Here are some of the fine points to the equation. For control, we assume a career trajectory of unsuccessful, upon graduating college, to highly successful in old age.
In college, men and women are basically in the same place, both relationship and career-wise. Upon graduating their love lives move in separate directions – hers climbs up, his drops down. This scenario is played out time and again in cities like New York, where men in their 20s are usually either drunk or working (or both at the same time), greatly inhibiting their ability to have a relationship. On the other hand, women at this stage are not as drunk, not working as much, and are desired by men in their 30s.
It’s not until their late 20’s do the guys start their climb, along with their career. This is likely due to their slow awakening from a decade’s long inebriated state, followed by a brief spell of boredom, followed by a desire to “get serious” with someone. But for women, the trend seems to be the opposite – as their responsibility, hours, and pay increase at work, their interest in finding love wanes. “I’m concentrating on my career,” is a familiar refrain, as is “I don’t have time for a relationship.”
Aside from a brief but sudden drop for men in their early 40s due to a mid-life crisis, their love lives coordinate with their career trajectory into their old age. But as the woman continues her mercurial career ascent, her love life descends into an twilight-years nadir.