How To Find Shared Interests In An Age-Gap Relationship

When age-gap relationships are in the public eye, they're often bombarded with criticism. Look at Leonardo DiCaprio's life, for instance. His pattern of dating 20-something-year-old women has become a wildly popular meme. Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde caused a scandal for many reasons, but their age gap was a key element that ignited the internet trolls. In a January 2023 interview with Cosmopolitan, psychologist Sarah E. Hill, Ph.D. explained that the majority of us tend to shame these relationships because "We assume the older partner is exploiting the younger partner for sex, or we assume the younger partner is exploiting the older partner for financial gain." However, the contrary is often true. Hill added, "Most of these relationships are born out of a genuine, organic connection between two people who didn't let age get in the way." 

While such relationships may develop out of an enigmatic chemistry, couples still have to navigate the inevitable difficulties that may come with an age gap. One of the main issues that can arise is that with different life stages and different generations come different interests. If you and your partner struggle with this, you can still maintain your independent desires while also finding meaningful ways to come together.

When an age gap may cause your interests to diverge

According to research, the ideal age gap is usually fewer years, not more. Unfortunately, when there's a significant discrepancy in your and your partner's age, you're likely to face more challenges. We've all experienced firsthand how shifts in our priorities come as we evolve with every decade or even half-decade. An obvious example of how this could affect a couple is around nightlife. A partner in their 20s may be more interested in having crazy, late nights out partying. Meanwhile, for a partner in their 30s or 40s, watching a movie and getting in bed by 9 p.m. may be ideal.

Not only may your ideas of fun differ, but partners from differing generations may also have conflicting worldviews. Each generation has a unique set of lived experiences that affects their political and cultural interests. You might not be able to complain about the same politicians or attend the same protests. They might not get your sense of fashion, and you might loathe their taste in music. Despite the occasional complications of an age gap, however, these relationships are not doomed. Like in any relationship, mutual effort and care from both partners will make for the most successful age-gap relationship.

How to find common ground in an age-gap relationship

Ultimately, healthy relationships depend on two essential factors — communication and consideration. If some of the conflicts mentioned above are causing noticeable tension in your relationship, the best thing you can do is talk about it with your partner. You don't need to do everything with one another, of course, but you do need to ensure both of your needs are met.

If, say, your partner is constantly pressuring you to stay out late, or you refuse to let them watch their favorite TV channel, the two of you aren't promoting healthy boundaries. It's paramount that you work to find understanding and lean into a more respectful dialogue about these differences. If you can express yourselves freely and still find love and admiration for one another, you will attain a much more nourishing companionship

Nonetheless, having hobbies to enjoy together or topics to geek out about can provide valuable bonding experiences. Again, the keys are communication and consideration. Discuss what you both enjoy and set aside time each week to do that. If you can't seem to find anything, agree on a new hobby to learn together. Speaking with Cosmopolitan, Psychologist Sarah E. Hill, Ph.D. recommended the development of new, shared activities, as well as "developing a new shared network of others who are navigating the same relationship terrain." YouTube how to crochet, take tennis lessons, cook a meal you both enjoy, etc. Whatever you do — if you enjoy your time, feel accepted, and are aligned in your values — you and your beau, older or younger, can foster a beautiful relationship.