Society

Age Matters

The age gap matters in a married relationship. Some couples make it a success, others don’t and end up at the losing end.

By Zara Maqbool | April 2021

age matters

Marriage is a commitment between two people to unite their individual lives economically, physically and emotionally. It’s a big commitment to say the least and many players play a role in bringing the two people together. In most cultures it is the man and woman and who they are that determines this union but in our part of the world factors like cast, colour, education and social status plays a colossal role in choices people make. For example, it would be rare for a wealthy man to fall for a poor woman and vice versa. This essentially means that love isn’t as blind as we claim it to be.

Amongst factors like beauty, education, social status, value system, etc., a very important factor is the age of the people involved. It’s an idiosyncrasy that cannot be shoved under the carpet. Traditionally in Asia, and to some extent in the Western world as well, it is expected that the man be a few years older than the woman. Same age couples are still accepted and in a few rare cases if the woman is a year or two older it can be ignored too. But in any case if the age gap is huge like the man being a decade or more older or the wife being significantly older than the husband, it is stigmatized, mocked and shamed. The younger wives are often referred to as opportunists or gold diggers or older women with younger husbands called cougars.

So why is age difference denounced? The most important factor is that the man and the woman would be at different stages of their lives in terms of professional status, for example. A younger partner marrying the other twice his or her age would be expected to be financially more stable. An external factor like that would affect the dynamics of the interpersonal relationship. The older partner would be more powerful, confident and experienced, taking a powerful position in the relationship. This imbalance would affect the relationship and eventually as the younger partner would grow older and try taking some of that power back, it would not be as easy and would be met with resistance from the other partner.

Another issue with age difference is that the child-bearing age for a woman is up to 40 in most cases so younger men, unless they don’t want to have children, would not find a match in an older person. The lack of acceptance from society based on some of these factors plays a very significant role in why such marriages don’t work.

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