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Now that the general public is hesitantly opening up more possibilities for women and queer folk outside of the kitchen and the closet, there is space for couplings to be less transactional and heteronormative than they were for our cradle-robbing ancestors.
As it happens when a script is rewritten or ditched altogether, we’re all just stumbling around trying to figure out what the lines are.
The statistics are indeed gloomy, and reflect a negative correlation between large age gaps and relationship longevity, with the rate of divorce getting higher as the age gap increases. And beyond that sweet, sweet chemistry, there are so many variables that need to fall into place for a relationship to be sustainable. And if that chemistry is truly fire, we work to make them line up. There are a million reasons we can find or create for why a relationship won’t work out.
This is true for couples with a fifteen-year age gap, and this is true for couples with a thirty-second age gap.
But as anyone who has ever fallen in love with someone with a poor grasp of your native tongue can attest, connection isn’t simply an exchange of jargon and an alignment of trivia knowledge.
And, generally, we can all agree—at least conceptually—that age is but a number when it comes to romantic pairings. As the average age of marriage increases alongside access to education, and the gender pay gap decreases (but is still somehow a thing?!?!
Until, of course, your 62-year-old uncle brings his new girlfriend to the egg hunt, and she slurps when she chortles at “forever alone” memes, and doesn’t even know who sings Then it’s just...gross? ), the oh-so-romantic exchange of the older man’s financial support for the younger woman’s fertility has lost some luster.
Similarly, assuming that a greater number of experiences necessitates a deeper level of maturity overlooks the reality: that it’s the meaning we glean from experience that makes it worthwhile, not simply its occurrence.
An international party boy who has seen the Seven Wonders from a cross-faded perch on his yacht is not necessarily a shining beacon of cultural competency simply because he’s covered a lot of surface area. What about physical limitations, libido and “biological time clocks”? These are valid concerns and causes for consideration (although Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart seem to be doing alright).