How Big An Age Difference Is Too Big?

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How Big an Age Difference is Too Big?

Age difference in relationships has always been a subject of contention.

Hugh Hefner with Crystal Harris

Your heart beats faster every time she’s in the room. Is it love, or will it lead to a dating horror story? It’s a question asked in most relationships, even in celebrity relationships, but it’s especially important to ponder when there’s a noticeable age difference between you and your potential match. When is the age difference between two people too much? What age range should you put on your Tinder or other online dating profile? It all depends on whether you follow the appropriate dating advice.

Five Years: Totally Okay

Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello at red carpet event

Few breakups are caused by a relationship with an age difference of five or fewer years. You’re from the same generation, and you basically went to school at the same time. Your parents are likely about the same age as your potential in-laws, and they’ll dispense the same relationship advice. You’re likely to share similar values and similar points of reference. You can probably even cite the same love quotes by referencing the same romantic novels or movies. The only time a five-year age difference might potentially cause an issue is if one of you is still quite young. There’s a world of difference between an 18-year-old fresh out of high school and a 23-year-old who’s been through college and is now in the workforce.

10 Years: Possible but Potentially Problematic

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds at Gala
When 10 years or so separate you and your partner, you’ll share some of the same references and values, but you’ll likely be from different generations or different spectrums of the same generation. The older both of you are, the less likely it becomes that such an age gap will be an issue. Ten years to two grown adults who’ve established themselves as individuals isn’t a big deal. While a 50-year-old with a 60-year-old or even a 30-year-old dating a 40-year-old isn’t that big of a deal, a 19-year-old with a 29-year-old is less likely to last.

15 Years: The Older, the Better

Matt Bomer at Airport with husband Simon Halls. Despite the age difference, the couple are doing fine.
When you start thinking about a first date with someone who is as many as 15 years younger or older than you are, take a look at the typical celebrity marriage with that kind of age gap. What attracted the couple in the first place? It was likely looks in the younger partner, and money in the older. Do you want a relationship based on something superficial, or do you want a long-term relationship with a partner who’s on the same level as you? The older both of you are — if your partner is 40, and you’re 55, for example — the less of a difference this gap will make, but it may still cause some problems.

Does an age difference in dating relationships mean more than in a marriage?

20-Plus Years: Probably Too Much

Aaron Taylor-Johnson with wife Sam have a considerable age difference.

Although some relationship quotes prove that there have been happy couples with a 20-year (or more) age gap between them, your chance of sustaining a successful relationship decreases considerably when you’re that many years apart. You’re from entirely different generations, and you may even be the same age as your partner’s parent or child from a previous relationship. You’re at different stages of life and you may want different things. You might feel that you’re done with parenting, for example, having already raised grown children. She might not have had her first child yet and she wants to start a family. Even if you’re both older, there’s a greater potential for problems. If you’re 50 and your partner is 70, there’s likely to be less conflict when it comes to your life goals, but the older partner is likely to experience health issues and may be unable to keep up with the younger one.

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