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Those age preferences consistently hover around the values denoted by the rule (the black line).
If anything, in practice men are than the rule would designate appropriate.
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 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).
Clooney has been scrutinized at times for dating younger women, though not consistently, and this pattern is nicely reflected in a graph of his own age, his partners’ ages, and the rule’s calculations for minimum and maximum acceptable ages.
Only twice has he become involved with women whose ages were outside the rule’s guideline.
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.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.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.