Age is just a number for some romantic relationships. They never think about their age as a factor in their compatibility. Of course, these couples tend to be close in age. Modest differences in age, especially when men are older, tend not to preoccupy couples as they develop their relationships.
For other couples, however, age is much more than a number. When a significant age gap exists between partners, age becomes a salient issue, sometimes a deal-breaker in the early stages of relationship development.
Age gaps between partners can generate self-consciousness about one's relationship, concerns that the relationship won't work. The negative societal response to age gap relationships may reflect people's objections to unfair, inequitable relationships.
Evidence suggests that prejudice tied to age-gap relationships is accounted for by the belief that one person is reaping more rewards from the relationship than the other person. Perhaps observers respond negatively to relationships with big age differences because they feel as though the older person is taking advantage of the younger person.
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