If you have at any time in your life been single, you probably have a checklist you keep of your dream guy or girl. This list often details everything from the color of their eyes to their height, down to the very last inch.
One common appearance on these lists is the ideal (and “socially acceptable”) age range or age limit for dating. Most people calculate it by dividing their age by two and then adding seven years to that number.
But does this formula really provide the ideal age range for happy relationships?
Hold old is too old to date?
How young is too young?
And what to know about dating someone much older or younger than you?
Let’s take a look!
What is the perfect age limit for dating?
As far as anyone can remember, there has always been a socially acceptable age range in matters of love and relationships that few dare to deviate from.
But how do people “find” that age range?
Explaining the “Divide by 2, add 7” rule
Everyone has their idea of how much older or younger is too much for them to date. Your plus or minus 2-year limit could be someone else’s plus or minus 10.
However, there is a general rule to go by if you are confused, especially about the lower limit. This is known as the “divide by 2, add 7” rule.
The rule is pretty self-explanatory:
To figure out your ideal age limit for dating, just take your current age, divide that by 2, and then add 7 to it. With this particular rule, you only get the lower age limit, which is still pretty important for some people.
Let’s take a few examples to understand the rule better.
If you are 30 years old, the lowest age limit for dating would be someone at the age of 22 (30/2=15; 15+7=22). If you are something like 50 years old, then your ideal partner would be a minimum 32 years old by the same principle.
NB! This rule should only apply as long as the lower age limit you get is above 18 years old. For example, if you are 20, your ideal lower limit for a partner would be 17, according to this formula. But unless you want to go to jail, it would be wise to round that number up to 18.
The “subtract 7, multiply by 2” rule
There is a variation of the “divide by 2, add 7” rule, which is the “subtract 7, multiply by 2” rule. Not only does this rule give you the ideal lower age limit, but also the perfect upper age limit for dating.
Here, the value you get from subtracting 7 from your age is the lowest age you should date. Multiply that number by 2, and that is the oldest you should date.
For example, if you are thirty years old, you should date people between the ages of 23 and 46.
So, how old is too old to date?
In our opinion, if the age is greater than double the lower age limit, then you are probably shooting too high.
And how young is too young?
If they are more than 15 years younger, under 18, or do not qualify under the “divide by 2, add 7” rule, then they are probably too young for you.
What does the research say
“Age is just a number.” We hear this all the time, and the implication is that you can love anyone at any age as long as it is legal.
In reality, most of us are actually a little more conservative in terms of age ranges we are comfortable with. In fact, most people prefer to stay within an average range of 3 to 5 years above or below their age.
The reasons here vary from social expectations to personal preferences.
And we can’t deny the convenience of keeping the limits close:
It is generally easier to get along with a partner closer in age to you as your thought patterns, challenges, and priorities should be pretty similar.
However, people are opening up to the idea of wider age gaps as the dating culture continues to evolve.
For example, men are becoming more open to dating women 10+ years younger than them, especially as they get older. Younger guys, on the other hand, are starting to prefer dating older women more than 10 years their senior.
Things are a little different when it comes to women.
Younger ones are usually comfortable dating way above their ages (think the ‘sugar-daddy/sugar-baby’ dynamic).
But not many women are comfortable with wide age gaps in the lower end. This applies to both mature and young women who mostly prefer to stay within the 3-to 5-year lower age limit.
In a nutshell, we are now walking the talk with wider age gaps becoming more and more common. Maybe one day age will indeed be just a number!
Dating when there is a significant age gap between partners
These days, it’s not uncommon to hear stories about people dating with age gaps of 20 or even 30 years. Everyone is doing it, from celebrities to ordinary folk like you and me!
Yes, there is still some form of stigma around it, and it is clear that we still have a long way to go before no one bats an eyelid at such news. However, these stories are becoming so common now that we are slowly getting more comfortable with it.
One of the main reasons for this change is that we are living in a fast-forward world.
We are growing up so fast, and today’s twenty- or thirty-somethings are so much more self-aware than before. This confidence makes connections with much older partners a lot easier than it ever was.
So, social rules and norms are not everything. You still have the chance to make a relationship work.
If you find someone that you have a genuine connection with, there is no reason to let age be the only deal-breaker. A wide age gap actually has its fair share of benefits!
In this section, we take a look at everything you need to know about dating a much older or younger partner.
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Benefits of a wide age gap to the younger partner
1. You get to build a more mature relationship
If you have always felt that your mind and soul are older than your body, then you probably have a tough time dating people who are the same age as you.
