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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.
With more women working, in higher positions and being paid more, they no longer have such a reliance on men for resources.
So fewer women will prioritise resources when looking for a mate.
These effects appear to apply to heterosexual and same-sex couples.
So the negative outcomes for age-gap couples seem to reside not in problems within the couple, but in pressures and judgments from the outside world.
About 1% of age-gap couples involve an older woman partnered with a younger man.
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.
Another factor at play may have to do with the stage of life each partner is experiencing.
For instance, a ten-year gap between a 20-year-old and a 30-year-old may bring up different challenges and issues than for a ten-year gap where one partner is 53 and the other is 63.
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.
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But when it comes to our own relationships, both men and women prefer someone their own age, but are open to someone 10-15 years their junior or senior.