Dating at age 50
For example, this sample of 60-year-old men report that it is acceptable to fantasize about women in their 20s, which the rule would say is unacceptable.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.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.
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.
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.