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in. The real rules about how old and young you can date. According to this rule, society should accept a 50 y e ar old man dating a 32 year old woman. A quick poll of my friends says otherwise. This made me wonder, does the creepiness rule actually reflect what is socially acceptable when it comes to age differences in dating? In other words, does the creepiness rule actually reflect what society finds…creepy? The internet is divided on the topic. The researchers approached random people in public and asked them to imagine themselves in a romantic relationship with an attractive person of the opposite sex.
The researchers then presented different types of relationships- sexual fantasies, casual affairs, long-term relationships, marriage — and asked the participants what the minimum and maximum age of their partner is for each scenario. So I decided to find the answers myself. I tackled this paradigm-shifting research the only way I knew how: I created a survey. Although I could have hit the streets of New York and surveyed people in-person Buunk style, I decided to mTurk my survey. I try to avoid as much social interaction in my daily life as possible.
This can vary from transcribing a movie, to identifying an item on a receipt, to taking a survey about hypothetical romantic relationships. The showed that the creepiness rule is generally too lenient about how young you can date — especially as you get older. As John and Lauren got older, however, the creepiness rule differed from how people actually responded. Yet according to the survey, 37 was well outside the age range of what is socially acceptable. The also showed that the creepiness rule is too restrictive about how old you can date when you are young, but becomes too lenient as you get older.
Yet, people surveyed were fine with John and Lauren seeing someone in their early 30's. When John and Lauren are 60, the creepiness rule allows them to date anyone older than themselves the official cap is However, society places more restrictive age limits of 71 and 75 respectively.
Overall, the creepiness rule does not accurately represent what people find socially acceptable; people are more judgmental than what the creepiness rule implies. If the creepiness rule is wrong, then I needed a new rule to guide my non-existent love life. As I reviewed the data, I realized that one rule was not enough.
Society has different expectations for men and women — men can date younger than women and women can date older than men. When it comes to dating older, women have the advantage. According to the survey, a 20 year-old John can date someone who is However, when Lauren is 30, she is supposed to date someone who is at least I not only created separate rules for men and women but also created different rules to determine how old and how young each gender can date.
For men:. For women:.
The charts below compares the outputs of the revised rules with the predictions of the original creepiness rule. In almost all scenarios, the revised rules are more restrictive than what the creepiness rule would suggest. I think there are opportunities to build on this oh-so-important research. What is the actual average age difference between couples?
How would this research translate to same-sex relationships?
At the end of the day, this article was about how people think, not how people should think. Look for relationships that just make you happy. If you liked this article, visit LateNightFroyo. When is the Right Time to Show up to a Party? How Young is Too Young to Date? Buunk, B. Age preferences for mates as related to gender, own age, and involvement level.
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