Live Far From Your Lover? Be Glad

How depressing.

A new study shows that the closer people who had been separated by distance get to each other, the more likely they will not be attracted to the other person.

Apparently, distance equals attraction.

Now my husband and I were GU (geographically undesirable) for about 10 years, with him living and working in Queens and me here in Connecticut.  He came up every weekend and on Thursday nights but it wasn't until we started living together that, I won't say he got less attractive.  But some of the mystery was gone, especially when I was picking up his dirty socks off the floor.

According to, what people believe they want and what they might actually prefer are not always the same thing. And the difference between genuine affinity and apparent desirability becomes clearer as the distance between two people gets smaller.

Qualities admired in another person from far away may appear threatening as they get closer, the web site reports.

For example, someone of greater intelligence seems attractive when they’re distant or far away in your mind. But less so when that same person is right next to you, according to a new study by a University at Buffalo-led research team published in the latest edition of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“We found that men preferred women who are smarter than them in psychologically distant situations. Men rely on their ideal preferences when a woman is hypothetical or imagined,” says Lora Park, associate professor in the UB Department of Psychology and the study’s principal investigator. “But in live interaction, men distanced themselves and were less attracted to a woman who outperformed them in intelligence.” 

Now I'm not sure that has anything to do with physical distance but previous research has shown that similarities between individuals can affect attraction. This new set of studies suggests that psychological distance — whether someone is construed as being near or far in relation to the self — plays a key role in determining attraction.

“It’s the distinction between the abstract and the immediate,” says Park. “There is a disconnect between what people appear to like in the abstract when someone is unknown and when that same person is with them in some immediate social context.”

Well, duh.


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