Why Beautiful Women Marry Less Attractive Men

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A Fine Line Revealed Between Creativity and InsanityThis article was submitted the site over the weekend. It was anonymous so I am not sure where it came from, but I did think it is an interesting article.

Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Staff Writer
LiveScience.com
Thu Apr 10, 11:25 AM ET

Women seeking a lifelong mate might do well to choose the guy a notch below them in the looks category. New research reveals couples in which the wife is better looking than her husband are more positive and supportive than other match-ups.

The reason, researchers suspect, is that men place great value on beauty, whereas women are more interested in having a supportive husband.

Researchers admit that looks are subjective, but studies show there are some universal standards, including large eyes, “baby face” features, symmetric faces, so-called average faces, and specific waist-hip ratios in men versus women.

Past research has shown that individuals with comparable stunning looks are attracted to each other and once they hook up they report greater relationship satisfaction. These studies, however, are mainly based on new couples, showing that absolute beauty is important in the earliest stages of couple-hood, said lead researcher James McNulty of the University of Tennessee. But the role of physical attractiveness in well-established partnerships, such as marriage, is somewhat of a mystery.

The new study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, reveals looks continue to matter beyond that initial attraction, though in a different way.

Supportive spouses

McNulty’s team assessed 82 couples who had married within the previous six months and had been together for nearly three years prior to tying the knot. Participants were on average in their early to mid-20s.

Researchers videotaped as each spouse discussed with their partner a personal problem for 10 minutes. The tapes were analyzed for whether partners were supportive of spouses’ issues, which included goals to eat healthier, to land a new job and to exercise more often.

“A negative husband would’ve said, ‘This is your problem, you deal with it,'” McNulty said, “versus ‘Hey, I’m here for you; what do you want me to do?; how can I help you?'”

A group of trained “coders” rated the facial attractiveness of each spouse on a scale from 1 to 10, with the perfect 10 representing the ultimate babe. About a third of the couples had a more attractive wife, a third a more attractive husband and the remaining partners showed matching looks.

Trophy wives

Overall, wives and husbands behaved more positively when the woman was better looking.

The finding “seems very reasonable,” said Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at MIT’s Program in Media Arts and Sciences and Sloan School of Management. “Men are very sensitive to women’s attractiveness. Women seem to be sensitive to men’s height and salary,” said Ariely, who was not involved in the recent study.

In couples with more attractive husbands, both partners were less supportive of one another. McNulty suggests wives mirror, in some ways, the level of support they get from husbands.

“The husband who’s less physically attractive than his wife is getting something more than maybe he can expect to get,” McNulty told LiveScience. “He’s getting something better than he’s providing at that level. So he’s going to work hard to maintain that relationship.”

Men who are more attractive than their partners would theoretically have access to partners who are more attractive than their current spouses, McNulty said. The “grass could be greener” mentality could make these men less satisfied and less committed to maintain the marriage.

Physical attractiveness of husbands is not as important to women, the researchers suggest. Rather, wives are looking for supportive husbands, they say.

So it seems the mismatch in looks is actually a perfect match. “Equitable is unlikely to mean the same on every dimension,” Ariely said during a telephone interview. “It just means that overall two people make sense together.”


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10 Comments

  1. shrek

    April 13, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Makes sense.  I dont think a study was needed to figure this one out.

  2. Evil Woobie

    April 13, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Some women marry less attractive men because some more attractive guy cheated on them in the past. 😀

    Evil Woobie’s last blog post..Manila Bay Summer Sunsets

  3. athena

    April 13, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    huh, reminds me of another study showing how your personality adapts to how people treat you, and people treat you based on your looks.
    we just cant help it!  there was this great one done with phone conversations – they had this one girl talk on the phone with all these different guys and they rated her personality.  when they showed the guys a picture of an ugly chick and said "this is who you are talking to", they rated her low.  vice versa for showing a hot pic.   even the girl (who didnt know what pic the guys saw) rated the guys she talked to lower when they thought SHE was ugly.  it ruined the whole conversation!

  4. lilez0518

    April 14, 2008 at 12:07 am

    that’s funny i just read this yahoo.com last night. it’s a good article though it kinda makes sense, but then again not always true.

  5. Zeo

    April 14, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I think this applies, but only in certain cases because you can’t base it all on one study. Then again, i’m 16 and wayyyyy far away from marriage, lol.

  6. Casper

    April 14, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I live in Fayetteville NC, which is just outside of Fort Bragg NC. Just the other day I counted (I kid you not) 13 hot chicks with ugly boyfriends with in just 2 hours at the mall. We have this theory that all these women come from small towns and that when they get here all the douche bags just jump right on top of them. Because these girls come from small towns the guys they meet are quality guys where they come from. Until someone like me come along and steels them right out from under there noses.

  7. athena

    April 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

    i dont know casper, i dont htink it shows that these girls are from small towns – i think what it REALLY shows is that you dont need good looks to show worth or value to a girl.

  8. casper (5 comments)

    April 14, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Yes but these guys are all the kind of guys you would find on hot chicks with douche bags dot com. I’ll describe one and go into detail later in one of my field reports.

  9. Chase

    April 15, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    This is actually what got me into the community.  I walked around my college campus and saw guys with girls way out of their league. 

    Got me thinking…

  10. prajwal

    May 22, 2008 at 9:58 am

    i am a dotor in india and i wan to marry a white girl

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