An age difference of up to 10 years is generally not looked at askance by anyone who knows how old each partner is, but as that gap gets closer to 20, things start to look a bit more off balance.Once a man is literally old enough to be a woman’s father (or vice versa, for older women), public opinion starts to shift from acceptance to skepticism. Mary’s University’s (Halifax) Sara Skentelbery and Darren Fowler examined the phenomenon of “age gap relationships” (AGRs) from an evolutionary perspective, noting that such pairings have benefits in terms of species survival.However, if we accept the findings, the Skentelbery and Fowler study suggests that the younger woman-older man relationship has unique psychological qualities, at least on the measures used.Relationship fulfillment depends on a host of factors, but according to this study, the age gap alone is not sufficient to predict who will be happiest with whom.Feel free to join my Facebook group, "Fulfillment at Any Age," to discuss today's blog, or to ask further questions about this posting. I'm sure they don't represent all women, but I know several single women in their 30's who are dating older men.The simple reason they give is that most men their own age are "ridiculously immature".With age, men may acquire greater power or possess more property, financial and otherwise.
Skentelbery and Fowler therefore sought to compare AGR women with those in SARs (same-age relationships).Testing their predictions on a sample of 173 women, all involved in a romantic relationship, the study's authors compared those in AGRs (with a nine-year or larger age difference) vs. The AGR women ranged from 18 to 53 years old, with partners, on average, 17.3 years older than themselves.Using standard questionnaire measures, the research team asked all participants to rate their attachment styles as well as their relationship satisfaction.Because these relationships are more prevalent when they involve older men and younger women, the authors didn’t perform an analogous study of “mommy figures." If it’s true that younger women in AGRs are seeking father figures, then it would be expected that they would have maladaptive relationships with their fathers which play out in adulthood by their choice of a mate. Mary's researchers used to test this proposition is attachment theory.
According to the attachment theory perspective, people’s adult relationships reflect the way they were treated by their caregivers.
Consistent with large-scale attachment style studies, nearly three-quarters of the sample reported being securely attached.