I’m a mid-40s man who’s dated a lot during my single years. I had the opportunity to work in another country where the single female population were mostly open-minded about dating outside their own community.
I was too young to get seriously involved when I first moved to this locale, but over time I had some wonderful and memorable girlfriends.
Now, I feel more ready and eager to have a true companion who may eventually become my life partner. I started seeing someone about six months ago. Yet, due to a 15-year gap in our ages (and those of her close friends), I often notice that younger millennials turn to therapists and other relationship advisers whenever they feel insecure about even very small matters in their relationships.
Is this partly a post-pandemic insecurity that many of these young women feel? I often hear my current girlfriend telling her besties about things that seem small incidents that I feel don’t require professional interpretations and counselling.
For example, she’ll complain to her mother for not showing empathy when she’s having a difficult time at work. She’ll even cry and accuse her mother of not caring about her.
To me, that’s not her mother’s burden. The woman has raised five children and never worked in an office with clients, some of whom can be demanding and rude, etc.
I’d like my girlfriend to feel she can discuss such matters with me, since we’re a couple and should support each other. Also, everyone has some tough days at work, without requiring professional counselling.
Why do you think her age cohort keeps turning for outside “help” whenever something isn’t perfect? I’ve heard her and her friends all complain about similar “problems.”
Is this behaviour so generational that I appear like an older grouch?
Too Far Apart?
Most couples with age differences adjust to the reality of each other’s different cohorts, even including their opposite tastes in music, plus odd expressions arising from their own time.
Most couples adjust. Even if partner’s ages are close, there are often wide differences in backgrounds, and previous life experiences.
There’s no need for you to be “far apart” on small matters. If your girlfriend wants to share a complaining session with her friends or her mother, about problems she faces at work or personal matters, that’s her choice.
If you remain concerned about this difference, and have difficulty bridging it, you might both benefit from discussing it together with a therapist who has the professional ability to assess its impact on the relationship.
Reader’s Commentary One man’s self-assessment from seeking professional “help:”
“About 25 years ago I ‘took ownership’ of my mental health issues. I learned about ‘who I really am.’ I went to many doctor’s appointments and counselling sessions.
“I have become very open, and I basically just say it’s part of who I am. I’ve also discovered that I’m not the only one like me, with mental health issues, in my extended family. And I’ve traced that back to my father’s mother’s family.
“My huge pet peeve quickly became those people who thought that I could ‘just suck it up.’ So, my circle of ‘friends’ quickly changed.
“But, since 2020 there’s been a huge awakening. Suddenly, people who didn’t suffer previously suddenly started to suffer.
“I’d heard, and experienced personally, that those of us who’d accepted such issues prior to COVID had, for the most part developed effective coping techniques.
“Suddenly the shoe was on the other foot. They understood why I no longer wanted to associate with them.”
There’s been a societal change over the last few years.
We’re an outgoing couple who enjoy entertaining. Since we both enjoy cooking, we regularly invite friends for dinner or an afternoon drink on the patio. However, we never get invited in return. I’ve learned that it’s not just us.
We still invite people to dinner because we always have a good time, as do our guests, but.......
I suppose one could blame COVID (or climate change) as an easy excuse for this behaviour, but can society change so dramatically over such a short time?
Yes, unfortunately. While your invited guests were willing to partake of a free dinner or drinks, they hadn’t the personal energy or interest to return the friendly gesture.
While you and your husband shed light into the issues of companionship and positive energy, those friends shied away and likely blamed the virus.
The pandemic changed many people, some for better or worse.
Tip of the day:
Don’t judge a potential partner’s age-related background. Learn about it.