“Age is nothing but a number” is a common saying we have all heard over and over again. Most of us support the statement fully. How often do you come across a man near his sunset years and marvel at his otherwise boyish tendencies? Or maybe a young woman that has everything in order and acts well beyond her age?
However, the same reasoning has not been extended to relationships by the great masses. Why else do we sneer at a couple that has a wide age gap or throw disapproving glances at a girl frolicking with a mate twice her age?
Besides the usual stereotypes that plague couples that choose to date outside their peer group, you are likely to hear remarks such as “what could they possibly have in common?” or the ever popular “she’s trying to relive her youth”, “he’s just going through a midlife crisis” and so on. But could two people, separated by an abnormal age difference actually thrive in a relationship?
A 2014 study from Emory University that sampled 3,000 people concluded that there was a strong correlation between age gap and a relationship’s life span. A large age difference, it was found, translates to a higher divorce rate. A couple with five years between them is 18 percent more likely to call it quits while one with just one year has a three percent chance. When the difference increases to 10 years, then figure jumps to 39 percent. For a 20 year gap, the rate skyrockets to a staggering 95 percent.
The reason given for this is the struggling sexual relationship present when the gap is too wide. It is worth noting that a woman’s libido shoots up in her middle age while the reverse is the case for men. The usual culprits also put a strain on such unions. Individuals have different priorities at different stages in their lives. While a 27 year old woman may be more interested in walking down the aisle and starting a family in the foreseeable future, a 21 year old may still be in the “finding herself” phase, where partying and socializing are the main focuses.
However, a couple may be lucky enough to find that they are pursuing the same interests in life and share so much in common despite their different age bracket. In such a scenario, nothing should stop them from having a fulfilling and long union. It’s always a good idea to make intentions well known at the start of every relationship especially one where age is a glaring factor so that no one is left feeling frustrated later on.
Maturity doesn’t necessarily manifest with age. Experiences force people to grow up faster than others. Don’t be too hasty to dismiss someone who has proven to be a good suitor with age being their only “shortcoming.” You just have to learn to close your ears to the talk of idle folks.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain