7 Signs That The Age Gap in Your Relationship is Problematic (2023)

If you are dating someone older than you or younger than you, you will hear a lot of comments about the age gap in dating.

Some will say that age is just a number, while others will say that it’s inappropriate to date someone who is old enough to be your father.

But there will be a discussion on what age gap is acceptable and what age gap is too much, as well.

I will try to answer all of your questions about the age gap in dating in the following text and will list the signs that the age gap in your relationship could create problems.

If you are currently involved with someone who is way over or under your age or considering it, you should read on to discover everything you need to know about this kind of relationships that will help you think things throw and realize the baggage that comes with dating someone older or younger than you.

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Age gap relationships: how much is too much?

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Some research shows that the success of a relationship drops with age gap, so the bigger is the age gap in a relationship, the more likely it’s to fail.

Even though it’s often said that age is just a number, scientist seems to disagree.

Because a lot of things can influence the success of a relationship, and even if there’s mutual love, trust, and respect, there are age gap relationship problems.

Research shows that there is a 95% chance of break up with the couples who have a gap of 20 years between them, while the most successful age gap is that of 3-5 years which still has an 18% more chance of break up than the relationship of a couple who is the same age. In the relationships where the age difference is 10 years, there is a 39% chance of break up.

What is an acceptable age gap in dating?

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(Video) Acceptable Age Gap For Dating? | The View

So what age gap is acceptable? Statistics show that women often marry older men, and on average, that gap is two years.

A lot of people will agree that the age gap of 10 years if acceptable, but anything above that is simply pushing it too far.

Still, according to research, it’s safe to assume that only 3-5 years of age gap has a chance of succeeding in a relationship.

Whatever the age gap is, it often creates problems that you usually would not have had in a relationship with someone your age.

This is because you and your older or younger partner have been living at different times, which caused you to be raised differently and have a different view on life.

I was in a long relationship with a 16 years older man, and now I am married to a man my age.

I can’t tell you how much I was delighted to be around someone who gets me and thinks the same way I do when I finally met my future husband.

What the previous experience has taught me is that age definitely matters, no matter how much you would wish that it didn’t.

Do age gap relationships work?

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So, do age gap relationships work? Unfortunately, most of the time, no, they simply can’t work.

Trust me, age matters; even if you really try your best to ignore the age difference and pretend like it’s not affecting your relationship, it’s still something that will hang above your heads like a dark cloud.

Do you want to know why age gap relationships don’t work?

There is a huge difference in the way you were raised and in the way you think about things, your goals in life, and where you are at the moment.

An important factor no to be ignored is experience as well.

If you love someone for the first time, but he has already loved a lot of women before you, the difference in experience will make a difference in how you love someone as well.

(Video) do age gap relationships work?

For example, if your partner is much older than you and he is your first big love, while he has been married before and even had a couple of serious relationships as well, he won’t be able to reciprocate the love you are feeling.

6 Signs That The Age Gap in Your Relationship is Problematic

The age gap in dating doesn’t come without a price.

Age difference matters because it defines where you are at the moment and what are your goals for the future.

Those goals usually don’t match your partners when there is a big age difference between you two. Read on to discover more about the age gap relationship problems.

Here are the 7 signs that the age gap between you and your partner might be a problem

1. Disapproval of family and society

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Age gap in dating is a popular topic for gossip, so don’t be surprised when your relationship becomes a hot topic for all family gatherings.

There will be a lot of rumors, criticism, and questions about your relationship.

If you are in a relationship with an older man, there will definitely be gossip that you are a gold digger and he is your sugar daddy.

And if you are dating a much younger person, they will think it’s your mid-life crisis.

Your family will get questioned about your upbringing, and you will have to face your family’s disapproval.

Lack of support from the family is a typical thing when it comes to relationships with a big age gap.

2. Compatibility issues

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The bigger the age difference between you two is, the higher are the chances that you will have to face compatibility issues.

You come from two different generations which grew up at different times, and that doesn’t come without consequences.

(Video) Age Gap Relationships & The Science Behind Them

You most likely have different mindsets, and you will not agree on many things.

Even if you are deeply in love with this person, you have to understand that you might not be compatible enough due to your different views on life.

You are in different stages in life which are causing you to have different goals in life.

You have to consider the fact that you two probably won’t grow old together.

It could happen that you are the peak of your career while your partner is ready to retire.

You will think differently, and your interests in life won’t match, as well as your needs.

An important factor in a successful relationship is having common goals, and they apply to all areas of life, including marriage, parenthood, career, and ambitions.

3. The matter of children

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If you want to be with someone who is significantly older than you, it is very likely that he already has children from a previous marriage.

