There are two things that predict a preferred partner’s age: (a) your age and (b) your biological sex (male vs. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense for women to prefer mates with resources and to like partners who are more established, both of which are more likely in older partners. It turns out that, on average, women tend to be married to men a few years older than themselves (2-5 years).
Men, in contrast, are hypothesized to be most attracted to women in their reproductive prime, which tends to be when they are younger. Women’s preferences, on the other hand, hold relatively constant across their lives, not going more than a few years below their own age (extra-credit if you can identify the “cougar zone” in this figure), but women remain keen on men up to 10 years older than themselves. However, younger men (i.e., in their 20’s) tend to be married to someone of a similar age, but as they get older their wives get younger.
According to this rule, it would not be creepy for a 30 year old to date a 22 year-old, but an 18 year-old would be off-limits.
Although this is a fun rule of thumb, what does research say about age preferences for potential mates?
At some point, the aging spouse may need long-term health care, and may no longer be able to do certain things that you both enjoy.
Spend time doing the things you have in common, and the age difference will be less of an issue.
You may say 'yes' without hesitation now, but will that still be the case in 5, 10, or 20 years time?