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However, United Nations in 2000 asserts that there is variety in the average marital age difference across different cultures. For instance, in some African societies, the average difference in terms of age between married partners is three times that in most Western countries, revolving around 10 years in most cases.
Moreover, 10 years appears to be the maximum acceptable difference on average for a romantic partner, particularly for women. This is because differences beyond 10 years are not seen as normative by most societies. Another way to explain men and women’s partner age preferences is to think of heterosexual relationships in social exchange terms. Social exchange theory proposes that how we feel about a given social interaction or relationship fundamentally depends upon the costs to be incurred and benefit associated with it. Basically, when rewards are more than the costs to be incurred in a relationship, we tend to feel good about it and will in most cases stay in it and vice versa. Conversely, an older man providing his resources for a young, attractive woman can be seen as a social exchange where he provides shelter, food, and security in exchange for sex with her bringing about an opportunity to procreate. Such an arrangement is likely to be seen as a favorable because it meets important needs for both partners.
Another explanation for men and women’s partner age preferences is by considering the social role theory which argues that the traditional division of labor between the sexes has resulted in women assuming the social role of providing domestic labor and men fulfilling the social role of providing. Thus leading women to look for financially stable men who are mostly older and men looking for younger women who look productive and attractive.
The tendency for women to marry older men so as to have them provide for them is changing as more women are in the labor force as
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