Can looks make a difference in a relationship’s timing?

Can looks make a difference in a relationship’s timing?

Ever wonder why some couples are equally attractive as opposed to other couples where one partner steals the show?

It comes down to how soon a person becomes romantically involved after meeting, according to a new study from researchers at Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. The sooner the romance, the more likely a person will be dating someone equally as attractive.

“This study shows that we make different sorts of decisions about whom to marry depending upon whether we knew the person before we started dating,” study co-author Eli Finkel said in a news release. “If we start dating soon after we meet, physical attractiveness appears to be a major factor in determining such decisions, and we end up with somebody who’s about as attractive as we are.

The study was conducted by videotaping couples talking about how they had changed during the course of the relationship. Researchers then scored the attractiveness of each study participant. The results revealed that those who began dating within a month of meeting were likely to be scored as having a similar level of physical attractiveness by researchers; however, those who were friends first were less likely to be scored the same.

“The results of the study make intuitive sense,” says Dr. Joanne May, director of behavioral health services at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “It could also be explained by the notion that we tend to gravitate towards others with whom we have a lot of contact. For example, often we begin to like a song if we have heard it quite a lot, or like our neighbors or roommates. This is a social psychological concept named ‘mere exposure.’”

Researchers found that attractiveness had no correlation with relationship satisfaction. Those who began dating immediately and those who were friends first were equally happy.

To maintain a healthy relationship, Dr. Kevin Krippner, psychologist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, cautions individuals to take their time when starting a relationship.

“I have found that people who jump into relationships, emotionally or physically, are much more likely to wind up with a relationship that does not work out for them,” says Dr. Krippner. “When many people begin to date they immediately spend as much time as possible with that other person, rather than taking it slow and really getting to know the other person.”

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One Comment

  1. Lisa Parro

    Makes a lot of sense, but I wonder what this means for my own relationship. My husband and I were friends long before we started dating!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.