Can a relationship be satisfactory and lasting, given the wide age difference between partners?
The first answer coming to hand would be “What does age have to do with love? For instance, Thalía, 41, and Tommy Mottola, 63, have been married for more than 10 years.”
Currently, and despite the palpable evolution in social codes and norms, there are still some restrictions when speaking of age gap in romantic or sexual relationships. “If men are up to 10 years older than women, there is usually no problem. Socially, it is well accepted,” say various sexologists and psychologists specializing in couple therapy. But if the man is 20 years older, here there is a generational conflict and society sees it as something negative. An age difference that big between the two is not yet accepted. And finally, “if the man is between 10 and 20 years older than his partner, the wellbeing of the relationship will depend on the particularities of the parties,” explain specialists in sexology.
In any case, as long as the man is older than the woman, although there are some exceptions, it is usually seen as a better case scenario than if the woman is much older than the man. When we talk about a difference of over 10 years, what will make work the relationship are the cultural elements: how both argue on a specific topic, what values they share, what ideology and what thoughts are applied on variousissues etc. Age itself does not represent a reason or a trigger for conflict, what is really important in relationships is to have a scale of similar values, a shared ideology, similar or complementary tastes and the same vision regarding a common future. For example, if one member of the couple wants to have children while the other one does not, something goes wrong.
Love is blind
In the Anglo-Saxon world there is a well-known rule that a person should not date someone who is half their age plus up to seven years. In fact, according to a study published by the magazine ‘The Atlantic’, a simple age difference of 5 years increases the chances of divorce by 18%. According to another study conducted among 2,000 individuals by a group of experts in the insurance sector, the ideal age gap for a couple to last would be four years and four months. Some economists have raised the problem, based on the actual trend, of why women tend to be younger than their partners in many couples. The pressure of motherhood is sought as the main cause of this phenomenon, which can force them to stop working and have to pass over their well-being to their partner during this stage.
A Danish study showed, however, that the earnings of a woman married to an older man are not higher, on average, than those of women who go to the aisle with someone their own age. Youth, beauty, being sexually active are the most common reasons for women to choose younger partners, according to sexologists. The man, at every age of his life, compared to the woman, is much more sexual than the woman. Women who are older than their partners usually have lives with a certain sexual liberty, they keep their looks up, they enjoy more economic power and these attract men.
The economic aspect is always present in such relationships, though so are the comfort factor, experience, maturity, respect and admiration, the last one going for both genders (admiration for themselves and for their younger partners).
People generally argue the age gap can affect a relationship. “One cannot say that there is an age difference that is good and one that is bad. The most important issue in a couple is the capacity of adaptationone another has towards their partner. This one can be huge when there are possibilities for shared values, common friends, life elements such as cultural orientation etc.” specialists state. For the vast majority, it takes many years for a person with children or / and ownfamily to adapt to a new life partner. Many times peoplemake fun of relationships with age disparities and in order to avoid the rejection of friends and relatives these relationships remain clandestine.
General social disapproval for such relationships coming from similar-aged peers can turn into marginalization which may become stressful or isolating, and can translate into relationship evaluations. While individuals in age-gap relationships tend to be no more or less committed to each other than similar-aged couples, the extent to which they feel more general disapproval of their relationship, may lessen their commitment, studies show.
In other words, having supportive friends and family could be particularly useful for age-gap relationships. If this is not achived, making new friends and presenting arguments in front of the relatives for a change in their attitude could come as a solution.