You just can’t help who you fall head over heels for / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Just how big is too big?

People say love is blind, but research says your age gap can determine the longevity of your relationship.

“The heart wants what to heart wants” and “age is just a number” are well-versed cliché’s - and you just can’t help who you fall head over heels for.

Nonetheless, in 2017 the concept of dating someone significantly older, or younger, than you still raises a few eyebrows.

Case in point; the unwarranted furore surrounding Emmanuel Macron, 39, – the newly-elected President of France – and his wife Brigitte Trogneux, 64.

With an age gap of 25 years, Macron, recently spoke out about the international obsession with the age difference between himself and his partner.

“If I was 20 years older than my wife, nobody would think for a single second that we couldn’t be legitimately together,“ he told Le Parisien

“It's because she is 20 years older than me that a lot of people say, 'this relationship can't be tenable, it can't be possible.'”

While there are always exceptions to the rule, research has shown that certain age gaps are more likely to end in tears.

According to a study conducted by Emory University in Atlanta, the bigger the difference the bigger the chance of separation.

After analysing 3,000 people, it found that couples with a five-year age gap are 18 per cent more likely to split up than those of the same age.

Interestingly, that figure rose to 39 per cent for couples with a 10-year age gap and a shocking 95 per cent for those with a 20-year age gao.

So, just how big is too big of an age difference?

Contrary to popular belief, researchers believe that the sweet spot lies in just a one-year gap between spouses who have a much smaller chance of separation at just 3 per cent.

“It could just be that the types of couples with those characteristics are the types of couples who are, on average, more likely to divorce for other reasons,” said Hugo Mialon, one of the researchers behind the study. 

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