Dear Roe I’m a 38-year-old woman who has been single for three years after my divorce.I’ve recently started using online dating sites and am trying to meet someone and hopefully start a new relationship. The men my age who seem interested are very few and far between, but I’m getting a lot of attention and responses from men in their 20s.Luckily online, men who perpetuate these attitudes will usually wave their red flags pretty visibly; they’ll be the ones who set their preferred age range as 15 years below their own and only one or two above – if at all.
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).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?But let’s acknowledge these less than ideal conditions. There are fewer single people generally, and yes, there will be some men your age specifically seeking out younger women.
This may be because they’re looking to have children and assume that this would be harder with an older woman.
Older men are still socially revered, because historical (and still all-too-current) gender norms associate men growing older with growing in social power, whether that’s capital wealth, professional accomplishments, social power – or all three.
However, as these forms of social and professional capital have historically been denied to women and undervalued in women, older women don’t enjoy the same sense of desirability.
I don’t really know what to make of this, and am a bit wary that these younger men are just out for sex, rather than a relationship.
First, well done on getting back out there; readjusting from such a huge life-shifting event such as a divorce is hard and strange, and I’m glad you know that you deserve to find another great relationship.
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.