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Does Age Matter in a Relationship? We Polled Online Daters

An older couple holding hands because age doesn't matter in their relationship.

You might have dreams of meeting a young stud or getting to know a sassy cougar, but you’re probably setting yourself up for big disappointment. According to a study of 3,000 people from Emory University in Atlanta, the larger the age gap between a couple, the higher chance there is of a divorce.

When compared to those who marry someone the same age, the study concluded that a one-year discrepancy between a couple makes them 3 percent more likely to divorce; a 5-year difference makes them 18 percent more likely to separate, and a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely to call it quits. To sum it up… Does age matter in relationships? Definitely. Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart’s May–December romance is the exception, not the rule.

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A study like this isn’t the ultimate predictor of your destiny, but the conclusion is something to keep in mind while you’re looking for the right person. According to Chris Pleines, CEO of dating review site, ZU-ZWEIT.de, “Men usually search for women who are younger than they are on online dating sites, whereas women are more likely to search for a mate closer to their age.” There seems to be a false perception that younger age means more fun. “Dating younger does have a bit more appeal to men, but it makes a long-term relationship harder to achieve,” says Pleines.

Although being the same age as a partner doesn’t guarantee romantic success, dating within your peer group does make it more likely to end up on the same page. A large age gap means that you’re less likely to share similar experiences and preferences in movies and music—and those differences make break ups a lot more likely.

Sharing similar experiences can instantly forge a bond between strangers. So, be honest and specific about the movies and TV shows you love; don’t tell your date that you like something just because they do, or because it’s trendy. Also, don’t even think about fudging your age; dishonesty is never attractive and doesn’t bode well for a budding romance.

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