Marriages Turning Into ‘Economic Exchange’

Marriages Turning Into ‘Economic Exchange’Marriages Turning Into ‘Economic Exchange’

The number of boys who want to marry women older than themselves has increased significantly these days. The age gap is at times more than 7 or 8 years and sometimes it is even 10 to 20 years.

Statistics indicate that the marriage culture has changed in the country; therefore, for many boys it is not important that their future spouse must be a few years younger than them. Earlier, the general director of the Population Census Organization of the Statistical Center of Iran announced that in the first 9 months of the current year (ends March 20), in 4.1 % of the registered marriages or equivalent to 60,407 cases, the girls have been older than the boys.

Hamid Fattahi, a sociologist believes that such developments are similar to young girls marrying men much older with a large age gap between them. “Young women often marry older  men because they usually are in a good career, financially secure, and the same reasons can also encourage young men to marry older women.”

Today with the increase in unemployment, marriages have turned into an “economic exchange.” The older women often have better jobs and higher economic status, reports Alef News.

 Inverted Pattern

Sajjad Mousavi, a psychologist and marriage counselor believes that marriages with an ‘inverted pattern’ of age gap between couples are common now-a-days. “We can categorize the men who have tendency to marry older women, into three groups,” he said. The men in the first group feel they cannot undertake their life’s duty and responsibility single-handed and therefore need help in management of their lives. Usually having faced consecutive failures, they seek powerful support in marriage. In their single life this was reflected by their mother; after marriage they seek support by marrying powerful older women.

Men in the second category have low self-esteem and are also in need of strong support.

The third group has grown up in matriarchal systems where the mother has complete control of family affairs. So this group too seeks a strong spouse.  Besides psychological reasons, other incentives encourage boys to marry older girls.

This trend is really not healthy and can create social problems later, say some experts. And it’s not in favor of women in the long term. Over time, “the women’s attractiveness may fade away, and the men can gradually become powerful and wealthy themselves.”

There are instances too where men are only one or two years younger than their spouses. This is because of demographic reasons and has no association with psychological and social reasons.

Age Disparity in History

Age disparity or relationships between individuals with a significant difference in age have been documented in most of recorded history and regarded with a wide range of attitudes, from normalized acceptance to total taboo. Concepts of these relationships and of the exact definition of a “significant” age disparity have developed over time and vary between societies’ legal systems (particularly with regards to the age of consent and ethical systems). These views are rarely uniform even within cultures and are affected by views of consent, marriage, and gender roles, and by perceptions of social and economic differences between age groups.

Marriage between partners of roughly similar age is known as “age homogamy”.

Relationships with age disparity of all kinds have been observed with both men and women as the older or younger partner and in both cases wealth and physical attractiveness are often relevant.

Most men marry women younger with the age difference being between two to three years in Spain, with the UK reporting the difference to be on average about three years, and the US, two and a half.

The pattern was also confirmed for the rest of the world, with the gap being largest in Africa.

 Higher Divorce

Studies also show a higher divorce rate as the age difference rose when the woman was older and a lower divorce rate as the age difference rose when the man was older. A 2008 study, however, concluded that the difference is not significant.

In August 2010, Michael Dunn of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff completed and released the results of a study on age disparity in relationships.

 Dunn concluded that “Not once across all ages and countries ... did women show a preference for men significantly younger than male preferences for females” and that there was a “consistent cross-cultural preference by women for at least same-age or significantly older men.”

A 2011 study suggested that age disparity in marriage is positively correlated with decreased longevity, particularly for women, though married individuals still have longer life spans than singles.