There are some persistent stereotypes about age gap relationships and people who are in them. We want to dispel some of the myths and share tips on how to avoid being stereotyped.
Common Age Gap Stereotypes (& How to Avoid Them)
This stereotype of being a “gold digger” usually refers to the younger partner in an age gap relationship. A gold digger is slang for someone who is looking for money. It refers to the Wild West time period when people were frantically searching for gold and wealth.
In terms of age gap relationships, this stereotype is often applied to the younger woman who is dating an older man. This is likely because statistically men in the United States make more money than women, and an older man is likely more established in his career.
So, while it may be normal for an older man to have more money than a younger woman, for some reason it’s become acceptable to assume or make a stereotype that a younger woman is only with an older man for his money.
Another add-on to this stereotype is that the younger partner is dumb or naïve about getting into an age gap relationship.
One way to get around these stereotypes in your relationship is for the woman or the younger partner to have her own career and source of income. The younger partner should also not use his or her sexuality as the main highlight of their person. Also, you can set limits on the gifts that are shared between partners, such as setting a maximum price you spend on birthdays or holidays.
Lastly, you can help eliminate this stereotype by not accepting money from your older partner or signing an agreement to pay him back if you do accept money (graduate school tuition, for example).
The stereotype of the Playboy usually applies to the older man in an age gap relationship. It assumes that a man is only seeking a partner based on physical attraction.
This stereotype may have come from Hollywood where handsome older men have often been in relationships with beautiful younger women.
Both partners can help avoid this stereotype by not just looking for casual hookups. Another way to help avoid this stereotype is to commit to long-term partnerships and monogamy.
Another age gap stereotype is that a younger partner is looking for an older partner because she or he has “daddy issues.” This can be a really offensive stereotype that doesn’t make rational sense. If you think about it, many women date men who look like their fathers or brothers, but they never get accused of having these types of issues.
The way to avoid this stereotype as a younger partner is to work on your maturity and not expect your partner to be your savior or parent. No matter what type of relationship you are in, it should be equal in terms of the power dynamic.
Men who pursue younger partners may be labeled as “controlling.” This is also a very unfair stereotype as there is no way of knowing what goes on in a relationship. It also assumes that men (or the older partners) are controlling.
To help avoid this stereotype, try to make sure you have an equal balance of power in your age gap relationship. This means avoiding being in a relationship with your boss or superior at work. It also means that both partners get to make decisions together and one partner is not overly dependent on the other.
Stereotypes can be hurtful and make unfair assumptions about people. To help avoid these common stereotypes about age gap relationships, there are some practical things you can do that should also help your overall relationship.
As always, we want to remind you that we are not offering professional advice. The content on this website is meant as purely informational. Please consult a therapist, attorney, financial advisor, or other appropriate professional to help with your individual situation.