The ideal age gap for a relationship if you want it to last, according to experts

Researchers have found that 95 per cent of couples with a 20-year age gap are more likely to split

Sarah Young,Ellie Muir
Wednesday 07 June 2023 11:37 BST
Related: Why are age gap relationships controversial?

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

The concept of dating someone significantly older (or younger) than you still raises a few eyebrows.

Case in point; the furore surrounding Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating history, or Robert De Niro recently becoming a father to seven aged 79. De Niro’s girlfriend Tiffany Chen is 45, while DiCaprio, 48, is notorious for appearing to avoid dating anyone over the age of 25.

When France’s president Emmanuel Macron, 45, was elected in 2017, people were shocked that his wife Brigitte Trogneux was 25 years his senior, now aged 70.

At the time, Macron 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 toldLe 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.'”

Macron, 45, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux, 70, at King Charles’s coronation
Macron, 45, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux, 70, at King Charles’s coronation (AFP or Licensors)

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 gap.

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 three 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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