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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.
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.
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.
When John/Lauren are 20, the creepiness rules caps their maximum dating age at 26 ([20–7]*2).
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.
As John and Lauren got older, however, the creepiness rule differed from how people actually responded.
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? Articles and blog posts alternate between claiming age absolutely matters in a relationship and age absolutely doesn’t matter in a relationship.
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.
I then gave different ages for their friend — 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 — and asked participants what the socially acceptable minimum and maximum ages of their friend’s new lovers were.