After Rejection from Handsome Men, Women Snub Less Attractive Guys

June 12, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

With nearly 30% of married couples first meeting in college, pharmacy school may be the place where you meet "The One."

With nearly 30% of married couples first meeting in college, pharmacy school may be the place where you meet “The One.”

However, a new study explores what happens when that’s not the case. Specifically, the researchers examined how heterosexual women react to rejection.

While some may have guessed individuals more strongly desire a connection after being rejected, the researchers hypothesized women would not want to settle on a less desirable candidate, even if he showed interested in her.

“[A]ccepting connection from a low status may imply that one is of similarly low status, which may call into question one’s prospects for future acceptance,” the researchers stated.

They observed how single women reacted when they received simultaneous feedback of acceptance or rejection from an attractive man and a less attractive man. What they found validated their hypothesis: women expressed a critical attitude toward not only their rejectors, but also the less attractive men who showed interest in them.

“[B]eing affiliated with an unattractive man would make those women feel like that's the kind of man they ‘deserve,’ which puts their larger social goals at risk,” said lead study author and associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Geoff MacDonald, PhD, in a press release.

These results may provide insight into how rejection can lead to antisocial behavior, the researchers suggested.