What’s the best age to find love?
I’ve always been obsessed with what makes some couples stay together – and not just stay together but stay giddily bonkers about each other – when most don’t last the distance (or stay ‘for the children’ in an unspoken, liveable but unpleasant truce).
After years of observation, I’ve decided happy couples tend to fall into two camps.
They’re either early birds (got together in high school or university) or late lovers (got together age 45-plus).
Yes, they’re quite specific and not terribly common categories that completely ignore the majority but there are reasons why each works.
Couples who get together early, grow up together. With the right communication skills, strong motivation and commitment, each adapts to accommodate the other, moulding to fit with equal give on either side. Picture seedlings planted side by side. With the same soil and sunlight, they’re going to grow at the same rate and in the same direction, ending up more similar, right?
The early bird couples I know have jobs they love and are happy to allow each other time apart for work reasons.
The combination of a secure base but ‘permission’ to explore is the core of their success.
But it’s also because they’ve only ever really dated one person.
The ‘paradox of choice’ syndrome says too many options hampers our decision-making ability. In other words, too much choice of partners is confusing not liberating.
If you’ve only ever had sex with each other (or one or two others), if you’ve only been in love with one person, you’re not sucked into the ‘What if there’s better out there? If I leave it one more year before settling, who knows who else might turn up?” syndrome.
‘Childhood sweethearts’ is a madly romantic formula that conforms to our secret ideals of how we all wish love would be – effortless, painless, trouble-free and uncomplicated.
In our permissive society, it’s been poo-pooed as an idea but if you look around at all your couple friends, most will find one or two who did get together young and are happily growing old.