Age Gaps in a Couple: Mathilde, 40, Maxime, 27

As the old saying goes, “love doesn’t have an age”, and here at Love Intelligence we would have to agree. There are clear advantages and disadvantages (perhaps it’s more accurate to call them obstacles) to succumbing to the charm of someone significantly older or younger.

Mathilde's Story

Mathilde was eager to share her experience with Love Intelligence readers.

Mathilde, 40 years old, 3 kids, newly divorced and a little lost, wrote to us to share some of her doubts. Even though her divorce wasn’t finalized, she’d gone to the other side of the world to recharge her batteries. It was in this idyllic setting that she met 27-year old Maxime. First and foremost, there was a great friendship between them. They confided in each other. She talked to him about her difficult breakup with the man she had considered the love of her life, he shared his difficulty in feeling understood by women his own age. Little by little, affection turned into romantic feelings, which deepened into love. As soon as her divorce came through, Mathilde wanted to keep her burgeoning relationship secret. This set-up suited them both to begin with. And then came the moment to make their relationship official.

Mathilde and Maxime were clearly unprepared for the criticism and judgments they would have to face. This constant stress of remarks and disapproving stares made the couple ill at ease. What’s more, Mathilde became more and more aware that her relationship was Maxime was just a phase. Their belonging to two distinct generations became more and more of a problem in their daily life. In the end, Mathilde began to constantly doubt her femininity and her ability to please her partner physically.

Mathilde considered their relationship to be one of the most beautiful in her life – however their love for each other wasn’t strong enough to deal with the judgements of others. Or, to be more exact, Mathilde wasn’t strong enough to deal with the pressure, while Maxime grew frustrated at his lack of freedom from other peoples’ opinions. They separated for a year. It was at the end of this year that Mathilde called Love Intelligence, worried that she had let love pass her by. Her dearest wish was to know how to put together all the pieces in their relationship without falling back into the same romantic setbacks.


Here’s How to Overcome Society’s Judgment of Your Choice of Partner

There are two in a relationship – that’s it. In other words, others are not to interfere in our choices (it’s surely others who’ve invented the expression “cougars” to talk about women in their forties, fifties and above who make the choice to have a romantic relationship with a man who’s at least ten or fifteen years their junior.

If it is the case that certain people take the liberty to judge us, it is up to us not to take it into account. The most rebellious among us will know instinctively not to give this nonsense the time of day – this is where Maxime did so well, while Mathilde foundered. In any case – and this can’t be overstated – it is impossible to get everyone to like you. It’s normal that the people around you are a little surprised by this choice to begin with. But if you explain depths of your feelings for you partner, they should support you on your path to embracing your out-of-the-ordinary relationship.

Love is above all a meeting of two beings where the particularities of one resound with the particularities of the other. It is therefore not exclusively two young people or two older people who can fall in love! Maturity isn’t solely a question of age. One thing is sure, however – in making the choice to embark on an unusual relationship, you leave yourself wide open to the judgements of others. This is something you have to learn to live with, and not to focus on – and it doesn’t change.


How did Love Intelligence help Mathilde and Maxime to move beyond this romantic stalemate?

One of our coaches helped Mathilde by laying out the following structure in very direct, simple terms:

1) To win back Maxime she needed to impart 3 important messages:

·         She had to speak to him about the strength of their love: “our love is too strong for us to let it pass us by”

·         She had to tell him that she had matured and understood that he had been right (you have to be free in love, which she hadn’t been) – it was by working on Step 1 of the Method “Am I liberated from my past?” that guides you towards freeing yourself from your personal history and exterior influences, that Mathilde succeeded in disregarding myths and opinions that were weighing her down.

·         She had to establish a code of conduct for both of them to follow in the future to protect them from exterior pressures that threatened to meddle with their love for each other.

And… he came back to her !


How can we protect ourselves ?

Maxime and Mathilde made a list of people they could see, and people they shouldn’t see anymore  (people who are too harmful to the couple’s progress in their relationship. They spoke a lot about the kind of language they would adopt (how to speak of their relationship to those they loved and who mattered to them? How would they handle their reactions?) And they also did their best to remember what was important: each other.

Preconceived notions

Age gaps are often unfair on one or both partners

What you're thinking

I can see the attraction in someone older and wiser.

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