Want to Stay Married? Marry Someone Your Own Age.

Want to Stay Married. Marry Someone Your Own Age.

Ah, statistics! I rely on them to form my opinions. Others read them and scoff:

“Those statistics are wrong!” “That doesn’t apply to me!” “There must be something faulty with the study!” “It must be that liberal media bias!” or even “You’re an asshole!”

I’ve heard all of the above more times than I can count, but it’s not going to stop me from giving dating advice based on data rather than on ego and feeling.

You are entitled to your own opinions and life choices. You are not entitled to your own facts. That one is the big one.

So, to anyone about to read this who objects:

  1. Unless you’re a statistician who  has a background in this, you do not get to overrule people who do this for a living.
  2. Studies observe populations of people. In this case, over 3000 couples. If you are the exception to the rule, it doesn’t mean the rule doesn’t apply. For example, smoking causes lung cancer. Just because your grandpa smoked until he was 99 doesn’t mean that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer. Got it?
  3. Just because you don’t like the results of a study doesn’t invalidate the study. If there were, in fact, a study that illustrated that “Jews are cheap”; it might make me angry or embarrassed but it doesn’t mean that the study is flawed. You can’t participate in science and get angry at what the results show.
  4. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m literally just linking to an article written by people who are smarter than I am about a subject relevant to this blog. When I read these studies, they help to form my worldview and influence my advice.
  5. You are entitled to your own opinions and life choices. You are not entitled to your own facts. That one is the big one.

Over the years, we’ve learned that women are judgier about looks than men, that men cheat slightly more than women, that people who marry in less than a year are more likely to get divorced, that women who have NSA sex are less happy than women who don’t,  that short men have a tougher time getting attention online than tall men and black women have a harder time than Asian women, and dozens of other nuggets that stick in my head and impact my advice. None of these are my opinions. I just report them. Those who argue in the comments section aren’t arguing with me but arguing with studies – all because you don’t like what the studies may say about you.

This has very little to do with the point of today’s article; it’s just something I wanted to get off my chest for awhile. I don’t suppose that this will make a whit of a difference. It’s already been proven that confirmation bias is so strong that opposing facts even make you MORE sure of yourself (cue guns-rights advocates and climate change deniers).

Since it’s my job to steer you to more successful outcomes, you may want to stick with dating people in your own generation. That means you, creepy old guys!

It’s just that I read this  article last month in the Atlantic and thought it was very interesting – especially to those men who really covet younger women. Sorry, fellas. Your May-December romance is probably doomed.

A one-year discrepancy in a couple’s ages, the study found, makes them 3 percent more likely to divorce (when compared to their same-aged counterparts); a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely.

Once you enter large-gap territory–the 20-year difference, the 30-year difference–the odds of divorce are … almost never in your favor. (95% higher for 20 years, 172% higher for 30 years).

As the article mentions, “statistics aren’t destiny.” There are examples of big age gaps in successful marriages. But there are many more examples of divorce. And since it’s my job to steer you to more successful outcomes, you may want to stick with dating people in your own generation. That means you, creepy old guys!

Join our conversation (153 Comments).
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  1. 1


    Loved this article!   And your candid approach is spot on.   As a very attractive  47 year old woman (who gets hit on by quite a few 20 and 30 somethings, men AND women), I still ultimately enjoy men my own age or a few years older.    Ok with one caveat….that are equally fit and take care of themselves.   It’s only fair…yes, you appreciate my taunt tummy and long lean legs, in fact might even insist up  it;   I will ask you to do the same;   keep the gut in check, etc..   There is a understanding and ease of communicating on all levels that makes it enjoyable.   However, I still see so many men my age and older  pass on me  and my equally hot 40 something friends (Jennifer Aniston has nothing on us, trust me)   for the  25 year old trophy wife or girlfriend.    Yeah, I know men are visual, but it’s more than that  isn’t it?    Biology, spreading their seed, whatever.     Then the same guys will complain to us over drinks  about  these girls who “don’t understand them” or giggle when they are trying to meditate, or got too drunk at their partners  Christmas party and embarrassed them, etc. etc….  The same goes for the  65 and 75    year old men who hit on me, and actually believe they have a solid shot.   Maybe when I’m 70+ , I will be more forgiving and won’t be so repulsed by that visual, but for now….ewww on every level.   Dating within your age group is the best bet.   And when I’m 80 and my body and looks have all gone to hell, I will be with my partner, also in their 80’s dealing with the same thing, and they see the beauty in my heart and isn’t so concerned about the rest of it.

    1. 1.1

      8 Agree 100% with you, also a fairly attractive 46 yr old woman who will not date 20 30 or 50 somethings, I want the equal to myself in all aspects spot on

    2. 1.2

      I have no complaints about  my much younger fiancee not  understanding me.

    3. 1.3

      You say men are visual and it should be more than that, but then you ask men to keep the gut in check? So by your standard it’s a visual thing for you too?

      1. 1.3.1

        Yes, good point.   It’s about a man being healthy and taking pride in his health and body.   Physical attraction is still very much a part of the equation for both parties, but I am not looking for perfection.   Just take care of yourself, like I do.

  2. 2

    That’s interesting, but I’m wondering–does this age gap analysis apply equally across all age groups?   I have no study or statistics to back this up, but I would think that age gaps matter less the older you get–as both parties presumably become more mature and have less gaps in life experience.   For instance, can a marriage between a 20 and 30 year old be treated the same as that between a 50 and 60 year old, because they both have a ten year age difference? I would like to see more of a breakdown in terms of who they studied and what age groups they looked at.

    For me, personally, I barely notice the six year age difference between me and my boyfriend (36 and 42).   I feel like I am within the “same generation” as him.   Whereas to my 19 year old self, six year age gaps felt like an eternity!

    I’m also wondering what women, who are still looking, should make of this.   There have been many studies showing how men (at least online) typically want younger women, not their peers.   Should women hold out for those rare men willing to date their peers, to have a relationship with less of an age gap–or should they date the much older men who are more willing to date them?


    1. 2.1

      I’m also wondering what women, who are still looking, should make of this.   There have been many studies showing how men (at least online) typically want younger women, not their peers.   Should women hold out for those rare men willing to date their peers, to have a relationship with less of an age gap—or should they date the much older men who are more willing to date them?

      I was going to ask this exact same question.   Especially since much of the advice on this and other sites advises women ( especially those 35+)   to skew much older, as those are the men who, presumably, want them.

      1. 2.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Show me the post where this site advises women to skew “much older.” I’ll wait.

      2. 2.1.2

        I think he just points out the reality that, as we age, more men who are ten-plus years older than us will want to date us than men our age. I don’t really think he’s ever said to purposely focus on older guys though. Just that we should concern ourselves more with the men who do show interest rather than chasing after the ones who don’t.

        Personally, it seems to me that most people wind up dating and marrying someone within 3-5 years of their age. That’s why I no longer concern myself with statistics much. You can drive yourself crazy that way! Just have faith and know that you will be fine.

      3. 2.1.3

        @Buck and Christine:

        About the 1/2 your age plus 7:

        I recall reading that they hypothesized this idea came in a time where it was common for a wealthy/land owner husband to take additional wives (harems, etc). While I realize some cultures still do this; it is based in a time long ago and we did not have such long life spans. (This idea has me with a man over 90-my dad is 89-yikes). The whole idea was based on the young woman’s fertility so the husband could procreate to keep his legacy/help with farming etc. they obviously viewed fertility as a female only problem:(

        1. Christine

          Thanks Caroline for that clarification.   So it really is an antiquated notion!   I can see their reasons for it back in the olden days…but for finding someone you connect with, it’s probably not the best idea.   According to that formula I should be with someone 58, but can’t imagine being with someone who could be my father.   No thank you, I’ll stick with my own boyfriend. 🙂

    2. 2.2


      That’s an interesting question. I’d think that a ten year age difference would matter less when both are in their fifties, sixties and beyond, than it does between a 20 year old and a 30 year old, or a 30 year old and a forty year old, for that matter. There are just so many changes going on in those earlier life stages, and right on into middle life, that there’s a huge gap just in life experiences with even a smaller gap in age, right up until about age 50 or a little beyond. That whole span between about 20 and 50-55 is like that; that’s the very range in which most people are marrying, building careers, raising kids, and so on.

