For rule-related involvement (e.g., relationships), 60-year-old men are stating that the minimum acceptable age is around 40ish, 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 2.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.In Figure 1, the solid black line represents the rule’s calculation for minimum acceptable range.You can see that men are basically operating by the rule for minimum age preferences for marital relationships (blue bars) and serious dating relationships (yellow bars).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 actuality, 30-year-old women state that their max acceptable partner age would be less than 40 (around 37).
The rule overestimates the perceived acceptability of men becoming involved with older women.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?In other words, while the rule states that 40-year-old women can feel comfortable dating 27-year-old men, this does not reflect the social preferences and standards of women.
Women in their 40s think that approximately 35 or older is acceptable for marriage or a relationship.
After 40, maximum age preferences for most categories remain lower than their own age.