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the age gap matter
when it comes to finding the love of your life?"
This column answers
questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue,
we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I'm 53 and met a guy who is in his early thirties at a charity
fundraiser I attended several months ago. We've met a couple times for
coffee, just the two of us, and also with others from a committee we're
now both serving on. Recently we met for coffee and he started sharing
more personal things with me. He isn't seeing anyone and he did say he
was interested in me and would like to get to know me better. He wants
to date me. He said his last relationship (of 7 years) was actually
with another woman who was 10 years older than him.
He is very mature, recognizes there is a rather large age gap between
us -- at least 15 years. I, myself, have been divorced a number of
years and haven't dated much. I told him I wanted some time to think
about this, which he understood. There's no doubt we want to learn more
about each other and explore the possibilities of a future together.
My question – is there really anything wrong with dating
someone younger, especially as a woman? Is there anything I should be
thinking about before taking this next step? I know it's no big deal to
see older men with much younger women, but what about the other way
around? Does the age gap matter when it comes to finding the love of
your life? What's your advice?
Angela in St. Augustine
Older women dating younger men is a growing trend both in the U.S. and
abroad. Men who date older women typically say that they appreciate how
older women tend to be more independent, comfortable with themselves,
know what they want, don't play games, and appreciate what a younger
man has to offer.
However some younger men are simply seeking the excitement of dating a
"cougar," primarily for the purpose of having sex. If you choose to
explore a relationship with your younger male friend, it is important
to determine what type of relationship each of you are seeking and
whether your interests are compatible. Are you interested in casual
dating or something more serious? Does he want kids one day? Will you
want to listen to classical music when he wants to listen to hip-hop?
Both chemistry and compatibility are important in a relationship
regardless of any difference in age.
Betsy Dorn |
No, there is nothing wrong with dating someone much younger. Yes, it
makes a difference in finding the love of your life. There are two
competing forces at work here. One is the natural attraction between
two people, and this is independent of age. The other is the natural
male desire for younger women, and this obviously does depend on age.
How these forces play out in a specific relationship is highly
dependent on the two people. Usually it is a very long uphill struggle
for the woman, but it can also be fulfilling and worthwhile if you have
the right attitude. My advice is to relax and have fun with it. Don't
try to make it be the love of your life. If that happens over time, so
be it. If not, it was still fun. Don't worry about appearances as that
will kill any relationship.
Regardless of ages, becoming exclusive too soon is a bad idea, for a
lot of reasons, so definitely don't put all your eggs in this basket.
Hope this helps!
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
Because you're exploring a future together, you have some things to
think about. One is the question of children. While at age 53 it's not
likely you're going to want future children, be sure you're in sync
there. As a matchmaker, I have found that many of my clients in their
early thirties are not thinking about children – until they
reach their late thirties. By then, you'll be nearly sixty.
What are your relationship requirements? And, equally important, what
are his? Be sure to explore and understand this before you plan a
future together. Know that when he is your current age, 53, you will be
in your 70's. Be sure you don't simply live in the moment without
regard to a realistic projection into the future. Consider health,
lifestyle, family, and of course, your attitudes about aging. If you
get through all that, and decide you want to go for it – do
so. It's not up to anyone but the two of you, so make a conscious
decision and just do it!
Finally, a former client of mine spent 10 glorious years with a man 25
years older than herself. Although he passed away while she was still
fairly young, she said she would never have traded that time with him
for anything! Good luck!
Ann Robbins | www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com
In order for a love relationship to succeed, both participants need to
feel comfortable in the relationship. Regardless of what people think,
what do you think? It appears you may have some reservations around
this "mature" younger man. Are your reservations simply that it's
something new, because you've never dated a younger man before? Is it
because you fear some kind of judgment from friends and family? Does it
matter to you what strangers think?
It's your life to live and what matters is what you think. What are
your reservations about the "age gap?" If this man had not begun
showing an interest in you, would you have chosen to get to know him
better? Does he exhibit values that you admire and hold true inside of
you? Does he have some of the qualities you designate as important to
your dating plan? Do you feel chemistry toward him?
Remember, you want to be the "chooser." Would you have invited him into
your space anyway, or is he there because there is a void in your
life and he stepped into it? Ultimately, it must be
your invitation for potential partners to come into your life, and then
for them to be screened and tested.
Cher Tanner | www.FastTrackHappiness.com
Reed responds ...
I think you are wise to examine the situation especially if you've
never dated a younger man. It's only natural to wonder what the
experience would entail. If you are having reservations, be sure to
take an honest look at them. Find out if they stem from your value
system or if the thoughts are stemming from what others may think or
Remember to honor your values and your vision for your life and
relationship. This is your decision and you are the one that needs to
be comfortable with it. There will always be people who will have
opinions about what you do, but in the end it's your opinion and
happiness that counts.
