June 19, 2023 |Amy Jones

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Having an age gap in a relationship has been one of the most highly discussed and debated topics in society and the media for the past few years, and different generations have widely different views on age gap relationships.

But why do they cause so much controversy and debate, and what does the research about age gap relationships actually say?

Are you in an age-gap relationship and wondering what it says about you and your partner?

This article will examine the societal impact and reaction having an age gap in a relationship and what those in them say about them. 

What Is An Age Gap?

Many define an age gap relationship as a couple with an age difference of 10 years or more. Still, it can also refer to couples with an age difference of 5 years and upwards.

Concern is often generated about having an age gap in a relationship due to cultural worries about power imbalances and inequality; however, this can happen in many couples, not just age-gap couples.

Many people experience an age gap relationship, but it is more likely to happen when you’re slightly older. 

Which Age Gaps Are Acceptable 

Many rules and societal norms surrounding age-gap relationships dictate which age gap in a relationship is acceptable and which isn’t.

The common rule for determining the acceptability of an age gap is that the lowest you can go is half your age plus 7 years.

This means if you are 30, half your age is 15, plus 7 is 22, meaning that the lowest age you can date is 22.

an Age Gap in a Relationship

Societal norms and rules like this exist within society to prevent relationships that have too high a power imbalance. 

However, recent studies have shown that over 50% of American society would consider dating someone 10 years older, so why is there such stigma in society?

Many people in age-gap relationships report facing negative comments and other stigma surrounding their relationship from friends, family, and strangers.

If you’re in an age-gap relationship, you’ll be well aware of the stigma you may face within society.

But what are the positives and negatives of age-gap relationships, and what does the relationship say about you and your partner? 

What Are The Dangers of Age Gap Relationships?

Although many couples with significant age gaps experience unfounded and unfair judgement and stigma, there are reasons why considerable age gaps are scrutinised within society.

In some age-gap relationships, the age disparity between partners can be exploited by the other.

For example, the younger partner can be subject to coercive or financial control, as older people tend to have more financial security and confidence. 

On the flip side, the younger partner could take advantage of the other partner’s money or emotional vulnerability, depending on the older partner’s age.

Problems can also arise because each partner is at a different developmental stage, which can cause miscommunication and misunderstandings. 

However, it’s important to note that issues like this can arise in any relationship, not just age-gap relationships.

Many couples with an age gap experience healthy and happy relationships and enjoy a great deal of support from their partners.

Just because there is a significant age gap between two people does not mean there will inevitably be issues with the relationship.

Just like other relationships, there have been thousands of age-gap relationships that fail and ones that work beautifully. 

What Are The Positives of Having an age gap in a relationship

There are many reasons why people are happy with their partner, despite a significant age gap.

One of the main reasons people love their age-gap relationship is because the other partner provides them with a unique perspective and helps them work through their issues better.

Having a partner that offers a new perspective can be very beneficial in your everyday life, as it can help you solve problems and find new solutions to things you struggle with. 

an Age Gap in a Relationship

Many celebrity couples have a significant age gap and work out really well.

For example, iconic couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have an 11-year age gap and are happily married with three children.

Other celebrity couples that have a significant age gap include Amal and George Clooney (17 years), Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas (11 years) and Sarah Paulson & Holland Taylor (30 years.)

There are many reasons why these relationships work very well – chemistry, understanding, communication, and love.

The age gap doesn’t matter, but rather the amount of time and effort a couple puts into their relationship

What It Says About You and Your Partner

Many age-gap couples wonder what their relationship says about them and their individual and couple qualities.

Over a quarter of people have an age-gap relationship, and some have specific attributes that make them more suited to age-gap relationships.

But what are these qualities, and how does it make a person more likely to seek out a relationship partner with a significant age gap?

If you’re in an age-gap relationship, you may have one of these qualities: 


One of the main qualities you will have if you’re comfortable in an age-gap relationship is open-mindedness.

You will be able to understand and listen to a completely different perspective than your own and be interested in views that may be different from your own.

You will look past what people will say or what stereotypes are, and you will be able to look at your partner from an entirely different perspective.

Age Gap in a Relationship 1 Age Gap in a Relationship

You’ll be interested in other people and won’t be judgmental, making you more likely to be in an age-gap relationship. 


Many age-gap couples report facing significant difficulties regarding their perceptions of their relationships.

Over 40% of age-gap couples reported facing derogatory comments from strangers in public, making them feel alienated.

More age-gap couples also reported hearing negative comments from their family and friends, making them feel unsupported and uncomfortable.

In an age-gap relationship, you can put all of this to one side, focus entirely on your partner, and completely rely on your opinions.

Confident and brave people tend to experience age-gap relationships better. 

Highly Communicative 

Communication issues can arise very quickly when there is a significant age gap between two partners.

This is because different generations have different communication styles and can have different definitions for common phrases and words, which can cause misunderstandings.

Furthermore, different generations have other ideas of what a healthy relationship should look like, which can also cause friction and stress.

To be in an age-gap relationship, you will have fantastic communication skills to facilitate great communication between you and your partner. 


One of the main traits of people drawn to age-gap relationships is that they tend to be very accepting.

For example, people from different generations and age groups may have unique interests and ideas for what their ideal relationship should look like, and there will usually need to be compromises made within an age-gap relationship. 

Many age-gap couples report that this usually comes to a head during wedding planning – one partner may prefer catered meals, one may choose buffet style, one partner may prefer new wedding jewellery, whilst the other may prefer vintage engagement rings.

To make an age-gap relationship work, you must accept your partner’s quirks and habits, which may become more noticeable as they age. 

For example, something your partner does (that may drive you crazy) could be down to generational differences or different life experiences! It’s important to look at certain traits your partner has with grace and understanding, as these may be down to your different life experiences. 

an Age Gap in a Relationship

While age-gap relationships face scrutiny and can be problematic, they can work if you work on them and cultivate beneficial traits like the one above.

Any relationship takes work and effort – and age-gap relationships are no different!

Ultimately, age gaps don’t make or break your relationship – love, acceptance, and communication will. 


In conclusion, age-gap relationships can be challenging, but they can also be very rewarding.

It is important to approach such relationships with open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to compromise.

Ultimately, as long as both partners are happy and fulfilled, age should not be a barrier to a successful and satisfying relationship.

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About the author

Amy Jones

My name is Amy and I’m a freelance writer and journalism student. I love writing about relationships and staying up to date with the latest health and fitness news. In my spare time, I enjoy reading romantic books with a cup of tea or planning my next travel destination or holiday with my partner.

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