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Younger Husbands Shorten Women's Lives

By Sierra Black |

Marriage has a lot of health benefits, but for women it can be a mixed bag. Science Daily reports that marrying a much younger man can shorten your lifespan. The effect holds true for marrying substantially older men as well, but is less pronounced.

Men, on the other hand, get a huge benefit from marrying a woman substantially younger than they are. Guys with young wives live longer, healthier lives than their peers who married someone their own age.

Why the discrepancy?

Before this study, it was widely known that men who marry women 7-9 years younger than themselves enjoy longer lives. Researchers assumed that women with young husbands would show the same benefit and were surprised when instead they saw women with either much older or much younger husbands dying younger themselves.

The article suggests that women with younger husbands lose social status because their marriages violate social norms. The result, the researchers opine, is a more stressful, less happy life. And thus a shorter one.

Men, they suppose, benefit from having young wives because the younger women bring them more joy, keep them socially connected and care for them in their old age. Young husbands apparently don’t do any of these things for their older wives.

I call b***s***.

The research shows that when there’s a big age gap in a marraige, women’s lifespans suffer. It doesn’t say anything about why. The reasons these guys came up with are their own guesswork, based on some frankly sexist notions of social norms.

Fortunately for me and my mom (who both married men with a 14 year age gap), women’s life expectancy exceeds men’s anyway, and this effect doesn’t change that.

Photo: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

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About Sierra Black

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Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “Younger Husbands Shorten Women's Lives

  1. Sabrina says:

    Humph! Sounds like this “statistic” is from the same morons who tried to say a 40 woman had a higher chance of being killed by a terrorist than she had of finding a husband. I’m willing to bet it’s just a bunch of guys who want to try to control women who come up with that rot.

  2. Laure68 says:

    Here is an interesting take.

    http://www.forbes.com/2010/05/13/celebrity-marriages-demi-ashton-sex-and-the-city-forbes-woman-time-cougars.html?boxes=Homepagechannels

    I do find it interesting that the headlines to this story has focused on women marrying younger men, but you have to read the story to see that marrying an older man is just as bad.

  3. Juno Pars says:

    I just read in Forbes that this study also concluded that women marrying much OLDER men also suffer a 20% shorter life span–the same effect (and same percentage) as marrying a much younger man. But you–and almost all of the other blogs and magazines that published stories about the study–failed to mention this fact. So cougars may live shorter lives–so do women marrying older men. For women’s longevity according to the study, women should marry men who are within 2 years of their own age. Funny that you and most of the other papers have slanted this study as a backlash against women marrying younger men.

  4. Laure68 says:

    One other thing – I have been having a hard time finding the actual sample sizes for these groups. Today, most women do not marry younger men, especially not 15 years younger, so I would imagine the sample size for these groups was very small. This would cause the result to be inaccurate.

    Does anyone have this (sample size) info?

  5. Sue says:

    So, as studies have consistently shown, married women don’t live as long no matter who they marry. Stay single, take lovers! Enjoy!

  6. Andrea says:

    Actually, the top paragraph does mention the part about marrying older men having similar results.

    “The effect holds true for marrying substantially older men as well, but is less pronounced.”

  7. babbl says:

    that’s a lie, i know many that lived longed lives and stayed looking young, elizabeth taylor, and my grannie,

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