If she is bigger than him, or if he is bigger than her. There was a time when the age difference in couples was viewed with suspicion. Overcoming social prejudices, it remains to know if couples composed of people in whom the age difference is notorious have a chance to prosper over time.
According to a study developed by scientists at the University of Colorado in Boulder, in the US, “having a large age difference in the couple provides greater satisfaction for both in the short term but this happiness fades with time.” So at least they published it in the Journal of Population Economics.
The results suggested, for example, that these couples are less resistant to economic recessions
The researchers analyzed 13 years of longitudinal data from thousands of Australian households and identified a pattern between unhappiness and marriages with notable age difference. The study began in 2001 and the representative sample consisted of 7682 households with 19,914 individuals and the participants were re-surveyed each year about various aspects of life satisfaction.
The results suggested, for example, that these couples are less resistant to economic recessions in relation to their similar age counterparts.
The study confirmed that men were the ones who felt the greatest marital satisfaction when they dated a younger woman, especially in the first few years of coexistence. And the same happens on the contrary (older woman and young man).
Terra McKinnish is co-author of the work and revealed that they found “that men who are married to younger wives are the most satisfied and men who are married to older wives are the least satisfied.” Women are also particularly dissatisfied when they are married to husbands older and particularly satisfied if they are married to younger spouses.”
However, this initial happiness does not last long; it erodes quickly after 6-10 years of marriage.
“Over time, people who are married to a much older or younger spouse tend to have a greater decrease in happiness, compared to those who are married to spouses of similar age,” McKinnish said.
Over time, people who are married to a much older or younger spouse tend to have a greater decrease in happiness
One explanation for this decrease in happiness could be that the age difference between the spouses affects the couple’s ability to respond to negative economic ups and downs, such as a loss of employment, for example.
According to the authors, a possible explanation for this could be that couples of similar age are more in sync with the life decisions that affect both (having children, general spending habits) and, therefore, are better equipped to adapt to a sudden financial problem. On the contrary, an unexpected financial shock could expose underlying tensions and imbalances in couples with a larger age gap.