Some want you to believe that love is merely a science and there’s a formula to determine whether you will stay together or divorce. One of those places is The Journal of Family Psychology which released a study showing that those in relationships where the guy is better looking than the girl are more doomed to divorce.
"The relative attractiveness in a couple matters more than the absolute attractiveness of each partner," according to one researcher in the study, UCLA's Benjamin Karney, PhD.
Ah, so that is why Jennifer Aniston got dumped by Brad Pitt, the logic goes. She’s not as good looking as Pitt, but Angelina Jolie is more beautiful than he is, so voila — that explains the chemistry.
The only problem with this analysis is that it reduces attraction to looks and not a more enduring connection — based on loyalty, intelligence, common interests. If people believe this study, they will have yet another reason to worry about fidelity.
Even our article on “How to Catch a Cheating Husband,” didn’t suggest you should worry if he’s better looking than you.
The sages have long said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Years ago, I compiled pictures of long-term couples and discovered that they often had the same face shapes and, more often than not, looked as if they belonged to the same family.
What I gleaned from that unscientific study is that love can be triggered by familiarity. If the husband in the Karney study was more attractive than the wife, both of them were less satisfied with the marriage.
Satoshi Kanazawa, PhD, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, offers his own explanation as to why the couple might be less happy — handsome men make bad husbands.
“Men can maximize their reproductive success by pursuing one of two different strategies: Seek a long-term mate, stay with her, and invest in their joint offspring (the ‘dad’ strategy); or seek a large number of short-term mates without investing in any of the resulting offspring (the ‘cad’ strategy),” Kanazawa says.
The Journal of Family Psychology study also noted that men who were less physically attractive than their wives were “more supportive” of their partners. The less good-looking guys invest more in their exclusive relationships, and so there is less chance of their straying.
"He's getting something better than he's providing” in terms of looks, said James McNulty, a researcher on the study and a professor at the University of Tennessee. "So he's going to work hard to maintain that relationship."
Except — and here is what the study didn’t explore — if the unattractive guy suddenly becomes very successful. Then, with his new-found pocketbook personality, he is like a magnet to women.
You know something? In my opinion, these powerful/successful/but not-so-good-looking guys are the worst to go out with. It's much better to be with a hot, gorgeous guy.
Why you ask? Simple.
Those unattractive (but successful) guys are going to make women suffer for the high school cheerleader who wouldn’t give them the time of day. The gorgeous guy is used to having a parade of beauties, so when he settles down, he is not looking for a trophy as much as he wants companionship and common interests, along with sexual compatibility. (And, of course, someone who is as good looking as he is.)
This premise is open for debate. Tell us what you think.