      Yet I’ve noticed something else; even though for most people past 50 their reproductive years are pretty much over, the kids are grown up, and careers are peaking or beginning to wind down, people can still be, or at least believe they are, at very different places in life. I found when I was online, that most women in their fifties would not even consider dating a man my age (67).   I would consider those of us between 55 and 70 to be the same generation (Baby Boomers), but a lot of women will consider me a cradle-robbing jerk for saying that, I’m certain. I also found that most women over 70 were at a very different place in life than I am, and I don’t mean looks; a few are still attractive, but views on sex, relationships, and almost everything else were just completely different, and completely incompatible; so sometimes, even late in life, a five year age gap can be huge.

      Just to throw one more complication into the mix, I’m currently dating a 48 year old woman, and I’m the one who’s dubious about the age gap; remains to be seen if that can work out in this instance

      What conclusion to draw from a study like this, without knowing more about the sample population is something of a conundrum; beyond the common sense notion that when it comes to relationships, ten years is a significant age gap, fifteen years is pushing it, 20 years is only rarely manageable, and twenty-five or more borders on insane, I don’t know what it “proves”, really. Correlation does not equal causation. A lot of people are fond of statistics, others like Disraeli, I think it was, believe “There are three kinds of lies…lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I’m somewhere in the middle; I think statistics can inform us, but I don’t think they should be taken as the Holy Grail of truth.

      1. 2.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        We’re all inclined to discount studies and statistics when they challenge or disconfirm our existing worldviews. Which is to say that you are allowed to date a woman 20 years younger, and you may even get lucky, but the majority of relationships with sizable age gaps are doomed for failure.

        1. Buck25


          I said nothing above to the contrary. The question Christine posed, and I tried to explore, is NOT whether a 20 age gap is a good idea; it’s whether lesser age gaps (ten years, for example), are less significant when both parties are older (as in over 50). This particular study, (so far as I can see) does not address that point, which is what I was speculating about, pro and con.

          As to my current relationship, I think you’d agree that the difference between a 19 year age gap and a 20 year age gap is insignificant; precisely the reason I said I’m dubious about it. Is the age gap a reason to say “absolutely not”, or simply a reason to go slowly and cautiously? I’d say the latter.   On a lighter note, give this “creepy old guy” some credit; after all, I’m NOT trying to date women half my age, or even the proverbial “half my age plus seven” (wonder who came up with that gem of “wisdom”?). 🙂

        2. Christine

          Buck, I don’t remember where I heard that ridiculous saying to date a woman half your age plus seven.   But I also think it’s silly.   By its logic, the only time a man can date someone his own age is when he’s 14. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to explore my question, it’s just something that came up as I read this study and wondered about.


      2. 2.2.2

        @ Buck25

        For what it’s worth, I’m 56 (57 on Sunday) and I would totally date a 67-year old man.   I’m currently dating a 53-year old and don’t consider those piddly 3.5 years to be any big difference.   He and I are of the same generation as far as I’m concerned.   I’ve dated a couple of guys 10 years my junior (back in my late 40’s), and that was borderline too young for me.   I was married to a man 13 years older, and it was GREAT, and while I’ll go older, I’m just flat not interested in anyone younger than me by more than 5 or 6 years anymore.   I LIKE men my age as long as they take care of themselves (they don’t have to be Adonis, just not grossly out of shape) and have a kind and even temper and a fun-loving personality.

        1. SMC

          I should have said “I like men my age or older…”

      3. 2.2.3

        That was interesting and surprising to read Buck.   I would also consider people within that age span to be more or less the same generation–but apparently not!

        Best wishes to you and your lady, hope it does work out!

      4. 2.2.4


        “On a lighter note, give this “creepy old guy” some credit; after all, I’m NOT trying to date women half my age.”


        Not to be rude, but you are dating a woman young enough to be your daughter. That is a significant age gap.

        1. Buck25


          I’m quite aware of just how significant an age gap that is, believe me; why do you think I said I am dubious about it, long-term? She’s more enthusiastic about it than I am; I am proceeding with extreme caution for now, but the outcome is, I’m afraid, much in doubt.

        2. Emily


          Don’t men always “proceed with caution”?   🙂

        3. Buck25


          “Don’t men always “proceed with caution”?

          Well , if we’re sensible, we do…and within reason, you should be glad we do. This has been discussed elsewhere, but men are often   a bit more “in the moment” than you ladies; I think you might be better served if , in some of those “moments”, we don’t say things and make promises we might not be so sure about tomorrow. Sometimes, that means we’re not so quick to commit as you might desire, but wouldn’t you really rather we wait (not years, but a few months, at least), until we’re sure? If it’s right, we usually figure that out, within a reasonable timeframe. 🙂

        4. Emilya


          I think men are more “in the moment” when it comes to sex, without a lot of thought about the consequences — that the woman may develop feelings for him and have expectations of a relationship.

          Emotionally, though, unless he is one of those overly eager men who unnerves a woman on the first date with way too many declarations of love, a lot of men seem more practical than romantic.


        5. Buck25


          First of all, if we have much experience with women, we know very well about that particular consequence of sex. That doesn’t mean some men might not chose to ignore it, but we know the possibility is there. Second, we know what happens to that overeager, needy guy who practically proposes on a first date… there isn’t a second date, not with a quality woman. Guys who don’t already know that, soon learn.However there’s one other thing besides immediate infatuation, or simply being too horny   that can have even a cool-headed, practical guy more than a little unsure of exactly what he wants to do, and that’s the process we call “falling in love”. When we start looking at a woman as more than just a date, or one we want to have sex with, and start to become emotionally invested in here can feel very sure of what we want one moment, and not so sure the next. We’re not as stupid as you may think, when it comes to knowing what a committed relationship is going to require from us. We know we’re going to gain some things, and give up others.We can get into quite a back-and-forth process within ourselves, while we figure out if this one is worth the trade-offs. Evan has a whole thread on the blog on this very topic. You may not like everything you read in it, but the discussion there explains what that process is all about, from a man’s point of view, and why we act the way we do.

        6. Emily


          It’s that way for women, too. The more invested you are, the bigger the internal conflict. Being really in to someone can scare the crap out of you.

          One man I dated used your exact expression: We are “proceeding with caution.” For him, at least, that translated into–I am dipping one toe in the pond, and that is it. Three months later, we were in the exact same place.

          I am not “all in” very often, but when I am, I don’t understand the cool-headed and practical approach.



      5. 2.2.5

        Buck-I might be able to spread a little light on your experience with the “50” sonethings. I think for many of us 50plus-we finally have kids grown and are experiencing a true career. Not one that takes a back seat to doctors appts, sport, act, sat, cars, college, etc for our kids. I’ve finally have been able to put serious time and effort into my career without having everyday details of raising teenagers. No matter how much men and women have come in splitting raising kids; the majority relies on moms still (most of us want it that way!).   I’m finally enjoying some prestige/acclaim (very little) in my profession. I’ve had my work published quite a bit in magazines, but until just the last three years, I’ve actually been featured in books. In other words, I’m far from identifying with a man who may be retired. I’m just hitting my stride. Whether we like it or not, 65plus signals a huge transition into retirement.

        Theres also that relatable aspect of being with someone who has been there like you have. I love the scene from ‘when Harry met Sally’ where Harry is talking to his friend about his beautiful , young, accomplished girlfriend-Harry asks her where she was when Kennedy was shot? She says-Ted Kennedy got shot?!!


        1. Buck25


          Actually that does shed some light on the issue; those are peak career years for many; and I can see from your analysis how that peak may have been delayed for many women. Makes a lot of sense. Congrats on your recent success, and I hope it continues for you!

