Most people marry someone who is close to them in age. The spouses may be within a few years apart. But this is not always the case. Finding your soulmate or the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is not easy. You may do a lot of dating before you find “The One.” And when you do find your perfect match, you may find that they are not the same age as you. They may be many years older or younger than you.
While age gaps are common in Hollywood (think 30 or 40 years, or more), even us non-famous people may be attracted to someone who is young enough to be our kid or old enough to be our parent. While these relationships can raise eyebrows, they can work in some cases. But more often than not, they tend to lead to divorce.
In fact, a larger age gap is related to a higher divorce rate. When a couple has a one-year age difference, they have just a 3% likelihood of divorce. A five-year age gap means the couple is 18% more likely to divorce. That rises to 39% for a 10-year age difference. When the couple has a 20-year age gap, the likelihood of divorce rises to 95%. A 30-year age difference means a whopping 172% chance of divorce. So the bigger the age gap, the higher the chance of divorce.
What is the reason for this? What about the saying that age is nothing but a number? Age is apparently a big deal when it comes to marriage. Partners from different generations may have different values, different cultural reference points, and different tastes in music and film. They may also have different types of friends and different approaches to their sex life. Another big issue is that sex drive goes up for women in middle age, while it decreases for men.
Another thing to consider is that many of these marriages end in death. If you are 40 years old and marrying a 70-year-old man, it is safe to say that you could end up widowed within the next 10 to 15 years. The average lifespan for a man in the United States is just 75 years, while it is 81 years for women.
How Children are a Factor
Regardless of your age gap, having a child during a marriage means you are 76% less likely to divorce. But this could be for two main reasons. While happier couples may have more children, those who have children may postpone a divorce so they can raise their children. It is no secret that kids tend to bring more tension to a relationship. There are more costs and more demands on a couple’s time, which lead to increased stress and divorce.
What Happens When the Woman is Older?
In a lot of so-called May-December marriages, the man is the one who is a lot older. However, there are heterosexual marriages in which the wife is older than her husband. Unfortunately, these marriages are more likely to be troubled, even when the age difference is not that large. In fact, when the wife is just five years older than the husband, the couple is three times more likely to divorce than other couples. This is due primarily to one thing — society. Even though there are plenty of cases in which men are attracted to older women, these relationships are still not common, with just 1.3% of women in marriages in which they are more than 10 years older than their husband. It seems as though older women prefer to date or have sex with younger men rather than marry them, especially if they are divorced and and not interested in getting married again.
What You Can Do
If your spouse is a lot older or younger than you, that does not necessarily mean that your marriage is destined to fail. However, staying the course will take a lot of work from both parties.
When you and your spouse are in different phases of your lives, raising children and growing older together may not necessarily align. You may be in your 30s wanting a child while your husband who is approaching 60 is thinking about retirement. These are things that need to be discussed at length before you tie the knot because when the spouses are not on the same page, a divorce is highly likely.
But with the right attitude and a huge amount of effort, your marriage can survive, regardless of the age difference. You will have to be prepared to deal with judgment from others. Even friends and family members may have comments and opinions that can cause a rift in your relationship. You cannot let those opinions bother you. You and your spouse will need to ignore them as you work toward a happy, healthy relationship.
Seek Legal Help
Generally, it is best to marry someone who is around the same age as you. When age gaps span decades, it can be hard to maintain a healthy relationship or marriage. Factors such as age, health, and sex drive tend to cause problems when couples get older.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you with a divorce, regardless of your age gap. Get the help you need so you can move on with ease. Let our experience and knowledge guide you. Fill out the online form or call (954) 398-5712 to schedule a consultation.