Stuck In an Unhappy Age Gap Relationship? It Might Be Killing You (and There’s Proof)

Michael Douglas and Catherine

Stuck In an Unhappy AgeWhether you’re in a com­mit­ted age gap rela­tion­ship with an older man or mar­ried to him, there’s no doubt that he’s made some sort of an impact in your life, hope­fully for the bet­ter. But what if you found out that your age gap rela­tion­ship was actu­ally imped­ing your health? Would you leave?

Not too long ago, a study of over three mil­lion Amer­i­cans revealed a link between mar­riage and reduced heart dis­ease risk. But recent research out of the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan has shed new light on the con­nec­tion between mar­ried life and heart health—it turns out wed­ded bliss some­times isn’t very bliss­ful. In fact, it can be down­right dangerous.

Yes, a happy age gap rela­tion­ship, whether it results in mar­riage or not, can lead to improved health for your older man—thanks to hav­ing you to look after him. How­ever, it’s the qual­ity of your age gap rela­tion­ship that really mat­ters. A happy rela­tion­ship or mar­riage is great, but if that union turns sour, it can do more harm than good, espe­cially for your older man.

This new study, funded by the National Insti­tutes of Health, found that those in unhappy mar­riages are at a sig­nif­i­cantly higher risk of devel­op­ing heart dis­ease, com­pared to hap­pily mar­ried cou­ples. In other words, no mar­riage is bet­ter than a bad one.

Researchers ana­lyzed five years’ worth of heart health data for 1,200 older, mar­ried adults, includ­ing cases of heart attacks, cho­les­terol lev­els, and strokes. This data was then com­pared against inter­views with the respon­dents about feel­ings toward their mar­riage, like how close they felt to their part­ner and how happy they believed their mar­riage was.

The researchers con­cluded that stay­ing in an unhappy mar­riage leads to higher stress lev­els, which has been proven to adversely impact heart health, espe­cially in older adults. And of course, every mar­riage has its ups and downs, but in this study, the neg­a­tive aspects did more dam­age than the pos­i­tive aspects helped.

Even if you’re not mar­ried, the same thing can be said for age gap rela­tion­ships. If you’re not happy, it’s even­tu­ally going to take a toll, not just on your older man’s heart, but even­tu­ally yours as well. The study actu­ally showed that women are more likely to suf­fer from a toxic union.

That’s why it’s always impor­tant to keep the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open and stay true to your own feel­ings. If you’re no longer emo­tion­ally invested in your age gap rela­tion­ship, and if it no longer makes you happy, then it may be time to walk away. At the end of the day, a lit­tle metaphor­i­cal heart­break now is bet­ter than real heart break in the future.


Izadi, E., “A bad mar­riage can lit­er­ally break your heart, espe­cially if you’re a woman,” Wash­ing­ton Post web site, Novem­ber 20, 2014;

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About Isabella

I was never patriotic, so when Independence Day came, the last thing on my mind was to go out and celebrate. I was bored and I was lonely, and though they weren’t my normal crowd, thesse girls were friends and family members who I grew up with. But Diana had her man, Marsha had hers, and my cousin Lisa had her own. I was the only one who was single and my taste was just too high; the kind of men they dated did not appeal to me. I wanted the executive, the entrepreneur. I was 22 and unhappy about my life. I yearned to be in a relationship; I felt I had so much to give a man, and yet I was single. My friends and I waited for cab and I was still second-guessing whether or not I really wanted to go out. While we were waiting, an older looking gentleman driving a blue pick-up truck drove up to us. As he slowed, he said, “Don’t move. I’m coming right back!” He drove off, leaving a trail of his cologne, as he sped away to drop off the construction workers sitting in the back of the truck. Literally moments later, he came back, stopped in front of us, asked us where we were going, and told us to get in. It turns out his name was Keith. After Keith dropped us off, I realized I didn’t want to stay and asked him to take me back to where he picked us up from. He turned, looked at me, and said, “You were the reason why I picked you all up. I wanted to get to know you. So, I’m happy you decided to leave with me.”