The problem here is that you do not get to build mature relationships, which can lead to frustration. You are probably always arguing about petty things, whether it is a failure to reply to texts or getting takeout from the wrong restaurant. Millennials, right?
While dating an older person, you get to skip over these petty arguments and work on building a healthy relationship.
2. You get to learn from the older partner’s experiences and mistakes
With age comes wisdom. Therefore, by dating an older person, you get to benefit from this experience and knowledge, allowing you to make better life choices.
3. Mature partners know what they want
You do not have to waste your time investing in a relationship that is going nowhere. In this case, the older partner usually knows exactly what they want and will probably not hesitate to make their intentions clear. Now if you are interested in dating older women, you should read our guide to seduce married women.
4. Older men and women are in it for a long time and not just a good time
Younger partners, on the other hand, usually just want to have fun. If you are ready to settle down and work on a long-term relationship, then you might want to try dating someone older than you.
5. It is usually associated with financial stability
This does not in any way make you a gold digger. However, we can’t deny that dating someone who is financially stable is a huge bonus.
Benefits of a wide age gap to the older partner
1. They bring some liveliness and excitement back into your life
Dating a younger person means that you get to be around youthful energy and the associated vibes. With time, these will rub off on you, allowing you to get in touch with your former youth.
2. They challenge you in many different ways
Dating a young person is no walk in the park. It will challenge you mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. However, it is all worth it as it helps you grow and become a better person.
3. You get to learn a lot
They might be young, but there is a lot you can learn from them. It could be anything from new-age philosophies to how to set up a Twitter account. No bit of knowledge gained is too trivial!
The challenges of dating someone much older or younger
There are obviously many benefits to dating a significantly older woman or younger person. However, these are still not enough to discount age as just a number in online dating.
It is true that society’s views on wide age gaps are a bit warped when there’s nothing wrong with it.
However, it does present its own set of unique challenges that you should be aware of. Here are six unique wide age gap problems that prove age is not just a number.
This is something younger partners have to worry about with their more mature companions.
With age come health issues. It could be something manageable like hypertension or something completely debilitating like dementia or even strokes.
Whatever it is, there is no denying the fact that it will seriously affect your relationship and usually not in a positive way.
Maturity levels are something that the older partner has to worry about. Dating someone younger is a gamble as there is always the risk of them being as immature as they are physically young. This will leave you frustrated at their petty demands and other negative traits.
Financial strengths and priorities
A person’s financial education and strengths/weaknesses affect both parties. When it comes to money, age plays a huge role in determining things like priorities.
Young people tend to want to enjoy life, treat themselves to shopping sprees, and so forth. Older people, on the other hand, prefer to invest or save their money with very limited extravagance.
This difference could cause problems in the relationship down the line. However, it is important to understand that this is not the case with all young or older people. It just happens to be very common.
Different social interests could also pose a challenge in such relationships because while younger people like high energy vibes and pretty much all things fun, older partners tend to prefer a more laid-back setting.
Expectations and life goals
Things may become challenging when the younger partner is not ready to settle down. They might feel under pressure, which could cause major problems in the relationship. It could also cause resentment on the older partner’s part where they feel like their needs and expectations are not being met.
Finally, a wide age gap could affect intimacy, which is especially the case when the older partner is physically incapable of offering the younger party what they want. It could be a result of health issues or a simple lack of energy associated with age.
If you interested in dating older women, make sure to read these mature tips.
So, how young is too young to date and how old is too old?
So, does age really matter? And how old is too old and how young is too young for you to date appropriately?
The truth is that there is no fixed answer to this question. Our society is constantly evolving, and so are our ideas about dating and the question of age gaps.
Most importantly, your personal preferences take priority. Maybe you’re a young female whose heart yearns for a silver fox. It could be that you are an older gal looking for that cougar experience. Or maybe you want to play in your age group. It is all up to you.
The connection also determines how old is too old and how young is too young to date. If the age gap starts to interfere with the quality of the connection, then you have probably taken things a little too far.
If you are really stuck and want a strict range to work with, you could always go with the “divide by 2, add 7” or the “subtract 7, multiply by 2” rules. These should give you some peace of mind, knowing you aren’t testing society’s limits of approval. Not that it matters really, but we understand the need for that structure.
In conclusion, it is all up to you. Follow your heart and do what makes you happy. Dating within your age group is safe and can be a lot of fun. So can exploring and trying a wide age gap relationship.
What matters the most is that you have a beautiful connection. Just make sure to keep things legal.