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Does Age Really Matter in Relationships?

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We’ve all heard the saying “age is just a number”, but how many people really believe this?

I feel that this is a very common topic of debate, and has been for a long time. I think a lot of people worry about this issue, as if you are dating someone and there is an age gap, they feel the terms ‘cradle snatcher’, ‘cougar’, ‘rhino’, and ‘toyboy’ will be thrown around. However, there are a lot of celebrity couples with big age gaps such as Rod Stewart (70) and Penny Lancaster (43), Beyonce (32) and Jay-Z (44), and the list goes on. When speaking to couples I know, the majority of them have at least a 5-year age gap and are very happy together.

From the successful couples I know, I have found that interestingly, despite the age gap, they are both at very similar stages in their life in terms of personalities, priorities, goals, and behaviour. Whether they are both at an age where they want to settle down, get married and have children, or whether they are retired and have similar views on how they should spend their time and similar values. I think that this is what makes them work. I have also spent time speaking with couples that didn’t work out, despite them being the same age. The main theme was that the break up was due to them wanting different things at the time. I have also found out that a lot of people felt that during younger years (late teens to mid-twenties), age gaps can seem much larger due to the fact that this is a period in everyone’s life where they change from an adolescent into an adult. I have found from my research that the older you get; the less impact age gaps seem to have on the relationship.

In my experience a lot of people assume that if you are a certain age, you behave in a certain way and have a certain attitude to life. However, I have met some people in their 50’s with the personality and behaviour of someone much older, and likewise I have met people in their 70’s with a much younger personality and behaviour. This I think clouds the issue, as I think it’s not as straight forward now to assume a person will behave a certain way because of how many years they have clocked up. Which is a shame because I think a lot of people miss out on what could be a great relationship due to the stigma attached to age.

When looking online however, I found a website called Debate.org, and from their findings 22% of people said that age matters, and an astounding 78% thought that ‘age is just a number’! This debate I feel does show that people’s general attitude towards age is that it isn’t that relevant, which is good news for people who are still searching for the right person.

Overall from my research, I feel that it is more important that people are at the same stages in their lives and want the same things, than that they are the same age, and in my opinion ‘age IS just a number’!

Written by: Liz Harwood