What is the Best Age Gap in a Relationship?
In matters of the heart, they say that age does not matter. This is very much evident in celebrity couples whose age difference did not stop them from entering into a happy romantic relationship: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones have a 25 year difference and they are happily married, George Clooney and wife Amal have a 17 year age gap, power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z are 12 years apart. This goes to show that when you are in love age makes no difference.
Although age differences are common, many feel that there is an ideal age gap for entering romantic relationships. Some would say that 10 to 15 year age difference is too much of a gap and that there are so many factors that will make this relationship not work. Take this article, for example, it provides an explanation of why you should not date someone who is 8 years older than you.
Why the Age Gap?
There are different justifications that explain the reasons for the huge age difference in relationships. The rational model explains that people look for older partners who are bread winners that can provide for them. Traditionally, men have higher income than women which is probably why they will look for older men. However, this is slowly changing and the tides are turning. Also, many people have chosen to marry later, which contributed to the increase in the age difference between couples.
There is also the model where older women date younger men. However, some studies have concluded that such an approach is not common because men still prefer younger women. Women, on the other hand, generally look for successful and more established men their age or older. But there are exceptions to every situation.
Large Age Gaps and Success in Marriage
One study has revealed that couples with 1 year age gap have a 3 percent chance of getting divorced. Couples with 5 year age gap have an 18 percent chance of filing for divorce. When the age gap goes up to 10 years and 20 years, the likelihood of getting divorced increases to 39 percent and 95 percent, respectively. Another study conducted by 2014 Emory University involved more than 3,000 couples. It found out that the larger the age gap of the couple; the more likely they are to get divorced.
Looking at the research, it is safe to say that a 1 year age gap is the ideal difference when entering a romantic relationship. Even though the 1-year gap is still prone to breakups and divorces. According to Hugo Mialon, one of the researchers behind one of the studies, it all boils down to the character differences on why the couples will likely divorce.
In other research, it was revealed that most female users look for partners around their age or 1 or 2 years older. On the other hand, men prefer women in their early 20s, regardless of their own age. The latter may not be ideal for a relationship to last, as revealed by the Emory study.
The Keys to Success
The various studies demonstrate that the overall success of any relationship will depend on a few basic components. For the relationship to be successful, there should be compatibility in shared values and beliefs, healthy communication and resolution of conflict, intimacy, and partners should support one another’s goals. These traits have nothing to do with age, although a huge difference in age translates to different world views and the relationship.
While the one year gap is the ideal and a huge gap can be challenging, the age difference is not an indicator whether the relationship will succeed or fail, other factors that come into play as well. A huge gap in age does not totally mean that the relationship will fail. It only means that the couple may need to work a little bit harder. After all, every relationship will need a little bit of effort from both in order to work.
According to relationship counselor and sex therapist Julia Cole, the age difference could only mean that the couple will have different levels of motivation. A man who has a younger more attractive partner will see it as a vindication of his masculinity. A younger woman with an older partner, on the other hand, might not take the relationship seriously. Nevertheless, she will consider it as a great boost to their ego but might not expect much from it.
Cole says that the key to success to a relationship between couples with huge age difference must accept their transitional nature. For their relationship to be successful, the couple should practice the need to control and the need to be looked after.
For a younger woman, Julia says, having a relationship with an older man means that she is looking for security, a man who is further up the career leader than herself, who is more successful, and wealthier partners will satisfy this need for security and success. While this isn’t true for all couples, it definitely gives us food for thought.
Perceptions Will Change
Julia says that as a younger woman matures and gains more experience, the mentor mentality might change. The protection she received and the wisdom she gained might now become just a means of patronizing. As she grows older, the original basis for the relationship disappears. For younger boys in a relationship with older women, it typically will be about sex than power or influence.
Julia advises that older partners in an age gap relationship should not expect or assume that their relationship will last because it is often times it is unlikely. In the short term, it will just be about having fun and improving self-esteem. The excitement at the start of the relationship will slowly die down. The longer you are in the relationship, the higher the chance that you will be forced to deal with the huge age gap.
READERS: Do you agree? Do you feel age matters or not at all?
John O. Brooks writes for DoULike. The site is a trustworthy online dating site for singles. It serves as a resource for meeting and connecting local singles from US cities and states. The website features a blog that offers relationship advices. It also includes success stories of couples that met on the website with happy ending. The website does not disclose personal information to third parties.