Are you a hot single meeting an equally hot date? Every time we look in the mirror, frankly. OK OK, here’s the serious science bit. You’ll probably get romantically involved far quicker than those deemed less attractive daters, according to a new study this month. The research, conducted by the Northwestern University, found partners who were viewed as physically attractive had got together far quicker after their initially meeting than the more average looking singles, who seem to take longer to pair up.
Eli Finkel, co-author of the study observed, “We make lots of different decisions about who we’ll partner with long-term depending on whether we knew the person before we started dating. If we start dating quickly after we first met, physical attractiveness appears to be the main factor in determining this decision and we end up with someone as attractive as we are.”
One explanation for this ‘pairing pattern’ may come from a competition-based perspective – someone’s success in the mating and dating market is limited to his or her desirability. Since the beginning of time, we’re programmed to seek an attractive, fit and healthy partner, not just for the obvious reasons but for mating and a desire to breed attractive offspring too.
Finkel states, “If we know the person for a while before we start actually dating them, or maybe they are friends first, we are less likely to rate them aesthetically so they can often be ‘mismatched’ in looks. But having had the time to get to know one other means they are able to form unique impressions that go beyond one’s initial looks-based snap judgments.”
The research collected data from couples who’d been together from a time-range of three months to fifty three years. Partners who began dating within one month of first meeting showed a real correlation in good looks. This correlation was much lower for those who’d know each other for some time prior to dating.
The level of pairings on looks was interestingly not associated with relationship satisfaction for either sex as both stranger-first or friend-first seemed equally happy further along the line.
To conclude, these findings show that the length of time we get to know each other influences whether we perceive someone as being a desirable partner.
Maybe the old saying was right all along, that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, particularly as time goes by…
What do you make of this study? Tell us @Lovestruck
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