One of the concerns of relationships with age disparities in some cultures is a perceived difference between people of different age ranges.

These differences may be sexual, financial or social in nature. Socially, a society with a difference in wealth distribution between older and younger people may affect the dynamics of the relationship.

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Buunk of the University of Groningen, examined desired minimum and maximum ranges across different ages by approaching people in public spaces—railway stations, libraries, malls—and asking them (anonymously) what ages they would consider appropriate for five different levels of relationship: marriage, serious relationship, falling in love, casual sex, and sexual fantasies.

They restricted their survey to people who fell within a year of five age groups: 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60, and asked a similar number of men (70) and women (67).

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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.

According to the rule, the age of the younger partner (regardless of gender) should be no less than seven more than half the older partner’s age.

Martin, then, shouldn’t date anyone younger than 26 and a half; Lawrence shouldn’t go above 34.

There are also social theories for age differences in relationships as well as suggested reasons for 'alternative' age-hypogamous relationships.

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.

Dunn concluded that "Not once across all ages and countries ...