According to the recent studies on life expectancy, women tend to benefit less from marriage irrespective of whether her spouse is younger or older than her (Science Daily). Sven Drefahl of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, concludes that it is socially and psychologically most beneficial for a woman to marry a man of exactly the same age as herself. The reverse is true for men – the younger the wife, the longer the husband will live.
Despite such scientific studies, men and women have consistently chosen younger or older partners for centuries and have enjoyed fulfilled relationships. It has often been the norm in many societies for older men to prefer younger women as their life partners, and it is now increasingly common for women to marry younger men. Some embrace this behaviour as an off-shoot of the Women’s Liberation Movement and women expressing their new-found freedom of choice. Others in favour of patriarchy continue to condemn these women and men for going against societal norms.
If one has to offer advice to a person considering a long-term commitment to an older or younger partner, some reflection on the future should feature prominently. While a 45 year old, young-at-heart man might appeal to a 20 year old woman right now, he might not be so attractive in 20 years time when he is retired and lacks energy. Whatever opinions might be, couples with large age discrepancies will continue to make choices based on what works for them, taking into consideration levels of commitment, maturity and, of course, love. Age should be considered like any other compatibility factor in relationships. The age old adage, “love is blind” might still hold value for some.
“Downside of Marriage for Women: The Greater a Wife’s Age Gap from Her Husband, the Lower Her Life Expectancy”, Science Daily, May 12, 2010. Web. May 19, 2012