Relationships with large age gaps are often a point of contention in society, and this rule attempts to solidify specific parameters for daters depending on their age, in accordance with societal norms.
According to the rule, you divide your age by two and then add seven to calculate the "socially acceptable" minimum age for a partner. For example, if you're 32, you can date someone as young as 23 while remaining in the realm of "socially acceptable," according to the calculation. Conversely, to find your ceiling for dating, you would subtract seven from your age and then double it. So, per the rule, a 32-year-old could date a 50-year-old.
While this rule has been widely cited, many experts suggest it's used as helpful guidance rather than anything concrete.
Dating and relationship expert Carol Roderick, PhD, says she doesn't advise clients to follow the rule to a T, but she does "encourage them to think carefully about their upper and lower age limits, especially on online dating sites and apps."