Here at MyDomaine headquarters, we've been known to pose intriguing questions—and seek out the science-backed answers—when it comes to relationships. How compatible are partners based on their Myers-Briggs personalities? Do couples who travel together have better sex? How should you handle a jealous partner? And why do people cheat?
We've already discussed how a relationship age gap of 10 years or more can increase your chance of having marital problems down the line, but what about setting yourself up for success in the relationship department? As it turns out, there is an ideal age difference in relationships that can increase your chances for everlasting love, and it's a lot smaller than you'd think. Keep scrolling for the surprising answer, the counterpoint, and a reading list to learn more about successful relationships.
The Magic Number
According to a study from Emory University, couples with a one-year age difference in relationships have just a 3% chance of divorcing. Compare that to an 18% chance of divorce for a 5-year age gap, 39% for a 10-year age gap, and a whopping 95% for a 20-year age gap. After analyzing 3000 couples, the researchers ultimately found that the larger the age gap between a couple, the more likely they are to get a divorce. The one caveat to this rule? Statistics also show that couples who do manage to make it past the two-year mark, no matter what the age gap, are approximately 43% less likely to split up.
It's worth bearing in mind that these statistics simply try to identify and analyze relationship patterns—not create them. There's always going to be an exception to the rule (just look at George and Amal Clooney, who have a 17-year age gap between them). Rather, studies like these simply lend legitimacy to the idea that the age difference in relationships can also equate to significant differences in interests, lifestyle, and long-term goals between partners.
The Reading List
Shop the following books to learn more about what makes certain relationships work.
This story was originally published on September 6, 2016, and has since been updated.