Two things: the somewhat random-looking picture above is from The Moon Is Blue, a 1953 film that’s the first known reference to the ‘dating rule’ discussed here.
Secondly, I don’t make any judgement about the validity of the ‘dating rule’ – you might find it a useful rule of thumb or a ludicrous restriction; I find it a nice thing to do some algebra on.
According to this rule, the age of the younger person should not be less than half the age of the older person plus seven years, so that (for example) no one older than 65 should be in a relationship with anyone younger than 39 and a half, no one older than 22 should be in a relationship with anyone younger than 18, and no one under 14 years of age should be in a relationship at all...
From another point of view, the chart can be interpreted as saying that there should not be an age disparity of as much as five years unless the younger person has an age of 19 or more, a ten-year disparity should exist only if the younger person has an age of 24 or more, and a twenty-year disparity should occur only if the younger person has an age of 34 or more.
I’m not looking for a life partner, and I’m not looking for a one-night-stand.
I’m looking for someone that recognizes, and maybe even sympathizes, with this “new adulthood” thing I’m trying on. Scanning the inventory of relationships of older friends and family, I see the proverbial May Decembers everywhere, and in both directions.
At the very least, you don’t spiral into a tornado of anxiety at the words “settle down.” I’m happy for you, but I’m not there yet.
If you’re 32 and you don’t want to settle down, that’s fine.
We can write the dating rule as an equation: $y=x \div 2 7$.
In this equation, $x$ is your age and $y$ is the minimum age you are supposed to date. Well, it means we can work out some other implications of the rule.
I’ve been on a lot of dates of late, and in spite of the wide parameters I think I want, and the results of that flimsy formula, I’ve found that my “sweet spot” was smaller than I thought.