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We usually end up with partners who look as attractive as we are

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” You’ve often heard this phrase, haven’t you? Turns out, the beholder is no other than… you! Recent studies highlight that we are impressively adept at evaluating our own attractiveness.

Even more intriguing, we tend to match with partners who reflect our level of attractiveness. Thereby, quite possibly, you and your partner are of comparable aesthetic appeal, as per scientific findings.

But what does attractiveness truly denote?

Intricacies of attractiveness and partners

Attractiveness is indeed a complicated and subjective notion, molded by cultural and biological aspects. Universally sought-after traits, such as crystal clear skin and symmetrical features, certainly play their part.

However, individual tastes range vastly. Factors like personal experiences, societal norms, and our self-image shape our perception of beauty.

Research implies that we are inclined towards those we perceive as being equivalent to us in attractivity. This so-called “matching hypothesis” might be fueled by the quest for validation and aversion to rejection.

Nonetheless, attractiveness constitutes just one component of the complex matrix of human association. Enduring relationships ultimately thrive on shared interests, values, and emotional harmony.

Beauty and attractive partners

Dr. Gregory Webster, a renowned psychologist from the University of Florida, led a team diving into this captivating phenomenon.

This team reanalyzed staggering data from a comprehensive 1988 study about couples’ attractiveness. Using modern statistical techniques, they interpreted this old data in a fresh light.

Their findings? Both genders were exceptionally accurate at evaluating their allure.

“There’s an extensive line of research on meta-analysis. There’s an entire line of research on how to analyze data for couples. But they haven’t really been put together before,” Dr. Webster emphasized.

Partners share same definition of “attractive”

To gain these insights, researchers had couples rate their attractiveness, and then strangers rated the same individuals.

The results revealed an astonishing consistency between self-perception and external opinions. Dr. Webster, explaining the unique approach, said, “By combining these research methods, they were able to look at a vast quantity of data extending back to 1972.”

The study further delved into how self-ratings of attractiveness change as the relationship progresses. In the earlier stages, men seemed slightly overconfident about their looks, which faded over time.

“Men might be getting realistic,” humorously quotes Dr. Webster. “Nobody’s usually getting more attractive over time.”

However, as they say, love is blind, those rose-tinted glasses might just be the secret behind the longevity of relationships.

Attractiveness in the modern dating game

The dating landscape has seen a radical transformation since 1972. Online dating platforms revolutionized the way we connect with potential partners.

We’ve shifted from random encounters to browsing profiles, with physical appearance playing a pivotal role in initial attraction.

Despite these changes, Dr. Webster’s research indicates human’s fundamental attractiveness preferences have remained remarkably static.

“The fundamentals of what humans consider to be attractive across cultures and over time are pretty consistent,” he acknowledges.

What does this mean for you?

This research is more than just fun facts for your next dinner party. It sheds light on how we perceive ourselves and choose our attractive partners. 

But remember, attractiveness is just one piece of the puzzle. While this study focused on physical looks, other factors like personality, shared interests, and values are equally important in building lasting relationships. 

So, while it’s nice to know you and your partner are a good-looking pair, it’s the connection you share that truly makes you the fairest couple of all.

The study is published in Personality and Individual Differences.


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