It’s good to be rich; this much is not in dispute — there is literally no part of your life that couldn’t be improved, however marginally, by having more money. For many men who become rich (or at least attempt to), women are a big motivator. Rich guys get the hottest women, and the ability to put your penis in someone who many, many other men also want to put their penis in is, obviously, the nadir of our existence. But what you don’t hear about are the other, quirkier effects of having more money, for instance the fact that when you feel wealthier, the women in your life may seem less attractive to you.
Men are motivated to make more by a HPOA!
Those are the results of a recent Chinese study, which involved 182 college students (121 women, 61 men) in committed relationships. The researchers used different preliminary questionnaires about financial status in order to make the participants feel better or worse about their financial situations, and then asked them to rate their satisfaction with their partners across multiple attributes (including attraction) on a 1-9 scale.
Overall, money changes men, but not women. Men made to feel richer were noticeably less satisfied with their partner’s own financial resources and her physical distance from him, but the biggest change was in how hot she looked:
That’s a 3/4 to more than full point difference, depending on the error bars. Note that when women were made to feel wealthier, there was virtually no change at all, and if anything a teensy uptick in how attractive they found their partners. The researchers partially explain this as being an (always suspect) evolutionary psych thing, that men have evolved to value looks in a partner, while women have traditionally valued resources. What that doesn’t explain, though, is why feeling richer makes the one you’re with seem instantly less attractive.
While sample size (again, just 61 men) is a limiting factor, we can still hypothesize. Do men, knowing that women value resources, feel entitled to more attractive women when they believe they’re in possession of more resources? In other words, does winning the lottery automatically mean you can do better than you are right now? Because that’s essentially what this is — monthly income was among the factors controlled for, so the results would indicate that regardless of how much you actually have, feeling as though it counts for more makes your current girlfriend look like hot garbage. Being taken down a peg, however, apparently makes you happy to have anyone who’ll have you.
It’s hard to glean too much from this (what defines “satisfaction,” after all?), but it’s a valuable bit of insight to keep in mind if you get a big promotion or some other windfall: The girl with you now was the same girl with you before the money came in.