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I still didn’t know whether the creepiness rules actually represented what society finds acceptable. I tackled this paradigm-shifting research the only way I knew how: I created a survey.I presented people with hypothetical situations in which their friend, “John” or “Lauren” had started a new romantic relationship that was too early too define.In other words, does the creepiness rule actually reflect what society finds…creepy? Articles and blog posts alternate between claiming age absolutely matters in a relationship and age absolutely doesn’t matter in a relationship.One thing is clear — nothing brings out more opinions than other people’s love lives.Yet according to the survey, 37 was well outside the age range of what is socially acceptable.The results 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.
The results were interesting but just because I want to date someone much younger than me doesn’t mean I would be okay with someone else doing the same.The “creepiness rule” states that the youngest you should date is “half your age plus seven.” The less commonly used corollary is that the oldest you should date is “subtract seven from your age and double it.”According to this rule, society should accept a 50 year old man dating a 32 year old woman. Reactions ranged from “sure” to “that’s weird” to “why are you asking me this? When I flipped the genders — a 50 year old woman dating a 32 year old man — people’s responses often flipped as well.