I would like to encourage you to examine whether or not you're ready to
start dating again. Don't just jump into it because he's ready. Be the
chooser. If you're ready, go for it. Have fun! Be intentional in
regards to your dating. Ask yourself the important questions. Are you
just looking for a recreational relationship? If not, are you seeking
your life partner? Then, simply be upfront with this gentleman and
explore what could be a rewarding relationship for the both of you!
Liz Reed | www.justbelievecoaching.com
By Frankie Doiron
(and the weeks of commercial hype leading up to it) can be difficult
for most singles. While the whole world seems to be celebrating love
and romantic partnership, it ‘s easy to feel left out.
This year do something
about it! Instead of feeling demoralized and depressed, focus on what
instead of what you don’t have.
Being single is a great
opportunity. You have love in your future, so look forward to it
instead of moping around dragging a big box of chocolates with you.
Here are my top tips for singles on Valentine's Day:
Celebrate Love -- Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to
celebrate life and love.
cynical just because you are not in a romantic relationship right now.
Shower yourself with love, or spend time with someone who loves you
- Book a day at
the spa and pamper yourself by getting the most luxurious package that
you can afford, and enjoy spoiling yourself, or indulge in some serious
retail therapy – you deserve it!
- Who loves you
baby? Do something special for a family member or a close friend. Take
grandma for lunch or a pedicure! Bring your mom a beautiful bunch of
flowers. If you’re a single parent, take your child to a
movie and end the evening with a surprise gift bag full of treats,
balloons and a Valentine’s teddy bear.
Send your friends Valentine’s Day cards and express how much
they mean to you. Share your heartfelt feelings about why you value
Develop a ‘Relationship Plan’ --
Valentine’s Day can be the start of your New Year of Love!
you dream of being in a happy romantic relationship, realize it takes
commitment, effort and planning.
- Identify any
‘readiness issues’ or
‘baggage’ that will hold you back from having the
relationship you truly want. What are the key areas of your
life you need to change before you’ll be ready for a
relationship? Perhaps it’s your financial situation, your
health and fitness, or emotional or mental state.
- Apply the
same principles to your search for a love partner that you would if you
were seeking your ideal job. Assess your relationship skills.
Do you know your relationship deal-breakers? Are you clear about your
values and life vision? Do you understand the pitfalls and dating traps
that could lead you into the wrong relationship? If you need help, get
it from a qualified relationship coach!
- Have a
positive attitude and be happy in your life and with yourself. Live
your life as a successful single – don’t put your
life on hold while you wait for your partner to show up. Get involved
in new activities; pursue your interests. And have FUN! You never know
who you will meet on the way.
Take Some Risks -- Extend your comfort zone to experience things you
might not usually do.
Become more approachable – smile and engage in conversation
with strangers wherever you are. You’ll be
surprised at the positive response and at how good you will feel. Be
open to recognizing the opportunities – say yes when you
might want to say no. Of course use common sense and be safe!
- Take the
initiative, but keep it light. If you are interested in
someone, invite them out. If making a Valentine's date seems
awkward, plan it for the 13th or 15th.
Organize a dinner with other single friends, or plan a singles
Valentine’s bash and go dancing. Celebrate being single --
this is a wonderful time in your life, so enjoy it and appreciate the
great opportunity ahead of you to find your love match.
It is your choice about
how you approach and react to this special day. Make the most of it.
by Frankie Doiron. All Rights Reserved for all media.
With thoughts of love and
Valentine's day being top-of-mind for many this month, I intervewed RCI
Coach Michelle E. Vásquez about love and how to know if it's
By Michelle E.
Vásquez, MS, LPC
Tara: What is love?
Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines love as "strong affection for
another arising out of kinship or personal ties or attraction based on
sexual desire." Love as a verb is defined as "to hold dear, to feel a
lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for."
I like Bill O' Hanlon's book called Love
is a Verb: How to Stop Analyzing Your Relationship & Start
Making it Great. Just the title
implies that love is action. Many people think of love as a feeling,
which is why it's so easy for my pet-peeve phrase to roll off their
tongues: "I love you; I'm just not in love with you."
Dr. Patricia Allen, author of Getting to "I Do," defines love this way:
"The only way you know you love yourself and others is by the
commitments you are willing to make and keep."
I like the way both Bill O'Hanlon and Patricia Allen speak of love as
an action. I see love as a commitment, a decision that you make when
you are in a relationship. If you believe love is just a feeling,
feelings change. Believing this way creates an unstable relationship
because you never know when you are going to feel loving.
