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General History/Dating age range in history.


Studies these days show that the most successful relationships are usually between two people within 4 years of one another's age. I am wondering if it has varied much in history. "Good provider" stuff aside I would imagine before the booms in technology and ever changing pop culture references I would think in some centuries decades could go by without much new happening that would create a generational gap between people who were looking to get married. How has age ranges in dating varied over time?


This would be very hard to measure across time and locations because there are just not very good records on the topic.  Just from what I have read and without any good solid numbers, I would say that age ranges often varied considerably.  Typically, many earlier societies married in their teens, a few years after puberty, so there was not usually a large variation.  That said, the death rate, particularly among women in child birth, was much higher, leading to a great many second marriages.  It has been quite common for men entering a second marriage to pick a spouse much younger, sometimes even ten or twenty years younger.  But there are also many examples of widows and widowers who were older but around the same age marrying too.  

There has long been a tendency for men to be older than the women.  Youth and fertility has traditionally been more valued in women, while males tended to be seen as better options based on their ability to provide for a family (which tended to get better with age).  But as far as these trends varying over time, I don't see much variance.  There has been a trend in the last century or two for spouses of both sexes to put off marriage until they are older, but I'm not sure there is more variance in the difference in their ages.

- Mike  

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Michael Troy


My specialties are 17th through 19th Century history, especially in the Americas and Europe. I also have a fair knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman History, and some knowledge of Medieval European history. My expertise is focuses on Military and political history, but I`ll take a crack at anything.


I have been a guest lecturer at George Washington University. Mostly, I have just read hundreds of books about world history.


J.D. Univ. of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

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Truman Scholar

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