Trending News: Why Marrying Someone Younger Than You Is A Really Bad Idea
Long Story Short
You married a much younger lady. Score, right? Maybe not.
What do you feel when you see your 35-year-old buddy falling madly in love with the 21-year-old student? A twinge of envy perhaps?
Well you shouldn’t. According to a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder, your pal is probably banging on and on about how great life is right now, but that in the longterm his satisfaction will decline steeply.
The findings of an examination of 13 years’ worth of longitudinal data also found that marriages with large age gaps are less resilient in the face of economic downturns compared to their similarly-aged counterparts.
The data comes from the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, which began in 2001. The nationally representative sample began with a weighty 7,682 households containing 19,914 individuals, with participants re-surveyed every year on questions concerning various aspects of life satisfaction.
Before you start chastising your friend, it’s worth noting that this is a phenomenon that affects both men and women.
“We find that men who are married to younger wives are the most satisfied, and men who are married to older wives are the least satisfied,” Terra McKinnish, professor of economics at CU Boulder and co-author of the new study, said in a news release. “Women are also particularly dissatisfied when they’re married to older husbands and particularly satisfied if they’re married to younger husbands.”
But that initial satisfaction erodes rapidly in the first decade of marriage, compared to those married to people of a similar age. So what’s going on?
McKinnish reckons it often comes down to economic shocks in the relationship. When these inevitable speed bumps occur, similarly-aged couples are more in sync when it comes to life decisions and thus better equipped to adjust to the hardship. The same sort of shake-up could expose underlying tensions in couples whose ages don’t match: maybe one partner wants a baby and the other doesn’t; maybe you fear your chances of re-employment but your partner is 20 years younger and in the prime of his or her working career.
So, older single gentlemen: be careful what you wish for.
Own The Conversation
Ask The Big Question
So I’ll be okay if there are no economic shocks, right?
Drop This Fact
In the United States, those in their early 20s have an average age difference in their relationships of about two to three years. But once people get into their 40s, that average age gap increases to about seven years.