According to the new study by the scientists at Florida State University, women with attractive partners are more likely to have bad self-esteem. They are also more likely to develop an eating disorder.
The study suggests that women with attractive partners may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive.
Women with attractive partners more likely to do crash-diet to slim down. The study also found that men were rarely motivated to do the same, regardless of how attractive they considered their wife to be.
Women tend to over-perceive just how thin their partners want them to be. Thus, they inappropriately pursue dieting and a thin body.
Lead author, doctoral student Tania Reynolds said, “If we understand how women’s relationships affect their decision to diet and the social predictors for developing unhealthy eating behaviors, then we will be better able to help them.”
“One way to help these women is for partners to be very reaffirming, reminding them. You’re beautiful. I love you at any weight or body type.”
“Or perhaps focusing on the ways they are a good romantic partner outside of attractiveness and emphasizing those strengths: ‘I really value you because you’re a kind, smart and supportive partner.'”
However, that extra motivation to the diet did not exist among women judged more attractive than their husbands. As for men, their motivation to diet was low regardless of their wives’ attractiveness or their own.
The study offers new productive insights about relationships. It suggests women more likely to fear that she’ll fall short of her partner’s expectations. Understanding the predictors that increase a woman’s risk of developing eating disorders and other health problems could lead to earlier assistance.
Scientists analyzed 113 newlywed couples who married less than four months, average age late 20s. They asked each participant to complete a lengthy questionnaire focusing in part on their desire to diet or have a thin body. The questions were like: ‘Do you feel extremely guilty after eating,’ ‘Do you like your stomach to be empty,’ etc.
Later on, scientists clicked a full-body photo of every participant and rated on a scale of 1 to 10. Two teams of undergraduate evaluators studied the photos. One at Southern Methodist University in Texas focused on spouses’ facial attractiveness, while another at FSU looked at body attractiveness. The evaluators varied in sex and ethnic makeup.
Renolds said, “The research suggests there might be social factors playing a role in women’s disordered eating. It could help to us to identify women at risk of developing more extreme weight-loss behaviors, which have been linked to other forms of psychological distress, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dissatisfaction with life.”
The study advanced existing research from Dr. Meltzer’s lab. It suggests marriages tend to be more successful and satisfying when wives are more attractive than their husbands.
Dr. Meltzer said, “In order to better understand women’s dieting motivations, the findings highlight the value of adopting an approach that focuses on a couple’s relationship.”