Just the other day, my friend blurted a cliché phrase all women say when a guy cheats on their more attractive partner: ‘Why would he cheat on her, she’s so beautiful?’ Confusion and disappointment scratched her voice as she waited for me to respond with a justifiable answer. But truthfully, dating someone more attractive isn’t quite the power move we’re led to believe.
Science suggests we gravitate towards people who share our own level of attractiveness, according to Psych Central. Attractive people (based on cultural ideals) tend to date other attractive people which most of us have come to expect. But sometimes, there are people that go against this notion and end up being what we call ‘lucky’.
These lucky people who date upwards are perhaps amazing in bed (as the joke goes) or they possess a certain allure that others can’t muster. Society’s emphasis on beauty has probably led us to believe that if you’re the most ‘attractive’ person in a relationship, you have caught yourself a safety net.
After all, research shows we tend to behave nicer to good-looking people. This explains why such outrage spread across social media at the news Jay-Z had cheated on Beyonce. How could a guy whom others consider lucky, cheat on one of the most desirable women in the world?
But here’s the truth about dating someone more attractive
Dictionary.com defines attractiveness as ‘the quality of being pleasing, charming, or alluring, especially in appearance or manner’.
There are several key values people usually desire in a partner: Humour, intelligence, ambition, income, kindness etc., but in a wider sense, we all seek different qualities and traits.
Someone who strongly values success will likely believe the less successful partner has snagged themselves an upgrade. Equally, someone who values looks will consider the less attractive partner the luckiest, even if they’re wealthy and incredibly funny.
When people say, ‘You got lucky’ or ‘How did you get them?’ what they’re really telling you is that your partner matches their values. From the small information they have about your relationship, they have narrowed down your traits and decided that your partner aligns more with their preferences.
This is key to remember if you are in a situation where you feel less attractive.
Dating someone more appealing is mostly about self-confidence
If you’re a confident person with a healthy ego, you will probably have no issue with people perceiving you as the least attractive one. Particularly if appearance is not high up in your list of characteristics you value most.
But if you struggle with insecurity and believe looks are important, a more attractive mate can further increase your low self-esteem and cause possible jealousy and comparisons to other women your partner has dated. In some instances, the less confident person will assume they’re the least desirable because they naturally focus on their ‘bad’ points.
Feeling you’re not good enough can cause negative behaviour, including a need to make yourself more attractive by cutting out food and investing in beauty treatments you previously would have thought pointless. When you don’t feel good enough, your behaviour can also stem from a fear of being left. You may develop poor boundaries and hold a lower tolerance.
Relationships are about balance
The happiest relationships require two people to feel an equal measure of desire and belonging. If the scales are tipped and one person feels lucky, this can cause an imbalance which can then lead to a host of other issues such as jealousy and possible resentment.
I read an article a few years ago from a woman who felt ugly compared to her husband. After years of constant admiration for him and very little compliments for her, she ended up having an affair with her friend’s husband. She admitted to enjoying the feeling of being desired by a man who is married to a beautiful woman.
What can you do if you feel you’re dating someone more attractive?
A lot of us love to fish for compliments but there is no shame in asking your partner to describe your admirable points. What is it about you that your partner finds attractive? Writing this down and remembering it can be a great boost when you feel insecure.
Has your partner shown any inkling that they don’t find you appealing?
One of my first ever relationships involved a guy who consistently shared which women he found hot at practically any bar we went to. He was extremely looks oriented – no wonder I didn’t feel good enough.
If your insecurity is not due to anything your partner has done, try to express your feelings and see if you can pinpoint what has caused your self-doubt.
Prioritise your confidence
When I used to have poor self-esteem, I thought the answer to improving my self-worth was to exercise as much as possible so I could feel pretty. Long story short, I ended up still being insecure but with less weight.
Improving our self-image requires us to have the confidence to challenge our critical thoughts. When you say something negative, immediately try to think of a positive.
For instance, ‘I’m too emotional’ could become ‘I have great empathy’. Or ‘My nose is too big’ could change to ‘I have amazing eyes and a strong nose’.
Overall, if you feel you are dating someone more attractive, realise that the issue is based upon your own self-thoughts and not those expressed by your partner.