In other words, while the rule states that 40-year-old women can feel comfortable dating 27-year-old men, this does not reflect the social preferences and standards of women.
Women in their 40s think that approximately 35 or older is acceptable for marriage or a relationship.
Women’s preferred maximum partner age: Examining maximum preferences, again the rule is more lenient, offering an age range with which most people are not comfortable.
The rule states that it is acceptable for 30-year old women to date men who are up to 46 years old, but in actuality, 30-year-old women state that their max acceptable partner age would be less than 40 (around 37).
Clooney has been scrutinized at times for dating younger women, though not consistently, and this pattern is nicely reflected in a graph of his own age, his partners’ ages, and the rule’s calculations for minimum and maximum acceptable ages.
Only twice has he become involved with women whose ages were outside the rule’s guideline.
How well does the rule capture women’s preferences?
Even when fantasizing, such women’s minimum age preference remains over 30.
The rule’s calculated minimum acceptable partner ages seem to fit men better than women.
Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.
Instead, men report maximum acceptable partner ages that hover around their own age through their 40s.
Women’s preferred minimum partner age: Below are the data from Buunk et al.’s (2000) study on women’s minimum age preferences; the rule’s age calculations are represented by the solid line.