The Link Between Physical Attractiveness and Relationship Success

Posted on April 15, 2012


Let us forget, for the time being, that the earth has left its current orbit and has entered a dimension that is so bizarre as to be comprehensible only by people directed to try for the presidential nomination by God.  Instead, let’s focus on a HuffPost report on a study by Harris Interactive on the weighty question of how physical attraction impacts on relationship stability. Please note in reading that this writer has played fast and loose with all quotes, statistics, and personal integrity.

According to the Harris Interactive, physical attraction does, in fact, matter to both men and women.  Seventy-eight per cent believed it was very important.  The rest were lying. But HuffPost reports that what is interesting and less obvious is that it matters more in the first seven years of a relationship than in later years. It seems that as marriage progresses, physical attraction may be increasingly influenced by other emotional factors — like good communication and shared interests — which probably help sustain attraction even if looks change.

This is, indeed, a stunning observation. We had always assumed that the wild sexual antics of the newly married continued throughout pregnancy and childbirth dementia, toddler tantrums, dinners consisting of drooled-on, half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches, and mandatory participation in car pools, Scout overnights, and head lice eradication.

The survey shows that men are more likely than women to place higher importance on physical attraction in their relationship. Fifty per cent of women said that physical attraction was important, while 123% of men said it was.  Women identified facial features as being more important than body features, while men expressed a preference for women who had surgically relocated their breasts to their heads.

“Eyes are used to engage when couples first meet and during early conversations. Lips that smile back at us convey the desire to move relationships forward. And when those lips lock, it is often the first physical experience that determines chemistry between mates.” Huff/Post asks “Who doesn’t remember their first kiss?”  This writer sure does.  It was 1960 at Robert Katz’s Bar Mitzvah, when a fifteen-year-old asshole grabbed her and forced his tongue down her twelve-year-old throat. Worse, he wasn’t even cute.

Differences in partner reactions to aging were also interesting. Men were more likely than women to be concerned about their partner’s facial aging — especially during the first seven years of a relationship — but their concerns diminished over time. Women’s concerns over their partner’s facial aging were fewer, but remained consistent over a longer period of time.

A high number of couples (92%) agreed that their relationship was healthier when both partners felt confident about their appearance. Over half of men and women indicated that they would like their partner to pay more attention to their physical appearance. The rest indicated that they would like their partner to pay more attention to them.

The good news is that concerns about facial aging in both sexes lessened over time and dovetailed remarkably with a decrease in both visual and mental acuity, culminating in neither sex being able to identify their partner, when presented with photos of said partner, a warthog, and a slice of cherry cheesecake.