When it comes to May-December romances, a lot of people say age isn’t important. As it turns out, in a marriage, it is. There is a link between age gap and divorce.
The Widening Gap
A study at Emory University has found that the bigger the age gap in a relationship, the more likely the couple is to get divorced. According to professors Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, couples with a 1-year age gap are 3 percent likely to get divorced. Couples with a 5-year age gap are 18 percent more likely to get divorced. With a 10-year age gap, rate of divorce goes up to 39 percent. Finally, a couple with a 20-year age gap goes up to a whopping 95 percent chance of divorce.
Why Age Gaps Cause Problems
The bigger the difference in age, the bigger the difference in a lot of other things, the study finds. When two people come from different generations, they probably have many differences: future goals, needs, sex drive, friends, tastes, and interests. They’ve grown up with different values and perspectives.
No matter how much two people love and respect each other, sometimes these differences can’t be overcome.
The Good News
Age gaps aren’t automatic doom. There are couples who survive the gap, and sometimes even thrive on it. The study has found that the longer a couple stays married, the chances of divorce decrease.
If your marriage survives two years, your chances for divorce plummet 43 percent. Couples who hang in there together for 10 years are 94 percent less likely to get divorced.
So if you’ve got an age gap, don’t give up—you might be in it for the long haul. That difference might be what keeps things spicy.