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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.

Male chimpanzees tend to prefer older females than younger and it is suggested that specific cues of female mate value are very different to humans.

Buss attributed the male preference for younger females to certain youthful cues.

Buss stated the specific age preference of around 25 years implied that fertility was a stronger ultimate cause of mate preference than reproductive value as data suggested that fertility peaks in females around mid-twenties.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.The theory predicts that preferred mate choices have evolved to focus on reproductive potential and reproductive investment of members of the opposite sex.This theory predicts both intrasexual selection and intersexual choice due to differences in parental investment; typically there is competition among members of the lower investing sex (generally males) over the parental investment of the higher investing sex (generally females) who will be more selective in their mate choice.

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