You probably won’t be reaching for your violin too quickly but a series of new studies provide compelling evidence that beauty is a kind of “relationship liability”. While more physically attractive people have a clear advantage when it comes to finding partners, the results suggest that their relationships are more likely to breakdown, at least in part because they take greater interest in alternative partners, especially when dissatisfied in their current relationship.
The results add further nuance to our understanding of how physical beauty impacts people’s lives. While good-looking folk seem to enjoy many advantages in life, on average, such as higher pay, more happiness and others assuming they are friendly and intelligent, it seems there are complicating factors: jealousy is one, and this new research, published in Personal Relationships, suggests that less stability in their romantic relationships is another.
Christine Ma-Kellams at Harvard University and her colleagues began by asking two women to judge the attractiveness of 238 men as pictured in their high school yearbooks aged 17 to 18. The researchers then accessed Ancestry.com to find the men’s marriage and divorce data for the 30 years since their high school photos were taken. The men who were rated as more facially attractive were more likely to be divorced and to have had marriages of shorter length. To read more from Christian Jarrett, click here.