          I will give you one heads up, retirement is not what you might think it is, at least, not when you work for yourself. I was still in my fifties when I “officially” retired. In my case it’s something of a joke. When you own multiple business entities, you never really retire; you still have to be active in all the long-range, big picture side of it, and I am; I have a management company taking care of the day-to-day stuff. I simply make more money by taking distributions, instead of “officially” actively working and paying myself a salary (curious are the ways of the income tax laws). Add in my volunteer work, and most days, I’m as busy as I ever was; not a lot of time for fishing, golf, or couch-sitting here.

          Still a woman who doesn’t know all that and is at the height of a career would see my “retired” status as something very, very different from her own life. Add the usual stereotypes about “all those old, retired men”that I’ve seen repeated many times by women on this very blog. You know, the ones that say we all either fish or play golf all day, or sit on the couch watching whatever game is on.  Doesn’t matter how much of that is actually true (none of it, in my case), the perception is out there, and while it’s debatable how much it hurts, it certainly doesn’t help.


        2. Caroline

          Hi Buck- all very true what you said. I guess that’s why it would important to convey the positive aspects of your busy and fulfilling life in your profile if you were online dating.personally, I’ve never viewed sporting activities in a negative light. In fact, my guy is an avid golfer and also is a big sports fan. I enjoy tailgating with him, hitting golf balls at the range, etc. I think the problem comes along when partners aren’t included in some aspect or they don’t spend alternative activities together (one partner just showing up for meals pretty much).

          Btw- I’ve met men of all ages who were old fuddy duds.

        3. Sarah Lund

          I see your point. How will any much older man, ever really know how to treat me? I could never relate to a man who is retired. Not even sure where I’d end up meeting any men fifty or over. I don’t go any places that pensioners go to. What about the physical, too? The younger one, would obviously want sex, but an older person may need to take Vieira. Well, the truth hurts, and if the older ones, can’t have sex anymore from being frail, then there’s no sense in trying to keep living a lie.

      6. 2.2.6

        Ehrmm Buck… are you truly saying that you are astonished by women 10-15 years younger than you not wanting to date you and STILL abhorring women 67 + 10-15= 77- 83 years old? WhyEVER wouldn’t women react on you like you react on them?



        1. Karl R


          What do you expect to accomplish by MISQUOTING  Buck25?


          Buck25  specificall said that he found some of them attractive, “but views on sex, relationships, and almost everything else were just completely different, and completely incompatible.”

          Furthermore, he didn’t say that he was “astonished” or that women 10-15 years younger than him wouldn’t date him.   He specifically stated that he is dating someone 19 years younger than him, and he’s a bit dubious about the age gap, even though the younger woman is “enthusiastic” about pursuing a long-term relationship.


          You’ve made rather brazen misquotes in two consecutive posts.   If you keep this up, I’ll be torn between offering you a crowbar (so you can pry your foot out of your mouth) or offering you a shoehorn (so you can wedge your other foot in).

      7. 2.2.7

        Agreed. I think someone else posted here that same age cohort relationships work best when it comes to starting and raising families. There are numerous ancedotes about problems 30+ women face when raising kids with 50+ men. There was even a dailymail article about this (Dec 9 2015 by Rachel Ragg) . Hell, my own father became a father again at 52 at the insistence of his 35 year old second wife so I am very familiar with the problems such unions face.

        Having said this, if a relationship is based purely on intellectual compatibility, shared intellectual interests and not so much on physical attraction (which is usually the case when people get older), then age really does not, and should not present any barrier. Our current society has been working hard to break down barriers so I don’t see why there should be barriers to feelings when there are no lives at stake here, or even being impacted on (ie children) and when both adults are consenting.

        1. Sarah Lund

          I don’t think I have it in me, to start a family with a man at retirement age. Not sure what they’d want from me. I have yet to see an age gap relationship work. Any person can be charming at any age. But sooner or later, the younger lover is    going to be left widow

      8. 2.2.8


        I agree that where you are on your life path, especially when it comes to kids, does play a big role in whether a relationship works or not.   I think if the age gap of a couple places the two partners on opposite sides  of a big life stage that is what matters.

        Yesterday, a friend and colleague of mine told me that he and his wife are at a real difficult point, and it may end their marriage.   They have been together for eleven  years, married around 4.   He is early 50s, she is 39.   She very badly wants to have a child, and he feels just as strongly that he doesn’t.   When their relationship first started,   they were both open to having a child but didn’t feel strongly enough to pursue it.   He had a  preschool age daughter from his previous marriage, and was already in that role.   Now, the daughter  is a teen, and he says he doesn’t want to start over with a baby again.

        When his wife was 28 (and not hearing that clock tick) and hubby was in his  early 40s they were of similar though when it came to having kids, now they are completely at opposite ends of the spectrum.   If they were say, 48 and 60-61, they would both be past bio-child producing age and more likely on the same page about having very young kids in the house.

        Something for older men interested in 20 something women to think about.   She may not be that interested in kids at that point in time.   But that could change once she reaches her mid to late 30s.

  3. 3
    Tracy Trace

    Thankfully, I ‘ve never had this problem since the men I’m attracted to are in my age group. Also, I prefer growing with a person over dating someone who has much more life experience than I do- easier to relate to and connect with.

  4. 4

    I have a bachelors in chemistry and a medical degree and have spent a great deal of time reading and analyzing studies.   I’ve been at it long enough to be deeply skeptical of any single study.   I take the conclusions drawn under advisement and wait to see if the findings are supported over time by other studies, or not.   This is an observational study.   The authors looked to for a relationship between two characterics – age gap and divorce rate.   The fact that a relationship exists DOES NOT prove cause and effect.   Sometimes these factors exist as a marker for the true cause and effect.   I personasly think the age gap may be a marker for how compatible two people are in terms of their life goals regarding children, home and career.   Im guessing and I know I know Im guessing :). But I also understand the limits of the study under discussion :). Its not the whole story but does point out something worth thinking about.

  5. 5

    I also have a medical degree and am capable of analyzing studies and   although this often goes unmentioned,   it should be noted that it’s always nice when the results are LOGICAL.



  6. 6

    Fun! My hubby is four months older than me! Fusee-divorce 1-0! Unfortunately he spent between $2,000-4,000 on my engagement ring, which apparently dooms us :p

    Oh well. I’m going to continue being kind, loving, loyal, easy-going, and supportive and hope it will be enough to counteract the engagement ring problem on our path to our 50th anniversary : )

    1. 6.1

      Fusee, forgive my ignorance, but what difference is the cost of the engagement ring supposed to make?   I take it there’s some supposed formula relating that, to the probability of a lasting marriage?

      1. 6.1.1

        Hi Buck25, I did not come up with that one, statistics did! The study cited in the Atlantic article reveals that spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on the engagement rings correlates with higher risk of divorce. On the flip side, another set of data (bivariate model, no control) shows that spending over $8,000 on the engagement ring correlates with a lower risk of divorce. If I did not care so much about controls and if I was not so frugal, I’d go ask the hubby for an upgrade : )

        1. Caroline

          That was funny Fusee! Btw-there’s also a study which correlates how big a wedding (how many attend and is spent) and a lower divorce rate! I guess they concluded money makes a big difference and how many people you stand up in front of and declare your love counts. Hmm-I guess Kim and Kanye are forever!!

        2. AY

          Caroline, the “causation versus correlation” thing-y at work here again.

          Causation : Involving many more people in your nuptials and spending more money causes you to work harder on your marriage in order to avoid embarrassment should it fail. The respective families will incite and support both parties to work harder at their marriage because they won’t want to be embarrassed either.

          Correlation : Traditional and ethnic communities take a different attitude to divorce and these cultural backgrounds have requirements for large wedding parties where extended families, distant relations and even whole villages are mandatory invites.

