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But fantasies, of course, are not generally subject to public scrutiny and the rule is only designed to calculate what is socially acceptable —so this discrepancy is not necessarily a failure of the rule.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.Over the Christmas holidays my 18-year-old daughter, Claire, brought her boyfriend home to meet her father and I for the first time.She'd already told us that she'd been dating him since early November, and that he's 50 years old working in a local chip shop.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?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.Claire said she liked him because he was gentle, funny and they had similar tastes in music; she also found his car pretty cool - it not quite a rustbucket but it was pretty close. We didn't act judgmental, but still I couldn't stop thinking about the age gap.

Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.So for a 24-year old, the upper age limit would be 34 (i.e., 17 * 2).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.Men’s preferred minimum partner age: Let’s start with minimum age preferences reported by heterosexual men.In Figure 1, the solid black line represents the rule’s calculation for minimum acceptable range.

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