She’s So High Above Me: The Satisfaction of Inequality.

Posted on October 29, 2011


Recent research suggests that the best marriages involve women who are more physically attractive than their mates.

Men, the research indicates, are more supportive when they partner with a woman who is more attractive; women, it is claimed, care less about looks and more about having a supportive partner. Women also are said to mirror the level of support they receive from their partner. So, when a man is more supportive, everyone is happier.

Whether or not this is true for all men and for all women and whether or not physical attractiveness is the main consideration for every couple, this research implies that the best long term relationships, at some fundamental level, are unequal. The inequality, it seems, causes one person to be more supportive of the other and this support is then reciprocated by the other person.

This conclusion is somewhat hard for me to swallow because I regard every person as an equal and strive to treat him or her as such until given reason to do otherwise. Over the years, however, I’ve slowly come to realize and accept that some of us — maybe even many of us — like to — and maybe even need to — organize ourselves around relationships of inequality. Some of us even benefit from it.

This research seems to support that view.

What do you think? Are the best romantic relationships at some fundamental level unequal? Is this true for none of us, all of us, or only some of us? Are there broader implications for other kinds of human relationships.