Do you ever wonder why Hollywood celebrities seemingly bounce from relationship to relationship? Instagram model Lori Harvey has made waves in the past year for her racy dating behavior.
Often criticized for moving too quickly in relationships, having a brief engagement to soccer player Memphis Depay, then an alleged fling with Diddy’s son Justin Combs before pictures surfaced of she & Diddy himself dressed alike on a yacht with her family in 2019. And then there was the salacious summer with rapper Future, which I thought was kinda sexy to now being in a relationship Black Panther film star & 2020’s Sexiest Man Alive, Michael B. Jordan. The Internet is all but slut shaming the girl for making choices that most 20 somethings make (or in my case 30 something since my dumb ass was too busy being in my 20s). And I say that because you can actually Google “how many guys has Lori Harvey dated” along with accusations of Lori being a “hoe because her mama was a hoe”. Sad.
As if the beautiful people didn’t already have it “bad” enough, now it seems that a certain level of attractiveness is considered a “relationship liability” (cue the violins and the tissues, please). Although the benefits for beautiful people is obvious, the contrast may be that their relationships lack substance, stability and longevity due to the overwhelming amount of options available to them. Depending on whether you see the glass half empty or half full, some may say Lori’s in good company according to the list below who also “suffer” from relational ruin:
University of La Verne psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams headed a study that claimed “being more physically attractive makes one’s relationship more vulnerable to threats.” Ma-Kellams’ study evaluated whether good-looking people were more (or less) likely to perceive interest in alternative partners and their willingness to act upon their desires.
One study found pretty people who are less than satisfied with their romantic relationship are “more interested in extra-relationship alternatives” than their less-alluring counterparts. But why is that?
One explanation could lie in Rusbult’s Investment model (1980) which is a psychological framework used to show how satisfaction, investments and alternatives work together to predict how committed a person will be in a relationship (Rusbult, Drigotas & Verette, 1994).
Deriving from Thibaut & Kelley’s (1959) model of interdependence theory, the investment model maintains that commitment is influenced by three main factors: satisfaction level, quality of alternatives and investment size.
In order to maintain satisfaction in relationships, rewards need to outweigh costs. Rewards can be anything from good deeds, to gifts to sexual pleasure, while costs can include arguments, disagreements or any undesirable quality of a relationship such as clingy behavior or too much distance.
When thinking in terms of the quality of alternatives for a relationship, two ideas come to mind: first is the potential to start a new relationship and second is the option to be alone. Some people have perceptions of greater alternatives compared to their current relationship while others may feel their alternatives are low. Good-looking people, for example, may perceive greater chances of finding a new mate than those who see themselves as less attractive.
Remember when Beyonce said, “I can have another you in a minute.” Yeah, that part.
Research also shows that when people believe their alternatives are good, they may be less invested in their current relationships than people who view their alternatives as being low, who tend to be more committed (Crawford, Feng, Fischer, & Diana, 2003).
Interesting enough, an article in the American Journal of Sociology found correlations between attractiveness and success in both the workplace and everyday exchanges such as more social interaction from strangers to getting on the job promotions. One author attributes this positive perception to the “halo effect” otherwise known as the idea that physical attractiveness is positively linked to other personality traits such as intelligence and confidence. Thus, these positive associations could explain why these individuals struggle with settling for just one partner when they can have more than a share of options.
Despite popular belief, men are more likely to settle (down) after a period of time than women because there is a perception that a man settling or marrying a woman is a sign that he won’t cheat on her when the reality may be that a man settles for one he likes the most but will continue to “step out” on occasion, whereas women wait until they find an all-in-one partner that they won’t be tempted to be unfaithful to.
Men don’t want to be alone. Women, on the contrary, don’t want to feel like they’re settling for less than what they want. The more successful a woman is, the less likely she is to settle for less than what she wants. Add in her level of attractiveness and you just may get someone who is notoriously single.