For a Happy Marriage, Choose a Man Your Age

November 11, 2014

(H/T: Say Whaat, MM)

It is well understood that women have a strong preference for men the same age as themselves, give or take:


Source: Dataclysm, OKCupid data

A recent study of 3,000 married and recently divorced Americans confirms the wisdom of that evolved preference. Megan Garber writes in The Atlantic:

The closer a couple is when it comes to their respective birth years, the greater their chances of avoiding divorce.

…Once you enter large-gap territory—the 20-year difference, the 30-year difference—the odds of divorce are … almost never in your favor.

If your partner happens to be 15 years older or younger than you are, that’s not automatically a bad omen: Statistics, of course, are not destiny. But, as predictors, the study’s findings stand to reason. Marriage is, above all, about 50-50 partnership; differences in ages also mean differences in life experience and cultural reference points.

Generations may be an invention, but they are meaningful nonetheless. So, with all the necessary caveats about love’s vagaries and mysteries, if you want a marriage that lasts, you should probably try to marry someone your own age.

Stats guru Randal S. Olson has once again illustrated the increased divorce risk as age differences between spouses increase:


Another Olson chart worth noting is the increased risk of divorce when spouses have different levels of education:


This is especially relevant in an era when 60% of college students are female. Some who wish to marry may be forced to marry a man with less education.

And finally, the stats show that if you stick it out ten years, your risk of divorce is minimal:


It’s interesting, though counterintuitive, that the risk is highest immediately after marrying.

As per usual, correlation not causation blah blah blah.