Ever wonder why so many women prefer men who are taller than they are? Sure, it might be nice to wear high heels without feeling like you’re towering over your man – but there might be a more scientifically grounded reason to wanting a substantial height difference in your relationship.
One recent study suggests: taller men could mean happier relationships!
Taller Men Can Make Women Happier
Could taller men make women happier?
A 2017 study of 7850 Indonesian participants answered: Yes! The greater the height difference between the husband and wife, the happier the wife was found to be. This effect appeared to be true for up to 18 years of marriage, after which the effect dissipated significantly.
Granted, income could have something to do with this. After all, taller people tend to have greater earning potential, perhaps because they may appear to be more trustworthy or capable (3, 5). However, the above study found that the husband’s resourcefulness was only a minor mediating factor in the effect of height difference in the happiness of their spouses (1).
So maybe self-esteem is to blame. After all, taller men may be perceived as more attractive (7) – and experience greater life satisfaction (4, 6) – than shorter men. It is also possible that women may be genetically predisposed to prefer taller, bigger spouses, given that bigger men made better survivors and hunter-gatherers in ancient times (1).
In other words, women who have taller spouses may feel happier than women with shorter spouses because they perceive their partners to be more attractive, resourceful, or happy.
On the Other Hand…
If you think the above study is a sign you should dump your current partner in search of someone taller, you should think again.
After all, everyone is different – and nothing proves that shorter men cannot make you feel just as attractive and content as taller men, especially if they are already attractive, resourceful, or happy. One study from 2010 even confirmed that women did not feel more attractive or valued just because a more attractive man – a taller man, for instance, as opposed to a shorter man – expressed romantic interest in them (8).
If you’re still not convinced that a shorter man could make you happy, check out the adorable chemistry between these tall Hollywood ladies and their shorter partners!
1) Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
Could a taller man mean greater happiness in your romantic relationship? Of course. But you should never let height difference be the deciding factor in determining your ideal partner. You do you – and find whoever makes you happy!
Sohn, K. (2016). Does a taller husband make his wife happier?. Personality and Individual Differences, 91, pp.14-21.
Holmes, S. (2017). 19 Female Celebrities Who’ve Been With Shorter Men. [online] ELLE. Available at: http://www.elle.com/culture/celebrities/g26073/female-celebs-taller-than-boyfriends/ [Accessed 6 Nov. 2017].
Sohn, K. (2016). Height and happiness in a developing country. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(1), 1-23. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9566-8
Denny, K. (2017). Are the effects of height on well-being a tall tale? Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(5), 1445-1458. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9785-2
Persico, N., Postlewaite, A., & Silverman, D. (2004). The effect of adolescent experience on labor market outcomes: The case of height. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3386/w10522
Swami, V., Tran, U. S., Stieger, S., & Voracek, M. (2015). Associations between women’s body image and happiness: Results of the YouBeauty.com body image survey (YBIS). Journal of Happiness Studies, 16(3), 705-718. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9530-7
Ludwig, Y. S., & Pollet, T. V. (2014). When men appear smaller or larger than they really are: Preliminary evidence that women are fooled by size illusions in attractiveness judgment tasks. Anthropological Review, 77(3), 299-329. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/anre-2014-0023
Stambush, M. A., & Mattingly, B. A. (2010). When being liked makes us dislike ourselves: Self-rated attractiveness as influenced by an attractive or unattractive other’s romantic interest in the self. North American Journal of Psychology, 12(2), 341-354. Retrieved from https://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/325150812?accountid=12339
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