Do you think an age difference matters in a relationship?

Rebecca Broussard, 31, has left actor Jack Nicholson, 55, for ‘someone nearer her own age’.

ROSEMARY HILL, critic and biographer, 35, married to CHRISTOPHER LOGUE, poet, 65: I like not being a couple on the usual escalator, getting their first mortgage, buying a slightly larger car and so on – I hate dinner parties where everyone is 32 and talking about their babies. You do have to explain that you’re not going to do the ironing though, because he grew up in the generation that would.

SUE KILBRACKEN, PR consultant: I married a man of 60 when I was 24, 10 years ago. The marriage didn’t last very long. It amazes me that the older, and presumably wiser person doesn’t see from the beginning that the relationship is doomed. In most cases the man is older and it feeds his ego marrying a much younger woman.

DAVID KINDERSLEY, 77, married to LIEDA LOPES CARDOZO, 38, both stonecarvers: What matters is that there will come a time when I am not around any more, which might make things difficult for Lieda. We are very different but we understand each other, and we come together through our mutual interest in stonecarving. One of the greatest drawbacks about being old is that my memory is not as good as it was and I spend a lot of the time wondering what it was I was about to do, but if this irritates Lieda she doesn’t show it.

GILES GORDON, literary agent, 52, married to MAGGIE McKERNAN, editorial director, 36: We have just had a child and I’m much more conscientious about getting up in the night and feeding it than I was first time round: I was too intent on my career at that time, which is the problem for people who marry in their twenties and thirties.

MICHAEL WINNER, 57, whose partner is JENNY SEAGROVE, 34: So many film producers I know sit around in Hampstead with their middle-aged intellectual friends and get cut off. It would do them good to all go out with 17-year-old girls.

ERIN PIZZEY, author: My ex- husband was 21 years younger than me, but that’s not the reason we split up. I’d wear out anyone of my own age. But the gamble when you marry someone very much younger is that they may not fulfil their promise. Also, women are brought up to live in a man’s shadow, while men are not used to the idea of living in a woman’s shadow.

ANDREA NEWMAN, novelist: It’s a classic thing, a man in his fifties having children with a younger woman, and it’s quite predictable that the younger woman, when she’s got the children and enough money, will get bored and will want a younger man. It’s market forces, really.

CORINNE NEWMAN, astrologer, 41, married to JASON NEWMAN, 33: Yes I do. The thing is that during your life you experience different things at different times, and then grow out of them. The problem with marrying someone younger is that you don’t have a shared memory of the past: my school years seem so far behind me now, whereas for Jason they’re still quite immediate.

MARK MALONE, management consultant: My current partner is 15 years older than me, she’s 42, and we have a great time together. My last girlfriend was two years younger than me and was continually fussing about money and tidiness and such. If you’re anally retentive it doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 50, you’ll still be hell to live with.

ALICIA PITT, personnel officer: Nice men are pretty thin on the ground for any age group so if I met someone who was 25 years older than me, say coming up to 50, I wouldn’t dismiss it totally. But I don’t know how we’d cope with each others’ friends. He’d be the same age as my dad] At this stage I can’t really imagine having a husband 20 years younger than me. He’d only be five now. Maybe in 20 years I might consider it.

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