Does age difference in marriage matter? Interesting article/study about divorce

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
  • poll: Do you think age matters?
    Yes, it does matter, but it will likely negatively affect the marriage. : (20 votes)
    53 %
    Yes, it does matter, but it will likely positively affect the marriage. : (4 votes)
    11 %
    No, age doesn't matter. Won't positively or negatively affect the marriage. : (10 votes)
    26 %
    I have no idea. : (4 votes)
    11 %
  • Post # 2
    Member
    4483 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2015

    Interesting! I always liked older guys, but I guess it’s a good thing FI is just 2 years older. I’ve also read that it helps when the wife is the younger one, if there is an age difference, but I’m not sure if it’s true.

    Post # 3
    Member
    1969 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    I don’t have a real opinion on how age differences might affect another couple, but for FI and I, I think its definitely a positive that we’re the same age.  I appreciate being able to share a lot of firsts with him.  I’m not talking about firsts when it comes to intimacy, but when it comes to certain milestones.  We’re at the same place in life, so we’re learning to navigate it together, and I think that makes us stronger.  Everything from getting our first professional jobs, becoming independent from our parents, schooling, getting our first apartment together, soon buying a house, getting married, having kids, and all of that good stuff.  We’re doing it all together for the 1st time, and I think that’s special. 

     

    Post # 4
    Member
    3378 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: February 1997

    My parents had a huge age gap and never divorced (though my father died many years ago now), but it stands to reason that the larger the age gap, the larger the misunderstandings. Everything from a person’s food preferences, social expectations, gender role assumptions, pop culture references, comfort with technology, and even money habits can be based in the way and time in which they were raised. And a lot of it is subconscious; many of these things are not things that people are aware they have a bias toward or against, so differences can come up unexpectedly.

    Most of all, when an age gap becomes significant, the odds increase signoficantly that one partner will become a caregiver for the other before they normally would have – especially if the man is older than the woman (since men tend to die at younger ages than do women). It is difficult for a partner in the prime of life to have a spouse with age-related health issues, and it is even more difficult when there are relatively young children involved. 

    Like the OP said, age and biology are not destiny, and studies do nothing to predict individual cases. However, it is easy for people to assume that love conquers all, and it doesn’t. The reality of life intrudes into every partnership, sometimes more cruelly and sometimes less. A large age gap just increases the odds of stress and misunderstandings in the relationship IMO.

    Post # 5
    Member
    889 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    My FI and I have an age difference of 20 years and I agree with the study that the larger the age gap, the more likely the couple are to divorce!

    The odds are definitely stacked against couples with a big age gap…that’s one of the reasons we have waited over 10 years to get married! It may surprise people but we actually have loads in common and lots of shared interests but we are also very realistic and open about things and wanted to be sure our love would last the distance. We know we will face different issues as we get older but we love each other so much and we are happier than we’ve ever been, it’s so true that, ultimately, age is just a number! 

    Lots of people in age gap relationships are together for the wrong reasons so divorce is more likely but people the same age who are wrong for each other marry and divorce too…i strongly believe it comes down to the individuals and how right people are for each other. 

    Post # 7
    Member
    122 posts
    Blushing bee

    There was not an age gap between SO and his ex-wife but their marriage lasted only slightly over two years (and their whole relationship not even 3 years). Me and SO have a 5 year age gap and we’re already on track to last way longer then they ever did. *shrugs*<br /><br />My biological grandparents were only two years apart and got divorced. After that, my grandpa married a woman 25 years his junior (!) and they stayed married until his death.

    It just all depends.

    Post # 8
    Member
    889 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    bmo88:  We are 32 and 52…If i’m honest, i feel like 20’s and 40’s was the biggest ‘gap’ as I was still growing up and finding out who I was in my 20’s whereas FI was established in his life and career. The fact that we grew together rather than apart during this time speaks volumes and we are now closer than ever.

