Mind the gap: Does age really matter?

In the spotlight, many celebrity couples have an age difference; from Kylie Jenner and Tyga, to Jay Z and Beyonce, these famous couples proudly display their relationships.

But, in real life, does an age difference really matter?

When then 17 year old Kylie Jenner, now 18, started dating 26 year old rapper Tyga, it caused an uproar on social media.

Twitter user Brianna said: “The only reason why Tyga is dating Kylie Jenner is because he can’t get a woman his own age”.

Lauren from the social media website tweeted: “I just get extremely uncomfortable watching Tyga & Kylie Jenner together”.

Despite a lot of hate towards the couple, there were also a number of understanding tweets too. Another twitter user Tahrina tweeted: “I understand that there’s and age gap between her [Kylie] and Tyga but c’mon? Who are we to judge their lives? Let’s just work on ourselves!”

Rapper Tyga, 26, is dating 18 year old Kylie Jenner. Picture credit: Disney | ABC Television Group

Rapper Tyga, 26, is dating 18 year old Kylie Jenner [Disney ABC via Flickr CC]

However, there are still a large number of celebrities who are in relationships with a big age difference. Singer Beyonce and rapper Jay Z are one of the most famous power couples, despite their age gap being a staggering 12 years, people do not comment on it as much.

One of their fans, Nino Valdano, explains: “Beyonce and Jay Z are both older and established. Jay Z pursued Beyonce when they were both adults and Beyonce was over the age of 18.

“Tyga started dating Kylie when she was a minor, and I think that’s why so many people have an issue with it.”

Jay Z and Beyonce have been married since 2008 [Erin Benson via Flickr CC]

According to the Irish Times, in the US, UK and Australia, 11.6 per cent of married men are older by six years or more, compared with 2.7 per cent of married women being older. It is much more common to see an older guy with a younger girl, but this is not always the case.

Artefact spoke to a 19-year-old builder, Harry*, who had a casual relationship with a 30-year-old woman when he was 16: “I managed to get myself into a nightclub with my friends when I was 16 and met her there.

Harry then went back to her house for what he thought was a one-night stand, but their casual relationship continued for a couple of months after that.

He admitted his age after the first night, and she decided to continue dating him despite the age gap.

“Dating an older woman was fun because she had more freedom than most girls at 16. She had her own place, and I didn’t have the pressure of sneaking around parents; she was mature and she was only looking for fun.”

The relationship finally came to an end when she realised Harry’s age did become an issue, as they were both in different stages of their lives.

Three years later, looking back, Harry thinks of this experience as one to remember.

“It was a minor fling, but of course when I’m 16 dating a 30 year old, I thought I was really cool. The funny thing is, she is now married and has children!”

In the media, rappers and singers popularise having a relationship with younger girls in their songs, possibly sending out a message that it is ok to date a girl who is underage.

Musician, Rupee’s hit song Tempted to Touch has the questionable lyrics:

“Little woman I don’t even know your age,
But there’s something about you girl,
When I see you wining in front the stage”.

It seems that some artists in the music industry can be careless of a female’s age when talking about them in a sexual manner, which could influence guys of an older age to think it is normal to pursue a girl significantly younger than them, especially if they are a minor.

Another example can be seen from Tyga’s song Stimulated, thought by some to be about Kylie Jenner, which includes the lyrics:

“They say she young, I should’ve waited,
She a big girl, dog, when she stimulated”.

When it comes to people in relationships with an age gap, depending on the circumstance, there could be some emotional issues that may occur.

Psychotherapist Miles Pulver explains: “There are lots of reasons couples get into relationships with big age differences. Sometimes it’s practical or financial. But often there are also deeper psychological needs that are being met on both sides.

“This can work well. But problems can start if the “roles” of each partner are fixed and rigid. Because, over time, one partner may grow and begin to need something different. Then it will feel as if the original unwritten “psychological contract” has been broken,” he told Artefact.

“The solution is to be able to share and bear: to be able to really communicate together, at a heartfelt level, about your wishes and needs, to be able to listen to your partner and hear what they are saying, and to bear your painful feelings about the changes, without retaliating.”

Age gap or not, if it’s a healthy relationship, then people should be accepting no matter what.

 

 


Feature image credit to Thomas Hawk via Flickr CC