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The rule is widely cited, but its origins are hard to pin down.
In its earlier incarnations, it seemed to be a prescription for an ideal age difference rather than the limit of what’s okay.
A study released in 2003 by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics concluded that the proportion of women in England and Wales marrying younger men rose from 15% to 26% between 19.
Another study also showed a higher divorce rate as the age difference rose for when either the woman was older or the man was older.
Within sexual selection Darwin identified a further two mechanisms which are important factors in the evolution of sex differences (sexual dimorphism): intrasexual selection (involve competition with those of the same sex over access to mates) and intersexual choice (discriminative choice of mating partners).Age-disparity relationships have been documented for most of recorded history and have been regarded with a wide range of attitudes dependant on sociocultural norms and legal systems. Relationships with age disparity of all kinds have been observed with both men and women as the older or younger partner.In various cultures, older men and younger women often seek one another for sexual or marital relationships.The rational choice model suggests that people look for partners who can provide for them in their life (bread-winners); as men traditionally earn more as they get older, women will therefore prefer older men.One of the concerns of relationships with age disparities in some cultures is a perceived difference between people of different age ranges.