    As I said, we are both realists but it’s amazing how well we get on and how much we have in common. It’s also telling that everyone who knows us is accepting and supportive as they see how great we are together…The only people who’ve ever been negative about us are strangers who’ve never even met us!

    This age gap wouldn’t work with most people though and  that’d why I agree with the statistics…i doubt I’d get on this well with most 50-odd year olds and I doubt many women in their 30’s would put up with FI lol….We work because of who we are as individuals! 

    Post # 9
    Member
    125 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: December 1969

    My boyfriend and I are 15 years age difference. I’m 26 and he’s 41. We just work and click together!  

    Post # 10
    Member
    3704 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: December 2014

    Interesting, I wonder if they separated out the data based on who was older, the man or the woman. I wonder if that makes a difference…

    Post # 11
    Member
    10495 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2011

    Yes, I think it matters, but it can have both positive and negative influences.

    Being older and knowing more about yourself, being more confident, etc – positive

    Having similarities due to growing up in similar times – positive

    Learning from someone who has more experience, or just different experience – positive

    The negatives are often more noticed I think.

    Post # 12
    Member
    6518 posts
    Bee Keeper

    I can see this, but mainly because I think that a higher percentage of couples with larger age gaps tend to rush into marriage/get married for the wrong reasons. Now, by no means am I saying this applies to all couples with big age gaps — there are plenty of amazing marriages between people with large age gaps out there, no doubt about it.

    But, we all know that men in general take longer to want to settle down/marry, while women usually want that at at earlier age (again, not saying ALL men/women are like this). So I think with age gaps, you often have situations where a man in his 30s/40s is finally eager to settle down, get married, and start a family, while a much younger woman in her late teens/early 20s is also ready for that. So such a couple may end up getting married sooner than they might otherwise have, perhaps before getting to know one another well enough.

    And then of course, situations where an older men just wants a hot young thing on his arm or where a younger woman is only intersted in golddigging would get included in this calculation (while I’ve never known couples like that in real life, I know it does happen).

    Now, I think it’d be super interesting if this study had somehow controlled for the length of time the couple was together before marriage. Because then what I described above wouldn’t be applicable.

    Very interesting read, thanks bmo88!

    Post # 13
    Member
    6614 posts
    Bee Keeper

    I suspected there would be an adverse effect from a large age difference. It’s better to have things in common than not, and a large age gap makes it a little difficult to have more commonalities. 

    Post # 14
    Member
    1990 posts
    Buzzing bee

    My fiance and I have a 10 year difference, but I started my career and he began a new one at the same time. We’re both mature and have the same goals, so I don’t think it’s reasonable to just assume we’re at risk to get divorced when really so many details go into events like that. Any couple with any age difference can have mounting issues; it’s the individual couple’s job to acknowledge and deal with them.

    Post # 15
    Member
    2151 posts
    Buzzing bee

    bmo88:  Yes! i have come across some of this information. i also read once (I can’t remember where) that the ideal difference was to have a man who was 1.5-3 years older than his wife.

    I believe it may have less to do with actual age differences and more to do with related factors.

    For example, a guy who is 40, and rather than dating women his own age, dates a 22 year old, is probably more likely to move on to someone else when the 22 year old is suddenly in her late 30s/early 40s. While I believe that sometimes true soul mates just happen to be from different generations, I do believe that the older man who wants a much much younger woman is a specific type. If the man in part wants the girl BECAUSE she is young, that will wear off as she ages, and he can (with the right resources, etc.) replace her with another 22 year old. 

    The other gap that I can imagine is one where a couple meets, and let’s say the girl is 22 and the guy is 45. Maybe they have a real connection and lots in common, he can offer security in many ways and is more mature and attentive than her peers, and she offers excitement. But later, when she’s more established and worldly and vibrant at say age 40, he’s suddenly nearly 63 and slowing down, add 10 more years and she’s 50 while he’s in his 70s. 

     

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