Why an Age-Gap Relationship Can Be a Huge Success, According to Psychologists

Despite all of our differences, it seems like people from all over the world have at least one thing in common. Surprisingly enough, it’s the fact that, on average, husbands are somewhat older than their wives everywhere, according to a big study. But if we look past the average numbers, we’ll see that there are all sorts of couples, including some with a significant age gap.

We at Bright Side believe that in love there’s no place for stereotypes. So we decided to see how, according to psychologists, age-gap relationships can be successful.

Age-gap relationships aren’t that big of a deal.

As soon as the public learns about a new celebrity couple with a considerable age difference, it immediately becomes big news, which is quite telling of the fact that there’s still a stigma in our society surrounding these relationships. This was proven by a study where the participants rated diverse couples: it found that May-December romances got significantly lower scores.

When the woman is older in a relationship, she typically receives more criticism, unlike partnerships where the man is older. At the same time, the former type of couples tends to be perceived as more equal. Still, psychologists note that only women get referred to with derogatory terms (like “cougar” or “gold digger”), while men are typically praised, which is an obvious double standard.

Relationships that keep people satisfied

The most important thing to consider here is if people get what they want from the relationships they are in. According to this research, both men and women are more satisfied with younger partners, at least, at the beginning of their relationship. Also, specialists claim that women who specifically date younger men feel more self-confident and active.

How you can tell if it’ll work out

The correct answer here will be that each couple is unique and there’s no universal truth. However, some regular rules still apply: your partner and you should have common interests, relationship goals, and supportive people around you. It’s interesting that some researchers think that it’s not your actual age that matters, but rather your perceived age, so this also has to be taken into consideration.

Differences for same-sex couples

Studies suggest that in homosexual marriages, the age difference between people is often greater compared to heterosexual ones, even though intergenerational gay couples face even more criticism. They still feel like one unit, enjoy the mutual benefits that the age discrepancy brings, and appreciate the support of people around them.

What people think

  • “I’ve been both the older and the younger in this situation. I’d say the worst thing about it is just them not getting your movie/tv/song references (and you not getting theirs) because they grew up in a completely different era of pop culture.” — FuzzyElf47/Reddit
  • “OTOH, it’s cool to be exposed to new entertainment one probably wouldn’t have discovered.” — the_red_scimitar/Reddit
  • “My husband and I are 11 years apart. We got together when I was 21 and he was 32. Pros: I don’t actually see the age difference. We get along great and are best friends. I’ve never felt that we were at different stages in life. I do like to tease him that I graduated kindergarten when he graduated high school. Cons: I never know what movie, singer, actor, song, book, etc. he is referencing because it was way before my time. He likes to tease me a lot. Overall, it works great for us.” — beautifuldisasterxx/Reddit
  • “My guy is 11 years older than me. The only issue that I can think of that has to do with his age would be his friends. I’m not used to hanging out with people their age and they tend to intimidate me. They’re all very nice, but they’ve lived/are living a much rougher lifestyle than I do.” — Shelleylovesyou/Reddit
  • “My husband is 10 and a half years older than me and it’s actually never been an issue. My parents were concerned when we first started dating (I was pretty young) but after they got to know him it wasn’t an issue anymore. He’s an amazing man who loves and takes care of me.” — okberry/Reddit

What is the perfect age difference between romantic partners, in your opinion?

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