Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Friday, October 18, 2019 06:08:55 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Age-Gap Romance: Recipe for Stigma or Success?

Research reveals the truth about cross-decade dating

 Research reveals the truth about cross-decade dating
photo by

By
09th-Oct-2019       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Wendy L. Patrick :
We have all seen them, or met them: couples that are obviously from two different generations. When we are introduced, the visual mismatch may leave us unsure of whether we are meeting a couple, or perhaps a parent and adult child. Small talk may be awkward until we figure it out.  
But what kind of judgments do we make about such relationships, and how does it impact the way we treat them? Further, does the way we respond impact the way such couples perceive themselves and their relationship? Research has some answers.
Brian Collisson and Luciana Ponce De Leon (2018) sought to investigate why couples in age-gap relationships are often the target of prejudice and negative stereotypes.
Part of their research included a very practical observation about cultural differences regarding perceived appropriate age gaps between partners. They noted that according to a United Nations study (2000), North American couples tend to have a small age gap within marriage: on average, 2.3 years. Within the United States, they cited the United States Census Bureau (1999) finding that 60 percent of married couples have age gaps of less than 3 years; 92 percent have age gaps of less than 10 years.   
Standard relationship age gaps, however, are different in different countries. Miles Q. Ott et al. (2011), in an article entitled "Age-gaps in sexual partnerships: seeing beyond 'sugar daddies,'" reveal markedly different relational statistics than those that exist in North America. They note that in the population they studied in their research-rural South Africa-"sugar daddy" relationships are rare, and spousal relationships tend to have larger age gaps than casual relationships.
But are people prejudiced against age-gap relationships simply because they are not used to seeing them? Apparently, there is more to the story.
Perceived Inequity Drives Dislike
Examining equity and social exchange theories, Collission and De Leon found that prejudice toward age-gap couples stems from a perception of relational inequity, which, in turn, causes them to be more disliked than age-matched couples. More specifically, they found that the older partners in age-gap relationships were perceived as enjoying greater rewards from the relationship than their younger paramours.
Collisson and De Leon discuss the significance of terminology, noting that individuals pursuing either younger or older partners are often labeled using terms indicating relational inequity. The term cougar is sometimes used to describe older women preying upon younger partners, while cradle robber implies that older men are "stealing" younger paramours (most of them younger women). On the flip side, they note that a term like gold digger insinuates a younger partner is exploiting an older partner for his or her resources.
Collisson and De Leon found, however, that the relationship between prejudice and perceived inequity was greater when an older man was paired with a younger woman than it was for other pairings. They note that perhaps this suggests the significance of the link between perceived relational equality and prejudice.
But how do stereotypes impact relational success? Are couples able to ignore the disapproving glances and comments, or does perceived prejudice actually strengthen relational commitment? Research has some answers here as well.
The Prognosis of Atypical Pairings
Collisson and De Leon note that the stigma and prejudice felt by age-gap couples may contribute to relationship dissolution. While acknowledging that more research is necessary to explore this dynamic, they note that some research has found that age-gap couples might be less committed to the relationship than couples that are not stigmatized. They recognize this could be due to relational inequity, or response to societal disapproval.
On the other hand, Justin J. Lehmiller and Christopher R. Agnew (2008)-upon examining commitment and normative beliefs among heterosexual partners dating similarly age matched relationships, as compared to age-gap relationships-cite research pointing in the opposite direction.
They note that the "Romeo and Juliet" effect links perceived relationship disapproval by others with increased levels of partner commitment and intimacy. They also cite their own prior research (Lehmiller and Agnew, 2006) finding that partners within what they term "socially marginalized relationships"-such as age-gap, interracial, and same sex-were more committed than partners within what they term as more "traditional" relationships such as similar age, opposite sex, or same-race.
The bottom line is that apparently, in many cases, age-gap relationship stereotypes are just that: unfounded, preconceived ideas about couples outside of the "normal" age range. In reality, loving, healthy, happy relationships can survive and thrive regardless of age. As happy couples know, true love transcends demographics, bringing people together through affection, fondness, and compatibility-not age.
(Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D., is a career trial attorney, author of Red Flags, and co-author of Reading People).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Tackle urban poverty with well-designed safety nets


A WORLD Bank report stated that most of the urban poor are deprived of the government's social protection benefits. There is a large gap in allocation under social safety net, though the pace of poverty reduction has slowed and the ratio of extreme poverty edged up in urban areas after ...

