Relationship Advice

29 May 2012

Age gaps in relationships – do they matter?

by Fran Creffield

When you are considering the criteria for a new partner most people have an age bracket in mind – usually within a few years of their own age but can large age gaps work just as well?

More so now than ever before it is hard to tell how old someone is. There have been huge advances in technology in the world of cosmetic surgery and dentistry and every week there is some new age-defying product on the market. With a good diet, exercise and improved standards of living it is quite possible for someone to stay looking youthful well into middle age.

Age isn’t just about how many years you have lived, your attitude, outlook and perspective all contribute to how young or old you appear to others. Someone of 55 can still have the looks and vitality of someone of 40 and if they have a positive outlook and optimistic attitude that could be more compatible with someone in their early 40s rather than someone of their own age. Here we look at whether age gaps matter in our modern liberal society and whether it is still a useful criterion to use when searching for matches.

Socially acceptable

Older men have always dated much younger women and it rarely raises an eyebrow. Dating someone younger makes men feel younger themselves and is commonly regarded as a symbol of continuing vitality.

Recently there has been an increase in older women dating much younger men and in the celebrity world this kind of partnership will usually make the gossip headlines. Having a much younger partner can bring up insecurities in a woman and add pressure to preserve her looks for fear her partner might be more attracted to someone of his own age.

The majority of people tend to be with a partner who is within 10 years of their own age but there are examples of successful marriages where the age gap is as much as 30 years – these are rare and the age gap is likely to become more problematic the larger it is.


If you want to start a family then the age of your partner is going to be extremely important and not just for the woman. A woman’s chances of conceiving a child start to diminish after the age of 35 so clearly a man looking for a match to have children with would be looking for someone younger but age is also a factor for a man. Even though biologically a man can father children well into his 60s there are other things to be taken into consideration. If a man doesn’t become a father until he is 55 he will be 73 by the time the child reaches adulthood. Ill health, retirement and other issues that arise in later life can all affect how well someone can cope with the challenges of raising a family.

If you don’t want to have children then the other thing to consider is how much an age difference might affect someone’s values, beliefs and cultural interests and how this might impact on your relationship. If someone is 25 years older they are effectively from a different generation which could create potential conflict when it comes to negotiating important aspects of your relationship.

You need to decide for yourself what the acceptable age difference to you is. There are some people who are always attracted to younger or older people because they feel they fit in more with that age bracket and of course the things you need to take into consideration will be unique with every match you meet regardless of their age.

As time goes on

It is important to remember that an age difference in earlier life may not seem problematic but it may become so later on. A 35 year old with a 55 year old may be perfectly happy and compatible. As they age, and have to face all the challenges that brings, the age difference could potentially become a bigger problem. A 65 year old will probably be considering retirement and may be looking forward to some free time to pursue hobbies and ambitions – an 85 year old will have very different preoccupations.

An open mind

Just like every other aspect of the dating process it is important to be flexible and to keep an open mind when it comes to age. What 40 looks like on some people will be very different from how it looks on others. Emotional maturity brings with it the qualities needed for a healthy relationship and that often has no bearing on chronological age.
Don’t ever lie about your age. Any relationship that has a foundation of dishonesty will sooner or later lose its stability.

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16 July 2012 12:14

When I started dating again I would never of considered meeting anyone more then 5 yrs younger then me but due to the persistence of a young man I gave in and said ok I’ll have a coffee was the best date ever we talked like we have known each other for ages and even if it leads to nothing we will always be close

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3 August 2012 10:44

So very true – I think manyof us experience the same!

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5 August 2012 21:54

No age doesn’t matter. I’m 22 and my boyfriend is 34. The guys my age are just pathetic and moan a lot. When I went on the first date with my boyfriend it was literally the best time we just talked for hours and realised we had so much in common.

But if your like 14 and dating a 24 year old then that matters because it is ILLEGAL!!!

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11 August 2012 13:41

Everyone is different, but for me being the same age is crucial with no more than a two or three year age gap. That what works for me and if it doesn’t happen then I am accepting of that.

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5 June 2013 14:14

I was 30 when I fell in love with a 55 year old man. His daughter was my age which made him uncomfortable and he said I’d still be young when he’d be in a wheelchair. For that reason we parted. Now I’m in a relationship with a 31 year old man and I’m 56. I say who knows if I’ll be in a wheelchair or him. I’ve thought about leaving him so he can find a younger woman to start a family with and I could find a man with more experience in life. After much thought I’ve decided I’m not going to hurt him like my former older boyfriend did to me. My boyfriend says he doesn’t want children and we click in every way. I’m going to live life for today because that is all what we really only have. If he gets sick or in an accident, heaven forbid, I’ll be there for him.

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4 January 2014 21:50

I date a woman 18 years younger than me. Im 45, she’s turning 27. We love each other. I was with a woman for 15 years that was my age. She passed away in 2009. We weren’t together then, but that when I met my now girfriend. When we are together, it’s all good. She is a police officer and a soldier. We love each other!

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7 January 2014 07:13

Sometimes the advantage of age, linked with a positive, outgoing, adventurous personality, with God’s grace, has given experiences that have kept heart and mind youthful that keeps a perspective out of the sedentary comfort zone giving an empathy with younger men in beliefs, interests and joie de vivre.

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11 January 2014 00:56

Sometimes the advantage of age, when linked with an outgoing,positive,adventurous personality,combined with God’s grace, has given experiences of life that develop zest and perspective, out of the comfort zone,giving an empathy with slightly younger men, whose beliefs, interests and joie de vivre are similar.In general don’t women age better than most men?

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Online age gap relationship community

26 February 2014 07:16

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us in this post. And i am agreed with your point of view.

But one thing is quite interesting in age gap relationship is they share experience and thoughts and with this age gap relationship is not completely physical.

Physical attraction case is more in same age gap. And if two people get in relationship they must like each other company. Relationship is no physical attract or relation with beauty.

So i like those community which make two age gap group together and make relationship.

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4 March 2014 00:25

I’m 33 and living together with a 67 year old man and I love him to bits! Who says age is a barrier in a relationship? Just remember,LOVE DOSE NOT COUNT, LOVE CONQUERS ALL, NO MATTER WHAT!

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18 May 2014 21:25

i am in a realationship with a 30 youger guy and we love each other very much so i would say age is just a number

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24 July 2014 22:09

I am 54 and have been in a relationship with a my boyfriend who is 30 …for 6 years yes there are problems but love and letting eachother be who they are and acceptance of eachothers views and the unspoken words can mean so much if you let it if its real love then truth an love conquer all no matter what age gap .x

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4 August 2014 16:32

I am currently in a 3 year relationship with a guy who is 28 years older than me. We have had our ups and downs. Broken up due to our age difference once and came back to each other. We are both aware of the risk but what relationship is without them. The only tough subject is his kid. The oldest is only 3 years different then me. Again we love each other and want to make it workm

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