Is it bad if the woman is taller than the man in a relationship?

Dear Roeliene,

I am a man of modest height: 1.70. I have an incredibly sweet girlfriend with the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen. There is only one problem: she is 1.80 m tall.

Of course, "problem" is a bit of an exaggeration, but our size difference sometimes bothers me. Especially when we go out at night and she puts on her heels. Then, quickly, she towers over me by six inches. I've noticed that people talk about us and stare at us when we walk by. Is it absurd that I sometimes feel insecure because of this? And can our relationship last or should I rather find a smaller girl?


What to do if your girlfriend is taller than you?

Dear Peter,

I'll come straight to the point. It is not surprising that you mostly see men who are taller than your girlfriend. There is even a name for it: the taller male norm. The prevailing norm that men should be taller than their partner. This is not a problem. Did you know that in the escort industry, women with long legs are the most in demand? Men like horny escorts with long legs.

Psychology professor John Gillis of the University of St. Thomas (Canada) conducted a probability study in 1980. It turned out that 2 out of 100 women should be taller than their partners. But what did he find by examining the heights of 720 British and American couples? In only one out of 720 couples was the woman taller than the man. This suggests that both men and women have a clear preference for the male height norm. And they choose their partners accordingly.

The man does not have to be much taller than the woman.

But again, the man should not be much taller (how critical are men?). This requirement is known as the 'not-too-high male norm'. In 2003, Polish biologist Boguslaw Pawlowski demonstrated that there is an ideal size difference between men and women. He showed 363 women and 161 men a drawing of six couples with different size ratios. In the first picture, the man was much taller than the woman (1.19 times her height); in the last picture, the man was slightly shorter than the woman (0.96 times her height).

    None of the respondents wanted a relationship in which the man was shorter than the woman.

Pawlowski asked the participants in which relationship they would feel most comfortable. None chose the latter option. The vast majority of men chose a relationship in which they were 1.09 or 1.04 as tall as their partner. For women, the difference could be even greater. The majority preferred to see a man who was 1.14 or 1.09 times taller than them. The pair of the same height was not chosen by either sex, nor was the pair in which the man towered over his wife by quite a bit.

The norm that men are taller also applies in real life

But now it is mostly about preferences. Not about real life. Dutch behavioural biologist Gert Stulp from the University of Groningen therefore wanted to find out how often the preferred size difference between couples actually occurs.

Even this result will not surprise you. For both the norm that the man is taller and the norm that the man is not too tall, they found evidence in real couples. The good news is that this phenomenon was not as common as the team expected. Yes, men and women did have relationships with a desired size difference more often (than would be expected on the basis of probability calculations), but again, not so often that it can be said that size is the deciding factor in choosing a partner.

Because, as researchers also say, more things matter when choosing a partner. Like your girlfriend's beautiful eyes.
A big difference in height is not the most important thing in a relationship

The fact that you feel insecure about the height difference is understandable. It's usually nice to blend in with the crowd. And with a girlfriend who is taller than you, this is not really the case. However, it is good to remember that a successful relationship is not just about 'right proportions'.

Brian Ogolsky, professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois (USA), analysed 1,100 studies on relationship happiness. His conclusion? Open communication, talking about the relationship, listening and responding to what the other person says, humour and doing things together are the five most important aspects of a healthy relationship. Your appearance has nothing to do with it.

If it suits you, you can probably tell your partner when you feel insecure for a day because you are too short. Maybe you really want to leave your heels at home that night. And use a sense of humour. Call her a giant for once, or call yourself a gnome. If you can laugh at your situation, it automatically becomes less difficult.