My fiancée is too hot for me—way too hot. But for some fortunate and unresolved reason, she was the aggressor in our relationship and pursued me on Tinder and things worked out. In fact, we’re getting married this fall. Judging by new research from Florida State University, she’s onto something, as a new study out of the school suggests women’s proclivity to seek men less attractive than themselves is one key to marital success.
To determine this result, researchers examined 113 newlywed couples who were married less than four months on average. To be part of this research, each couple agreed to be individually rated on their attractiveness. Before the judging began, subjects answered a lengthy questionnaire on their appearance, which centered on the desire to be thin. Next, a full-body photo was taken of each participant, which was later rated by both facial and body attractiveness on a scale of one to 10 by two teams of evaluators from Southern Methodist University and FSU.
Results determined that women who were married to less attractive men had more successful and satisfying marriages. However, when the opposite was true and when husbands were deemed more attractive, a number of negative implications presented themselves.
“The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,” researcher Tania Reynolds said. Women who were less attractive than their man also reported feeling “extremely guilty after eating” and were “terrified of gaining weight.” That said, researchers determined women had a tendency to judge themselves too harshly and exaggerate how thin their partners want them to be.
As for why there was a stark link between spousal appearance and relationship satisfaction, researchers didn’t deduce much aside from suggesting that men may be to blame for women’s eating disorders, then offering familiar advice like, “One way to help these women is for partners to be very reaffirming, reminding them, ‘You’re beautiful. I love you at any weight or body type’.” In other words, be a decent human being.
Thankfully, a similar study from a few years back did a bit more digging into why this is the case. In this study, courtesy of UCLA, researchers determined that marriages where the husband was more attractive was less satisfactory because men took their partners for granted, whereas a more attractive wife made men more attentive and motivated to make their marriage work.
The result, researchers assert, all boils down to evolution. Ancestrally speaking, men have always sought attractive women because we hunt for premium genes to pass onto our children. Women, however, seek stability over appearance. As for what makes less attractive men appear more stable? Because a less attractive is more likely committed to his wife, he will do whatever it takes to keep her. Evidently, less attractive men are a lot more fun as well, with researchers citing they were inherently more confident and outgoing than hotties.
“When women who are really beautiful go out with men who aren’t so hot, the men try harder, so it makes for a better marriage,” psychologist Cooper Lawrence told the New York Daily News. "The women know that whatever goes wrong in the marriage, the husband is going to do whatever is necessary to keep it together.”
So I guess the message is: As men, we should revel in the fact that our wives/partners are hotter than we are. The reason she’s so confident in the relationship is beacuse she knows she’s hotter, and that’s an ingrediant that’s now been proven–not once, but twice–to make a relationship stronger.