What’s the best age gap in a relationship? With graphs and sparkles and surveys and facts and stuff.

olson marriage

Here’s that first graph again, without bits missing.

What’s the age gap between you and your partner? Recent studies have shown that the closer in age you are, the lower your chances of divorce.

Gee! What a surprise. (Not.)

If you’re deciding on whether or not to pursue a relationship solely based on the age gap rule, or any rule, then you’re not mature enough to be in a relationship.

Your ideal partner is probably still in their teens, and unless you’re also in your teens, you need help.

Possibly legal help.

Society has rules for a reason…

Throughout the centuries, there has been this idea that women mature earlier than men, mentally as well as physically. So the ideal age for a woman to marry is in her early ’20s, while for a man it’s his early ’30s.

This little theory seems to have been mostly perpetuated by men in their late ’30s.

Naughty men.

Then, there are those cultures where the age gap blows out and mature men are paired with teen brides.


It is a fact that women live longer on average than men. So if we’re living in an age where the main aim is still lifetime lasting monogamy (which, according to religion and romantic comedies, it definitely is), there is a very sensible argument to be made for the fact that older women should be pursuing younger men.

Shut up with your arguments about biological clocks. Science will be fixing that any time soon if it hasn’t already. Or maybe that’s just an argument for us all getting a lot more organised?

Especially men. Like me. Mid-’30s and still never married. The perfect example of the teapot calling out everyone else other than himself.

Bad teapot.


Here’s another graph of lego erections. It says, “marriage bliss = get knocked up”

Oh, and there’s the “half your age plus seven years” rule. Heard that one? You halve your years and add seven, and that’s the age of the youngest person you should date. To work out the oldest prospective partner, you double your years then subtract seven.

Another rule obviously invented by men, because it quite literally doesn’t add up.

Also, with the prevalence in society of rich men dating much younger women, it seems that money can buy years. Or affection. See previous comments about men.

Ugh. Men. So yuck. Just trying being one. Some mornings, you just want to punch yourself in the face.

Sometimes you do.

That really freaks out people on the subway. Again, speaking from personal experience.


This graph says, “Be the same level of stupid.” It’s a graph, so it knows more than you, because you’re not a graph. Two graphs get into an argument. What was the result? ‘Graphite’. HA

So a study has just come out which could have the same title as just about every scientific study released ever: “Science finds thing we logically suspected was true, but it’s handy to know.”

The smaller the age gap, the greater their chances of avoiding divorce. According to science.

No age gap? You’re sweet.

One year difference? Three percent more likely to fail.

Five year difference? Eighteen percent more likely to not last the distance.

Then it goes as predicted by statistics and logic, with 20 years meaning the marriage is 95 percent more likely to end in divorce, and a 30 year difference resulting in a 172 percent probability of the wedded bliss resulting in a break-up.

Why is it so? What does the science say?

The study didn’t really go into it, but why do you think it’s such a thing?

The closer you are in age, the closer you are in relative life experience, ages of friends, cultural reference points and the Chinese Zodiac – which strangely was not mentioned in any of the articles I read on this.

Also not mentioned was any advantage or increased likelihood of success based on the man being the older parter, or the woman.

Meaning if we’ve learned one thing from all this, it’s that any man who substantiates his choice to date only younger women with science is talking bullshit.


This article first appeared in The Big Smoke:



Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

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