Relationships Throughout The Ages

Relationships Throughout The Ages

As we age, our concept of a healthy relationship changes. In our younger years (the “screw-up” years), we consistently question whether we are ready for a relationship or whether we are simply not mature enough to handle what a relationship may bring to our lives. In the middle age years, we are ready to settle down and find the love of our lives that we will hopefully grow old with into the “dead” years, but what makes a lasting relationship? I decided to conduct interviews from the perspective of someone in their 20’s, still getting settled in life, and someone newly engaged and ready to settle down.

Kelsey Kross

Kelsey Kross

Kelsey Kloss, 22, is a young, aspiring writer for Reader’s Digest. She had this to say on the topic of relationships:

What do you find makes a lasting relationship?

Basic respect and courtesy is key—getting comfortable with someone isn’t an excuse to ignore that. I think people can start to take respect for granted at a certain point in the relationship, and lack of respect tends to lead to lack of trust and communication. If you don’t respect someone enough to be honest, to be kind, to not do that one thing that really bothers them, to resist the temptation to give them the silent treatment when you really need to communicate, or to protect them from being hurt, then you’re going to have relationship issues.

Why do you feel that people our age have a hard time making relationships last?

We live in a bit of a self-involved society. People tend to think in terms of what their partner can do for them, without considering what they can bring to the relationship in return. You want to vent about a bad day, but do you want to listen to him? You want a date for that company event, but are you willing to go to her family reunion? You want security, but are you willing to cope with the unpredictable nature and ups-and-downs of another human being? We get too focused on what we want that we lose sight of what we’re willing to give.

Do you think that age is a factor in making a relationship last? (i.e. maturity)

Some sense of emotional maturity is a big factor in any long-lasting relationship, but people are too quick to blame age itself. It takes a person, not a number, to fall in love and to break a heart—a 30-year-old can hurt you just as horribly as a 20-year-old can, and two teenagers might have a much more stable relationship than two people in their 40s. We’re all human—we’re all capable of loving, of being selfish, of being supportive, and of being patient. We’re all capable of hurting someone, and of being broken. It doesn’t begin or end at any specific age.

Do you think the media (celebrities and such) have an impact on young people’s definitions of relationships?

I don’t think it really does. There are quite a few shows that seem to support toxic relationships, and many songs that make you question if relationships even exist anymore. But no media can necessarily downplay the rush of falling in love or desensitize the pain of being heartbroken. For example, if someone you love cheats on you, you likely won’t be OK with it—regardless of what any song says.

Do you personally feel that someone in their early 20s is too young for a “serious” relationship?

Those in their early 20s might move away, switch jobs, grow bitter, or become better, so people wonder, with so many changes, can they commit to a serious relationship? But, let’s be honest—life is woven with constant transitions, and if our partners can’t stand by our sides as we apply for jobs or choose our first apartments, how can we trust them to be there during the unpredictability of parenthood, a mid-life crises, or retirement? People claim age makes us unpredictable. But really, it’s life that does, and it always will. It’s unfair to expect someone to go through it all unchanged. That’s not love. Love is being the one constant, unbreakable thread your partner can depend on through the tangle of life’s transitions.

Kimi Lewis

Kimi Lewis

Kimi Lewis, newly engaged granddaughter to the comedian Jerry Lewis, and formerly seen on “Millionaire Matchmaker,” had this to say on her concept of relationships:

What do you find makes a lasting relationship?

Communication: communication is key. Even if it’s regarding a topic that neither person wants to talk about, it is more beneficial in the long run to be open and speak freely with your significant other. If two people in a relationship don’t openly express their feelings, concerns, annoyances, etc. They will internalize all of these feelings until one day they explode at the other person (who will feel completely blind-sided).When I was younger I was always concerned about hurting someone’s feelings with what I had to say. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to the conclusions that my feelings matter, and I’m only doing a disservice to myself and the relationship if I don’t communicate.

Honesty: Like mom always said “honesty is the best policy.” It’s impossible to build or keep a relationship without honesty. There’s no reason to be dishonest with a person you love. If anyone will understand and support you, it should be them. And if not, then you’re with the wrong person.

Trust: Trust is a must. If you can’t 100% trust the person you are with, then you are unable to be completely invested in the relationship. Granted, earning/gaining trust takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m the type of person that needs to know the person I’m with has my back no matter what. Through actions (not words) each person in the relationship needs to show the other that they can trust their significant other. You can promise the sun, moon, and stars, but words are fleeting.You have to show it.

Why do you feel that young people have a harder time making a relationship last?

I look back at when I was in my twenties and first thank god I’m not in my twenties anymore, but also realize all the mistakes I made, and the general population makes when dating. That’s a period of time when everyone is trying to figure out who they are, and what category they fit in. Am I fashion forward trendy, a jock, the starving musician, etc. We’re trying to find our place in the world. So when you throw dating into the mix, we feel compelled to keep up with this façade of who we are. Not only is it tiring, but it doesn’t allow a person to show who they truly are.

Do you think that age is a factor in making a relationship last? (i.e. maturity)

Kimi Lewis and Jerry Lewis

Kimi Lewis and Jerry Lewis

Age is a factor, and it’s not a factor. Some people never grow up and mature. They just get older and are eternally 16. General consensus, I’d say age is a factor. Perfect example: my fiancé was married in his early 20s. A lot changes from when you’re 23 to when you’re 33. Different ideals, different passions in life, different likes/dislikes, different wants and needs. I don’t believe in having serious relationships in your 20’s. Enjoy life and focus on school.

Do you think the media (celebrities and such) have an impact on young people’s definitions of relationships?

Yes, yes, and yes. Media has created an unrealistic idea of what relationships are. It’s always about the “shock factor.” It’s extremely dysfunctional, and has completely skewed what a real relationship should be like. Thank you Kim and Kanye.

Do you personally feel that someone in their early 20’s is too young for a “serious” relationship?

I think a person in their early 20’s is way too young to be in a serious relationship. But that’s my opinion. Most everyone I know that was in serious relationships at a young age, and/or got married at a young age is now divorced or no longer together. There are the seldom few that do stay together, but that’s not the norm. I don’t think anyone should get married before they’re 30. Finish school, get established in your career, live on your own, and then get in a relationship.

It goes to show that throughout the ages, our concept of love and what makes happiness last does change. When we are young, we look for someone who will make our heart beat fast and give us butterflies. As we get older we look for someone who will stand by our side for years to come and someone to grow old with. Though sometimes not a fairytale, love does come in many different ways and maturity does indeed play a factor in creating a healthy relationship.

Danielle is a 22-year-old college student at Chapman University pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. She has had an intense passion for writing ever since she was little. She was inspired to write poetry when going through a family hardship and from then on, she knew it was what she wanted to pursue. Her dream would be to write for a magazine after college so she is working hard to achieve that goal. She has had a beauty writing internship and love writing about relationships, beauty, and fashion.