Are Height Requirements Still Keeping You From Finding Love?

Are Height Requirements Still Keeping You From Finding Love?Are Height Requirements Still Keeping You From Finding Love?

In the annals of “things that definitely don’t matter when you’re 70″, nothing is more irrelevant to marital happiness than height.

Money matters. If one partner is chronically unemployed or in debt, relations can get strained.

Intelligence matters. If your partner can’t understand what you’re talking about or lacks the maturity to try, he’s a waste of time.

Weight matters. If someone is morbidly obese, he’s probably not making it to age 70.

(By the way, ladies, this does NOT mean he has to be taller, smarter or fitter than you. He just can’t be poor, stupid and fat. Got it?)

Nothing is more irrelevant to marital happiness than height.

But one thing that I’ve never really gotten – after 10 years as a dating coach – was women’s obsession with height. And it’s not a myth. It’s real. An article on Jezebel discusses a report from the Atlantic that illustrates that the average height differential between 4600 married American couples was six inches and that the wife was taller in 3.8% of couples. However, “when the author randomized the information as well to see what would come up by chance, he found something surprising: left to chance, the wives were taller in 7.8 percent of couples— twice as many as before. Meaning, people are choosing to maintain this six inches of difference by going out of their way to pair up according to this distinction.”

This is a rigid and arbitrary preference – most noteworthy, to me, in short and tall women.

With short women, EVERYBODY’s taller. So, if you’re 5’1″, what difference does it make if he’s 5’7″ or 6’1″? Yet some short women discriminate against average sized (5’7-5’11″) men.

On the other hand, with tall women, since only 15% of men are over 6 feet tall, it would stand to reason that a 5’11″ woman would be well served to open up to shorter men, instead of insisting that he has to be 6’3′, because that’s how tall she is in heels. There simply aren’t enough 6’3″ men to go around, and if you restrict yourself to them, you’re killing your chances of finding love – for pretty much no reason.

It would be like a male millionaire holding out for a female millionaire who makes more than he does. Is it possible? Yes. Likely? No. Necessary? Definitely not.

The author of the Jezebel piece is 5’11″ and had a very healthy and refreshing take on height:

I never felt I was making some kind of concession by dating men shorter than me — I just dated people I was attracted to. But since most men are shorter than I am, had I eliminated them on the basis of shortness, I’d have been sitting out all those dances I never actually went to. In order to find a guy six inches taller, I’d have to find a guy who was 6’5.

She ended up marrying a guy a few inches shorter than her. Good for her.

And if this bugs you and you think you should be holding out for a tall guy, that’s your business. Just keep in mind that your current height criteria cuts your potential mates drastically – and that’s before we talk about age, ethnicity, education, income, personality, religion, emotional intelligence, values, kindness, consistency, attraction to you and desire to be married. He’s gotta have all of those things, plus be in the 15% of men who are six feet tall? Good luck with that.

Please read the article here and share your thoughts below.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Goldie

    I totally agree! I’m 5’9″. During my last round of dating, I took Evan’s advice and set the height cutoff at 5’8″ instead of 6’0″ like I’d previously used to. It increased my dating pool dramatically, so I no longer felt like I had to go on dates with borderline douchebags just because they’re tall enough. Let me tell you, there are a lot of really amazing men on this side of six feet. I will however add that, if you say you’re looking for 5’8″, you will get responses from guys who say they’re 5’7″, and are actually 5’6″. But, as long as they’re cool with the height difference, and have good partner qualities, so what? As long as the man isn’t intimidated by my 6’2″ and 6’3″ children, I’m fine with the arrangement.

  2. 2
    Vanessa

    Great article – but I think you and the data you referenced are eliminating a very big portion of the equation – men who won’t date taller women. 
    As much as women discriminate because of height, men do the same thing, my own man (and several male friends) included.  I’ve heard many men state that a woman taller than them would be a turn off so in the instances above where the woman are only taller in a small percentage, that could be as a result of the woman’s choice, the man’s choice, or both.  
    All of that being said, I agree the height discrimination is a petty one. One I used to hold to.  At 5’4, I’m shorter than most, but preferred a guy at least 3 inches taller than I.   Had I stuck to that criteria when I met my boyfriend, I would’ve walked away from the greatest thing to happen to me.   Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t stick to some petty criteria that could’ve cost me some of the most amazing moments of my life thus far. 

    1. 2.1
      Mike

      I think most men are willing to date taller women, however, most men are intimidated to ask out a taller woman because it’s widely understood or thought that they only want a taller man.  I’m currently on a dating website and I find that the height and income criteria that almost every woman has keeps me from contacting them.   I am 51, 5’8 3/4″, retired with a guaranteed annual take home income of 73k for the rest of my life, I’m fit, have a bachelors and I’m debt free. Most are looking for somebody who is at least 5’11″ and  makes at least 100k.  What I find funny is that they claim to be make only 30k-50k.  When I read criteria such as that I don’t bother reaching  out because I’m not what they’re looking for.  

  3. 3
    Some other guy

    @Goldie – You said you lowered your height requirement – why do you have one at all? Does it really matter?

  4. 4
    Ruby

    Vanessa #2
     
    I agree. At 5’8″, I’m on the tall side for a woman, but not exactly a giantess. Yet I’ve met men who were over 6 feet tall who thought I was too tall for them, and would actually remark on my height. And those were just the ones who commented; I’m sure there were others who felt that way, but kept it to themselves. OTOH, I’ve dated shorter men who didn’t care a bit. While someone more than a couple of inches shorter probably wouldn’t work for me (I don’t want to feel too big), I try to focus on the the type of person he is before anything else.

