Your Partner Might Not Be As Hot As You Think

by Eliza Castile

Most people are familiar with the honeymoon stage of relationships: You can't get enough of each other, you text constantly, and you want to shout from the rooftops how lucky you are to be dating someone this freakin' hot. Your bae might not be quite as runway-ready as you think, however, judging from a study that found women who are passionately in love idealize their partners' faces. I mean, it's not exactly news, but it does explain the side-eye you got last time you said your SO had better hair than Jared Leto (nope) and more chiseled bone structure than Zayn Malik (double — no, sorry, triple nope. ALL THE NOPES). Researchers from Bilkent University and Indiana University teamed up for the study, which was published in PLOS One this week. To determine how love affects people's perception of their partners' appearances, heterosexual women were presented with two computer-generated male faces. Both originated form the same base image, but with "noise" overlaid to make them slightly different. Participants were asked to choose the face that looked most like their partner or an acquaintance they'd known for a similar amount of time, after which they completed a Passionate Love Scale. Based on their answers to the survey, they were classified as being in high- or low-passionate love. Researchers then created an "average" face for each group to approximate how each group of women viewed their partners. A separate group of women rated the trustworthiness, competence, and, of course, attractiveness of these average faces.

<img alt="" src="" class="article-body-image" title="Image:"/>The researchers found that, overall, the representations of partners created by high-passion women were rated by other women as more trustworthy, competent, and attractive than those in the low-passion group. The authors of the study point out that it's highly unlikely for all the high-passion women to have wildly attractive partners, so it must mean that they idealize their significant others. Sorry, ladies.

This isn't actually bad news, however. Previous research has established that idealizing your partner is an important feature of passionate love. In fact, it's even been associated with longer and happier relationships because it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. When people think their partner is the bomb diggity (kids are still saying that these days, right?), they excuse things that would normally bother them to no end, just because they think their SO is awesome. There's no specific research on whether this is true for LGBT relationships, but it's pretty safe to assume the same goes for us ladies-into-ladies, and dudes-into-dudes as well. So if your lady friends roll their eyes when you're waxing poetic about your bae's lustrious, shining locks, it might not just be because it's the third time they've had to listen to it this week.

<img alt="" src="" class="article-body-image" title="Image:"/>But who cares? If you think your man is hot, he's hot! Does it really matter what anyone else thinks?

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Images: jordanandzac/Instagram, onwardwall/bikiniarmorbattledamage/Tumblr, Giphy