When you don't feel loving, it's easy to think you are not in love.
People who do this tend to romanticize the feelings of love. They may
go from one person to the next, never committing to a relationship
because they want the feeling to stay as intense as it was in the
beginning. They are convinced that if they don't feel love, they are
not in love. Because they measure love by their ever-changing feelings,
they are prone to believe that the minute they feel less than loving,
something is wrong with the relationship.
Tara: What are the
various stages of love?
There are basically five stages of love:
This is when you have an attraction and feel a connection to someone.
This is also seen as the lust stage. You are physically attracted to
your love interest. You don't know much about them, but you know you
are interested in them.
Infatuation feels like what many people think of as love. You can't
stop thinking about your love interest. You have decreased need to eat
or sleep. You want to spend every minute with the one you're interested
in. This is when the brain is shooting off so many hormones that you
can easily be persuaded that you are in love. Your brain-chemistry goes
haywire and you see the object of your infatuation as perfect. You are
not a rational thinker in this stage.
During this stage you are spending time getting to know each other.
You're on your best behavior. You want to impress each other while
evaluating whether the two of you make a good match. You still feel the
rush of the hormones, but hopefully a bit of the edge is taken off as
you proceed to do enjoyable activities together while learning about
Those things she does that you used to dismiss as "cute" now become
irritating. You begin to see him as flawed and wonder why you were ever
attracted to him. Many people see this as a sign they are not
compatible and they stop seeing each other. What is really happening is
you are waking up from your hormone induced "love coma." You're
starting to see the person with more realistic eyes.
Accepting: If you survive
the Power Struggle stage and find the balance between seeing your love
interest as a flawed individual and someone worthy of a long term
commitment, you've reached the Negotiating and Accepting stage. You
decide that the two of you are willing to be on the same path together.
You are aware that you will still have struggles and disagreements. You
trust that you will be committed to working through the conflicts.
Tara: What's the
difference between love and infatuation?
love is built over time and keeps people together despite hardships and
conflicts. Love is a decision, a commitment to stay together. Many
people who have been married for decades will tell you that it has been
worth it because their mindset has been to support and accept each
Infatuation is a fantasy stage in which all of the good qualities of
the person you adore are magnified and the bad qualities are ignored.
This can be the basis for love that grows into something more permanent
or it can just be a passing fancy. Infatuation can start people on the
road to a committed, loving relationship, but in itself is not love.
Tara: How do you
know if you're in love?
You are able to balance your heart and your head. You feel an
attraction to your love interest and you've managed to stick it out
through the five stages of love. You want to spend your life with this
person. You are committed to accepting each other as you are, knowing
that neither of you is perfect.
You have talked with each other about your dreams and goals for the
future and you have decided that you are compatible. If you have had
some differences, you've been able to negotiate with each other to find
solutions that work for both of you. You feel safe with each other and
you trust each other.
Tara: Do you need to
be in love to have a great relationship?
Arranged marriages have been standard practice for much of human
history. In many cultures today, arranged marriages are still common. I
have met several people in the last year who are in their 20's and 30's
whose parents' marriages were arranged.
So for them, love was not a factor in marrying, yet the parents of the
people I met are still married. I think the expectations of marriage
are different for people who practice arranged marriages. They marry
for practical reasons, including creating a family. I won't pretend to
be an arranged marriage expert. I use this example to point out that
throughout most of our history we have not had the expectation that
love is the most important factor in choosing a spouse.
Relationships can work without love, but I believe most people would
agree with me that being in love with the one you are with is better!
Tara: What if one of
you is more in love than the other – can it still work?
How do we measure that? We cannot decide easily who loves more in a
relationship. This questions sounds like one person is more giving and
possibly needier. If you spend time obsessing about who loves more than
the other, you can drive a wedge between the two of you. There are many
ways to express love, as Gary Chapman points out in his book, The Five
If both people are loving and respectful toward each other it's better
to let go of any thoughts of who loves who more. Instead, spend time
creating love in your marriage. Explore the ways you and your spouse
need to give and receive love. What is wonderful about a committed
relationship is that you carry each other at different times. Great
relationships are always changing. Strong, healthy couples understand
the need to be flexible and to let go of the need to control the
Copyright ©2010 by Michelle E. Vásquez. All Rights
Reserved for all media.
MS, LPC, is an RCI Relationship Coach who helps singles and couples
attract the life they want and create the relationships that bring them
joy. She specializes in working with couples who are experiencing
relationship difficulties as well as with singles who want to find the
love of their life. Bilingual. www.TrueLoveAfter40.com
By Katherin Scott
Relationship Coaching Institute's Relationship Assessment is an
insightful ten question quiz used to determine a person's readiness for
dating and ultimately for committing to a life partner relationship. If
you're single and looking for love, use the following ten statements to
honestly assess your relationship readiness then take the necessary
action to allow love to flow into your life.
