The purpose of this paper is to take an in depth look to see whether age matters in a romantic relationship. The research draws on three sources, one of which is written by a psychologist.
It is a widely accepted fact that when it comes to relationships, women prefer older men, and men favor younger women. This is on a par with the “Parental Investment Theory”, which upholds the view that women are attracted to men who are older, as they have normally accrued larger resources; and that men are drawn in by youth, that is to say, women who portray elements of fertility (Psychology Today, 2013).
Couples who are heterosexual, have a median age difference of around 2.3 years, so people often talk about relationship age gaps, especially when men are younger than women. However, even though it is the 21st Century, many people still find an age gap inappropriate, especially if a woman is older than the man. In some cultures, there is a tradition that men frequently marry women who are younger, and in some cases this age gap between a younger woman and an older man is extremely wide. In these particular cultures the opposite would be seen as very unusual, even unacceptable. In normal American culture though, relationships between a younger man and an older woman are becoming more common, and so the historical older man younger woman scenario is being challenged, and this implies that age does not matter in a relationship. Celebrities and Hollywood have done a lot to change public opinion with films and TV shows including: “Cougar Town”, “Cougar Club”, and “The Graduate”, which all feature women who are middle aged enjoying relationships with men who are far younger (Netvist, n.d.).
But age is just a number, and the old adage: “the heart wants what the heart wants” is very true. Love reigns supreme, and people cannot always help who they fall in love with, and love does not discriminate as to if an individual is younger or older. As there is a societal stigma on differences in age, it can make people worry about it, and to that end, if they have feelings for a person outside the “normal” age brackets, they feel that their emotions cannot be right. However, if both parties seek the same things from their union, then that goes a long way towards age not mattering. Also, society deems that the older someone is, the more mature they are, yet that is not correct. Maturity develops differently for everyone depending on their life experiences, and someone who is in their 20s could be mature, whereas someone much older may not have matured at all. Therefore, in that regard, age should not matter in a relationship (Elite Daily, n.d.).
Also, even if there is a fairly large difference in age, there is no reason that the union between partners is any less sincere or significant than one in which there is a close age gap. There may however, be certain challenges that do not apply in the case of the latter. To some, the age gap may not matter because there may be clear advantages such as the added perspective of someone from another generation (Good Therapy, 2013).
Whilst there are those who feel that if there is an age gap between a couple, it is an impossible obstacle, others feel that this gap has tangible benefits. At the present time, there is no absolute scientific proof as to whether a wide age gap contributes to a successful or unsuccessful relationship, or if there is an upper limit or preferable age gap (Netvist, n.d.).
In summary, from the research taken from the above resources, age should not matter in a relationship, however certain cultures are not always flexible.
- Elite Daily (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://elitedaily.com/dating/age-doesnt-matter-maturity-comes-love/874484/
- Good Therapy (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/five-considerations-for-relationships-with-big-age-difference-0910138
- Netvist (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://netivist.org/debate/does-age-matter-in-relationships
- Psychology Today (2013). Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/head-games/201308/when-it-comes-dating-do-age-differences-matter