Strange relationship advice
I've been coming across some strange relationship advice for husbands over the past few days. First, this study says they shouldn't be more attractive than their wives.
In the current study, the authors examined how observer ratings of each spouse's facial attractiveness and the difference between those ratings were associated with (a) observations of social support behavior and (b) reports of marital satisfaction. In contrast to the robust and almost universally positive effects of levels of attractiveness on new relationships, the only association between levels of attractiveness and the outcomes of these marriages was that attractive husbands were less satisfied. Further, in contrast to the importance of matched attractiveness to new relationships, similarity in attractiveness was unrelated to spouses' satisfaction and behavior. Instead, the relative difference between partners' levels of attractiveness appeared to be most important in predicting marital behavior, such that both spouses behaved more positively in relationships in which wives were more attractive than their husbands, but they behaved more negatively in relationships in which husbands were more attractive than their wives.
And this survey suggests they shouldn't be happier than their wives, either:
Controlling for the level of life satisfaction of spouses, we find that a higher satisfaction gap, even in the first year of marriage, increases the likelihood of a future separation. We interpret this as the effect of comparisons of well-being between spouses, i.e. aversion to unequal sharing of well being inside couples. … [C]ouples are more likely to break up when the difference in life satisfaction is unfavorable to the wife.
The studies aren't very specific as to how men should regulate their happiness and attractiveness, however. Maybe eat too much and be self-loathing about it?
January 29, 2010; 3:59 PM ET
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