You don’t have to look far to see a big age difference in relationships. Plenty of celebrities do it. Perhaps your parents have quite a big age gap between them. It’s nice to feel like age really is just a number, but so few people seem to settle down with someone who isn’t close to their age. So what’s the deal with an age gap in a relationship? Does it really matter? Read on to find more!

age difference in relationships


The idea of age difference in relationships is such a common one that people have even come up with a rule to determine your acceptable age, and it’s nothing at all like other dating rules. The equation is half your age plus seven. So if you’re thirty, then according to his rule you can date someone as young as 22 years old (half of 30 is 15, 15+7=22).

Although there’s less of an issue with dating someone who would be considered too old, you could subtract seven from your age and multiply it by two. At 30, the upper range becomes 46!

Obviously, this is a general guideline, and there are a few things wrong with it.

  • If you’re 21, the acceptable lower range is 17.5 years-old. This is illegal in some areas, so the calculation doesn’t apply to you. The equation similarly doesn’t work for people between the ages of eighteen and 20.
  • The acceptable age difference in relationships becomes much lower when the older person is younger. This is why there’s only an eight-year stretch when you’re 30, but the gap widens to sixteen years when you’re 46. If you’re 30, you might not want to date someone who is 46. That’s almost an entire generation older than you! On the other hand, you might feel pretty awesome if you’re 46 and dating someone who’s just 30. That’s moving into Cougar territory there!


Although this general rule for determining age difference in relationships gives you someplace to start, most people are marrying much closer to their ages. According to the 2013 US Current Population Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, over 33% of married couples have less than a one-year age gap[1].

The next most common age different in relationships is when the man is between two and three years older than the woman [1]. The Australian and U.K. census bureaus track similar statistics, so it’s not just an American thing! No matter how old people are, they tend to choose people in a similar age range, and women just seem more comfortable being the younger person in a relationship.

A 30-year-old woman dating someone who is 22 is even less common – less than 3% of couples have a similar age range[1]. Fewer than 2% of couples have the 16-year gap that the equation provides on the upper end, and that’s when the man is older. Even fewer couples have such a large split when the woman is that much older. Perhaps there’s something to stereotypes about young women who marry old geezers (think Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends or Anna Nicole Smith) for their money or middle-aged men who marry young women who have it all in the looks department but not so much when it comes to intelligence!


Of course, that doesn’t mean that happy couples don’t exist with such a gap or that you can’t date younger. It can be titillating to date a young stud who is full of energy in and out of bed. It makes you feel quite sexy! He might be more interested in exploring things like BDSM or pegging than someone who is older and, thus, more traditional. But you might fall for a younger man because of his excitement and hope just like you might find the traditional values of an older man more attractive.

Sometimes love just ignores your age. You fall for someone not because of the age difference but in spite of it. We can think of a few examples, too!

  • Brad and Angelina have an 11-year difference – as do Beyonce and Jay-Z.
  • Jennifer Lopez was 18 years older than her ex-boyfriend Casper Smart.
  • George Clooney found love with Amal, who is 17 years his junior.
  • Michael Douglas has 25 years on the lovely Catherine Zeta-Jones.

You may have noticed that most of these big gaps, also known as May-December relationships, feature an older man. It’s more common to find the age difference panning out that way, but plenty of women have dated or snagged younger men. Amy Schumer, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Madonna, Demi Moore and Mariah Carey have all shown they couldn’t care less about age difference in relationships! Check out this article about dating younger men for the lowdown.


You might run into some complications. For example, Millennials and Generation Xer’s often rely on texting and social media to communicate while while Baby Boomers prefer actually talking on the phone [2]! The trend has led to people feeling angry and disrespected in business environments, so it’s no big leap that it could have a similar effect in your personal relationships.

In this case, you might need to decide how often to communicate and via what means, especially when it comes to difficult subjects. You might be tempted to break up via text because you talk with most people this way, but that’s not the best way to break up. On the other hand, you might be a reluctant texter. But then you’d be missing out on all the joys of sexting! Read more about that in this post.

Of course, that’s just one specific example of an issue you might run into when you’ve got an age gap in a relationship. You might not like the same music or understand the pop culture references, but you know what? None of that matters when you’re invested in the relationship and want to make it work. You can still be compatible with someone even if you have quite the age gap. And you can be closer in age and still find yourself in an unhealthy relationship.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of factors that can make or break a relationship. Age is one of them, but you might find that age difference in relationships is less important than having similar morals and goals, communicating well and being committed to your relationship. If you’re considering a guy who is much younger or older, don’t let it stop you from having some amazing orgasms or even a lifetime of love!

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