The word dating has connotations of shy adolescence and exuberant youth. In a bygone era, it was partially true also.
But with changing social conditions and values that are forever in flux, dating at different ages is today more a pattern than the exception.
Today also, dating is more a prerogative of youngsters. But career pressures, divorce, or death could necessitate dating at different ages.
People devoted to studies and careers might postpone getting into relationships that could negatively impact their goals.
Then those who are in the market for a second or third time might be there with a broken heart or with a sense of liberation from a suffocating relationship.
But the hurdles to be crossed are similar to all so that the same rules apply to those dating at different ages.
Consciously or unconsciously, all of us have within us the ideals of a perfect mate.
Though, theoretically, ‘beauty is skin deep’, mind’s reflex mechanism may not accept it as such. Physical perfection is a highly desirable attribute, and people dating at different ages might get attracted to it.
But making it the first requirement for a dating mate is not strongly advised. Other things being satisfactory, it is a welcome attribute though.
The other perfections that one had hoped for, like value systems, career achievements, or aspirations, could be made more non-negotiable.
While this is so for those dating at different ages, it is more so for those dating comparatively later in life.
Value systems and career competence would be proven and entrenched by that stage and finding a mutually acceptable pattern in a dating partner can lead to a good relationship.
A similarity in worldview is a desirable quality even in dating that does not eventually lead to marriage.
It will at least be beautiful while it lasts. Be it a pro-war or anti-war stance, or less mundane ideas like frugal living or devil-may-care attitude, it will be conducive to enjoying the partnership for people dating at different ages.
When the long term goal of dating partners is the same, the possibility of the relationship blooming into marriage is high, for people dating at different ages.
If both are hoping for academic excellence or successful entrepreneurship, the very planning for it during dating can bring them close to each other.
People often have to give up something to get something else. When each party is able to understand what the other is ready to give up for what he or she wants, they can dovetail perfectly.
A little auxiliary advice here. People are divided into those who consider ‘ends justify means’ and those who think ‘ends do not justify means’ group.
Whatever the goals and aims, people dating at different ages should check to which side of the divide the other belongs to.
Anyway, a peek into mental similarities might be able only at a later stage in dating. To start with, people dating at different ages should look for that gleam in the other’s eye, that adoration, or approval for what one is saying.
It is a good start for people dating at different ages to try to know each other. The other aspects of the meeting of minds have to wait to be tested.