        3. Caroline

          Hmm/AY- I wonder why divorce is so great in the southern states then. The standard here is huge wedding parties and attendance. Also, the majority of people here claim to have a huge influence of traditional religious values.   I doubt it’s all us “remiss Catholics” getting divorced!i have worked for very affluent, traditionally religious clients in the course of my career. I’d say the majority are on their second marriage.


          what I said was meant to be tongue in cheek 🙂


        4. Buck25

          @Caroline, I don’t know why we have a higher divorce rate in the south, but maybe part of it is that we also have a high rate of very young people (as in under 21)   getting married; in a couple of states here, one can get married at 16! That’s not exactly conducive to long, happy, stable marriages. We also have a high teen pregnancy rate that contributes to some of this, and a lot of people at lower education /lower income levels. Just more factors that bring more difficulty to the already difficult job of maintaining a marriage.

        5. Caroline

          @Buck-I agree it’s very likely the uneducated, early marriages here in the south. I was just making a personal observation of the clients I’ve worked for-most in their 40-50s lots of lawyers and doctors-most on their second marriage. Oh and most those women don’t work outside the home. Truly a different world from my own.

        6. Caroline


          states with highest divorce rates:

          1) nevada

          2) maine

          3) oklahoma

          4) iregon

          *i was surprised that the “deep south” states didn’t make the top ten but they might not might be far behind.

          also-I read the study about how much is spent on ring and wwedding -NOT a surprise-the wedding industry produced it. At the very end of   the research-it summed it up by saying-having intent/planning was a sign if marriage lasting. 1- they dated longer before they were married. 2-they had a big wedding but they did it cheaply. 3-the ring was summed up as when it was extravagant-it may be a sign of cracks in the relationship.

    2. 6.2

      There’s a formula correlating the possibility of divorce to the price of an engagement ring?   So THAT’S why my husband left!   Not because I invited my mother to go dancing with us (yep, that’s what it was.   Really.) but because he spent a ridiculous amount on the engagement/wedding ring.   Who knew?

      Best of luck Fusee on that road to your 50th anniversary!   🙂

  7. 7

    I enjoyed reading your article, and it has hard to find articles these days about age gaps involving relationships, divorce, etc.   On that note, I am 31 years old and married to a man that is 54 years old.   We were together very committed for 2 years, and this March will be our one year anniversary as husband and wife.   Three years ago, my husband found me on a online dating website (okcupid) and never have been happier in both of our lives.   We lived 80 miles apart, and committed ourselves to each other in order to make our relationship work.   Sure enough our commitment, communication, and love had worked between us and we both new that we were right for each other.   Ever since high school or in my early teen years, I have always been attracted to older men, but then again…I have always been very mature for my age and knew what  I wanted in a relationship or being with a man…not a boy!!   As I grew up from 15 years of age to when I met my husband at 28 years old, I dated young men my age at the time, to older men.   By far, the older men were always the best in my own opinion.   What I learned by dating guys my own age and trying to have a relationship with them….was all about SEX, the looks of a woman,  and their own needs.   This was a major turn off for me, probably because I matured much faster than average girls my age at the time.   What I learned with dating and being involved with men older than me, was the complete opposite and much more!!   Bottom line, is that no matter who the person is…how much age difference there is between a couple….IF THEY ARE HAPPY…BE HAPPY FOR THEM!!!    We both  have been judged and criticized  by our friends and family, but still very happy and much in love with each other since day one!!   Anyways, great article!!!

  8. 8

    I also have a medical degree and am a single woman. Hmm, a correlation between being a female doctor and having a higher risk of divorce? I think I saw that study!


    Agree that one should exercise caution in interpreting correlation as causation.



  9. 9

    I prefer men my age but so many younger men write to me online. No idea why. Id say 50% of men who write to me are at least 10  years younger. Many in their 20s. and Im 40. I ask them- Why are you writing to me? I think were at different stages of our lives- dont you think? And they always write back how age is just a number, and they dont give up they keep telling me how high we scored on our match percent. But I dont meet them, even though they look so cute.

    Why is this? Older men write too. But not as much. Its OKCupid. Not some teen app. LOL As Im writing this I got a message from username:   Jonh91. !

    1. 9.1

      “A,” I had to laugh when I read your post because the same thing happens to me on a regular basis! I’m constantly approached by guys in their 20s (I’m 40) – I almost wrote to Evan about it! It’s clear from many of them that they’re interested in casual sex, but I’ve had guys insist that they’re looking for a real relationship and I should give them a shot in spite of the age difference.

      I’ve just had a very positive and satisfying short-term relationship with a 23 year old who was staying in my city for a limited time. We connected instantly, he is very intelligent, spending time with him was easy and fun and we were very sexually compatible. I’ve always connected easily with younger men sexually (and with younger men and women as friends – most of my friends are younger and I have very close friends in their early 20s. Since I don’t have kids, I find more rapport with younger people and they have much   more energy and more free time to get out and do things.)

      I would ultimately like to marry someone age-appropriate (and I’m more open than ever before to dating men my age or older) but I’ve found some of them, including my 43 year old ex who abruptly dumped me after telling me he loved me and wanted to introduce me to his kids – to be emotionally immature, or hung up on their ex wives, or unable to multitask being single dads and having a new partner – that the fun, uncomplicated nature of dating younger guys is a relief in comparison!

      Not to mention some of the guys in their 40s who write to me on OLD don’t seem to know what to do with me. They say things like “I don’t know if I could keep up with you.” Or they forgot to have kids and pass me by completely (though I’ve never wanted to have kids at any age.)

      I’ve decided to keep both in my life. When it comes to casual dating and casual sex, I will keep it to the young ones, because I’m not likely to get emotionally attached and I can enjoy it for what it is. But I’ll keep dating men my age as well in hopes of finding someone like me who has a youthful spirit but is at the same stage of life as well.


      1. 9.1.1

        Michelle, the reasons you cite for wanting to date younger men are exactly the reasons older men cite for wanting to date younger women – in their case, they cite that the”fun uncomplicated nature of dating younger women is a relief in comparison”. Yet these men are routinely castigated for their choice and branded “creepy” etc etc. I can quote a whole tone of media articles where women are dumping on men for wanting to date younger.

        1. Sarah Lund

          How would   you feel, if your lover had son’s or daughters the same age as you? That’s what worries me more. Can you really see yourself being a step-parent to their adult children, who are the same age as you? Wouldn’t that feel uncomfortable at all?

  10. 10

    @ Natalie #7
    “What I learned by dating guys my own age and trying to have a relationship with them….was all about SEX, the looks of a woman,  and their own needs.”
    Ha, this is so true.
    @ A #9
    “I prefer men my age but so many younger men write to me online. No idea why.”
    I’ll give you a hint as to what they’re looking for…it begins with ‘s’ and ends with ‘ex’. Preceded by “easy”. Not much else really. Lol.
    @ Buck25
    “the proverbial “half my age plus seven” (wonder who came up with that gem of “wisdom”?
    I use this as a guide too! I didn’t realize it was a global concept. I’ve actually found it works reasonably well though. Lol.
    On an instinctive level this study makes sense to a certain extent. People who are actually serious about marriage and are prepared to invest in what is necessary to actually make a life-commitment work tend to focus on different criteria than those who amble through their dating lives not being entirely sure what they want, thus basing their decisions on whimsical feelings, chemistry, looks and age. The first group are probably more marriage-orientated from early on in their dating lives and thus are more amenable to dating their peers for the rest of their lives.
    So as a result I suspect that the results of this study are somewhat skewed over-all by including people who met their life partners early in life, i.e. in college or their 20s. If this cohort of people were removed from the data I reckon the results might be somewhat different.
    I followed the different links on the data to see their statistical analysis and was decidedly unimpressed with the quality of their work, although I’m not sure why. Maybe if I had a better understanding of statistical analysis I could make a stronger argument. Hopefully someone with a sound knowledge of analyzing statistics might do a decent critique of the studies (cough cough Karl R)?