1. I know what I want
Do you have a clear vision for your life? Do you know exactly what an
amazing relationship looks like for you? Take the time to understand
your purpose in life, your goals for a happy and satisfying life and
for a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Get clear about what really
matters to you. A clear vision will help propel you and continue to
motivate you as your life develops.
2. I know my
As a dating coach, I have many opportunities to ask singles what
qualities they're looking for in a life partner and what's most
important for them in a relationship. Most singles tell me quickly
they're very picky about the person they will ultimately choose to
spend the rest of their life with. Yet when I press for specifics, they
soon realize they haven't actually spent much time getting clear about
what's most important for them in a relationship.
Non-negotiable requirements, your must-have's for relationship success,
are crucial to clarify and define. And, these are different from your
wants and desires from your partner. If your requirements in a
relationship go unmet, the relationship will suffer and so will you.
Create a written list of the five to ten requirements that are crucial
for you for a healthy and successful relationship. Clearly define each
requirement, in detail. Use this list to help screen potential partners
as you date.
3. I am happy and
successful being single
A life partner adds value to your life. And having someone to share
life's ups and downs with is very rewarding. Yet, there's a big
difference between being alone and being lonely.
Happy, successful singles enjoy their life, their family, their work
and friends. Yes, they still may want a life partner, but not having
someone special in their life doesn't create desperation for them.
Enjoy a rich and satisfying life while you're searching for your mate
and you'll be more likely to attract a like-minded single as a partner.
4. I am ready and
available for commitment
Take the necessary time and action to get closure with your past
relationships; legally, financially and emotionally. Appreciate the
good times you shared with them and learn from the not-so-good
experiences. And be realistic about why you're moving on. Too many
people hold onto the "fantasy" of their past relationship rather than
seeing the reality of it and this can make it hard to let go.
Understand, if you're still pining for an old love, you're not
completely available for new love to enter your life.
And make sure you've freed-up time for a new love. True, life can be
busy at times. Just make sure you're not spending extra hours at the
office or on your hobby as a distraction or because you're lonely.
5. I am satisfied
with my work / career
Satisfying work is important for a fulfilling life. If you're looking
for employment, in transition or unhappy with your job, it's hard to
put your best foot forward while dating. Take the necessary time to
create a career for yourself that excites you and supports your needs
6. I am healthy in
mind, body and spirit
It's important to keep your body healthy. Regular health check-ups and
focused self-care are vital for staying fit and active. Taking the time
to expand your mind and nourish your spirit is essential to staying
healthy too. Keeping healthy physically, emotionally and mentally will
improve your ability for a happy and satisfying love relationship and
7. My financial and
legal business is handled
Financial and legal issues can be a burden and may impair a person's
ability to enjoy life and attract the ideal relationship. Take the time
and necessary steps to ensure your legal business is handled and your
finances are in order.
8. My family
relationships are handled
We all have many different kinds of family relationships; parents,
siblings, children, extended family and ex-spouses to name a few.
Keeping your family relationships healthy can be challenging yet it's
essential to treat our family members with respect. Practicing healthy
boundaries and clear communication are key skills for maintaining these
9. I have effective
Dating is an essential step to finding your life partner. Be
comfortable engaging and disengaging with other singles. Be open to
initiating contact with potential partners and open and courageous in
your conversations with them. Have healthy and clear boundaries
surrounding physical intimacy with people you date. Practice safety and
consideration for yourself and others as you navigate the
uncertainties, challenges and enjoyment of dating.
10. I have effective
Respect, integrity and empathy are key relationship skills. Clear and
courageous communication is also essential for creating intimacy with
your partner, building trust and getting your needs met. The ability to
be vulnerable, maintain healthy boundaries and deal with conflict
respectfully is essential for nourishing your relationship in a
positive way. Learn to express love generously to your partner in ways
that fulfill their needs rather than how you need to be loved. And be
open to accepting love without emotional barriers.
An honest assessment of yourself using these ten statements is an
effective way to realize your readiness for a new love relationship to
enter into your life. Be gentle with yourself as you learn and grow and
stay focused on what's important for you. Enjoy life as you look
forward to attracting the perfect partner for you.
Copyright ©2010 by Katherin Scott. All Rights Reserved for all
MA is a dating coach, speaker and author of "ABC's of Dating: Simple
Strategies for Dating Success." As an internationally recognized
authority on dating and attracting love, Katherin coaches singles
worldwide and regularly conducts seminars and workshops to help people
empower themselves to find love and happiness. www.katherinscott.com,
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