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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Age does matter

About a month ago, the Dutch Statistical Office (CBS) published research showing that heterosexual relationships are most stable when the age difference is small (ie, less than 2 years). The higher the age gap, the more likely that relationships will fail.

Some other facts from that research: (a) young couples run an increased risk of a future break-up, (b) higher educated couples run the least risk, and (c) higher failure rates for (i) unmarried couples, (ii) couples without children, and (iii) low income couples. Sources: NRC, CBS.

Apparently, the above is "common sense" as 33,2% of all married US couples have an age difference of less than 1 year. Additionally, 20.4% of married couples has a husband who is 2-3 years older, and 6.5% of married couples has a wife who is 2-3 years older. Source: Wiki.

Interestingly, the average age gap in homosexual couples is much higher than heterosexual couples (CBS). Henceforth, the Dutch Statistical Office did not combine both groups as it would distort their results. Given the aforementioned heterosexual results, high(er) failure rates in homosexual couples seem likely, following the (much) higher age gaps.

Finding the lowest failure rates in couples with the least age difference makes perfect sense to me. The absence of an age difference increases the likelihood that you share a common history (eg, artists, books, events, movies, music). It's confronting experiencing the need for explaining your favourites to a new partner.

However, if a majority (ie, 60.1%) of married couples has a partner with an age difference of 0 to 3 years, the minority must feel some pressure to conform to the majority. Indeed they do:
The Conversation-2018: "Romantic couples with a large age gap often raise eyebrowsStudies have found partners with more than a ten-year gap in age experience social disapproval." Note: bold markings in quote by LO.

The Conversation-2018: "While there is variation across cultures in the size of the difference in age-gap couples, all cultures demonstrate the age-gap couple phenomenon. In some non-Western countries, the average age gap is much larger than in Western countries. For example, in some African countries about 30% of unions reflect a large age gap."

A great humorous alleged quote by Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer and humorist: 
"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Don't Matter (2007) by Akon

Nobody wanna see us together 
But it don't matter, no ('Cause I got you, babe)


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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