Can Dating Someone Much Older (Or Younger) Than You Ever Work Out?

We've all heard about Hugh Hefner Syndrome (a man dating a woman two-thirds his age), leaving many to ask — what is the optimal age range between a couple? Is someone like Hefner a "dirty old man" for wanting a woman much younger than himself?

On one hand, people say that he's a man with financial means, so he has the "right" to date anyone who'll have him (age spots and all). On the other hand, people claim he's robbing a young woman of her chance for a more egalitarian relationship; one where she's with a man who knows the world in the same way that she does and the couple matures together over the years.

Now this model of older person dating younger person includes women in new way, thanks to women gaining social stature and power (in both finances and influence). Who doesn't recall the boon of the "cougar" trend: "A woman who seeks sexual relations with considerably younger men." 

We've seen it play out on popular shows like "Sex and the City" and in real life Hollywood couplesJohnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard have a 23 year age gap. Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi have a 15 year age gap.

But, there are also many famous couples (with huge age gaps between them) who don't make it: Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (she is 12 years older than him), split after 23 years together and Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (she's 16 years older than him), split after 8 years of marriage.

So, the question is — for however popular the trend is, can this kind of relationship truly work for the long haul? 

Research on the matter sheds some light on why large age gaps are sometimes problematic in relationships.

In fact, research indicates that the bigger the age gap, the shorter the marriage.  

According to professors in the Department of Economics at Emory University, "a five-year age gap statistically means you’re 18 percent more likely to divorce (versus just 3 percent with a 1-year age difference), and that rate rises to 39 percent for a 10-year age difference and 95 percent for a 20-year age gap."

We took this question to our Experts to hear their insights.

We brought together professional matchmaker and host Paul Carrick Brunson, certified matchmaker, dating coach and founder and CEO of New York Socials Marina Margulis, certified matchmaker, dating coach and founder of AVConnexions, LLC Arlene Vasquez and matchmaker and dating coach Peggy Wolman to explore age gaps in relationships and what's required to make one work.

Their perspectives will likely surprise you! From their take on the number of people actually in these types of relationships to how important any of this is in the larger scheme of finding and creating lasting love. Watch the video above to hear the Experts sound off on age, love and the impact of both on relationship happiness at any age.

And if you're looking for love and want the help of an exceptionally talented matchmaker, Arlene, Peggy and Marina are at your service. You can reach them by simply clicking their names above and visiting their websites. They'll share everything you need to know about working with a matchmaker and how they can support you in finding the love of your life.