Does age gap matter in relationships? What’s the magic number?

age gap

A 16 year old girl falls in love with a man who is 32, double her age. Despite the wide age gap between them, they have an amazing chemistry, their conversations flow easily. In short, they are happily in love.

Albeit they have an amazing love story, when the crucial question of marriage arises, the romance gives way to the absurdity of the statement “the age gap is not right”. Both move on to get married to the people they have the right age gap with. But alas, both do not find happiness on this “right” path.

A friend’s elder sister got married to a man younger to her by ten years and they have lived happily ever after. Pooja, on the other hand, married a man two years elder to her but the marriage fell apart like a house of cards. Over time, their different view points became a deterrent to their marriage.

So how does one decide the real, right?

Men marry younger women and women prefer older men, in general. But is there an optimal age difference? Even in 2017, wide age gaps, or a woman dating or getting married to a man younger to her would surely raise some eyebrows.  There was so much flurry and flutter around the marriage of Emmanuel Macron, 39, – the newly-elected President of France – and his wife Brigitte Trogneux, 64. WhatsApp and Facebook were flooded with comments and there was an uproar about a man getting married to a woman almost 20 years older.

age gap

If we try and dig into the scientific reasons behind the same we would see that there are different theories and researches which have tried to decipher this magic number. A very recent study from Emory University in Atlanta showed that there was a link between a couple’s age gap and the likelihood of separation.

A data from 3,000 participants found that the bigger the age difference between partners, the greater the risk of separation. Couples with a five-year gap are 18 percent more likely to split compared to those in a relationship with someone their own age. And this rate dramatically increases as the gap widens to ten years, at a 39 percent rate of separation. Relationships for couples with 20 years or more between them were found to break down 95 percent of the time.

Most of these theories hypothesise that an age gap beyond 10 years is surely going to rupture the relationship. There are number of arguments in favour of the claim. The most popular being that couples with wider age gap would be in different phases of their lives and eventually this difference would lead to antagonistic opinions. A woman who early in the relationship was fascinated with a man’s maturity and wisdom would eventually find his lifestyle boring and monotonous. At 40, when a woman would be at the peak of her career and all excited, the husband would be retiring and in the “I have seen it and done it all” mode. Sharing life goals would become difficult.

age gap

So what exactly is the miraculous number? Consensus goes for an age gap difference varying between one to three years. However, the exact magical figure is one year, wherein the chances of disunion are the least.

Does that mean that couples with wider age gaps would surely head for a divorce or can we safely say that for all the people who have crushes or are in love with partners with wide age gap should give up their chase and settle for someone younger?

age gap

The answer for me would lie in the kind of personality a person has, his or her interests, the priorities an individual has and definitely “the love factor”. When love rules, everything else takes a back-seat.  Together all of these would help in deciphering the “age-gap” conundrum.

We need to know that whether relationships will be a disaster or a success depends upon us, the human beings. And the two people are the most important in a relationship. If they want, everything else works out. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter.

-Mehak Kapoor



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