Does an Age Difference in a Relationship Matter?


Age gap relationships come in all shapes and sizes or should we say ages? Five years, 10 years and 15-year age gap relationships are not unusual. There are even relationships where 20 years and even larger gaps exist. Many couples in an age gap relationship go on to have long and healthy relationships. Is this the exception or the rule though? Does an age difference in a relationship really matter and, if it does, when does it become a problem?

When the man is older than the woman

Many women like an older man. Some say that women mature faster than men and that it is easier to have a relationship with an older man. Often, older men like having a young and attractive woman on their arm, someone that they can take care of and women like that sense of security of being with an older guy. There are many pros and cons to a relationship with an older man. Parents can find it pretty tough to deal with, especially if the man is closer to their age and the woman has to be careful that she is not manipulated, pushed around or talked down to.

People have their suspicions of an age gap

When a younger woman is with a much older man she can be viewed by some as a gold digger, especially if he is more than ten years older and wealthy (he is then referred to as a sugar daddy). Just because she finds him attractive and enjoys spending time with him is not enough. ‘He must be rich and she’s only after his money’ is the most common view, otherwise why would that pretty girl be with him and not with someone her own age? It is such a shame as often these opinions can be voiced so much that it can have a negative impact on a relationship. Other people are able to brush off the negativity and be secure in their relationship. Sadly though, some people may be influenced by these opinions.

When the woman is older in the relationship


While the President of the US is married to a much younger woman, the wife of the President of France is 24 years his senior. If the woman is older than the man she can be referred to as a “Cougar” and there is a fair bit of stigma attached to a younger guy dating an older woman. Again, it’s the social view of others that can be the problem in these relationships. When there’s just a few years difference then most of the time people won’t notice but if a young guy is then there are bound to be a few raised eyebrows. While at certain stages of life, the age difference is barely noticeable, there will be times when it might be.

How society views an age gap relationship

Unfortunately, when an age gap bigger than 10 years exists, society tends to have opinions and disapprove. These barriers are difficult to overcome and have been known to drive wedges between families who refuse to accept the age gap or friends who find it uncomfortable. Many people are able to shrug of the opinions of others and focus on what is important to them but for some people it can be hard to deal with this disapproval. If you are embarking on a relationship with an older woman or an older man, it is a sad fact that you may have to deal with these negative opinions of your relationship from your closest friends and family.

Never mind society, what do you want out of it?

Ignoring what everyone else thinks, it is important to work out what you both want from your relationship! While you can ignore what others say, don’t ignore the gap yourselves. Discuss what you both want out of the relationship from the outset. It is no good just focusing on the fact that you are both in love and really happy if one of you wants children and the other already has children and doesn’t want anymore. Let’s take a 25-year old woman and a 40-year old man as an example. While for the first 5 years it may be absolute bliss, what about when the woman wants children and the man, at 45, has already got children and doesn’t want anymore? That is going to become a problem that may be insurmountable. It is important to agree on your life goals before you take things to the next level.

When the age gap is big!

So, there is a general rule (who makes the rules when it comes to relationships?) that an age gap should be no bigger than ‘your age, divided by two, plus seven’. Apparently, anything more than this is deemed unacceptable by modern society. There is also some research to suggest that a relationship won’t last as long. In fact some evidence suggests that with an age gap of 5 years or less, married couples are less likely to divorce than those with a larger age gap.

Forget the evidence – what works for you?

Again, like society’s view of your relationship, what does it matter what this report or that report says? As long as you are happy and you are getting what you both want out of the relationship why should you worry about external influences. At the end of the day, when you lock the door, none of these people are there. Who’s to say that the couple next door with 2.4 children, 2 cars and a 1 year age gap are any happier than you or that they get along the same.

You can examine the evidence and the facts all day long but essentially if you are the same age and want different things then it’s not going to work out so why does an age gap make this any different. As long as you have plenty in common, you get along well and you are happy then why not just enjoy it?

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