    1. 10.1

      According to this, Karl R is more likely to get divorced since his wife is 16 years older.   I’d be interested in his critique and his defense! 🙂 (or who knows, maybe he’s a lucky exception to this and may not be able to disprove the overall rule)

      Good point that younger cohort might skew the results of this study.   I’d also be interested in having more information on the demographics they studied to come to these conclusions.


    2. 10.2


      “I use this as a guide too!I didn’t realize it was a global concept. I’ve actually found it it works reasonably well though”

      I’m glad it works for you. You’re what, thirty-something, if I recall? That would put you with a woman 22-25 or so. Now for me, that would be about 40-42. I don’t think so. Early on I dated several women between 40 and 45 (I had more responses from them, than from women in their fifties, oddly enough). Very pretty, very intelligent, very sweet…and at a totally different place in their lives; they’re from my kids’ generation, not mine. I’ll leave them to the forty to fifty year old guys smart enough to date them, instead of chasing the twenty-somethings.   Some pretty things are best looked at, admired…and left alone.

    3. 10.3

      This might be a silly thing to ask, but what if the man happens to be at an odd numbered age, that doesn’t neatly divide into a whole number?   For instance, say the man is 35.   Half his age plus seven = 24.5.   Then does he need to find a woman who’s exactly 24 and a half?   Or is the number intended to just be an estimate?   Can you round this up to 25, or down to 24?   I hope it’s just an estimate, because it’d really narrow the pool to look for an age like that!   Tom, if this works for you, more power to you!   🙂


    4. 10.4

      @ Christine #10.3 and @ Buck25 #10.2
      Well my understanding of the “half your age plus 7” guide is that it’s the lowest age limit that is acceptable for a guy to date, rather than a “target” to aim for. Lol. And for women it’s the opposite; the oldest guy a woman should date is “her age minus 7 doubled”.
      So in my case, I’m 32, therefore in theory, the youngest women I should date are 23. Although, in practice, I prefer late 20s.
      But as with any of these things it all comes down to the two individuals involved; as long as they’re consenting adults doing nothing illegal I don’t have a problem with anyone of any age dating anyone of any age that suits them. So, in theory, I don’t have a problem with an 18 year old of either gender dating an 80 year old of either gender.  

      1. 10.4.1

        Tom, that would make a lot more sense than that age being a target LOL.   I was about to say, that would really narrow down the pool!

        1. Tom10

          @ Christine
          Yes, it would prove quite a difficult search if I could only date 23 year olds and no-one else! Haha.
          Just a general comment on the tone on your comments. I remember reading your comments here some time ago and you seemed very down, whereas now that you’re in a loving relationship you come across as a bundle of joy – the transformation is remarkable! I’m truly delighted for you. Maybe reading this blog and taking Evan’s advice played some part in your journey!
          This leads me to believe that many, probably even most, women are simply biologically wired to be in love/ a relationship, and struggle psychologically to be fulfilled when not in one. Us men should probably be more cognisant of that when focussing so much on fulfilling our needs, and therefore be a bit softer when commenting here on women trying to fulfil this very real need.
          Best of luck to ya! 😉

        2. Christine

          Awww thanks Tom, that really warms my heart.   🙂 I was in a very “down” place in my life back then, and am truly much happier now.   I have to attribute a large part of that to the wonderful man in my life now, who cherishes me.

          Ironically enough, it was a horrific experience with one particular person who changed the tide for me, actually made me absorb Evan’s advice–and led me to the right person for me.   After getting my heart thoroughly stomped on by a charismatic (but ultimately, emotionally abusive and controlling) man, I finally really put Evan’s advice into practice. Before that experience, I might have been stupid enough to turn my boyfriend down for only giving me a spark of chemistry on our first date (rather than the raging inferno the other guy gave me).   Half of it was timing/luck (that he happened to become available and looking online after breaking up with his ex).   The other half was finally becoming smarter about who to date.

          Don’t get me wrong, I tried to follow Evan’s advice before to prioritize compatibility.   However, in hindsight, I think I was sort of going through the motions (a bit like only doing half the moves your trainer tells you to).   It took that last awful experience for me to really, really put it into practice.   However, I hope more people out there don’t need that harsh life lesson as I did (I wouldn’t wish my prior experience on even my worst enemy).

          So Tom, I appreciate you saying you’ll try to have some empathy for those frustrated single women out there.   If more of us had more empathy for the other side, dating might be a more fulfilling experience for all of us.

      2. 10.4.2

        Either way, it looks like my deep end of the pool is a 100-year old man.   Uh, well…

        No.   🙂

      3. 10.4.3

        What the 1/2 plus seven rule essentially does is it makes women over a certain age completely worthless.   The older a woman gets the more likely her ideal mate is  a hospice patient.   The older a man gets the higher the likelihood he gets a daughter age mate.

  11. 11

    It turns out that the data scientist who helped with the article agrees with Shannon and Jen.   Per Dr. Randal Olson:
    “Important: correlation != causation
    Of course, it’s important for us to keep in mind that these are all correlations with marriage stability, and they could be telling us any number of things. For example, the “having kids with your spouse” correlation could go either way: Either people in stabler marriages are more likely to have kids in wedlock, or people in less stable (unhappy) marriages tend not to have kids. All of the explanations I wrote above are my own interpretations of the correlations, but keep an open mind when thinking about what could really be driving these correlations with marriage stability.”

  12. 12

    Thank you.   This information was helpful.

  13. 13

    Also, if you want to stay married, stay out of the southern United States, avoid conservative religions, maintain a good FICO score, go to college, don’t gain weight  after marriage if you are man, don’t loose  weight  after  marriage if you are a woman, and  most importantly, don’t be poor.

  14. 14
    Karl R

    The article reporting the results changed what it said:

    “A previous version of this article showed a chart giving specific relative percent likelihoods of divorce occurring based on number of years married. The original authors of the study have pointed out that although there is a significant correlation between wider age gaps and increased divorce, it is not possible to determine the relative percent likelihood from their study. That is left to future research.”


    Data collection issues:

    The average age at the time of  marriage was 24.5 years.   As mentioned previously by several people, age differences are magnified at younger ages.

    Respondents over the age of 60 were excluded.   Widows/widowers were excluded.   This limited the amount of data they could collect for couples that married substantially older … and particularly ones with larger age gaps.


    Computational issues:

    The article relied on the study data for “recently married” couples, not all couples.   Correcting for that (alone), 1 year = 2.2% increase, not 3.4%.   Correcting for this results in:

    5 years =   11.4% increase

    10 years = 24% increase

    20 years = 54.5% increase


    According to the study, age is more important to marital success:

    For every year of a woman’s age at the time of marriage, risk of divorce decreases by 7.9%.   For every year of a man’s age at the time of marriage, risk of divorce decreases by 10.8%.


    The two data points are interrelated:

    Comparing my marriage to my wife (she’s 16 years older), to a hypothetical marriage to someone my age, two variables change.   The 16 year age gap increases my chance of divorce by 41.6%, but because she’s 16 years older (than someone my age), that decreases  my chance of divorce by 73.2%.    Combining those two, I decreased my chance of divorce by 62.1%.

    For my wife, it’s less rosy.   Not only does she get the penalty for the age difference, but she gets the additional penalty because I’m 16 years younger than someone her age.   She increased her chance of divorce by 781.8%.

    Ironically, this explains why Buck25 should be more worried about the age gap than his girlfriend is.


    The “Half Your Age Plus Seven” Rule:

    The origin is suspected to be France.   There’s at least a reference to it in 1901, but it may predate that.

    It was originally the formula for the ideal age of the bride.   According to the rule, for a man  who is 46 (like me), his ideal bride is 30.


    Tom10, (#10)

    The current version of the rule seems to work for you, because you’re in the age range where it kind of works.   For me, the age range is 30 to 78.   For Buck25, it would be 40 1/2 to 120.


    Emily said: (#2.2.4)

    “Not to be rude, but you are dating a woman young enough to be your daughter. That is a significant age gap.”

