We’ve explored the psychology of intergenerational love and relationships. What we haven’t done is explored the idea of supporting intergenerational relationships and how others perceive them. Take for example the idea of a young males parents who have just been told that their gay son is in an intergenerational relationship?
This article will serve several purposes.
Firstly, it can provide support and guidance for parents and families of the LGBTQI+ community whose loved one is in an intergenerational relationship. Secondly, it can be used as a guide for an intergenerational couple to help their families cope with the idea of their relationship. And hopefully transition into a supportive and loving family unit.
Supporting Intergenerational Relationships
When a couple engage in an intergenerational relationship there can be a lot of angst, and anxiety on behalf of the families.
Parents and family members of the younger partner might view the older partner as a predator. They might struggle to think of things that they might have in common. Might even relegate the relationship to a young man that’s just looking for a father figure.
This is especially troublesome within the gay community.
Funnily enough, whilst there’s still angst and issues among intergenerational heterosexual relationships that’s far more tolerated than being gay with a huge age difference. Think Donald Trump and his wife Melania. Alec Baldwin who is 26 years older than his wife. Former President Gover Cleveland who was 49 when he married his 21 year old lover, Frances Folsom.
Intergenerational relationships are not a gay exclusive thing
One can’t help but wonder if the objection to gay intergenerational relationships prays on the stereotypes that gay men are paedophiles and other stigmas.
It certainly doesn’t help when random people presume to comment on an intergenerational relationship. And decide to comment on news articles with hateful speech, ageist comments and all sorts of inflammatory remarks. Stephen Fry and Elliot Spencer spoke at length about the hateful comments that they had received. Their strength and determination in choosing to ignore it. Instead, focusing on their love and affection for each other and the development of their relationship.
A junior partner invariably finds something that they need in the senior partner and vice versa.
This is exactly what happens in relationships that are from similar age-cohorts.
To counter that, it’s important to note that an older partner isn’t necessarily a replacement of a father figure. Or indeed a parental substitute. To presume as such would be a presumption that the older male is the dominant one in the relationship. There’s no possible way of determining this. It is important to realise, and make others realise, that there is love, mutual care and understanding, and common ground.
A couple does not necessarily have to refute the idea that they’re considered to be replacing the father figure. Because to refute it will only strengthen everyone else’s resolve in the labelling.
Instead, focusing on the common ground that the couple have, will put most people at ease.
Issue of Different Life Stages
Then there’s the issue that they’re in different life stages.
People often attribute life to being separated into differing life stages. Youth is your formative years, where you make mistakes, learn and grow wiser. Your young adult years is where you start figuring it all out which transcends into stability and success later in life. Whilst these stages exist, it’s difficult to prescribe these stages to every single individual person.
Some people might grow up too young or too fast. Others might never grow up. Different life stages mean little to people in love. Romeo and Juliet, the iconic romantic story of Titanic, are all stories which were celebrated for overcoming the odds.
What’s So Different When it Comes to Gay Intergenerational Love?
Let’s take a moment to consider the idea that it’s pretty acceptable for a heterosexual male to show off and show case his younger trophy girlfriends. Even for older married straight men to trade their wives in for younger models. There are an abundance of websites out there which operate on the promise of connecting rich sugar daddies with much younger, beautiful women.
To some people, age is just a number where you fall in love with the person and not their age.
An idea of money hungry lads chasing up older gentlemen’s finances is a common stereotype. When it comes to placating the family there’s no easy way. Young men and women are often thought to be considered gold diggers when it comes to intergenerational relationships. Whilst we can’t deny that those exist, they’re actually in a much smaller number than the stereotype.
Wouldn’t it be Difficult to Fake it for Money?
Consider this, how difficult it would be to continually engage in sexual activities with the same person simply for the purpose of money? It takes a particular person, and a mind frame, to be able to do that.
There are many articles out there which detail ‘how to spot a gold digger’. But some of them rely on stereotypes. Realistically, what individual wouldn’t like to be spoilt with lavish gifts and tokens of love.
How does that equate to being a gold digger?
There’s no real way to identify a gold digger. But like any relationship you can generally tell when people are in love. So the best advice in this regard is to actually take a step back. Don’t consider the inheritance, or the financial side of things. Actually take a good reflective look into the relationship and how they’re responding to each other.
Have a Conversation With Your Loved Ones
A lot of people will develop issues because they’re not being given a chance to ask the questions that they want to ask.
If it’s a close family member, such as parents, children, siblings, then they should be given the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation. For parents having a conversation with the younger partner then you need to talk adult to adult, even if you still consider him you baby. If you approach the situation like an angry animal trying to protect their cub, what will most likely happen is alienating him further and pushing him away.
He’s come to you to talk about the relationship. Then he’s trying to open up and that should be an activity that’s commended. Not condemned. If you’re family with the older partner, then you need to consider the idea that they’re getting something out of the relationship as well.
We mentioned elsewhere on this website the benefits of dating a younger gay guy. All of these apply. Secondly, unless he’s not of sound mind and control, then your loved one is doing what they like. That makes them happy, and that’s not something that should be criticised.
Best Advice – Sit Down and Meet the Couple Together
One of the best pieces of advice that I can give in this regard, is to sit down and meet the couple, together. Have a dinner, share a drink or an afternoon and actively try and get to know them.
Yes, it might potentially be awkward. It’s awkward for all of them as well. But it’s not about the awkwardness. It’s about moving beyond the stereotypes of mature gays, the stigma, and actively getting to know them.