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.

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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 [email protected]

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