You’ll probably be familiar with the concept of “punching above your weight”. It’s a term used to describe when one half of a couple (usually the guy) is going out with someone who is much more attractive than him. This can cause mixed emotions for whoever is punching above their weight – on the one hand, they’re with a really attractive person. On the other, it can potentially lead to insecurity.

So, all in all, is it a good thing? Well, according to science, the answer is a resounding YES. A recent study by Florida State University, which looked at heterosexual relationships and marriages, has found that relationships tend to be more successful when the female is the more attractive one.

The study examined a total 113 newlywed couples living near Dallas, Texas, all of whom had been married less than four months, and whos age averaged in their late 20s. They also agreed to be rated on their attractiveness by boffins from Southern Methodist University and Florida State University.They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I guess they have some kind of scientific metric for that, too.

As part of the study, they were also given a questionnaire to fill in, which explored their desire to remain fit and sexy. Remember, they were all young couples, so they hadn’t let themselves go yet

They concluded, firstly, that punching above your weight is not a good option for women:

“The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive,” says researcher Tania Reynolds.

“The research suggests there might be social factors playing a role in women’s disordered eating.”

Expanding on that last point, the researchers found that women who had more attractive husbands were more likely to diet and lose weight in order to look better. While this might be welcomed by their husbands, dieting and stressing about weight is not going to make the wives happy, for obvious reasons.

On the other hand, those with less attractive husband felt less need to diet or make difficult changes – making them much happier in their relationship. There isn’t as much of a negative flipside to this, because men don’t feel as pressured to diet or make changes to keep up: “In contrast, men’s dieting motivations were not significantly associated with their own and their partners’ attractiveness,” explained the study.

It’s not that the husbands don’t care at all, though. The study did show that men who felt they were ‘reaching’ in relationships were more likely to go out of their way to please their better half. This might not necessarily be in the same ways, but it will still likely make both parties happy.

“The husbands seemed to be basically more committed, more invested in pleasing their wives when they felt that they were getting a pretty good deal,” the study said.

Well, there you have it. But fellas – don’t use this an an excuse to let yourselves go!

What do you make of the study and its findings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!