Age gaps in relationships: how much is too much?

Part 1

Indeed, love can be age blind. However, some couples find that a big age difference has impacted their relationship significantly over time. Other couples may find that it hasn’t affected them at all. But even if you’re satisfied with your relationship, you may still encounter some challenges with a big age gap. Often related to outside judgment, facing these issues could lead to an even healthier and happier partnership.

So, how can you embrace the age difference, and how much is too much?


Scroll down to learn  more about it!

Can an age gap affect relationships?Can an age gap affect relationships?

If your relationship has a big age difference, it might impact your connection in specific ways. However, this isn’t unique to relationships with a large age gap.

Emotional maturityEmotional maturity

In relationships with a large emotional gap, the more mature partner could end up carrying a heavier emotional load in the relationship. This can be exhausting.

Being older doesn’t guarantee maturityBeing older doesn't guarantee maturity

Still, being the older partner doesn’t guarantee emotional maturity, just like being younger doesn’t always mean you’re less mature.

Why people get maturity wrongWhy people get maturity wrong

People sometimes connect age with emotional maturity because more years can mean more time to form complex perspectives.


The bigger the gap between partners, the more likely the relationship will struggle with phase-of-life related challenges.

Common challengesCommon challenges

Some common challenges might include differences in energy levels, life priorities, and plans to start a family.

Different priorities aren’t exclusive to relationships with large age gapsDifferent priorities aren’t exclusive to relationships with large age gaps

Just like in any relationship, it’s key to discuss each person’s priorities for the future. Especially if you’re looking for a long-term relationship.

What’s a good age difference?What's a good age difference?

In many cultures, it’s most common in heterosexual relationships for the man to be two to three years older than the woman. But does it make for a good age gap?

The statisticsThe statistics

An Australian study from 2017 found that heterosexual couples with large age gaps had a faster decline in relationship satisfaction in their first six to 10 years than similarly aged couples.

Age gap and depressionAge gap and depression

A Korean study from 2015 found that same-aged couples had the lowest rates of depression, while couples with an age gap of three years or more had slightly higher rates.

Statistically the ideal age gapStatistically the ideal age gap

Overall, research seems to indicate that an age cap of one to three years is considered ideal in most cultures. But some researchers suggest even an age gap of less than 10 years will bring more satisfaction.

Love is more than just a numberLove is more than just a number

Still, numbers can’t tell us everything about love. It’s clearly possible to have a big age difference and be in the right relationship (for you).

Problems with age differences in relationshipsProblems with age differences in relationships

Some couples with large age differences might, however, encounter certain roadblocks.

Social stigmaSocial stigma

In cultures where small age gaps are more common, others may treat couples with a large age difference with judgment or criticism. This can be especially hurtful when friends or family are skeptical of your relationship.

How to bridge the gapHow to bridge the gap
Whether you’re dealing with critical family and friends, or concerns about the future of the relationship, the following tips could help you overcome certain challenges.


Set boundariesSet boundaries

Setting boundaries with judgmental loved ones will remind them that even if they don’t understand your relationship, they need to respect it.


Like with any relationship, couples need to have open and honest conversations about challenges and concerns.

Power imbalancePower imbalance

Large age differences can provoke unbalanced power dynamics, as an older partner might assume an authoritative role. It can also occur if one partner uses their partner’s financial dependence as a way to control them.


Watch out for part 2 next wk!

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