The Ideal Age Gap For Relationship Success

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

couple with age difference Davide Zanin Photography / Shutterstock

We all know the stereotypes typically applied to age-gap relationships. 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) these people wind up together.

Whatever the argument for the couples having met, and regardless if they stay together or not, 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.

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What is the ideal age gap for relationship success?

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 actually increases their chances of eventually splitting up.

The study involved surveying 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 gap between spouses, the greater the likelihood they would eventually divorce.

Basically, the closer you are to your partner in age, the more likely it is that your relationship can work in the long run. On the contrary, the larger the age gap between two partners, the more likely it is that they will break up.

In some cases, an age gap in relationships increases your odds of breaking up or divorcing by over 30 times those of a couple in which both partners are the same age.


How big of an age gap is too big?

While age gaps vary in sizes, with the average gap being between 1-2 years, there are many couples that have a larger age difference between them.

If you look at certain celebrity relationships with age gaps, names that frequently pop up include Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor, and Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart.

The Ideal Age Gap For Relationship SuccessPhoto: Sueda Dilli / Pexels


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But outside of Hollywood, normal, everyday people can have large age gaps in a relationship. And according to researchers, as the age difference increases, so do chances of breaking up.

More specifically, if you and your partner 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%.

Unfortunately, for people with at least 20 years difference between them, the chances of separating rise to a staggering 95% above those of couples who are of equal age. But perhaps the most shocking finding was that couples with a 30-year age gap are 172% more likely to divorce.


What age difference works best in relationships?

It turns out that finding someone close in age to you speaks volumes about how likely it is your marriage or relationship will survive. Marrying someone even one year older or younger than you 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, especially for individuals who tend to date older or younger people.



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


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

RELATED: Forget The Age Gap In Relationships — Let's Talk About The 'Vibes Gap'

Merethe Najjar is a professional writer, editor, and award-winning fiction author from Atlanta, Georgia. She has had multiple publications featured in The Aviator Magazine, Infinite Press, Yahoo, BRIDES, and others.