    Technically, my wife is old enough to be my mother.   She may have been sexually active at 15.   If she had conceived, she could have a kid my age.

    My wife is  19 years younger than my parents.   She’s not even close to their age.   She’s closer to mine.   My wife has no children.   From her perspective, she can’t compare me to the age of her children.   It’s not a data point she conceptualizes.


    For someone like me and my wife (or Buck25  and his girlfriend), the real hurdle is treating each other like equals.   All else being equal, we tend to put the older person in charge.   And a bit of that tendency is subconscious.

    But things are never equal.   There are other things that subconsciously affect who is in charge: personality, mannerisms, intelligence, income, etc.   If you put enough of these factors weighing on both sides of the equation, it really evens out.


    1. 14.1

      Thanks Karl for that input.   I would be interested in that further research, but wonder if it’s possible to determine likelihood of divorce just from an age gap.

      For instance, let’s say we have two 20 year olds who marry each other.   On one hand, they have no age gap, so don’t have that “penalty” per this study.   However, what about all those other studies out there, showing that people who marry young are more likely to get divorced?

      On the other hand, let’s say there’s another couple who marries at ages 50 and 55.   Is this couple really more likely to get divorced than those two 20 year olds, because they have an age gap while the 20 year olds don’t?

      I do see the larger, overall takeaway to try to marry someone within your own generation.   However, I’m just not sure if any study can really come up with a predictive formula, when there are so many variables and factors that go into a relationship’s success.

      1. 14.1.1
        Karl R

        Christine asked:

        “what about all those other studies out there, showing that people who marry young are more likely to get divorced?”

        According to this study, the impact of marrying young  will have a far greater  negative impact than the benefit of marrying someone the same age.


        Christine asked:

        “let’s say there’s another couple who marries at ages 50 and 55.   Is this couple really more likely to get divorced than those two 20 year olds, because they have an age gap while the 20 year olds don’t?”

        The benefit of marrying older will overwhelm the detriment of a 5 year age gap.   And in all likelihood, they earn a lot more money, which gives them another huge advantage.


        Christine said:

        “I’m just not sure if any study can really come up with a predictive formula, when there are so many variables and factors that go into a relationship’s success.”

        With any regression analysis, there will be a portion of the data that can’t be predicted.   If you understand how to read these, you can start to pick out where some of the unpredictability lies.

        More importantly, there are large numbers of important criteria that aren’t on the list (i.e. shared values and shared goals).   You can’t predict for anything that you didn’t measure.

        If you leave out  important variables, then it messes with the accuracy of the regression.   If you include a lot of unimportant variables, it also messes with the accuracy of the regression.   From what I understand, the randomness will appear to show patterns.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Per Karl’s point, I don’t think you need to be a statistician to get the gist of the overall trends.

          Marrying too quickly: leads to more divorce.
          Marrying too young: leads to more divorce.
          Marrying with a big age gap: leads to more divorce.
          Marrying someone you’ve already broken up with (or been dumped by): leads to more divorce.

          So where are the highest divorce rates? Usually, young, uneducated, (often religious) people who fall in love at age 22, want to have sex, get married and discover that they are too young, immature, inexperienced and poor to effectively communicate and build a life together.

          For every example above, there is a counterexample: the high school educated girl who married a much older man after getting accidentally pregnant and are happily together 15 years later, but that’s the exception, not the rule. My job is to give the rules.

        2. Joe

          Marrying with a big age gap: leads to more divorce.


          I don’t think you can say that at all, unless you have a non-flawed study you can quote.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Thou dost protest too much. You don’t want the study to be true so you’re trying to shoot holes in it. It seems patently obvious to just about anyone that the less two people have in common (as evidenced by a generation gap), there’d be a weaker foundation for a marriage. Again, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many exceptions to the rule… but you’d have to have a mendacious Donald Trump-like worldview to suggest that “40 year old men/20 year old women” or “60 year old men/40 year old women” are as viable in the long-term as two people who met at age 30 in grad school.

          Common sense, man. Don’t fight it.

        4. Joe

          I’m sorry, but resorting to an  ad hominem (no matter whether or not you use an SAT word) is probably not the best way to put forth an argument.   I don’t think anyone is claiming that a large age gap can be a problem, but neither can you say it will be a problem.

      2. 14.1.2

        Christine-don’t forget in your scenario of the 50 year olds marrying-it will most likely be their second marriage and second marriages have a much greater chance of failing!

        oh my-how do people actually stay married!

      3. 14.1.3
        Sarah Lund

        I want to grow old WITH someone. Not have to wonder what they looked like years ago. It must hurt so bad when they die before you, knowing that you still have many more years left to live, without them.

    2. 14.2

      Actually, I’m wondering, how would anyone be able to control for and/or eliminate other possible causes of divorce, to prove a causal link between an age gap and divorce?   Theoretically, you would have to somehow be able to study couples who are otherwise alike, except for their age gap.   In dealing with human beings (not formulas you can create in a lab), I’m not sure if that’s possible.

    3. 14.3

      Karl R,

      If a big age difference works for you and your wife, that’s great. I just know, as a general rule, women prefer men in their own age group. By that I mean 5 to 10   years younger or older. What I find confounding is a 65-year old man asking me out (I was in my late 30s) by saying he likes “older women.” To him, a nearly 40-year-old woman was older! When I responded, “Would you date a woman in her 90s?” he was irritated with me, but that’s how much of an age difference there was between us.


    4. 14.4

      We can always count on Karl R to bring the tech!

    5. 14.5

      @ Karl R #14
      Good man Karl, exactly the quality of analysis I was hoping to read. Refreshing clarity to your comment.
      I chuckled when you mentioned the prospect of Buck25 dating a 120 year old woman, lol (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    6. 14.6
      Karl R

      Christine, (#14.2)

      The researchers demonstrated correlation (not causation) through multivariate regression analysis.   It’s a statistical tool which is designed to determine correlations where the couples aren’t alike.

      If the regression analysis is well designed, it will produce a similar result to the type of controlled study that you suggested.

      As far as I can tell, this study was well designed …  but it was designed for a different purpose.   Therefore, it should be refined in order to determine the correlation  of an age gap to divorce.



      This type of study does  not  show who will get divorced.   It shows who is more likely to get divorced, based on observable data.   Furthermore, it shows correlation, not causation.

      That said, there are additional studies that show this correlation.

      Furthermore, there are going to be challenges in bridging an age gap (or generation gap) in a relationship.   As someone who has managed to deal with those challenges, I can see how they could cause marital stress.   (If I married a different woman, I would have faced different challenges.   My wife was a great match, so I decided that the age-related challenges were a reasonable trade-off.)



      I have met men like that as well.   One man in particular was “open” to dating women of “all ages” … provided those ages were 10-45 years younger.

      I asked if he’d be willing to date women in their 70s (barely older than him).   I got a similar reaction.


      However, as someone who also preferred to date around my age, I would recommend that someone judge the whole package.   My wife is terrific enough that it’s worth dealing with the complications of her being outside my age group.

      1. 14.6.1


        I agree with you. One must judge the whole package. I think it is a bit easier to do if you meet someone in real life versus online but still got overall advice.

        1. Emily

          still great advice. Sorry for the typo.

    7. 14.7

      About “Half your age + 7”, we never considered it a statement of “best age for the bride”, but rather an absolute FLOOR level below which you should not under no circumstance consider dating a girl / woman.

      As years pass, I’ve added a variant, where an additional number gets added, corresponding to your “decade”, so in 20s, add an extra 2, in 40s, add an extra 4. It helps the rule-of-thumb, which is good for an absolute in terms of minimum age, even though it is even likelier that an IDEAL calculation would add sequentially, so +2 for 20s, +3 for 30s (on top of the +2), +4 in 40s (on top of +2, and +3), etc. Much more sensible lol   But quits working in the 70s and 80s. Nothing is perfect.

