Age Gap Relationships —​ What's Too Much And What Works

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couples in age gap relationship

It's long been contended that age and love have a lot in common. And it turns out, yes, they actually do.

We all know the stereotypes typically applied to age gap relationships.

If a much older man marries or dates a much younger woman, then he's a cradle-robber, and she, a trophy wife. Conversely, if a much older woman dates a much younger man, then she's a cougar (possibly also a cradle-robber), and he's a cougar hunter.

In these situations, both sides face the negative onslaught of opinion around them from people who believe the relationship doesn't add up because of age. They always believe there's another reason (usually gold-digging) that these people wind up together.

Whatever the argument for the couples having met, and regardless if they stay together or not, according to science, their relationship really does have more of a limited expectancy because of a giant gap in their ages.

Though there are some people who would argue that age is just a number, there is actually a specific age difference that will help you spell out "true love" with your significant other.

What Is the Ideal age gap in relationships?

Researchers Andrew Francis-Tan from the National University of Singapore and Hugo M. Mialon from Emory University in Atlanta undertook a study on marriage duration, over the course of which they found that increasing the age between partners increases their chances of eventually splitting up.

Bascially, the closer you are to your partner in age, the more likely it is that your relationship can work in the long-run.

In some cases, they say, an age gap in relationships increases your odds of breaking up or divorcing by over thirty times those of a couple in which both partners are the same age!

The study involved surveying of more than 3,000 recently married and recently divorced American men and women. In reviewing their responses, the researchers determined that the wider the difference in age difference between spouses, the greater the likelihood they would eventually divorce.

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How much of an age gap is too much?

More specifically, if you and your beau are about five years apart in age, you face an 18% higher chance of breaking up. And if you two share an age gap of about 10 years apart, that number increases quite a bit — all the way to 39%!

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Unfortunately, we've got even worse news for people with at least 20 years' difference between them. Your chances of separating rise to a staggering 95% above those of couples who are of equal age.

Perhaps most shockingly, couples with a 30-year age gap are 172% more likely to divorce!

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What age difference works best in relationships?

It turns out that finding someone close in age to you is where it's at. Marrying someone even one year older or younger than you are means a 3% increase in your chances of getting divorced.

While everyone is different and people thrive in all sorts of relationships, this certainly seems to be a pattern worth noting.

Of course,, correlation does not equal causation, and the researchers identified several other factors — such as how long you knew each other getting married, how much money you make, how often you go to religious services, and your attitudes toward one another — must also be taken into consideration.

So, in the end, age is only one factor of many, even if it's quite telling.

RELATED: Why Age Differences Mean (Pretty Much) Nothing In Love & Healthy Relationships

Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and author living in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their cat. You can follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on October 3, 2016 and was updated with the latest information.

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