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Physical Attractiveness Can Be Harmful to a Relationship

Physical attractiveness is not all it’s cracked up to be. Being more attractive physically predicts a greater likelihood of relationship dissolution, briefer relationships, and decreased effort in relationship maintenance, according to a new study.

While the idea that good looks lead to good relationships has been widely researched and is believed, researchers at Harvard University, the University of La Verne, and Santa Clara University conducted four separate studies to understand the “repercussions” of physical attractiveness on relationships. Basically, did perfect looks have anything to do with Brangelina’s divorce?

In the first study of 238 individuals, researchers found that those rated as more attractive in high school yearbooks were married for shorter durations and more likely to divorce.

The second study looked at IMDb’s lists of the top 20 actors and actresses in the past 20 years and Forbes’s list of the 100 most powerful. This yielded 130 high-profile celebrities. The celebrities were ranked between 1 and 10 for attractiveness. Relationship history (number and duration of marriages, number of divorces, identities of spouses, etc.) was gathered from various reliable online sources. The researchers found that the more attractive celebs were less likely to stay married and experienced briefer marriages.

Studies three and four demonstrated the increased threat to relationships where one partner was, or both partners were, considered physically attractive. For example, in study four, good looks hurt relationships because they predicted increased interest in “attractive alternatives” among those who were dissatisfied with their relationship.

“These findings suggest that being physically attractive is not without its relational liabilities,” the study authors said.

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