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Is Attractiveness an Asset in Long-Term Relationships?

Updated May 23, 2024
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According to a well-known line from the film Blade Runner, the light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long. And according to Harvard researchers, the same holds true for romantic relationships, in a sense. Across a series of four studies, the researchers discovered, among other things, that good-looking people tend to engage in shorter romantic relationships that end up being less rewarding.

These findings might come as a surprise, as attractive people usually have the advantage in many areas, like finding work, making friends, and getting paid well. But apparently, they aren't so lucky in love. For example, one study showed that attractive men were more likely to have shorter marriages that ended in divorce, while another suggested that people who believed themselves to be attractive were more likely than average-looking people to look for a new partner if their relationship wasn't satisfying. The studies, led by Harvard's Christine Ma-Kellams, used longitudinal, archival, survey, and lab methods.

All about attraction:

  • Studies have found that men are commonly attracted to the smell of perfume but are turned off by the odor of tears.

  • Both men and women are typically considered most attractive when they are wearing the color red.

  • Facial symmetry has been found to be a very attractive feature in both sexes; many movie stars have very symmetrical faces.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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