North Carolina Divorce Attorneys Discuss a New Study on Relationship Expectations and Realities

/// 10/27/2010

According to new research from the University of Sheffield in  England, and the University of Montpellier in France, most men and women express different mating preferences towards body morphology than the actual physique of their partners. According to the study, published the week of September 27, 2010, in the Journal PLos ONE, men preferred a slimmer partner than they actually had, For  women, however, the study showed that while there were significantly more discrepancies between the body types women fantasized for their partner, women preferred both slimmer as well as larger men. These findings may  have a bearing on the explanation for the dissolution of some marriages where one or both spouses are disappointed he or she cannot have the ideal  body type in their partner, or when a spouse has physically changed during the marriage, becoming less the ideal for his or her partner creating unmet expectations.

Scientists are continually studying human mating preferences in an effort to understand the forces that shape the complex behaviors  leading to creation and termination of relationships. While many studies have focused on either human mating choices or actual partner choices, the Sheffield/Montpellier study sought to compare the two. The researchers gathered data from one hundred heterosexual couples living in Montpellier, France. In order to measure body morphology, scientists used software that allowed the participant to easily modify the physique of their mate’s ideal silhouette on a computer screen. These depictions were then compared with each participant’s actual partners.

The three traits studied were height, weight and body mass. Men’s choices showed less of a difference between their mate’s ideal physique and her actual form. Women, on the other hand, showed greater differences between the physique of their ideal and actual mates. Dr. Alexandre Courtiol, from the University of Sheffield, explained the results, stating, “[W]hether males or females win the battle of mate choice, it is likely for any trait, what we prefer and what we get, differs quite significantly. This is because our ideals are usually rare or unavailable and also because both sexes express preferences while biological optimum can differ between them.” This statement alludes to the many traits that people seek out in perspective partners, including personality and attitude.

Many marriages end for what may seem to be inexplicable reasons where neither spouse has committed a “bad act” such as adultery or other marital misconduct. Often a marriage breaks down, in part, because of disappointment in a partner as he or she ages and becomes less the idealized physical figure the other spouse may wish for and thus less sexually attractive. Conversely, having a husband or wife which the other spouse sees as physically attractive or ideal can create a halo effect on the other spouse such that his or her sense of his or her own attractiveness or well-being are increased by the perception of his or her partner’s attractiveness. When that is lost, it is likely to create distance and unhappiness for one or both partners. Examination of these issues can provide insight into factors that can cause the dissolution of a marriage

The North Carolina family law attorneys of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt present the study’s findings with the hope that those in the throes of separation and divorce may gain awareness into the complex issues that could contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. Whether the cause of separation and divorce is obvious marital misconduct by one spouse or whether it is the result of more subtle and complex psychological and personality issues, anyone who finds himself or herself facing the breakup of a marriage should obtain a competent family law attorney.  The Raleigh divorce attorneys of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt can ensure that you understand and can deal with the legal complexities of separation and divorce including issues such as custody, visitation, child support, alimony, postseparation support and distribution of property. The North Carolina family lawyers of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt have dedicated their lives to helping men and women work through the divorce process, and are knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of family law. Whether a family law client’s case can be resolved by an out-of-court settlement or whether litigation is required to achieve resolution, the lawyers of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt will provide competent, focused and dedicated representation.

To contact the family law attorneys of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, call (866) 666-1491.

 

Gailor Wallis & Hunt, PLLC

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