Describe your perfect man to me. And don't be afraid, I'm going to judge you. Be completely honest. He's hot, right? And super nice but not in an annoying, lame way.
You guys have so many common interests, but somehow manage to keep things exciting because he just has this inexplicable air of mystery. And besides all that, it wouldn't hurt if he was rich, right? Right.
Don't worry, you're not shallow; you're just normal. It has been scientifically proven that money makes men significantly more attractive to women as long-term mates.
Now that you've accepted this uncomfortable truth about whom you're attracted to, let me go ahead and make you even more uncomfortable.
A recent study found that men who believe they are wealthier than their peers are more likely to not only cheat on their partners, but also find fault with their partner's appearances.
So, how'd they find this out?
Researchers from Beijing Normal University in China got undergraduate students in serious relationships to participate in two separate studies.
The first study basically involved a series of mind games that convinced participants they were either were making a lot more or a lot less than their peers. Next, the undergrads were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their partner's appearance.
Women who were led to believe they made more money had generally the same appraisals of their partners as did the women who were led to believe that they made less. Contrastingly, men who were led to believe that they made more money than their peers were FAR MORE LIKELY to express dissatisfaction with the appearance of their partners than the men who were led to believe they were making less money.
Really reassuring stuff, I know. But don't worry, it gets worse.
In the next study, the researchers got a brand new group of undergrads to test something different: Does feeling wealthy have any effect on a person in a relationship's likelihood to approach an attractive member of the opposite sex?
This was their way of trying to figure out how likely the person would be to get the person's number and, eventually, potentially cheat on his or her partner. A little bit of a stretch, I know, but let's roll with it.
Again, the subjects underwent a new series of mind games that convinced them they were either rich or poor. Next, each subject was shown a photo of an objectively hot person of the opposite sex. Finally, the researcher told them they were going to have the golden opportunity to chat with this hottie in three short minutes.
This is when they were brought into an empty room where a coat and a bag were purposely staged to make it look like the person would be coming back in there soon. Results of this test were not unlike the other one.
Women were relatively unfazed by their new financial status, consistently choosing to sit at a relatively safe distance from the hot guy. On the flip side, wealthier guys were far more likely to pick a seat close to the chair they believed the hot girl was going to sit in than guys with less money.
But don't dump your oil tycoon boyfriend quite yet.
There is definitely some evolutionary psychology to support this phenomenon, as having more money actually increases a man's "mate value." This convinces him, essentially, that no matter whom he's dating, he could do better. Or even if he has just one great partner, he's entitled to multiple.
Money may facilitate cheating — especially since people with higher incomes often travel for work, offering them more opportunities to cheat — but it doesn't necessarily cause it.
Sure, a wealthy man may have an easier time cheating with factors such as his innate attractiveness to females and even his propensity to travel more frequently than his less wealthy counterparts (giving him more time away from his mate to cheat). But, there are still plenty of other factors (ranging from his upbringing and his genetic makeup to even — you guessed it — your relationship) that play into the likelihood of him cheating.
Citations: How Can You Tell If He's Going to Cheat? (Cosmopolitan), What Makes You Click? – Mate Preferences in Online Dating∗ (University of Chicago), When Love Meets Money: Priming the Possession of Money Influences Mating Strategies (Frontiers in Psychology), Associations between Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene Variation with Both Infidelity and Sexual Promiscuity (PLOS ONE)