The surprising truth about how we see ourselves in relationships

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Nicola Rachel Colyer

In a world inundated with selfies and hashtags inviting virtual praise for our daily outfit choices, we wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that we’ve all become a touch (whisper it) self-obsessed.

So the results of this new YouGov survey – asking British participants to not only rate their own attractiveness, but also to rate it against that of their partner – were somewhat surprising. It turns out that we’re not quite as into ourselves as we might seem on social media.

Participants were asked to rate their own and their partner’s looks on a scale from 0-10, with 0 being “very unattractive”, 10 being “very attractive” and five being “average”.

The results reveal that the majority of Brits consider themselves to be decidedly average in the looks department, with 40% rating themselves a middle-of-the-road five. Meanwhile, 34% of those questioned rated themselves between six and 10, while just 2% put themselves at the top of the class with a 10/10 rating.

On the flipside, 19% rate themselves as below average (scoring themselves 0-4).

And what’s interesting is how that impacted on how participants see their partners.


Despite the rise of the selfie nation, most Brits rate themselves as average looking

Overall, the majority of Brits (56%) rate their partner as more attractive than themselves.

Another third (35%) believe their partner to be of the same level of attractiveness as them, while only 9% are dating someone they believe is less good-looking. 

Not surprisingly, the more attractive we think we are, the less likely we are to rate our partner as more attractive. Almost all of those (84-91%) who rated themselves as below average believe that their partner is more attractive, while this falls to 52% among those who fell into the ‘average’ category.

Among those who believe themselves to be a nine out of 10, 35% say they are better-looking than their partner.

It seems that most people think that they have met their perfect match, with 44% of those who rated themselves as average looking placing their partner on the same level as themselves.

And while age supposedly brings confidence, it is the younger generation that is more likely to see themselves as possessing above-average looks. While 37% of 18-24 year olds consider themselves a six or seven, the rate continues to fall among each age group before reaching its lowest in the age 55+ bracket, at 18%.

As for whether there is indeed a fairer sex, the results found no divide between men and women on how they rated their own appearance.

Perhaps the most interesting of the results is just how attractive we would like our ideal partner to be. When asked to rate their dream partner, only 12% of participants expressed a desire for their ideal partner to be a 10 out of 10 on the physical attractiveness scale and they all fell into the same group – those who gave themselves top marks.

Images: iStock / Haley Powers


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Nicola Rachel Colyer

Nicola Colyer is a freelance writer and ex-corporate girl. A francophile and relapsing sugar-free graduate, she'll often be found seeking out the best places for brunch or struggling to choose between a green juice and a G&T.

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