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A big age difference in a relationship doesn't mean it's destined to fail

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

If the relationship is strong enough – a difference in age doesn't matter

Can love survive if the couple has a large age gap? I think so.

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Celebrity couples with age gaps make news — for better and for worse

There have been numerous star couples lately who have found love despite quite an age difference. Jessica Lowndes and Jon Lovitz recently trolled the gossip scene with a faux-mance to hype her new music video. In more lasting relationship news, Steven Tyler, 68, moved in with his 28-year-old girlfriend, Aimee Ann Preston, according to Radar Online. Sarah Paulson, 41, and 73-year-old Holland Taylor have a large age gap as well. So, do these relationships work? Can you find love with someone a lot older or younger than you?

Compatibility is about more than age

Can love happen for people who with vastly different ages? I'd say yes, because age is not an opposite quality, like extroverted versus introverted. Most wonder if opposites attract and can stay in a relationship, but couples of different ages can have lots of qualities in common, too. These relationships might catch the public’s eye for being different and fascinating, but there really doesn't seem to be any reason age would stall love from happening.

All couples can have differences. I've wondered about twosomes having different political designations, and I came to the conclusion that people on different sides of the political stream can find love as well. What matters most is not the age or political party but the internal dynamic and what the couple does to make the relationship healthy.

While having more things in common might help bring two people together, I believe it’s the actual way the relationship develops and grows that matters most in forming a lasting, loving union. A focus on being similar might seem great on paper, but the magic that occurs between two people is unexplainable and has little do with a checklist of qualities.

Being open to love means being willing to meet someone similar to you but also different, as both might have complementary qualities. Sometimes it’s the beauty in the differences that can help build love.

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Relationship goals for lasting partnerships

Developing a strong relationship is important. In studies for his Sound Relationship House, therapist Dr. John Gottman states, “Our research shows that to make a relationship last, couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future."

Taking this into consideration, if a couple is able to accomplish these relationship goals, I would assume that age differences might not matter. Let’s say two people have differences. Then it would be important in how they work out those differences and celebrate it. Age differences do not have to be a barrier. Couples can still learn to share hobbies and experiences that are the same and also maybe learn new things together.

Only time will tell if the celebrity couples with large age gaps are the real deal. I'm offering a great tip to keep in mind while searching for a partner: It's OK to find someone different from yourself. Just because there's a large age gap doesn't mean the two people cannot form a successful union. Age is just a number.

More: Why even small lies on your online dating profile mean big trouble

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