The longer you’re single and dating, the fewer eligible bachelors or bachelorettes there seem to be.

But the brilliant folks at XKCD have come up with a formula that suggests that your dating pool increases as you get older because you can choose from a wider age swath of folks. When you’re, say, 20, you can’t date men or women that much younger than you are because that would be considered gross/borderline illegal. At 20, people just four years older seem too old–you’re likely at different phases in your life–working vs. in school.

But as you get older, the dateable swath widens because most of the developmental phases are over and done with. There isn’t as a great a difference between a 30 and 35-year-old as there is between a 20 and 25-year-old. The former pairing have much more in common than the latter grouping even though the age disparity is essentially the same. Ditto for the 31-year-old and 38-year-old.

 

This comic should be heartening to many single folk, especially after summer–also known as wedding season–where they sat through endless ceremonies and declarations of loves, perhaps wondering if it will ever happen for them. It can–if you adjust your formula.

 

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