If that is so, are you ready to become a stepparent?

In this case, you are not getting involved just with a man but also with his children, and that is a very responsible task.

Are you ready for such a responsibility? What if his children are close to your age? This can be a very uncomfortable situation.

And does he want more children? What if he already has children and you don’t but wish to have them in the future?

This will particularly cause a problem in this case when he is much older than you because he might not want to have children at such age, or by the time you will want kids, he will already be a grandfather.

4. The matter of money

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(Video) Can Large Age Difference Relationships Succeed? | May-December Romance

In a relationship where one partner is older than the other, that partner will often have an established career and be more financially stable or even own property.

This will cause gossip that you are a gold digger, and he is your sugar daddy, but the gossip is not the only problem you have to face when there is a huge difference in how much money you make.

Your partner, who has an established career, will probably have to spend many hours at the office, and you will not always be able to understand that he doesn’t have enough time to spend it with you.

And as I mentioned before, it could happen that you are at the peak of your career while he has to retire, which puts you in different stages at life, which creates problems in a relationship.

5. You are not going to grow old together

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While you are dating, you won’t notice much difference in the way you look, but as time goes by, the older partner will age faster, and the difference between how you look will become more and more noticeable.

Be ready for questions like is that your father or are you his mother.

And what comes with aging are illnesses. Are you ready to take care of your partner when he becomes sick while you are in your best years?

6. Experience matters

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The older person has more experience than the younger one, and this might not seem like a big deal now, but trust me, you will start noticing the problems that come with different experiences, even if only when you break up and find someone your age.

Age is not just a number but a big period of time during which a lot of things happened and thought a person to behave a certain way, and the older the person gets harder it will be for them to change or adapt to new circumstances.

Can you still make your age gap relationship work?

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As a rule, age gap relationships usually don’t work. However, every rule has the exception that proves it.

So there is a chance that your age gap relationship could work, but only if you two are very understanding of each other and tolerate the flaws that age difference carries.

Intelligent and reasonable people who know how to communicate will always find ways to solve their problems and make things work.

(Video) Are Age Gaps Actually Toxic? | Therapist Talks Billie Eilish and Age Gap Relationships

But if you notice some of the problems I mentioned and think about whether you are ready to deal with them, you will decide by yourself.

However, if you are scared by these possible problems and don’t think you are ready for all that, it’s time to break up gracefully before it’s too late for a clean break up.

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Is a 7 year age difference too much in a relationship? ›

Five to seven years is generally an acceptable age difference. However, there's no single right answer here, as it depends on the situation. As long as both partners are consenting adults, there's nothing preventing you from dating someone significantly older or younger than you are.

What age gap is unacceptable? ›

"Half-your-age-plus-seven" rule

An often-asserted rule of thumb to determine whether an age difference is socially acceptable holds that a person should never date someone whose age is less than half their own plus seven years.

What are the problems in age gap relationships? ›

Some of these challenges of age gap relationships include family concerns, money concerns, and blended family struggles. These are not impossible to manage but do require some extra work from both parties. If you and your partner are willing to put the work in, you can make age gap relationships thrive.

How big of an age gap is normal in a relationship? ›

Though the average age gap between people in heterosexual relationships in the US is about 2.3 years,¹ many relationships endure with a much wider age interval.

Why do relationships struggle at 7 years? ›

The 7-Year Itch is the idea that marriages start to decline or end in divorce around the seven-year mark due to boredom or even unhappiness. Either one or both partners can feel the 7-Year Itch and can be produced by several different factors, including: Lack of communication. Miscommunication.

Why do couples break up at 7 years? ›

Some of the most common include disagreements over money, infidelity, lack of communication, passive aggressive behavior and more. Other reasons for divorce include longer life expectancy, which may compel older couples to divorce, or the mental and emotional strain that comes with having young children.

What is the rule of 7 in dating? ›

The rule suggests the younger person in a relationship should be older than half the older person's age plus seven years in order for the relationship to be socially acceptable. For example, the youngest a 26-year-old person should date is 20. The beginnings of the rule are murky.

What age gap is most successful? ›

A study found that a zero to three year age gap might be best.

How long do most relationships last? ›

The average relationship lasts for 2 years and 9 months before coming to an end. Social media plays an important role in the demise of relationships. The younger the couple, the shorter the relationship – teenagers don't tend to form lasting relationships.

Is a big age gap a red flag? ›

"a really big relationship age gap is a red flag, but that a red flag doesn't necessarily mean that something's wrong."

Do relationships with age gaps last? ›

Many people assume that age-gap couples fare poorly when it comes to relationship outcomes. But some studies find the relationship satisfaction reported by age-gap couples is higher. These couples also seem to report greater trust and commitment and lower jealousy than similar-age couples.

