Are Age Gaps An Issue In Relationships?

No one was surprised when 18 year old Courtney Stodden’s marriage to 53 year old Doug Hutchison ended at the beginning of this month. In fact, we were amazed the couple’s relationship lasted two and a half years despite the 35 year age gap. By just looking at other couples such as Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher or Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas it can be easy to assume age gaps in relationships just don’t seem to work.

But is age really a problem when it comes to relationships? Perhaps when we’re younger, then yes it certainly is. At school, an 18 year old boy dating a 15 year old girl is often deemed a no-no and maturity levels tend to vary. But once you hit your late teens/early 20s, a 3 year gap doesn’t seem much of an issue at all...

When I posed the question to a couple of friends, most people said they didn’t consider age to be a problem, however this was from people who were dating people who were actually their age. This is probably due to the fact that normally you’re more likely to have more things in common with someone your own age. Moreover, lots of relationships come about through groups of friends and if all your friends are the same age, your partner is likely to be too.

Then comes the issue of toyboys and cougars. Most girls I spoke to said they can’t stand the idea of dating someone younger than them, if not for maturity levels than anything else. Meanwhile some boys I asked wouldn’t object to the idea of an older girl however might start to feel slightly intimidated by it once they get past a certain age.

At the end of the day, age gaps shouldn’t be an issue, especially at uni. What with gap years and the way the schooling system works regarding birthdays, it’s possible for a 1st year and a 3rd year to be the same age. Huge age gaps on the other hand can sometimes be an issue – a good way to judge is to see if you both remember the same TV shows for when you were younger. If none are the same, chances are things might fizzle out once you begin to reach your different stages in life. While you’re still young, crazy and carefree, they might be considering settling down as every other invite they receive is a wedding invitation rather than a 21st Birthday Party. That said, evidently it can work out: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 23, and Sam Taylor-Wood, 46, are happily married with 2 children, despite her being exactly twice his age.

But if in doubt, there’s always the old ‘halve your age and add 7’ trick – if they’re younger than that, then maybe don’t go there...

Photo credits:,