What you need to know:
- Today’s woman is able to choose the kind of relationship she wants or needs, and the kind of man who suits her best. This includes the younger man.
- The couple must be in the same phase of their lives. They must be thinking the same way, interested in the same things, and so on.
- A larger age gap is directly related to a higher divorce rate. Women dating men 20 years younger are 95 percent likely to end up in divorce, those with a 10-year difference are 39 percent likely to divorce while those with a 5-year difference are 18 percent likely to divorce.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s relationship with Brigitte Trogneux has always left people perplexed. As a 15-year-old boy, Macron was infatuated with Ms. Trognex, who was his high school drama teacher. At the time, Trognex was married with three children. The two started an affair when Macron was 17. Years later, Trognex divorced her husband and married Macron. He was 29 years old and she was 54 years old.
The norm in relationships is that men date or marry younger women and women date or get married to older men. According to Vinita Mehta, a psychologist, and author of How Our Stone Age Bodies Complicate Modern Relationships, this is because of fertility and resources. “Women are naturally drawn to older men since they typically have greater resources while men are attracted to women who portray signs of fertility through youthfulness,” she says. But the new phenomenon where younger men freely go out with significantly older women and older men date younger women is evolving fast. In fact, according to Dr. Mehta, when two people go out on a date, the age difference will hardly be as important as other considerations such as physical attraction, personality, and compatibility. “Cultural forces such as increasing divorce rates or disinterest in marriage are making the generation gap less relevant. Additionally, with women earning more money and acquiring more resources, the question of age to them becomes invalid,” she says.
But a huge age gap can be a trigger for disaster. This is what a survey of 3,000 people that was conducted by Emory University’s Department of Economics (US) showed. This study indicated that a larger age gap is directly related to a higher divorce rate. Women dating men 20 years younger are 95 percent likely to end up in divorce, those with a 10-year difference are 39 percent likely to divorce while those with a 5-year difference are 18 percent likely to divorce. In the same vein, a study on how men and women mature that was commissioned by Nickelodeon UK in 2013 found that the average age at which women mature is 32 while men remain immature well into their late 30s and early 40s.
According to Professor Catherine Gachutha, a psychologist and director of Kenya Institute of Business and Counseling Studies age is never just a number. It has its implications in the relationship. “Some of these implications can include incompatibility, inability to meet spousal needs, shame issues, and feelings of discontent,” she says. However, an age gap of fewer than five years is manageable for a couple because it will put the two in almost the same development stage, which will make your needs almost similar.
On the other hand, the critical factor may not be the ages of the partners or the difference they have. According to Dr. Chris Hart, a psychologist and the author of Single & Searching, in today’s modern dating, there is no actual limit on the age gap in relationships. He points at the most popular celebrities and the age gaps in their relationships as a case in point. However, there are practical considerations that must be attended to. “For example, the couple must be in the same phase of their lives. They must be thinking the same way, interested in the same things, and so on. The age factor in relationships is more about maturity than chronological age,” says Dr. Hart.
The case for the younger men
There are factors that have been driving relationships where the man is considerably younger than the woman. According to psychologist Patrick Musau, these factors include:
- Flexibility and openness: They are more spontaneous, open-minded, and willing to experience and learn from new intimacy techniques and fantasies.
- Intimacy: Sex with an older woman if more joyous and fulfilling. The difference in their age and sexual peaks complement each other. A mature woman knows her sexual needs and wants, and she is able to communicate them, which makes her a fantasy for the younger man.
- Respect: Younger men tend to respect powerful women who are independent, smart, and successful than their older counterparts.
- Freedom: Today’s woman is able to choose the kind of relationship she wants or needs, and the kind of man who suits her best. This includes the younger man.