Across Western countries, about 8% of all married heterosexual couples can be classified as having a large age gap (ten years or more).
These generally involve older men partnered with younger women.
In some non-Western countries, the average age gap is much larger than in Western countries.
For example, in some African countries about 30% of unions reflect a large age gap. And do couples with large age gaps experience poorer (or better) relationship outcomes compared to couples of similar ages?
more Romantic couples with a large age gap often raise eyebrows.
Studies have found partners with more than a ten-year gap in age experience social disapproval.
About 25% of male-male unions and 15% of female-female unions demonstrate a large age gap.
But what these trends tell us is that the majority of the population is likely to partner with someone of similar age.
These couples also seem to report greater trust and commitment and lower jealousy than similar-age couples.
Over three-quarters of couples where younger women are partnered with older men report satisfying romantic relationships.
Many of the reasons proposed for age-gap couples have been largely rooted in evolutionary explanations, and focus on explaining older man-younger woman pairings.
From this perspective, it’s thought men’s preferences for younger women and women’s preferences for older men relate to reproductive fitness.
But the evolutionary explanation is limited in that it doesn’t explain why the reverse occurs (an older woman-younger man pairing), or why age gaps exist within same-sex couples.