  15. 15

    for some of us it’s not a problem as we are rejected just as much by younger women as by women our own age.   personally, i can understand why some men or women would want to date younger if they are older themselves and are in excellent physical shape.   i have noticed that many people my age (49) do not   put much effort into keeping fit and for the most part younger people are in much better condition.   i have often been told i look like i am in my mid 30’s-but of course this obviously has done nothing to improve my chances with women who i find attractive.

    1. 15.1
      Karl R

      markgil said:

      “i have noticed that many people my age (49) do not   put much effort into keeping fit and for the most part younger people are in much better condition.”

      So … would you be willing to date an older woman who is more fit than you?

      For example, there’s a woman  that I’ve had the chance to dance with a few times.   (She lives in a different city, or I’d dance with her more often.)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSxlOw-lD10   (She’s a professional dancer/instructor.   There’s no such thing as bad publicity for her.)

      Her name is Jeanne Degeyter.   I believe she’s in her late 50s.

      I have a few friends older that Jeanne who are in equally good shape.   (They just don’t have YouTube videos.)


      The point behind my question:

      If you’re looking for someone who stays in shape, then you should be equally willing to consider older women who stay in great shape.

      If you’re not, then it seems likely that you’re using fitness as an excuse to avoid dating women your age (and older).


      The reality  behind the numbers game:

      There may be more young women who are in good shape, but there’s a lot more competition for those women, too.   There may be fewer women in their 50s who are in great shape, but there aren’t that many guys chasing them.   Furthermore, many of these women share your desire for a partner who is in equally good shape.   Compare your physical fitness to the men in their 50s  &  60s.

      Not only is their less competition, but you also have an advantage over those men.

      1. 15.1.1

        there are very few women (or men for that matter) in what i would consider good physical shape in their 50’s.   i am more fit at 49 than i was at 25 and i was a competitive powerlifter at that age. not to sound conceited but i have yet to see a women in her 50’s who is in equal or better shape than myself-the dance instructor you referenced included-so i am not sure how i would react. just because a person is not overweight does not mean they have a good level of fitness.    one of the reasons i prefer younger women than myself is that i have found many women even in there mid 30’s have trouble keeping up with me when it comes to activity and energy level.

        1. Karl R

          markgil said:

          “one of the reasons i prefer younger women than myself is that i have found many women even in there mid 30’s have trouble keeping up with me when it comes to activity and energy level.”


          You’ve just explained why you’re totally screwed.

          As you’ve noticed, most women (and men) in their 30s can’t keep up with you.   The few women in their 30s who can keep up with you have also noticed that most men in their 30s can’t keep up with them.

          For that reason, those women prefer to date younger men (in their 20s) who have a better chance of keeping up with them.

          If fitness is important to them, they’re not going to waste their time on a 49 year old … just to take the 1 in 1,000 chance that he’s actually their athletic equal.

          Even if the 49 year old  is their athletic equal, he’s still 49.   Where’s the benefit for the women?


          If you can’t win, change the rules.

          I don’t claim to be in your kind of shape, but very few people keep up with me either.   When I go out dancing, I only come off the floor long enough to grab my next dance partner.   (I’ll sometimes stop long enough to grab a gulp of water or towel my face off.)

          Very few people in the dance community (male or female) match my energy level.   Most of the teenagers sit out a lot more than that.

          Out of all the women I have dated (long enough to judge),  none  matched my energy level.   If I made that a requirement, I wouldn’t have dated. Ever.


          Is it important to keep up?

          When it comes to intelligence, the situation gets worse.   If you trust IQ tests (I can give several reasons not to), I test in the 150-155 range.   (It varies from test to test.)   That’s roughly in the 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 8,000 range.

          A woman who can keep up with my energy level -and- my intellect?   Why waste my time looking?


          On MLK weekend I probably spent 10 hours on the dance floor.   My wife might have spent 3 or 4 hours.   Since we’re mostly dancing with other people, I don’t need her to keep up.   I’m changing partners every dance.   I’ll grab someone who is sufficiently  rested.

          Similarly, my wife doesn’t need to keep up with me intellectually.   I’m not asking her to check my work.   (I wish it was easier to explain my work to my coworkers, but that’s a separate problem.)


          For me, the decision was easy.   I could either hold out for someone who could keep up with me (physically and intellectually), or I could date.   I chose to date.

          If you are as physically impressive as you say, then may  have to make a similar decision.

        2. Karmic Equation


          Where does your face rate in the 1-10 scale?

          Women would rather date a slightly (to very) overweight man with a handsome face than a man with a rocking 10 bod, but a face that only his mother could love.

          And that is what men don’t get. If you have a wrinkled and/or leathery face, unless it was also handsome, your rock hard abs don’t make you dating material.

          Men who are average-looking but extremely fit, don’t automatically “deserve” women who are fit (and presumably at least average looking).  That is just not how dating works. Those fit women with “but-her-face” looks can date men in the 8-10 range (will they marry her? Not likely, but, unfortunately, she is oblivious to that reality.)

          I think sometimes both men and women come up with unattainable must haves, so that NO ONE can meet them (i.e., “keeps up with me both intellectually and physically”), as a pre-emptive first strike. S/he does the rejecting right off the bat so that s/he never has to develop other aspects of their own personality that would make them good partners, like kindness, compassion, and the ability to see and appreciate the good in other people, outside of their looks. Cuz, hey who can blame you if you have “standards”, right? OTOH, if you approach  the pretty, but slightly overweight, girl and she blows you off, then, that is a blow to the ego you  don’t want to have to face. Who is this overweight girl think she is to blow you off???

          Anyway, my point is that men need to give women in his own league a chance. And since men tend to overestimate their league, they really need to give women below their league a chance. I’m not saying date ugly women. I’m saying try seriously dating women you wouldn’t say “no” to casual sex to, rather than only trying to seriously date the 9/10s only.

        3. Caroline

          @markgil- I noticed you said you were a power lifter when you were younger. Does this mean you are quite muscular still? I’m asking because as I’m sure you are aware, there is a point where a man oversteps the point of attractiveness to many women. Reaching this threshold in muscularity can result in negative stereotyping. Lack of depth, lack of intelligence, simple mindedness, aggressiveness, insecurity, and narcissism. Quite similar to the selfie addicted beautiful girl. I’m in NO way saying you are this way in real life. I am merely talking about perception.


    2. 15.2

      I think the popular solution to the conundrum you describe is finding girls (men like girls not women) in the 3rd world. If you Google some places in the Philippines for example, people are so desperate that they live in tin shack villages on top of garbage dumps.   These “communities” produce attractive girls and all you have to do is have a 1st world passport and you will see that the possibilities are pretty amazing.   The Philippines has not been exposed to feminism and the dominant religion assures that these girls pretty much are taught from day 1 that virginity and serving their husband is what they are here to do.   They may not have a lot of school education but they have good instincts. I live in a part of the world where first world men are married to Filipina brides and the men are happy.   These girls have a reputation for not nagging and they also, as a culture like to bathe their men and treat him like a king.

  16. 16

    I am a 59 year old attractive, active, fit, woman on the dating scene.   I have dated and been in relationships with men younger than I   (by 5 years) and older (by 5 years).   No matter the age, the men I have been in a relationship with have left me for women more than 8 years younger than I   (whom they met on on-line dating sites while in a relationship with me).   I went on several of these sites out of curiosity and found that a majority of the men (even in their 70’s) post that they are looking for women 10-15 years younger.   What is up with that?   So that means I am left with men in their 70’s and 80’s.   I’m sorry, but I don’t want an “old man” to take care of.   I want someone who can be active with me and potential live many years with me.      The ease of “shopping on line” while in a relationship with someone is a whole issue in itself that is extremely frustrating.   It’s always “you are such a wonderful woman, but I met someone who contacted me on line,………..so good-bye.   Oh, and “we can still be friends” .   And I never hear from them again.

