New study reveals the ideal age gap for your relationship

New study reveals the ideal age gap for your relationship

Over the years, scientists have conducted various tests and trials in order to work out what exactly constitutes a working relationship. Understandably, it's been a bit of a difficult process, as us human beings are fairly unpredictable characters, and every partnership is different.

If there's one secret all of us want to crack, though, this has got to be it. I mean, what brings us more satisfaction in life than feeling secure with the people we love? (Well, other than a steady job, a supportive group of friends, and a Netflix account).

Fortunately, it seems that one new study may have got a step closer to finding the equation for an ideal relationship - and a lot of it has to do with the age gap.

In a survey of over 3,000 married couples in the United States, two professors from the Department of Economics at Emory University in Atlanta managed to harvest some quantitative data about which factors make it more likely for couples to stay together.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that couples with much larger age gaps were far less likely to stay together in the long run. In fact, married couples who had an age gap of 20 years or more had a 95 per cent chance of splitting - meaning 19 out of 20 relationships which fit this description ended in divorce.

Couples who had a 10 year age gap didn't fair a whole lot better, either. While their divorce rate was significantly lower than that of couples with two decades or more between them, partnerships in which one person was ten or more years older had divorce rates that were 39 per cent higher than the national average.

However, broadly speaking, couples don't tend to have an age gap this high. Most people tend to be somewhere between two and seven years older or younger than their partner - but even this isn't the ideal recipe for a successful relationship.

As it turns out, the perfect age gap between two people is just one year or less. A clear reason for this wasn't really established, but it could simply be that both people are dealing with the same challenges of life at the same time, and therefore are more empathetic to one another's successes and struggles.

However, another factor that made it more likely for a couple to stay together - even with a larger age gap - was having children. Married people who choose to start a family are actually 76 per cent less likely to divorce, but it should be acknowledged that this throws up a whole other realm of marital difficulties that wouldn't have been there before.

"Having children may postpone a divorce, but often it ends up bringing even more tension to a relationship and more to argue about, more costs, more demands on their time, which all lead to stress, which often leads to divorce," says Randy Kessler, an expert on family dynamics and divorce.

Ultimately, though, if you want to up your chances of sustaining a long and happy relationship with your significant other, try to go for someone who is around the same age. And, if you're already with somebody much older or younger, remember that this doesn't necessarily spell disaster for you - it just means that you've got to adapt to one another's differences.