real life

If you found love at either of these ages, you'll stay together.

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.


How and who we love is also about personality.

If you’re a curious, ambitious, questioning type of person, settling early doesn’t happen because it doesn’t appeal. Some of us thrive on adventure and experiences and need freedom and independence to explore them. It’s not just about ‘sowing wild oats’ but experimenting with different jobs and personalities and ‘fits’ that you couldn’t or wouldn’t do when you are responsible and answerable to someone you love.

It’s this personality type that find love later in love to be far more satisfying. Like loving young, loving when you’re older also has advantages.

You’re much less paranoid, for a start!

When your partner’s half an hour late to a party and haven’t sent a text, you rather (sensibly and accurately) assume they’re on the tube and running late rather than having sex on their desk with a hot work mate.

You choose better because age really does improve our judgement and, almost despite yourself, do end up wiser about who is right for you.

The older you are, the more likely you are to know what you want and if you’re even half decent at being able to articulate that to someone else, more likely to get it.

There’s an advantage to a slightly dampened libido – you’re less likely to cheat and know the difference between bloody good sex and love. After the many breaks and bruises the average heart receives in 20-odd years of living and loving, you’re also quite appreciative when you do find a relationship that works really well.

The other rather glorious thing about finding love late is this: it feels just as ridiculously heart-poundy-flip-floppy as it did the first time you fell heavily but it’s got more substance and depth. You trust it to last rather than feel it’s going to blow away with the gust of your first argument.

Late love is by far the better fit for me. What about you?

Tracey Cox is an internationally recognised sex, body language and relationships expert as well as a TV presenter. She’s appeared on Oprah, CNN and The Today Show in the US, as well as numerous prime-time chat shows in the UK and world-wide. Her first book, Hot Sex: How to Do It, was an instant worldwide success and is now available in 140 countries. Her other book titles include Hot SexsupersexsuperflirtHot Relationships and superhotsex. She also has her own range of Tracey Cox Supersex Toys and Lubricants which you can purchase here. 

Follow Tracey on Twitter @TraceyCox or on Facebook here.   Her website is at and you can buy her books here.  Tracey also blogs weekly here.