    18th Jul 2018
    My response would be if you have to ask, then are you really in love no matter what the circumstances... you could marry tomorrow and Margaret could have a stroke tomorrow and he ends up being her carer....
    18th Jul 2018
    - and given his age it would be doubly difficult.
    18th Jul 2018
    A 15 year age gap at 18 is a great deal more than at 70!

    I have to agree with Ted. If this is a genuine question then the very fact Margaret needs to ask it shows she is NOT ready for any commitment. But she needs to be honest about it and not string her partner along. There is nothing wrong with wanting a bit of fun, but both parties should want the same fun. If not then the kindest thing is to walk away. Plenty more fun to be had elsewhere!
    18th Jul 2018
    If you have to ask the question about caring for the person later in life then you don't really love him so better to go your own way. What a curious reason for not wanting to marry?
    18th Jul 2018
    Its not so curious. Given men have a shorter life expectancy its a long time alone in old age.
    There are lots of reasons - love may be blind - but when it comes to marriage it is important to take the rose coloured glasses off before signing on the dotted line.
    18th Jul 2018
    A young handsome man was standing in front of a sleek fast car. He sees a beautiful young lady and says,"My father is a millionaire and he is very ill. One day all this will be mine. Would you consider going out with me?"
    The young lady smiles and walks away. Shortly after the young man sees an invitation. His father is getting married - to the beautiful young lady!
    18th Jul 2018
    There is no guarantee that the person 15 years older will be the first to have serious health problems. I have a brother one year older, so one would think we would have the same survivability. No way, I was retired on health grounds at 56 and he is working full time at 70.

    Some of the successful age difference relationships I have read about, both people have been well off financially. So that takes some of the stress off things.

    Apart from that, what could possibly go wrong with a relationship ha ha ha
    18th Jul 2018
    My husband is 26 years older than I. We love each other very much and neither regret the important step we have taken. We are absolutely perfectly matched and we look after each other, enjoying every day we spend together. What age gap? However, we have responsibly & lovingly addressed all the possible future issues. If you are meant to be together, I think you will recognise it, Margaret. With the love & support of my family & our best friends, we are enjoying this wonderful life
    18th Jul 2018
    Many a fine tune's been played on an old fiddle, 'twang' ...oh rats, there goes a string, so much for the fine tune let's just settle for a fiddle. Hmmmm ! - 'C' sharp ?
    19th Jul 2018
    There was and 11 1/2 year difference between my husband and myself. I was 27 and he was just going on 40 when we met. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. When he got emphysema he stayed home till the end and I wouldn't have had it any other way. If you love someone you will do whatever is needed and never see it as a problem.

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