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Men Who Marry Younger, Live Longer

June 07, 2013 2 min read

Good news guys, it turns out you’re only as young as the woman you feel.

A study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Germany has evidence to suggest that men who marry younger women tend to live longer. While it was originally supposed the same principle would hold true for women, the research indicates this is not the case. It seems the greater the age difference between a woman and her spouse, the shorter her life span. It doesn't matter whether she is younger or older - though life expectancy is decreased even more if she marries younger. 20% more so, actually. It seems the women who live the longest marry men who are their same age.

Men, on the other hand, have an increase life span of 11% if his spouse is 7-9 years younger. Men who marry older women die earlier.

The study considered data from almost 2 million Danish couples. It has thrown previously considered notions about mortality and mate selection on their heads. Unfortunately, researchers are not sure exactly why the study revealed this outcome, but there are some speculations.

Sven Drefahl, MPIDR researcher, speculates,"On average, men have fewer and lesser quality social contacts than those of women.” So, an older woman would not benefit from a younger husband because most women have closely-knit friend groups to add to the quality of her golden years. A young buck wouldn’t bring anything to the table. Men, on the other hand, need women for this social and emotional support.

The question still stands of why marrying a younger man would shorten her life. Again, there is really only speculation. Drefahl suggests, "One of the few possible explanations is that couples with younger husbands violate social norms and thus suffer from social sanctions.”

In other words, women, who are more socially dependent by nature, suffer from the lack of social support. Hold tight, though. The feminist adage about a woman needing a man like a fish needs a bicycle doesn’t quite hold true. Happily married people, regardless of age differences, do live longer than their single counterparts. Of course, ‘happily’ is the operative word. It’s still better to be single and happy than married and miserable.

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