Does being physically attractive offer benefits for meaningful romantic relationships

Being physically attractive has a lot of benefits both in and outside of romantic relationships.

Within romantic relationships, being physically attractive will increase the quality and quantity of dates, quality and quantity of sex (if you want that), etc. It can also be used to obtain financial support (attractive women and attractive men, if they play their cards right, can exchange their looks for money in various ways that less attractive people cannot). So depending on what you’re looking for, being good looking has a lot of benefits.

But what if you are looking for a meaningful, committed, long term relationship with an emotionally healthy partner? Does being attractive help with that?

I"d say yes, because if that is what you are truly looking for, your pool of potential partners is larger. So if you are looking for someone decent, kind and loyal you have far more people who fit that profile than if you were less attractive. Being less attractive doesn’t mean you won’t find it, but being more attractive would make it easier in some ways because more people who fit that profile would be into you. At the same time, more people who only like you for your looks will be into you too. However I’d assume you could just ignore those people if they aren’t what you want.

I read a thread on another board discussing the pros and cons of being attractive. Several attractive people felt being attractive didn’t make it any easier to find or maintain meaningful relationships. But some others felt that if that was what you were looking for, it was easier to find since more people who fit that profile will reciprocate interest.

I saw a TED talk where the presenter was an expert in long-lasting relationships. She said that when the woman stayed thinner than the man, the relationship had a significant advantage over cases where that wasn’t true. The inverse wasn’t true.

I can try to find the video if you want to confirm my memory.


I would suggest that being attractive is what attracts people to you. As such you get more opportunity to pick a potential mate.

After that initial getting the other person’s attention though there needs to be a lot more than just physical attraction to make a relationship work well. I would think anyone who relies solely on their looks to make relationships work will have a hard time of it.

Can confirm, totally a hunk, still can’t figure out what they want.

This could, however, backfire. Having a larger pool to draw from could make a very attractive person less willing to deal with the inevitable rocky parts, and bail out to start anew with someone else. By doing so, they may lose the opportunity to get past those issues and develop a deep, meaningful relationship.

I, for one, am sick of having to drag young beautiful women’s bodies out of my bed at night and throw them outside my front door … geez, if you don’t want the whole neighborhood to see you naked, stop pounding on my door screaming about me giving your clothes back …

Having a larger pool of people to choose from makes the odds of finding a good one better but also makes it more time consuming to look through the potential matches.

I’m with Smitty, the really-truly-gorgeous girls I’ve had relationships with had lived all their lives in this sort of numinous helpful haze of admirers making their lives easier and more pleasant. They get better service everywhere they go, they get upgrades in hotels and flights, they get little extras in their takeout orders, any time they drop something, you would immediately hear a comical coconut-shell CLONK as three heads simultaneously collide in their rush to pick it back up for them…

They genuinely had easier lives in lots of areas of life, and in return, this had reduced their ability to “try” and to deal with any sort of adversity productively.

Couple that with the fact that when you’re gorgeous you have lots of high quality prospective mates flirting or at least indicating potential interest with you at all times, and it’s an easy recipe for bailing when things get rough.

Of course, this isn’t an issue for those few with highly developed character and stern moral fiber and such, but this is rare generally and I just never managed to date anyone of such sterling character.

So making the probably safe assumption that people of highly developed character are at least as rare in that cohort as they are in everyone else, I’d guess on balance it would make things harder for that population as a whole, and I would disagree with the “larger pool makes things easier” folk here.

IIRC, money woes are the number one cause of divorce. Physical attractiveness is correlated with income. So…it would not be that surprising if physical attractiveness helps to keep relationships strong just from a dollars and cents perspective.

Yes, the “quality” of partners and sex that I have had directly correlates with where I am on my 20lb weight yo-yo, or if I’m in a “dress to impress” phase of life. :rolleyes:

At least one meta-study by the eminent Dr. James Soul suggested a contrary conclusion.

I’m running out of sticks to beat women off with.

I agree.

That is basically what I said in the second part of my post that you did not quote.

“I would think anyone who relies solely on their looks to make relationships work will have a hard time of it.”

I would guess that it *can *help, simply because your partner has more attraction factor (attracted to you, that is) to keep him or her strong in the relationship. But it’s just one factor out of many and I can see it backfiring, too.

Tell you one damn thing fer sure, having a scorching hot girlfriend will give you a sour view of the loyalty of your “bros”.


In my early 20’s I happened to run into my bestie from high school in a bar while with my GF who had this amazing charisma (I say it like that because it went beyond looks which were great but it was more than that…some kind of secret sauce she possessed that I have rarely encountered). He was trying to be covert about hitting on her but it was abundantly clear to both of us.

I was secure in my relationship with her so I was not worried but it bugged me just the same.

There is another concept no one has mentioned: “She’s a #10. She’s out of my league. Since I don’t stand a chance I will make no effort to get to know her.” Thus the pool of interest (outside of players and others solely interested in sex) may be smaller than the OP thinks.

Being physically attractive definitely offers benefits for meaningful romantic relationships, at least as compared to “dog-ugly cuss”. Above a certain point you might have a hard time finding the “meaningful”, but go below a certain point and the “romantic relationships” part becomes the failing point.

Didn’t John Nash mathematically prove that if you hit on the plain woman she’ll be thankful and be more likely to put out … or was that Robin Hobb? …