The Pew Research Center analyzed data from the American Community Survey and found that, even though most heterosexual Americans percent choose partners who are about their same age when they marry for the first time that is, within 5 years , many are not. But how legitimate is this rule? This question is not unique to age-gap couples, but having many years between partners can make it more challenpging to navigate. Is it smart or stupid to take on a partner 20 years younger once you hit 50, 60 or 70? Denise Knowles, a relationship counsellor for Relate , says the couples themselves will often assume this as well: But we love whom we love. And both you and your 11th-hour soulmate will congratulate yourselves for having the gumption to step off the cakewalk of same-age coupling. Maybe, but I suspect another dynamic is at work: Are you prepared to compromise? Are your friends and family supportive? We make it count while we are able and fit to do so. Well, if you're 50 and your companion is 70, you're almost bound to provide care long before you would for a mate of the same age.
How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences? Age-gap trends in American adult heterosexual couples are well documented: So if you are following the half-your-age-plus-7 rule, know that it may not be perfect or truly mirror age-related preference. The impact of social disapproval on romantic relationship commitment. The older person, for his part, gets a higher-energy companion who is likely to help the couple stay fit — and, quite likely, more sexually active. If not, can you give each other the space necessary to maintain friendships the two of you don't share? Does it always apply? The answer to that question may lie in your answers to these: These relationship, however, might come with some challenges: The questions will get annoying "Did you marry him for his money? We make it count while we are able and fit to do so. Plus, most people would willingly choose to endure the rough patches so long as they get a reasonable run of the good stuff beforehand. Women show the opposite trend, with only 2 percent marrying men years younger and only 1 percent having a spouse 10 or more years younger. Examining maximum preferences, again the rule is more lenient, offering an age range with which most people are not comfortable. Thus the rule for maximum ages is fairly ineffective at capturing what men actually believe is acceptable. Denise Knowles, a relationship counsellor for Relate , says the couples themselves will often assume this as well: This rules states that by dividing your own age by two and then adding seven you can find the socially-acceptable minimum age of anyone you want to date. If your love is true, you'll help everyone involved work through these issues and more. You might also take care to refer to the maximum age judiciously—the minimum age guideline seems to be more on target and more so for men than women. But fantasies, of course, are not generally subject to public scrutiny and the rule is only designed to calculate what is socially acceptable in the public eye—so this discrepancy is not necessarily a failure of the rule. Couples negotiate all sorts of differences as they figure out if they can form a sustainable, happy relationship. This question is not unique to age-gap couples, but having many years between partners can make it more challenpging to navigate. It doesn't take much for a health issue to curtail a couple's social life or travel plans. After 40, maximum age preferences for most categories remain lower than their own age. How effective is the rule? Women in their 40s think that approximately 35 or older is acceptable for marriage or a relationship. In the same study, women reported being the older spouse only 11 percent of the time.
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