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But because the building of resources takes time, we tend to acquire resources later in life and so are older by the time we have acquired enough wealth and resources to comfortably provide for others.
So, women’s attunement to status and resources might explain why some women may be attracted to older men.
That is, the extent to which someone has “good genes” – indicated by their attractiveness and sense of energy (also known as vitality) – and the extent to which they are a “good investment” – indicated by their status and resources as well as their warmth and sense of trust.
Although men and women place importance on a partner who is warm and trustworthy, women place more importance on the status and resources of their male partner.
A factor that does impact on the relationship outcomes of age-gap couples is their perceptions of social disapproval.
That is, if people in age-gap couples believe their family, friends and wider community disapprove of their union, then relationship commitment decreases and the risk of break-up increases.
Given men cannot bear children, evolution suggests they’re attuned to younger women to enhance the chances of partnering with someone who can provide children.This largely has to do with having social circles that generally include peers of similar ages and being attracted to others who are similar.Similarity entails many things, including personality, interests and values, life goals and stage of life, and physical traits (age being a marker of physical appearance).These couples also seem to report greater trust and commitment and lower jealousy than similar-age couples.Over three-quarters of couples where younger women are partnered with older men report satisfying romantic relationships.
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Across Western countries, about 8% of all married heterosexual couples can be classified as having a large age gap (ten years or more).