Study says when you’re in love, everyone else looks less attractive to you

Fidelity isn’t always easy in a relationship, but if you’re truly in love or committed to your relationship, staying faithful can be a lot easier.

A new study from researchers at New York University and Rutgers University found that when people are trying to protect the sanctity of their monogamous relationship, they will internally conduct a “perceptive downgrade” of attractive people. In other words, someone you may have considered attractive when you were single suddenly becomes less attractive now that you’re in a good relationship.

“People in relationships perceived threatening attractive individuals as less attractive than did single participants,” the researchers said in a summary of the study. “The effect was exacerbated among participants who were highly satisfied with their current relationships.”


So, why do those in happy relationships downgrade people that their single counterparts would probably find more attractive? It’s a psychological way of protecting their relationships. If you only have eyes for your significant other, you really only have eyes for your significant other. This psychological guard can protect your relationship and prevent any, say, straying if you’re deeply in love with your partner.

Unfortunately, the effect is essentially reversed if you’re unhappy with your relationship. If you’re not feeling your S.O., you’re more likely to agree with your single friends that that guy or gal across the bar is pretty good looking.


Still, there’s still some work left to do in this particular line of research. For instance, do some people not only downgrade attractive people, but also treat them differently to avoid giving off the wrong signals? Perhaps. And what about celebrities? For some of us, Ryan Gosling will be attractive no matter how happy we are in our current relationship.

Science can’t explain everything, we guess!