40 year old man dating a 20 year old woman
Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.
Instead, men report maximum acceptable partner ages that hover around their own age through their 40s.
For rule-related involvement (relationships), 60-year-old men are stating that the minimum acceptable age is around 40, which does map much more closely to the rule’s predictions.
Men’s preferred partner age: The rule states that you can calculate maximum acceptable partner ages by subtracting seven from your own age and multiplying it by two.
Women’s preferred maximum partner age: Examining maximum preferences, again the rule is more lenient, offering an age range with which most people are not comfortable.
The rule states that it is acceptable for 30-year old women to date men who are up to 46 years old, but in reality, 30-year-old women state that their max acceptable partner age would be less than 40 (around 37).
So for a 24-year-old, the upper age limit would be 34 (17 * 2). How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences?
At times it is too stringent, but most often it appears too lenient, condoning age pairings with which most people are not comfortable.
So if you are following the half-your-age-plus-7 rule, know that it may not be perfect or truly mirror age-related preference.
With some quick math, the rule provides a minimum and maximum partner age based on your actual age that, if you choose to follow it, you can use to guide your dating decisions. It lets you chart acceptable age discrepancies that adjust over the years. Researchers Buunk and colleagues (2000) asked men and women to identify the ages they would consider when evaluating someone for relationships of different levels of involvement.
According to the rule, for example, a 30-year-old should be with a partner who is at least 22, while a 50-year-old’s dating partner must be at least 32 to not attract (presumed) social sanction. Does it match our scientific understanding of age-related preferences for dating? People reported distinct age preferences for marriage; a serious relationship; falling in love; casual sex; and sexual fantasies. Based on the figures Buunk and colleagues (2000) provided (and thus the numbers are only informed approximations), I replotted their data superimposing the max and min age ranges defined by the half-your-age-plus-7 rule.