What is the ‘rule of 7’ in dating? My interview with The List Daily explains the thinking behind this century old age-gap standard (that still exists today): #LeonardoDiCaprio #agegaplove #oldermen #youngerwomen #agedifferences

Lana writes, “These days, it seems like age-gap discourse is at the top of everyone’s minds — or at the very least, every time that Leonardo DiCaprio gets a new girlfriend. And while we might not know Leonardo DiCaprio (48) or his alleged new girlfriend, Eden Polani (19), it still strikes folks the wrong way, especially because Hollywood isn’t the only place we might witness these types of age gaps. Twitter users, in particular, were amused by the coupling, with some noting, “She’s younger than Titanic!”

Where did the rule of 7 come from?

It can be difficult to know whether or not someone is “too young” or “too old” for you, there is one rule that some abide by — known as the “rule of 7.” The rule of 7 essentially means that you take your age, divide it by half, and then add seven years. (Of course, it is typically men who are doing the dividing.)

So if you’re 30 years old, the youngest you can date is 22. The older you get, the more leniency the rule of 7 has. And if you’re 50 years old, the youngest person you can date is 32. It dates all the way back to 1901 and originated with the French author Max O’Rell, who includes mention of it in his guide to love, “Her Royal Highness Woman and His Majesty Cupid.”

“A man should marry a woman half his age, plus seven,” he wrote. “Try it at whatever age you like, and you will find it works very well … after all, a man, as well as a woman, is the age that he looks and feels.”

What do the experts think?

According to experts, such a strict rule around dating age differences can be silly and contrived. “I find it amusing that there’s an equation for the ‘optimal’ age gap in love. While formulas seem as though they have some kind of scientific credence, the truth is that two resonant souls will find each other (regardless of their ages),” relationship coach Susan Winter told the Independent. When it comes to meeting your soulmate, her advice is simple, “Rules no longer apply — there are no rules in love except to follow your heart.””

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