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Very Wealthy Men Marry Much Younger Women

Wealthy men equal young brides.

Key points

  • When analyzing first marriages, men on the Forbes list marry women about 7 years younger.
  • When analyzing second marriages, men on the Forbes list marry women who are on average 22 years younger.
  • An analysis of first marriages showed that wealthy women marry men who are on average four years younger.

Recently, Hugo Schwyzer authored a breathtakingly silly article in The Atlantic titled “What If Men Stopped Chasing Much-Younger Women?” and then added the prescriptive subtitle: “It would benefit everyone, of all ages and genders.” This reminds me of the old Arabic quip (my mother tongue is Arabic): If my grandmother had testicles, we would have called her my grandfather.

Incidentally, Christopher Ryan, a fellow Psychology Today blogger, recently put up a post in which he discussed Schwyzer’s article. In an article filled with foolish passages devoid of any link to reality, this might be my favorite one by Schwyzer: “So if older men aren’t pursuing much younger women because of evolutionary hardwiring, why do they? It’s hard not to conclude that much of the appeal is about the hope of finding someone less demanding.”

So innumerable men throughout history have sought out young women as mates including emperors, kings, dictators, presidents, and CEOs because they are afraid to face a too “demanding” partner. Hence, harems throughout history that were filled with beautiful young women were simply an indication of the ruler’s fragile and insecure personality. Kings David and Solomon, Suleyman the Magnificient, and Kang Xi (Chinese emperor), enough with your insecurities. Mate with someone your age, you little punks!

I just found out (via another fellow Psychology Today blogger, David P. Schmitt) about a study authored by Thomas V. Pollet, Sophia E. Pratt, Gracia Edwards, and Gert Stulp and published in Letters on Evolutionary Behavioral Science that addresses this general issue, via an analysis of marriages and remarriages of men and women appearing on the Forbes 400 list. Here are the key findings:

  1. When analyzing first marriages, men on the Forbes list married women who were on average younger than the average difference for similar weddings across the US population (7.01 years younger versus 4.1 years younger; p = .007).
  2. The same analyses for the wealthy women on the list found that they married husbands who were on average 4.05 years older than them, namely statistically no different from the age difference for first weddings across the US population (p = 0.986).
  3. When analyzing remarriages of the very wealthy men, they tied the knot with women who were on average an astonishing 22.32 years younger than them. Needless to say, this finding is highly statistically significant when compared to the average age difference for remarriages for the US population (p = 0.002 or p = .011 depending on which population estimate is used).

It is the third finding that is particularly revealing in that it most directly addresses Schwyzer’s hallucinatory babble. If we are to believe his “logic,” as these outlandishly wealthy men age and acquire greater wealth, they are that much more in desperate need to mate with a less “demanding” woman. It could not have anything to do with biology or evolution. God forsake that thought! Only vulgar reductionists would believe that biological forces shape human sexuality.

On a related note, readers might be interested in one of my earlier posts (see here) in which I discussed a study that explored the relationship between the amount of money that a man spends on an engagement ring and the age of the bride. Care to guess the direction of the correlation?

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