From the time we’re kids, we learn that hot people reign supreme—they’re popular in high school, make loads of money when they enter the real world and score equally gorgeous partners to flaunt all over Instagram.
But according to recent research, couples that look like walking Calvin Klein ads might have one disadvantage: They don’t stay in long-term relationships.
Harvard social psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams was intrigued by past research that highlighted the benefits of being attractive. They appeared to have so many advantages; Ma-Kellams was curious to know if there was a dark side to being beautiful, too. So she conducted several studies on physical attractiveness and its relationship to longevity and satisfaction.
Her findings seem to explain so many (if not most) celeb breakups: Physically attractive people not only have shorter relationships — they’re also more likely to divorce than people who are less attractive.
Ma-Kellams’ first two studies proved a definite link between hotness and breakups. In one experiment, two women rated the attractiveness of men from high school yearbook photos from the late 70s and 80s. Researchers then went on Ancestry.com to find out the guys’ marital status—believe it or not, the men who were rated attractive were more often divorced.
In the second experiment, the same women rated male and female celebrities. The result? The most attractive celebs had short marriages. (Ahem, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.)
A third study explored whether or not attractive people in relationships had a “wandering eye” (which previous research suggests is lost over time). The participants — about half of whom were in exclusive relationships — were asked to rate the attractiveness of someone of the opposite sex. Ironically, those who were more physically attractive and in relationships showed more interest in other prospects.
Ma-Kellams’ final study explored relationship satisfaction and interest in other people. Participants viewed a series of photos of same-sex people, and then reported whether they felt more or less attractive after viewing the photos. Those who felt more attractive also rated people of the opposite sex more attractive. The likelihood of this increased in participants who reported dissatisfaction in their current relationships.
“I think attractiveness gives you more options in terms of relationship alternatives, which might make it harder to protect a relationship from outside threats,” Ma-Kellams told Broadly. “In this sense, having too many other choices is likely not beneficial for relationship longevity.”
Hot people of the world: You might get your heart broken a lot. In the words of Beyoncé, pretty hurts.