'Punching above your
weight' is a concept we're all familiar with when it comes to
commenting, usually bitterly, on others. But what's less clear is how to
get into that position yourself.

it blind luck? 'Social status' (i.e. one partner has loads of money)?
Or to be less cynical, is it something to do with 'what's inside'? A new
report suggests none of the above.

true that, broadly, people tend to pair up with others who are
genetically and physically similar to themselves – or if you're being
reductive, '10s' end up with '10s' and '7s' end up with '7s'. Scientists
call this 'assortative mating', and the loose explanation is that we do
so to avoid our partners being lured away by more attractive

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But a study published last year in the journal Psychological Science posits a theory as to how and why the exception to 'assortative mating' occurs, and it's all about the 'friend zone'.

study, carried out at the University of Texas at Austin and
Northwestern University, looked into the causes of 'mixed
attractiveness' relationships.

267 heterosexual couples, they asked how long each pair had known each
other and whether they enjoyed a platonic relationship before they began

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The crux of
what they found? Couples who were friends for longer before getting
together were more likely to vary in their attractiveness, while those
who began dating right away were generally the same.

fact, the longer the couple had known each other first, the less likely
they were to be 'matched' in how attractive they were.

promisingly for anyone dating someone they suspect deep down is way
hotter than they are, the study also found 'no correlation' between how
similarly attractive the couples were and how satisfied they were in
their relationship.

The take away? Being friends is not necessarily a barrier to love, but could prove the perfect conduit for it.

of which may make somewhat harrowing reading for members of the Tinder
Age, but for those of us still occasionally meeting people outside our
iPhones, perhaps a reason for good cheer.


What do you think?