Age Differences: Emmanuel & Brigitte Macron

With France’s election of 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron as its new president, the light shone on relationships between younger men and much older women.

President Macron is married to Brigitte, who is 64 and was his teacher when he was younger.  (Check out the New York Times story here.)

Relationships between older men and much younger women have long been the norm in society, and no one seems to complain about them. But reverse the genders and all hell breaks loose.

According to this article, a 2008 study published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly found women who are 10 or more years older than their partner report more satisfaction and relationship commitment compared to women who are the same age or younger than their partner. The success of these age-gap romantic relationships may be attributed to the vitality the younger man brings into their lives and the maturity and confidence men find in their older counterparts. Moreover, regardless of the age, men seem to be more strongly drawn to these relationships at the start because of physical attraction.

However, looks and sexual attraction are not deep foundations for lasting relationships. There isn’t a lot of research available, but the meager studies that have been done show a term limit to these marriages as mentioned here. Research shows that couples where the woman is just five years older than the man are three times more likely to divorce than couples in similar ages.

But don’t worry. Younger man-older woman relationships still remain pretty rare. (Check out the Pew research here.) The bottom line is that in any marriage, success or failure depends on good communication, a willingness to change and accept your partner’s changes, and an understanding that no other person will ever complete you.

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