Rules for age differences in dating
We asked three relationship experts to weigh in on the rule – and their responses were surprising.
She said, “one reason why this may have endured is because men are generally more attracted to younger women and would like a rule that makes them feel it is acceptable to date younger.” So basically men are to blame.
At what point does the age difference become scandalous? The late Anthony Quinn was 81 when he impregnated a 19-year-old. The name of this guideline is “half plus seven,” Take the age of the person, divide it in half, and then add seven years. For somebody aged 70, the bottom limit of respectability is 42.
The late Tony Randall was 75 when he married his 24-year-old wife. Playboy founder Hugh Heffner has several girlfriends, most of them half a century his junior. The problem with this is that unofficial guidelines are exactly that.
Playgirl exists as well, and Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, Martha Raye, and Cher all dated men decades younger than they were. So if 40 and 27 are acceptable, one could say that 41 and 26 are close enough.
For every person saying “just go for it and be happy,” there are realistic considerations. Yet soon after that, the slippery slope becomes 44 and 24, which can lead to Lolita situations and other felonies. If a man is 40, is dating a pair of 20-year-olds equivalent to dating one 40-year-old? From a brag and go high-five your friends standpoint, yes.
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We both suspected the age difference might be significant, but avoided the topic for as long as possible. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi threw “bunga bunga” parties while in office.