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‘I’m older than my fiance. The age gap bothers me about our future’

“It is perhaps the social conditioning that’s affecting my mind at this point,” says a woman in her 30s

Hi Haya,

I’m in my 30s and have recently been engaged to someone who’s a couple of years younger than me. It is an arranged union. While our families don’t mind our age gap, it sometimes bothers me. Thinking what if anyone or my fiance himself someday brings it up after we’re married and uses it against me in any way?

I understand I’m overthinking but even the thought of it gives me anxiety. It is perhaps the social conditioning that’s affecting my mind at this point and keeping me worried. But I need to get over this feeling before I’m married because I won’t be able to live a happy married life otherwise.

Please tell me how to stop thinking negatively about our future together.

— Worried forever

Im older than my fiance. The age gap bothers me about our future

Dear reader,

It is understandable to have these concerns and it is not uncommon for individuals to experience anxiety related to societal expectations.

It is positive that you are seeking ways to address these concerns before getting married.

First and foremost, I invite you to validate your feelings. One of the most crucial things to do for us is to allow ourselves to feel how we feel without judgement. Understanding that these concerns are real for you is the first step towards addressing them. Many times, we get stuck in the “why” — why are we feeling this and trying to push it down by further shaming ourselves? Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling.

Ask yourself some important questions: Am I okay with the age gap? Do I feel comfortable and accepting? Is it a deal breaker for me? What about the age gap is bothering me?

The work is around self-acceptance. And self-acceptance begins with us. If we don’t accept ourselves, how can we expect others to do the same?

Other people cannot do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Further, I would encourage you to have open communication with your fiancé. Share your feelings with him calmly and openly. Find out what his perspective on this is and discuss with him how you feel about it. Discussing your concerns can strengthen your relationship and aid you both in understanding each other better. Your fiancé may have his thoughts and worries, and this could be an opportunity for mutual support.

Communication is key to healthy relationships, and assumptions are the biggest things that create damage and create rifts in relationships.

Now let’s tackle the anxiety. Figure out where it’s coming from. Anxiety often comes from worrying about the future. What we resist, persists. Use this anxiety as a sign to explore your values and what’s important to you. Reflect on what specifically about the age gap is bothering you — is it what society thinks, fear of judgment or something else? Remember, worrying about the future stops you from enjoying the present. You are in control of where your power lies. Understanding the root cause of your anxiety can help you address it more effectively.

In addition, seek self-care practices that will aid you in managing your anxiety and overthinking. This could look like journaling, meditation, exercise, grounding, or deep breathing. Grounding and meditative practices are a great way to bring us back to the present. Try different things and find what works for you. Look at the positive aspects of the relationships and think about what matters to you.

It is up to us to challenge societal norms. Recognise that societal norms and expectations can sometimes be restrictive and unrealistic. Challenge these norms by focusing on the qualities and values that matter most to you in a relationship.

I would also encourage you to talk to friends or family members who have gone through similar experiences. Their insights could provide you with valuable perspectives and reassurance.

If your anxiety persists, consider seeking professional counselling. A therapist can provide guidance, support, and specific strategies to help you navigate your concerns, explore your values, challenge negative thoughts, and build healthy coping strategies and a strong foundation for your marriage.

Last but not least don’t forget the magic ingredient! Self-compassion. Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend facing similar concerns. This can help diminish self-judgement and foster a more positive self-view.

Remember, it’s okay to have concerns and addressing them proactively is a positive step towards a healthier and happier relationship.

Haya

Im older than my fiance. The age gap bothers me about our future

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.


Send her your questions to [email protected]


Note: The advice and opinions above are those of the author and specific to the query. We strongly recommend our readers to consult relevant experts or professionals for personalised advice and solutions. The author and Geo.tv do not assume any responsibility for the consequences of actions taken based on the information provided herein. All published pieces are subject to editing to enhance grammar and clarity.

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