    1. 16.1

      Sorry to hear of experiences, Marie. What you go through, is what tons of other women go through, even those much younger than yourself. This has not as much to do with age than with the blight that is internet dating.   There are tons of articles out there about how internet dating encourages an “abundance” mentality in both men and women, which, when coupled with modern messages that ” you don’t have to settle”, leads to constant flux and churn in the dating “market”.

      Men (and women to lesser extent) are always looking (and even encouraged) to keep looking and “trade up” whenever they can. For men, it is looks and youth. For women, it is looks and financial security. You can pretty much discount what people say on internet dating sites. I have found that even with men who say they are open about the age range of their dating prospects, they have something specific in mind in terms of what they are looking for. They are simply more socially aware and “polite” than men who overtly state that they are looking for much younger.

      I think Evan noted in a post before that it really doesn’t matter what men say they want in terms of age, who they end up with depends on who will have them, amongst the pool of women these men find attractive, and this pool of women could very well include older women. It you are attractive, slim, fit and vivacious, you will get attention from men – which has been your experience. That they do not stay has not so much to do with age, than with them trying to do better. A number of men from the “manosphere” (internet forums where men discuss things unyoked from “political correctness”) even admit that they would prefer an older woman who takes pride in her appearance over a younger woman who looks like she has been run over by a truck.

      Finally, it is worth noting that you refuse to consider men in their 70s and older, so I don’t know how you can feel aggrieved by men who insist on dating much younger. You seem to lump all men in their 70s and older as “old” and requiring nursing care. Is that not just as prejudiced as men making judgements about women like yourself being less active and sensual than younger women ? If you want to put standards upon who you date ( which is your right by the way) you can’t then feel bad when others apply those standards back at you. At 49, I have rejected perfectly good men 55 and above because I simply wasn’t attracted to them. Men above 55 are usually just attractive to me. That’s fine, because I totally understand and “get it” when men 45-50 choose the 35+ women ahead of me. What’s good enough for the goose……

    2. 16.2
      Sarah Lund

      think it’s their mid-life crisis phase. Not really sure that many younger women find it attractive. Younger women are normally into men their own age, because they know they can keep up with them, physically 😉 We don’t want to look at a wrinkled face in our bed. All I can advise is, maybe try seeking out a hot younger man. At least a younger man will be able to give you what you require. And he’ll still be in good health. You have nothing to lose.  

  17. 17

    And for the record, the age gap matters just as much “later in life” – at least for THIS 54! I   no more desire a guy 10-20 years my senior now,   than I did when I was 30 (yes, I actually remember).   Thought it a bit creepy back then and feel the same now and my girlfriends agree.

    Just sayin’…..


    1. 17.1

      Yes, but there is no accounting for attraction, is there ? If you met an extremely fit and gorgeous, funny, lovely, wonderful, relationship minded man tomorrow, would you turn him down because he is 10-20 years older than yourself ? No, I didn’t think so.

  18. 18

    I’m going to answer honestly, at the risk of being persecuted.. 🙂

    10 years older- yes, you are right, I’d go out with him.   However, If he were more than 10 years older, I’d likely not date him at all. 20 years older? Nope, sorry, for many reasons that I just would rather not go into right here.

    And I have yet to meet anyone (oh, and have I met many, many, many guys!) that much older that I actually am attracted to, sorry….

    1. 18.1

      I am going to agree with you. I am not attracted to men who are significantly older than I am. I am in my mid-40s. Someone 40 to 50 is what I am looking for.

      There are exceptions, of course. When I was in my 20s, I had a huge crush on my art history professor, who was in his late 40s. He’d walk out of the classroom and half the female students would follow him. 🙂

      Or if Richard Gere showed up at my door–and I mean the Richard Gere of today, who’s in his 60s–I wouldn’t say no, but …

      1. 18.1.1

        If you  were meeting men organically, rather than digitally,  you wouldn’t be able to determine that Man X is 11 years older/younger and out of your age range, or if Man Y was only 9 years older/younger and therefore in your range.

    2. 18.2


      No reason you should be “persecuted”; a lot of women in your age range feel the same way you do…and that’s ok; you’re entitled to your preferences.There are at least some who feel otherwise; one woman of 56 above said she’d have no problem dating a man my age (11 years older), if she were attracted to him. Similarly, if you follow Karl R’s posts here, he’s happily married to a woman 19 years older than he is; not common for a guy, but it works for the two of them and that’s what matters. We all, men and women alike, have differing preferences and comfort levels, and that’s actually a good thing. You haven’t said anything hateful; you just have an age preference; nothing to be “sorry” for. 🙂

      1. 18.2.1

        I thank you, kindly and totally agree we all have unique preferences.


        1. Emily

          I think sometimes that people–and I said “people,” not men–who are interested in a much younger mate need to be realistic. Because if the younger mate is bringing his youth (and by extension, attractiveness) to the table, what am I, as the older person, providing? In a way, dating is a barter system. Am I preternaturally well-preserved? (Everyone says they are, but that doesn’t seem possible.) Do I have money? Can I give him something a younger women can not? Most people just want what they want, without a thought to their ability to achieve it.

    3. 18.3

      Me too Sophia:)

      10 years is fine with me. I’d even venture upward if the guy was hitting all my buttons (in fact I dated a guy I met organically who was 17 years older-I had no idea. He was super active, still working his own business etc). Truth be told, when I told him my age, the let down was palatable. I guess I didn’t hit that sweet spot for him. He pushed for sex too quickly and I left cutting my losses.

      I will admit online, I’m probably not gonna be interested if the guy is over 12 years my senior. Like many if the ladies I’m more comfortable with a small age gap. My current guy is 4 years older.

  19. 19

    I think the reason people are having a hard time meeting is that the average person tries to figure out the best strategy to finding love. Even if you leave out statistics, most women I know want a taller guy and men want a beautiful, fit woman. If men and women would forget about statistics and their minor preferences and just met people and dated, you would naturally know whether their is chemistry and common interest. A friendship I made with a male friend a couple years ago illustrates my point. I met my friend at my last job and we didn’t really click for about a month. Then one day we just started talking and we hit it off. We even had the same birthday! Statistically we probably would have never been friends. We have insanely different backgrounds and personalities. I know, this could be perceived as a blue unicorn, but I didn’t have a script about how I would meet a good buddy. His wife is taller than him by four inches by the way. They statistically should not be married either for many reasons. They’ve been together for 10 years. I could give some examples that are more romatic relationship oriented , but I don’t have the time at the moment. Believe me, I understand what “exception to the rule” is and I understand a 30 year old woman doesn’t want a 70 year old guy. I just believe that sizing people up too much leads to romantic relationships that are more safe and boring than an adventure. Statistics have their place, like tracking business trends; however, I think it’s smart to chuck out the pie graphs when it comes to the mystery of how two people connect.

  20. 20

    Well, it’s sort of funny that  Evan is referring to a relationship between a woman is her  30s and a man in this 40s as a May-December romance. Being in your  forties is not dying just yet 🙂

    A few year ago when  I was dating, I couldn’t even consider any man younger than 35, otherwise I felt I was dealing with a child. And I didn’t want to be his mommy. I wanted security, stability, consistency and wisdom from a potential mate.  My husband is in his 40s and he is the perfect one for me.  And he already knows there is nothing out there he’s missing on. Btw, I’m a foreign born woman now in my late twenties (was 24-26 when I was actively dating). Different cultures see the age gap differently, I guess.  


    1. 20.1


      Yes, age is viewed differently in different cultures. Most people I’ve met who grew up in Europe, for example, see it differently from most natives of the U.S. and Canada. Then too, it’s different at different ages. The last time (before now) when I was single, I was in my mid-forties, and wouldn’t have dated most women in their early thirties, much less one in her twenties. I remember they seemed almost childlike to me (and not necessarily in a good way). I’d have far less difficulty with a ten year age gap, maybe slightly more, now (in my sixties; that’s not dying just yet, either:)), but it’s still more a matter of the two individual people involved, and how they deal with any potential challenges.

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