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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.

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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.

Even when fantasizing, such women’s minimum age preference remains over 30.

The rule’s calculated minimum acceptable partner ages seem to fit men better than women.

Figure 2 clearly shows that the rule’s max-age guidelines for men do reflect real-world preferences.

The rule overestimates the perceived acceptability of men becoming involved with older women.

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.

By the time of their separation in 2011, however, Kutcher, then 33 had crossed the minimum threshold (31.5) defined by the rule. Curious outsiders are quick to judge when they can see a wide age gap between two romantic partners. In a world in which many social norms are often unspoken, the half-your-age-plus-7 rule concretely defines a boundary.

But the rule does map perfectly onto actual reports of what is socially acceptable.

Women’s preferred minimum partner age: Below are the data from Buunk et al.’s (2000) study on women’s minimum age preferences; the rule’s age calculations are represented by the solid line.

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