According to societal norms, the ideal relationship requires the man to be older by a few years than his woman.

Even though you may find most couples follow this norm, there are also a few where the woman is older than the man. Celebrities such as Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan or Sachin and Anjali Tendulkar may instill our faith that such a relationship can work while the break-up of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore may let us believe that it was destined to doom from the very beginning. Dr Anjali Chhabria, a practising psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience, talks about the challenges faced by such couples and how they can make it work.

Hurdles in an older woman-younger man relationship

Social stigma: Since it is not an ideal setting, such couples have to deal with the stigma attached with it. ‘Relations with your family and friends can become more challenging as not all readily and happily accept this kind of a relationship,’ warns Dr Anjali. Here’s how to make a relationship work living in a joint family.

Expectations differ: Though you may start on a good note, there may be differences due to the age gap. ‘Women gain mental maturity faster than men which could lead to differences between the couple, not just in terms of expectations but also in interests and understanding,’ says Dr Anjali. Here are 10 common mistakes that ruin a relationship.

Insecurity: Since the man is younger, the woman may fear losing him to other younger women while younger men tend to feel more insecure and possessive about their women, especially when she is older than him.

Socialising problems: Due to the age gap between the two, it can be a hurdle to socialise with friends. ‘Socialising with each other’s friends can sometimes be difficult as both age groups may have different interests,’ adds Dr Anjali.

Tips to make it work

Cherish memories: When you feel your relationship is hitting a rough patch, relive older moments you spent together. ‘Remind yourself each time what made you fall in love with each other. This will help strengthen your bond in times like these,’ advises Dr Anjali.

Mutual respect: It is important both of you respect one another in the relationship and one does not feel superior than the other. When there is mutual respect, there are less ego clashes and verbal fights too don’t take a nasty turn. Listening is also an important factor to make a relationship work. Read more…

Adjust: ‘Couples should keep in mind the changes that come with age – physically, mentally and emotionally. This will help you understand each other and adjust better to the situation,’ says Dr Anjali.

Limit expectations: Do not expect too many changes in your partner as this will only lead to disappointment. Over-expectation can be one of the reasons why couples break-up. If there is a major issue bothering you, discuss it with your partner to work things out in a better way.

Overcome insecurity: According to Dr Anjali, ‘To overcome insecurity, one must feel comfortable in their own skin and not view age as a barrier. Both of you should be involved in each other’s interests and passions without doubting your love.’

‘Of course, such a relationship can work but both must understand and overcome difficulties with maturity and patience,’ concludes Dr Anjali.

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