You know those girls who refuse to date anyone younger than they are, much less anyone their own age? ) And I obviously have the matching theory as to why to go along with it (naturally, it involves being the younger sister).They have a specific, thought-out reasoning as to why they're only romantically compatible with guys who are older… Throughout my entire love life — or whatever you want to call what has been 23 years of going through men, some for longer than others — I have never so much as lusted after any guy who is younger than I am. Without going too much into my dating career, the main factor in all of my relationships — significant or otherwise — has always been the man's age.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.The utility of this equation is that it lets you chart acceptable age discrepancies that adjust over the years. Let's examine it: How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences?
You can date someone as young as half your age plus seven years? It's no wonder that so many women feel that men their own age are too immature.Now we can see how well the rule corresponds with people’s reported acceptable ages.Men’s preferred minimum partner age: Let’s start with minimum age preferences reported by heterosexual men.For me, and many other women like me, it all begins with a number. Before agreeing to a set-up, as a follow-up response or even playing a flirtatious game, I always find the answer to the question, “So, how old are you? And if you don't know who the Seavers are from “Growing Pains,” then you don't stand a chance.As much of our generation is delaying activities like marriage and procreating, we are, in effect, also prolonging its adolescence.It’s too bad O-Town was hit by a bus."He was the only "younger guy" I’d ever gone out with, by about six years, and I used to ask my friends obsessively if it was "weird." But they just thought it was strange that all of our conversations could start a potential death rumor about Ray Liotta. Ultimately, it wasn’t that this guy was young; it was that I had absolutely nothing to say to him that wasn’t "There," "Not there," "NOT there, this isn’t anybody’s birthday," or "Slow down, Usain Bolt, who incidentally is A lot of us have found ourselves attracted to somebody younger or older, and have been reluctant to act on it because of some perceived weirdness or taboo.Some of us limit our potential partners to a very specific age range because that’s what we think we’ll be attracted to.Like, "This Cuban-Chinese restaurant is half-Latino, just like the late Emilio Estevez." Or, "I just put a dollar’s worth of O-Town songs in the jukebox.Who knew this bar would have a dollar’s worth of O-Town songs?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? 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.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.What is the acceptable minimum age for your own (and others’) dating partners?When this question comes up in conversation, someone inevitably cites the “half your age plus seven” rule.This kind of culling is even easier now that dating sites let us whittle our options down to the year.