Shocking New Study on Life Expectancy is
Bad News for Married Cougars!
Why might Demi Moore and many more like her be at a disadvantage when it comes to “life expectancy”?
While marriage offers the chance for lifelong companionship, friendship, and family, all rolled up into one … new research is revealing that saying “I do” may have very different effects for men and for women, especially when an age gap is present.
While men live longer when they marry a younger women, shocking new research shows women get the reverse effect from marrying younger men -- which “seems more than unfair,” say many women!
ABC's Cynthia McFadden in a “Nightline” interview with Ashton Kutcher asked if he and Demi, 47, planed to procreate: "I don't know," he replied. "It's I don't know."
McFadden continued, asking Ashton if he was at all worried about Demi's ticking biological clock? "I think my wife is a genetic freak," he said. "I'm not worried."
McFadden also asked whether Demi actually eats: "What do you mean does she eat?" said Kutcher. "Of course she eats!"
While it is said that men hit their prime in their 30s and women in their 40s, the real health questions and proof of longevity will come toward their 60s, 70s and, if lucky, her 80s, according to new study.
When marrying a woman 7-9 years younger, for instance, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research found that a man’s mortality risk is reduced by 11 percent compared to couples of the same age.
For women, however, including the so-called “Cougars” out in search of a younger man, marrying a younger man could be deadly. In fact, the new study shows marrying a man 7-9 years younger than herself increases a woman’s mortality risk by 20 percent!
According to the latest research, a woman’s best choice, in terms of life expectancy that is, is to marry a man of the same age, as both a younger or older husband will shorten her lifespan (with the former shortening it considerably more). For men, on the other hand, when it comes to life expectancy the younger his wife, the better.
In matters of the heart, however, age is often nothing but a number. Fortunately, marriage offers benefits to both sexes, including extending longevity, over those who remain indefinitely single. A MPIDR press release stated:
“While the new MPIDR study shows that marriage disadvantages most women when they are not the same age as their husband, it is not true that marriage in general is unfavorable.
Being married raises the life expectancy of both men and women above those that are unmarried. Women are also generally better off than men; worldwide their life expectancy exceeds that of men by a few years.”
Are There Health Benefits to Getting Married?
The first study looking into the link between marital status and health was conducted over 100 years ago in 1858. At that time British epidemiologist William Farr analyzed married, widowed and single men and women in relation to their risk of disease. He found, as the New York Times reported, that, “Marriage is a healthy estate. The single individual is more likely to be wrecked on his voyage than the lives joined together in matrimony.”
In modern times, research has continued to show that marriage offers unique benefits over living single.
No one knows for sure why married people tend to be healthier than their single counterparts, but theories have been offered. One is that being married gives you advantages in terms of money, encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle and social and psychological support -- all of which are protective of health.
For instance, a study of nearly 30,000 men co-authored by Dr. Ichiro Kawachi of the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who had been recently divorced or widowed had markedly different -- and less healthy -- lifestyle habits than men in relationships. Compared with married men, those who had recently been divorced:
- Ate fewer vegetables (by two servings per week)
- Were more likely to smoke
Those who had been widowed:
- Ate fewer vegetables (by more than three servings per week)
- Were more likely to drink heavily (more than 21 drinks a week)
The men were also more likely to eat more fried foods.
A survey of 127,545 people in 1999-2002, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, also found that married people reported better overall health, less low back pain, fewer headaches and less stress than singles. They also were less likely to drink and smoke, and were more physically active. Research has also shown that:
- A happy marriage may help counteract job stress
- Men in a happy marriage have a 64 percent lower risk of fatal stroke than single men
Other studies have found that men who are divorced or separated have double the risk of suicide, and a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dying prematurely. Plus, lower blood pressure in men has been linked to support from a spouse. Married men even tend to get promoted at work more often.
There is One Exception …
People who are divorced often fare worse health-wise than those who have never married, so it’s important to take proactive steps to keep your marriage strong.
In order to reap the health benefits of marriage, it must be a happy one. Otherwise, the stress and arguments can take a major toll on your health. For instance, men in an unhappy marriage have a 64 percent greater risk of suffering from a fatal stroke than those in a happy union.
A troubled marriage may also raise your risk of heart disease and, among women, increases the risk of high blood pressure, waistline obesity, high blood sugar, and high triglycerides, and lowers levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.
The impacts on your emotional health cannot be ignored either, as an unhappy marriage will easily become a form of chronic stress that slowly chips away at your vitality and well-being.
Tips for Keeping Your Marriage Strong and Happy
In order for any marriage to succeed, both partners must be willing to put in the effort needed to keep things fresh, fair and fulfilling. This is true no matter what your ages and whether or not an age gap exists.
If you hit a snag along the way, and most people do, the following tips from respected marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman, author of The Relationship Cure, can help to keep your marriage strong and both you and your spouse healthy.
- Keep critical things to yourself. "Editing yourself" sometimes is a key secret of happy couples.
- Talk about your problems, but do so gently and without blame. Starting a discussion with a criticism or accusation is a surefire way to escalate the conflict.
- Men, accept influence from your wife. According to Gottman, a marriage can only be successful if a man can listen to and be influenced by his wife. Why? Studies show that most women easily accept influence from men, so a "true partnership" can only be formed if the man can also do this.
- Don't accept hurtful behavior. Having high standards of how you expect to be treated helps couples stay happy in the long run.
- Don't let arguments get out of control. The happiest couples are those who can repair an argument (by changing the topic, saying something caring or looking at the humorous side) and then let it go (by backing down, showing understanding or letting your partner know that you're in it together).
- Say positive things. Couples in happy marriages make at least five times as many positive statements about their relationship than negative ones -- even while talking about a problem, according to Gottman.
- If you're having continuing unresolved problems, seek help right away. The average couple waits six years before seeking marital counseling, according to Gottman, which means they're living unhappily for far too long.
SixWise Says ...
I've dated men my age, younger than me and older. The only difference is the young ones are quicker at taking out the garbage.
The theory used to be you marry an older man because they are more mature. The new theory is that men never mature. So you might as well marry a younger one for the fun of it and live it up for the quality of life (vs. longevity) if you have to pick one.
Have you any idea why old men wear their pants so high while younger men barely keep them up while always showing their boxers?
What are Your Top Emotional Drivers?
Women, What Type of Flirter Are You?
Married Men Really are Healthier & Respond Better to Certain Treatments
Are You at Risk of an Unnecessary Divorce? The Secret Relationship Killer You Need to Know About
Demography, Volume 47, Number 2, May 2010, pp. 313-326
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research May 12, 2010
NYTimes.com April 12, 2010
RedOrbit.com April 8, 2010
MSNBC.com March 5, 2009
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health January 2005; 59(1):56-62
Reuters March 16, 2007
The Gottman Institute