Cricket »

Tamim Iqbal unlikely in T20 series in India


Bangladesh Opener Tamim Iqbal's return to International cricket is likely to be delayed as he suffered a muscle strain on the right side of the rib.The injury also forced him to sit out from the second round of the National Cricket League (NCL) in which his side Chattogram Division is ...

Entertainment »

Bindu Kona’s Krishna Leela


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Among the present generation’s singers, Bindu Kona has been entertaining the hearts of many music-lovers by virtue of her melodious voice and stage performances. It is said that when Bindu Kona gets microphone on her hand on the stage, she becomes a different ‘Bindu Kona.’ While performing ...

International »

HK lawmakers dragged from chamber as leader heckled for second day


AFP, Hong Kong :Pro-democracy lawmakers were dragged out of Hong Kong's legislature by security guards on Thursday after they heckled the city's pro-Beijing leader for a second day running, the latest outburst of political rancour in the strife-torn city.Chief Executive Carrie Lam has faced an outpouring of anger from her ...

International »

Diplomatic stalemate fuels dangerous Saudi-Iran standoff


AFP, Abu Dhabi :The dangerous rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, played out in proxy wars and mystery strikes, is destined to fester as long as neither reaches across the gulf that divides them, observers say.At the Beirut Institute Summit in the United Arab Emirates this week, heated sessions dominated ...

City »

Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal brought out a silent procession on Dhaka University campus on Thursday demanding trial of killers of Abrar Fahad and release of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia.


Editorial »

Stringent measures needed to bring onion prices at tolerable level


THOUGH the prices of onion decreased slightly in the last week following adequate supply in markets, consistent open market sale (OMS) and monitoring by the government, it's again showing upward trend due to syndicated activities of some unscrupulous traders. The business syndicates defying government's monitoring allegedly playing tricks to make ...

Football »

FIFA president 'disappointed' by empty stands at Koreas qualifier


AFP, Seoul :FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was "disappointed" after attending a historic but bizarre World Cup qualifier between North and South Korea that had empty stands and no live broadcast.The rare match in the North Korean capital ended 0-0 on Tuesday, with Infantino one of the few people ...

International »

Debating Democrats blast Trump, demand his impeachment


AFP, Westerville :Democratic White House hopeful united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the ...

Entertainment »

Crown of ‘Miss Universe Bangladesh 2019’ unveiled


Entertainment Report :A franchise of Miss Universe, ‘Miss Universe Bangladesh 2019 was unveiled its prestigious crown (Tiara) on Tuesday with the presence of top 10 contests of the beauty pageant. The event was held at the Amisheé Fine Jewelry flagship store in the capital’s Gulshan area. Two judges of this ...

International »

Qatar rules out possibility of war between US and Iran


AFP, Doha :Qatar's defence minister ruled out Wednesday the possibility of a war between the United States and Iran amid rising tensions in the Gulf following attacks on oil tankers.Doha is an ally of Washington, but also has good relations with Tehran that has helped it overcome a political and ...

Editorial »

Anti-Corruption Commission must prove its success by conviction


The Anti-Corruption Commission has initiated an investigation against 43 people involved in illegal casino businesses. A senior ACC official told the reporters that they had obtained evidence against these 43 people to be involved as bigwigs in illegal casino operations, who included ruling party stalwarts and former and serving government ...

City »

Newly formed Convening Committee of Bangladesh Ainjibi Forum placing floral wreaths on the Mazar of Shaheed President Ziaur Rahman in the city on Tuesday. Convener of the committee Advocate Khondkar Mahbub Hossian was present, among others, on the occasion.


Football »

Ayhan equaliser forces France to wait for Euro 2020 spot


AFP, Paris :France drew 1-1 with Turkey in Euro 2020 qualifying on Monday in a match played against a backdrop of diplomatic and security tensions after Paris condemned Ankara for its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria.Substitute Olivier Giroud headed in from a corner to put France ahead on ...

Cricket »

ICC increases prize pot for Women's T20I World Cup by 320%


In a major boost to women's cricket, the ICC has decided to increase the prize money by 320% for the upcoming T20I World Cup which will be held in Australia.For the event in Australia next year the winners and runners up will now receive $1 million and $500,000 respectively; five ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news