With so much going on regarding human relationships, one cannot help but wonder why there is still a kind of taboo regarding age gap relationships. As long as two adults are willingly involved in it, why is there such a big fuss about choosing to be with someone younger or older than you?
A Survey On Age Gap Relationships
A new survey, carried out by Wang-Sheng Lee of the Department of Economics in Deakin University and IZA in Burwood, Australia and Terra McKinnish of the Department of Economics in the University of Colorado and IZA, in Boulder, USA, examines how the age gap affects the evolution of marital satisfaction over the duration of marriage using household panel data from Australia.
What the survey found, in a nutshell, is that those who marry younger spouses are happier in the relationship. However, as the survey concludes: “Marital satisfaction declines with marital duration for both men and women in differently aged couples relative to those in similarly aged couples. These relative declines erase the initial higher levels of marital satisfaction experienced by men married to younger wives and women married to younger husbands within 6 to 10 years of marriage. A possible mechanism is that differently aged couples are less resilient to negative shocks compared to similarly aged couples, which we find some supportive evidence for.” How much should these results affect us, though?
The Honest Truth About Age Gap Relationships
Despite surveys with negative or opposite conclusions regarding age gap relationships, the truth about these relationships is that they are as good as the people involved in them. As with any other romantic relationship, age gap relationships take effort and sacrifices.
To illustrate this point – the study claims that a lack of shared goals may be why these relationships fall apart, but isn’t that the case in any relationship, regardless of age? If one of you wants to focus on his career while the other is ready to make babies, isn’t that a problem when both partners are of the same age? Doesn’t that have to do with your personality and dreams rather than your age?
To get to the point: does one gain anything from being in one? In one word: yes. Both partners in age gap relationships gain a lot from being together. First of all, if you’re the younger one, you are very likely to learn a lot from your older and more experienced partner regarding life, work, and relationships. Knowledge coming straight out of experience is the most precious kind there is, and a partner who can honestly offer sound advice is a huge asset. If you’re the older partner, it’s very likely that your younger partner will revitalize you, keeping you-up-to-date with things and giving you incentive to discover new things and live new, exciting experiences.
Another thing keeping age gap relationships happy is admiration. The younger person usually admires the strong and mature personality of their partner, while the older one loves how fresh and full of beans their partner is. This difference makes the couple less competitive, which is yet another benefit of age gap relationships. Partners of a similar age are usually in the same phase when it comes to their career and have the same level of experience, so they tend to be far more ambitious and competitive even with one another.
Despite the obvious advantages of being with an older partner, there are some disadvantages involved too. While the advantages have to do with the couple itself, though, the drawbacks are more related to how the others see them.
One of the biggest problems still facing age gap relationships has to do with how they are accepted by their family and friends. Sometimes our own family and circle of friends find it hard to accept our life choices.
Another issue people in age gap relationships face is some narrow-minded people’s suspicion. For some, it is hard to believe that a grown man and a grown woman have chosen to be together out of love and not for any other reason if they are not of the same age.
All in all, love is a rare and beautiful thing and it sometimes chooses us faster than we choose it. It’s a shame to let happiness slip away for fear of what others might say or because of prejudice and preconceived ideas of who we should and shouldn’t be with. At the end of the day, both age gap relationships and same age ones will have to face and overcome issues, and both will need the same kind of fuel to work.
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