The Role Of Age In Online Dating (Updated For 2020)

It is common to hear the phrase that age is only a number, but is this actually true? Before jumping into online dating, it is a good choice to explore how age is a factor. For some people, dating within their peer group is preferred, likely because it is viewed as most widely accepted by society. However, others are looking for age gaps while others do not consider age at all.

Age and online dating

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The Rule Of Seven Is Not Scientific

The Rule of Seven is often discussed in dating circles and by relationship experts. It asserts that the oldest person in the relationship should be no more than seven plus half of their younger partner’s age. For example, if someone is 37, the youngest person they should be dating would be age 26.

The origins of this rule are not easy to find, but it is often cited as an ideal way to determine the ages of the people that you should be dating. It has been featured in several movies, especially in the 1950s when courtship was a bit more traditional and conservative compared to the world of online dating today.

While it is an element in the American cultural lexicon, scientists say that it has little merit. Ultimately, overall compatibility ranks higher than someone’s age. Science says that people should focus more on what they have in common with their partner.

This does not mean that age is never a factor. However, it does mean that while it is okay to consider it, someone’s age should not be the ultimate deciding factor in whether you choose to date them. With online dating it is a lot easier to essentially experiment with different age groups without getting too invested, helping people to expand their age-related horizons on their quest for romance.

Women Care More About Age Than Men

Women tend to prefer to date within their peer group more often than men. In one survey, the women who were asked about age differences and dating said that they preferred a partner who was only a few years older or younger than themselves.

In this same survey, men varied quite a bit. Men up to age 40 appeared to largely agree with the women in the survey. However, as they got over 40, their preferences in women’s ages started to get younger. They also stated that the more casual the relationship, the younger their female partner could be.

Being A Cougar Is Becoming More Popular

It is estimated that approximately one-third of women who are ages 40 to 60 are dating men who are younger than themselves. While it used to be taboo and the plot of risqué films to see older women with younger men, it is more mainstream now, largely thanks to Hollywood and female celebrities dating younger men very publicly.

Many older women state that they enjoy being a cougar because it makes them feel in control of their relationship. Other women state that since they are financially stable that they do not need to find a male peer to support them once they get to age 40 and over. This allows them to have more freedom regarding the partners that they choose for themselves.

When younger men who date cougars are asked why it is their preference, many state that they like a more casual relationship with fewer demands and cougar dating allows for this. They can simply enjoy each other’s company without the stresses that often occur with peer dating.

Due to the increased popularity of cougar dating, there are many websites dedicated to it. Some are straightforward cougar sites while others have more of a sugar momma vibe to them.

Mutual Maturity Is More Important Than Age

When two people are dating, their ages are not as important as their level of maturity. People mature at different rates. Because of this, there can be 10 or more years between two people even though they are of the same maturity level.

What is most important is that two people are on the same page. For example, two people who are chasing goals or two people who are just trying to figure things out. This is all the more important than being close in age.

Age Differences Increase With Later Commitment

In the US, more people are choosing to put off marriage until they are older. This has resulted in bigger age gaps among those seeking long-term relationships. People are less focused on the ages of the people they are meeting and more focused on mutual interests.

When people are online dating, fewer people are using age filters. Even if they do prefer people closer to their age, they seem to be more open minded about the people who they are exposed to. This trend is especially noticeable among those who are over age 35.

Older Men Do Better Than Older Women Online

When it comes to online dating, the desirability peak for women is about age 21. However, if women stick with the sites until they are 26, compared to men, they will have more pursuers.

While younger men can certainly fare okay in the online dating world, it is when they turn 48 that the tables start to shift for them. Compared to women in this age demographic, men have nearly twice the pursuers are women do.

Part of this is due to younger women believing that an older man can offer them some stability. However, you also see women who are around age 48 seeking men in this demographic because they feel that they are finally mature enough to be on the same level as them regarding things like goals and life dreams.

Being Untruthful About Age Is Common

Being dishonest is common with online dating. Age is one of the biggest things that people lie about. While women are not always honest about their age, this lie is one that men tend to tell more often.

It is estimated that about one-fifth of women shave at least a few years from their actual age when they are on an online dating site. However, this lie is told by about one-third of men, making them more likely to say they are younger than they actually are.

Lying about age is something that many people come to expect when they engage in online dating. However, it is generally easy to determine if this is a lie that is being told. For example, photos that do not look modern and how a person presents themselves overall can often tell you if they are being honest about their age.

Women Become Less Desirable Nearly Three Decades Earlier

When people are looking for others to date, looks are among the most important factor. This is one of the reasons why women’s desirability peaks approximately 32 years earlier than a man’s does.

Because of this, men tend to have more success when they start online dating later in life. Men are also more likely to find marriage a second time compared to women who get divorced.

Older Men Are More Likely To Date Than Older Women Are

As men and women get older, the need for socialization and companionship remains important. However, after age 57, men are more likely to keep dating compared to women. For older adults, most are looking for something long-term, but finding friendship and someone to just spend time with can be equally beneficial.

With online dating sites cropping up that cater to the age 50 and older crowd, it is becoming easier for older people to find love. When you look at these websites, they all tend to have more male members than females. The same is true with general dating sites because the age 50 and older pool tends to have more men than women.

Teens Are The Least Likely To Use Online Dating

Teens spend a lot of time online, but compared to other age demographics, teens are among the least likely to search for romantic partners on the internet. It is estimated that only about 8% of teens have gone online and met someone to get romantically involved with.

Up to 26% of teens have never even attempted to meet someone online. However, once they are talking to someone romantically, they often use texting and social media as means for frequent communication.

Age 18 To 29 Is The Most Common Age Demographic

Online daters come in all ages, but the most common group is 18 to 29. While men still usually outnumber women in this age group, some sites have a balance of nearly 50/50 among the genders in this age group.

Fertility Is Largely Why Men Are Attracted To Younger Women

While physical appearance is likely the biggest reason many men seek out women under age 25, it is not the only thing that they consider. The need to procreate can drive men to seek out women who are fertile. Since fertility typically peaks in the mid-20s, looking for women in this age group is common.


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1. The Rule of Seven regarding what age difference is acceptable is not based on science. In fact, the origin is not easy to trace.

2. Age is more important to women than it is to men.

3. Older women dating younger men, or cougars, are becoming more mainstream.

4. Instead of age, couples should focus more on mutual maturity.

5. When people look for long-term relationships later in life, age differences become less important.

6. With online dating, older men have more pursuers than older women do.

7. 20% of women and 33% of men lie about their age when creating their online dating profile.

8. About 32 years before men, women are said to be less desirable from a physical standpoint.

9. When it comes to people age 57 and older, men are more likely to pursue dating.

10. Only about 8% of teens have pursued a romantic partner online.

11. Most online daters are age 18 to 29.

12. Men tend to seek women in their mid-20s and younger due to perceived fertility.

SOURCES:

https://newrepublic.com/
https://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/Health/story?id=731599&page=1
https://www.elitedaily.com/
https://www.cairn-int.info/journal-population-2009-1-page-173.htm
https://www.marketwatch.com/
https://www.eharmony.com/online-dating-statistics/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848887/
https://www.pewresearch.org/
https://www.statista.com/statistics/706499/us-adults-online-dating-site-app-by-age/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/

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