Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, researchers from Emory University in the United States, recently completed a study which complied data sourced from over 3,000 people, all of which who have been married and/or divorced since 2008.
Participants were asked to answer questions related to income, religious beliefs and church attendance, time spent dating prior to marriage, size of engagement ring, attractiveness of spouses and even things like wedding attendance and cost to determine factors that may contribute to marriage dissolution.
Data Scientist Randal Olsen then used the data collected by Francis and Mailon to create visual representations of the results. What I found most interesting was the findings related to the age differences between partners and the impact this had on divorce rates.
Basically if the age gap of spouses is anywhere between one and five years, you don’t really have cause for concern.
Anything in excess of a five year difference though is basically a sliding scale. The larger the age gap, the more reason to have a divorce lawyer on standby.
“A one-year discrepancy in a couple’s ages, the study found, makes them 3 percent more likely to divorce (when compared to their same-aged counterparts); a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely,” Megan Garber of the Atlantic said of the report.
For those couples who have an age difference in excess of twenty years, things aren’t looking good, I’m afraid. (Someone should really tell Hugh Hefner.)
That said – it’s important to remember that statistics are just a collection of numbers. Statistics don’t take into account the irrational, inexplicable nature of love and you can’t predict the unpredictable. So just because you’ve bagged yourself a silver fox, or you’re representing cougar town, your relationship is not necessarily doomed. There are plenty of happy ending love stories between people of different generations.
I whole heartedly believe love can work between two people who are devoted to each other regardless of their age difference but I did find the results of the study interesting. Perhaps what the research might be suggesting is that a larger age gap could bring a different set of difficulties for couples to negotiate which may place additional stressors on their relationship.
What do you think? Is age an obstacle for a successful relationship?