Beauty has its drawbacks, apparently.
It’s not exactly a secret that attractive people tend to have an easier time of things.
Be it scoring a job promotion, getting faster service at Starbucks or making more friends – studies have shown time and time again the ‘beauty premium’ is, while albeit frustrating and unfair, indisputably very real.
But a new study suggests that while hot people may indeed sail through life with less effort than their average-looking counterparts, one area they’re likely to encounter significant difficulty in on account of their aesthetically pleasing genetics, is their love lives.
A team of researchers led by Christine Ma-Kellams, a social psychologist with ties to Harvard University, and the University of La Verne in California, found a link between attractiveness and relationship breakdowns. In one experiment, women examined highschool yearbook photos and rated men based on facial attractiveness. Researchers then looked up the subjects on Ancestry.com to determine their marital status and found those who were divorced were overwhelmingly considered to be more conventionally attractive than the married men.
A second experiment had a similar finding. When the same women were asked to rate the appearances of male and female celebrities, the celebrities who ranked highest on the attractiveness scale were also the ones who had the shortest-lived marriages among their famous peers.
In a final experiment, participants who were made to feel more attractive after viewing a series of photos featuring less attractive, same sex people, rated images of the opposite sex as being more attractive. When people were made to feel unattractive by viewing a series of photos of more appealing people, the opposite was true.
“The findings are noteworthy,” the study’s authors note, “because they demonstrate that [physical attractiveness] predicts the likelihood of [a] relationship being threatened—in this case, by poor relationship satisfaction.”.
In short, because attractive people tend to achieve satisfaction with less elbow grease than their less attractive peers, they’re also less likely to want to put in the effort required to maintain a long-term healthy relationship.
“I think attractiveness gives you more options in terms of relationship alternatives,” the study’s lead researcher, Ma-Kellams told Broadly of the findings.
“[It] might make it harder to protect a relationship from outside threats. In this sense, having too many other choices is likely not beneficial for relationship longevity… One possible takeaway for physically attractive people is to be aware of their own capacity and tendencies in close relationships. Ending a relationship isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but if the goal is to have an enduring one, then perhaps an attractive person should be mindful of their own limitations and not rely too heavily on their own appeal.”
Images via giphy.com and tumblr.com.
Comment: Do you agree with the study’s findings?