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    Were Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Destined for Trouble?

    Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore NATIONAL PHOTO GROUP

    Why are so many people confused by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher's marriage drama? Duh, this is what happens when a cougar marries a cub.
    —Vake, via the inbox

    Let's just pretend that a woman like Demi Moore is a "cougar." And, really, if marrying a dude in his 20s while being over 30 makes a woman a cougar, females can't win anymore. I fold.

    Anyway, I threw your question past someone with an actual degree in relationship counseling, plus a guy who has some very interesting data, and, it turns out, you're not entirely wrong:

    IN OTHER ASHTON NEWS: Ooh! Coded messages!

    You're just somewhat wrong.

    First we'll start with the veteran relationship expert who is also a go-to voice on talk shows whenever the topic is love-related: Dr. Gilda Carle. She tells me that whatever is going on between the Mr. and Mrs. Kutcher, it has nothing to do with age. She cites Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith (who are, as far as we know, doing just fine) and Hugh Jackman, who is still married to a woman roughly 10 years his senior.

    "Age is not the issue," she insists. "It's the psychology behind who these people are. It's their EQ, emotional quotient."

    In other words, if Ashton's cheating rumors are true, then somebody in that marriage lacks the maturity to keep it in his pants. Or her pants. Or their pants. The point is: Pants.

    MORE: The alleged other woman talks!

    "Just because you're a certain age doesn't make you mature," Carle says. "You may look older than your mate but be less mature; when you have an issue, do you run to other people, or do you say, 'We have an issue, let's repair it'?"

    Good point. After all, Tiger Woods' wife wasn't exactly old or haggard, was she?

    All that said, age may be coming into play in this marriage more subtly and indirectly. I bring you Brandon Wade, creator of a Web site called WhatsYourPrice.com. The site places the value of a first date in dollars and cents. First dates are, apparently, bought and sold.

    Wade's site recently published a study examining the perceived values of first dates based on age. According to the study, the perceived value of "attractive females" peak at "approximately $166, when she reaches the age of 25.

    MORE: Demi's topless Tweet

    "By the time she becomes a cougar, which is generally defined as an attractive woman over the age of 30, her value is on the decline, losing as much as $4.25 each year she ages. The study also finds that the value of an attractive male peaks when he reaches the age of 34."

    Why does this matter? Because, at age 33, Kutcher happens to be approaching that peak value Wade is describing. And if that's the case, he says, "he is facing tremendous pressure to stray" among the young ladies.

    See my earlier reference about pants.

    PHOTOS: Cougars 'n' Cradle Robbers

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