Advice

New Survey Says the Ideal Age Gap in a Relationship Is…

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age-is-just-a-numberAccording to a new survey, the ideal age difference between a couple is when the man is 4 years and (this is the sort of weird part) four months older than the woman.  Which means that my ideal mate was born sometime in February of 1982.

Previously, we’ve written about the “Dating Age Range Formula” – more wives’ tale than scientific theory. You take your age, subtract 7, and multiply that by two to get the oldest age you should date, and do the inverse to get the youngest. Which means that I can date anyone from 38 years-old to 20 (yeeeesh.) and still be considered normal.

What I appreciate about the Dating Age Range Formula is that it gives me a nice, 18-year span to dabble within. A college sophomore for when I want to feel like I can still hang with college bros*, a sophisticated bachelor approaching midlife for when I want to feel adult.**

Another interesting tidbit to come out of the survey is that across the board, women felt like it was the men who had to be the older partner, though this could be sadly tied to the fact that an astonishing 55% of women say they need a partner to help them pay their rent or mortgage, which, supposedly, a man who is 4 years more advanced in his career would be able to do. But if money and dating go hand-in-hand, then would (eventual) rising rates in women’s wages lead to less of an age disparity in romantic pairings? Will women feel better about dating younger men as we chip away at the convention that it’s men who have to be the providers, and women the nurturers? (Personally I have fewer qualms about dating a younger man than I do about a guy who makes significantly less money than I do — though I think that would be more of an obstacle than a dealbreaker.)

Of course, biologically, men have it easier when it comes to dating younger women. A 38 year-old man can have no qualms about starting a relationship with a 26 year-old woman and possibly having a baby in 4 years — when she’s ready. A 38 year-old woman who wants to have kids doesn’t have that same luxury of time. If she gets with a guy her age, they’re on a time crunch. If she gets with a younger guy, the time crunch is still on — providing he’s even ready or interested in having kids at all. Even if we find wage parity between the sexes, biological parity is still a long time off, so it makes sense that the scales will always be tipped slightly in favor of an older man.

But true compatibility has never been as simple of an issue as biology or social construct — and when it comes to what factors can make a relationship work, age really ain’t nothing but a (meaningless, random) number.

That having been said, if you have a guy friend who was born in February of 82….call me.

*Note: I can’t still hang with college bros. This was made abundantly clear to me a full year ago, when, at a midnight booze cruise around Manhattan (don’t ask) some guy chatting with me asked me my age and then, when I told him, responded with “Whoa, so you’re like, mad old!” 

** This is also beyond my capabilities. Put me across a dinner table with anyone born before 1979 and instantly all I can think of to talk about is, like, Nickelodeon shows from the 90s. 

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