Can 20 year age gap work? ›

Relationships with a big age gap can work if you're willing to put the effort in. There are times when they can seem more difficult because of generational differences; so, it's important to common interests and goals. If your values are aligned, it doesn't really matter if there is a large age gap.

What is the longest age gap in a relationship? ›

Gertrude Grubb Janeway (USA, b. 3 July 1909), was 18 when she married 81-year-old Union Civil War veteran, John Janeway on 9 June 1927 – an age difference of 63 years. The last Union widow of a Civil War veteran, she died 17 January 2003 aged 93.

Is 20 years too much of an age gap? ›

The truth is, there is no ideal or appropriate age gap in a relationship. Whether it's a 20 year age gap relationship or a 5 year age gap relationship, there will be both challenges and benefits to your situation.

What year do most relationships fail? ›

The likelihood of a breakup jumps down as the second and again the third years of a relationship pass. But the fourth year of a couple's life is just as likely as the third to end in departure. It's only after a couple reaches the 5th year of their relationship that the likelihood of break up falls sharply.

What is the hardest year of a relationship? ›

Recent studies suggest that the third year is the hardest year in a relationship. After 3 years together, many couples begin to question their decision to be committed to their partner. They reconsider if this is really the person with whom they want to spend every single day.

What is the hardest year for couples? ›

According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you've already lived together. In fact, it often doesn't matter if you've been together for multiple years, the start of married life is still tricky.

Who is more likely to break up in a relationship? ›

While it is established that about half of all marriages end in divorce, it is commonly assumed that the breakups are initiated by both genders equally. In fact, it is surprising to most people that women are actually more likely to end their marriages than men.

What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

Stonewalling, one of the Four Horsemen, is Dr. John Gottman's term for one or both partners shutting down when feeling overwhelmed during conflict. Rather than confronting the issue, someone who is stonewalling will be unresponsive, making evasive maneuvers such as tuning out, turning away, or acting busy.

What year do most divorces happen? ›

While there are countless divorce studies with conflicting statistics, the data points to two periods during a marriage when divorces are most common: years 1 – 2 and years 5 – 8. Of those two high-risk periods, there are two years in particular that stand out as the most common years for divorce — years 7 and 8.

What is the 72 hour rule in dating? ›

02/7​What is the 72-hour rule? This rule is simple. Whenever something tends to upset you or someone's actions or words infuriate you, wait for 72 hours before showing your emotions. In simpler words, hold back your immediate reaction and give yourself 72 hours before coming down to any conclusion.

What is the 222 dating rule? ›

The 2-2-2 Rule involves going on a date night every two weeks, spending a weekend away every two months and taking a week-long vacation away every two years.

What is the three second rule in dating? ›

It refers to the idea that when guys see a woman they fancy, they have three seconds to approach her, make eye contact, or strike up a conversation before she loses interest - or he bottles it.

What is the easiest age gap? ›

Based on the study findings, they suggest the optimal time between giving birth and getting pregnant again is 18 months, with a range of 12 to 24 months.

What is the best age difference between husband and wife? ›

Studies show that the 4-5 year age gap provides the most stable relationship. Gaps more than 8 to 10 years show higher disillusionment, quarrels and disturbed interpersonal relationships, leading to separation and divorce Bigger age gaps might have worked well for some, but cannot generalise.

What is the perfect age of marriage? ›

"There's no best age to get married. Men or women alike. Unless the person is ready. It can be the early 20s or late 30s.

What month do most relationships end? ›

December might be a time for joy and goodwill – but it's also the most popular time for couples to break up.

Why do most relationships fail? ›

The main reasons why relationships fail are loss of trust, poor communication, lack of respect, a difference in priorities, and little intimacy. This article discusses why each may cause a relationship to come to an end.

What is the 3 month rule? ›

What the post-breakup 3-month rule basically means is that all parties previously linked must wait three months before dating again. The reason for this societal dictation is to give the people involved a breather, some lead time, maybe a little room for forgiveness.

Why do people look down on age gap relationships? ›

Collisson and Ponce de Leon started with the hypothesis that people look down on age-gap romances because they perceive them as being unequal. Specifically, the prediction is that people will believe the older partner is getting more out of the relationship than the younger partner is.

Why are age gap relationships looked down upon? ›

The argument goes that age gaps reflect an imbalance of power and therefore leave young people open to coercion or abuse. The older partner is usually characterised as predatory; the younger partner as having been taken advantage of, even if they are well into their early twenties.

What are the biggest red flags in dating? ›

13 red flags in a relationship to look out for
  1. Overly controlling behavior. Overly controlling behavior is a common red flag. ...
  2. Lack of trust. ...
  3. Feeling low self-esteem. ...
  4. Physical, emotional, or mental abuse. ...
  5. Substance abuse. ...
  6. Narcissism. ...
  7. Anger management issues. ...
  8. Codependency.
Feb 1, 2022

How much of an age gap is too big? ›

Studies have found partners with more than a 10-year gap in age experience social disapproval. But when it comes to our own relationships, both men and women prefer someone their own age, but are open to someone 10-15 years their junior or senior.

What are the disadvantages of dating an older man? ›

  • He might have some baggage. If you're dating someone 10 or 20 years older, the chances are he's been in a relationship before - and possibly even has kids. ...
  • You could have less in common. An age gap can have disastrous consequences when it comes to having things in common. ...
  • He could be set in his ways.
Mar 29, 2019

Why age doesn t matter in a relationship? ›

How important is age in a relationship? Generally, age isn't as important as other compatibility factors. Age is only one aspect of your relationship—other things like life goals, wanting or not wanting children, having the same values, and respecting each other are much more important than your age.

What is an older woman younger man relationship called? ›

Since 2005, when Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher popularized the relationship of an older woman and a younger man, it seems the U.S. has become obsessed with calling women cougars and that popular culture is capitalizing on the slang.

What does 7 years in a relationship mean? ›

If you've ever been in a long-term relationship, then odds are you've heard one person or another throw around the concept of the “seven year itch.” This phrase usually refers to a point in a relationship where one or both partners start to become bored or dissatisfied in the relationship.

Is 7 years a long time for a relationship? ›

Seven years is a long time for romantic relationships. Expecting to let all those feelings go overnight just isn't realistic. Thing is, you probably can't even remember what your life was like before him. People can become habits too – the good kind as well as the bad.

What happens in the 7th year of a relationship? ›

The seven-year itch is a popular belief, sometimes quoted as having psychological backing, that happiness in a marriage or long-term romantic relationship declines after around seven years.

What happens 7 years into a relationship? ›

The seven-year itch is the idea that after seven years in a relationship, whether that's as a married couple or cohabitees, we start to become restless. Bored perhaps. Everything begins to feel a little bit mundane or routine. Anecdotally, it's said we're more likely to go our separate ways around this time.

What is the hardest time period in a relationship? ›

The first year of the relationship is the hardest stage, and even when you're living together, you still discover new things about each other every day. How to Survive: The key to getting past the discovery stage is also discovery. The discovery of your partner's imperfections and your imperfections as well.

What year do most couples break up? ›

New research shows that relationships are actually more vulnerable to demise far sooner than the dreaded seven year itch. The most common time for a couple to split is right around the two year mark.

Does the 7 year itch go away? ›

"In any endeavor, boredom sets in over time — this is because the novel becomes the routine," says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, a licensed family and marriage therapist. "I've found the 7-year itch cycle to be quite valid. After 7 years, most couples go through a period of 'dis-ease.

What is the hardest year of marriage? ›

According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you've already lived together. In fact, it often doesn't matter if you've been together for multiple years, the start of married life is still tricky.

How many years does the average couple stay together? ›

What is the average length of marriage? On average, the length of a marriage in the U.S. is seven to eight years. Some states have a higher rate than others, but the divorce rate for the country is around 50%.

What causes the 7 year itch? ›

Our friend and fellow family lawyer Raymond Hekmat notes four major causes behind the 7 (or 4)-year itch: Lack of communication, miscommunication, financial stress, and declines in intimacy (Hekmat, 2022).

What is the 7 year itch period in a relationship? ›

“The seven-year itch is a term used to describe the point in time that happiness and connection in a relationship declines,” explains Orlando. “According to various studies and surveys, this often occurs around the seventh year of marriage, leading the couple to disconnect emotionally and stray physically.” Dr.

What is the most common age to divorce? ›

The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old. 24. 60 percent of all divorces involve individuals aged 25 to 39.

How often do long term relationships end? ›

For same-sex married couples, the break-up rate falls from roughly 8 percent for those who have been together for 5 years to under 1 percent for those who have been together for at least 20 years. For heterosexual married couples, the rate falls from a shade over 3 percent to less than 1 percent over the same period.


1. 8 Ways to Bridge the Age Gap in Your Relationship
(Self Help Kings)
2. The 5 Signs Your Relationship Is Over
(Mel Robbins)
3. 8 Signs Its A Trauma Bond, Not Love
4. The difference between healthy and unhealthy love | Katie Hood
5. 7 Signs Someone is Truly Mature (Wise)
6. Age Gap Relationships Onscreen - Why They Bother Us
(The Take)
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