  5. 5
    Goldie

    Some other guy – what can I say, I’m only human. I’m not yet at that point where I’m okay being out with a guy 8-9 inches shorter than I am. Maybe next time. My current boyfriend is 5’10″.

  6. 6
    Karl R

    Vanessa said: (#2)
    “I think you and the data you referenced are eliminating a very big portion of the equation – men who won’t date taller women.”
     
    They’re irrelevant.
     
    Your available dating pool is made up of the men who want to date you. No matter how much you change your attitude, that number of men is fixed.
     
    Let’s say there are 150 single men in your extended social circle. Let’s say that 80% of them are interested in dating you (30 men). They’re interested in dating you exactly the way you are: 5’4″, your height, your weight.
     
    No matter how you change your attitude, the other 120 still won’t want to date you.
     
    But now the second part of the equation comes into play. How many of those 30 men are you interested in dating? How many do you think are too old, too young, too fat, too skinny, too short, too ugly … or whatever other criteria you choose to use.
     
    Depending on what criteria you choose, that group of 30 men could get whittled down to 25, 10, 5, 3, 1 or none. If you’re 5’4″ and holding out for a man who is at least 5’7″, you’ve eliminated several men out of the 30 (the exact number depends on how much your height mattered to the men). Then you start cutting out men because of age, obesity, attractiveness, employment/income, etc. …
     
    Height is a stupid reason to eliminate someone. It doesn’t matter how few people you’re eliminating. If I ruled out women who were taller than me, I’d be ruling out less than 1% of all women. And it would still be a stupid and self-defeating reason to eliminate women. (In comparison, you were eliminating 19% of all men, by seeking men at least 3″ taller than you.)

  7. 7
    Vanessa

    Karl R #6 -  I understand what you’re trying to point out but was making the statement more to the point that men are cutting their dating pool just as much as women are cutting there’s by discriminating against height.  
     
    For example, that 30 men you mentioned may have been higher, had men within that group not discriminated against me because I was their height, too short, or too tall for them.  
     
    The article noted the height difference but my point was simply that it didn’t show if the height difference was a coincidence, or something consciously (or subconsciously) done by the man or woman in the pairing.  In other words, I’ve seen just as many men discriminate due to height as I’ve seen women.  Do I think it’s right, no, but it does occur.      

  8. 8
    cat

    Dating taller men boils down to physical attraction. I’m 5’9″ & didn’t date shorter men or even men my own height. Men normally don’t date women that they don’t find attractive either based on height, weight, hair color, boob size, eye shape, etc, etc. Height is just one of numerous physical attributes that determine physical attraction. If you’re a tall (or short) woman & don’t want to date shorter men, don’t. Who cares if it shrinks your dating pool. The article basically says change what you’re attracted to & that isn’t realistic. I’m married to a tall, dark & handsome man. :)  And he’s about the shortest man I dated at 6’1″.

  9. 9
    Kathleen

    Good article. Im at least 6 foot when Im out in heels so Im visibly aware of the smaller pool of tall men.!! Im always astounded when short women say they won’t date anyone under 6 foot but I think tall men are afforded an unconscious elevation of status , just for being tall.
    I did have a lover who was 5 foot 6″ but he was an extremely confident guy who insisted I wear sexy high heels. You should have seen us dancing with his head at my chest and all the attention we would get LOL  
    Think this is a great point Evan so I lowered my height range today.
     

  10. 10
    Goldie

    @ cat #8: “Who cares if it shrinks your dating pool. The article basically says change what you’re attracted to & that isn’t realistic.”
     
    It doesn’t just shrink your dating pool. It rules out a large number of quality men, that you would’ve enjoyed dating if you knew they existed. But you won’t, because they failed to meet the height requirement. This is the one downside of online dating. We’ve all met guys in real life who have so much personality and charisma, we don’t even notice how tall they are. They could be an inch or two shorter and we’d go out with them anyway, without paying attention to their height. Online though, we’ll never even get to meet them, because they won’t get through our filter. From where I stand, it looks like we’re the ones that are missing out.
     
    I was married to a 6″ man, look where it got me :)
     

  11. 11
    Joe

    Vanessa, you’re still kind of missing the point.  Evan is here not to point out the ways men can change their dating perspectives to find love–he’s here to point out how women can change their dating perspectives to find love.

  12. 12
    Jenna

    Height isn’t a huge issue for me, but one thing that irritates me is men who don’t work out regularly. If I’m thin and work out five times a week, why do I have to settle for a flabby guy or a guy with no muscles? It’s not an instant disqualifier, but I’m aware of it. And even writing this makes me sound superficial, but I just want someone of roughly equal attractiveness and when girls say things like that they get slammed. 

  13. 13
    cat

    @ Goldie – it doesn’t really apply to me now since I’m married. But I was just stating that I did have a height requirement & I did find love.

  14. 14
    Yuri

    I totally agree with this article.  Some added height is nice, but it won’t attract me to a guy.  The average male is 5’10″!! Why would I ask for someone over 6 feet tall?
    I’m 5’6″, and I’ve dated guys from 5’2″ to 6’6″.  I will admit that I would like a guy to be at least my height or around it, but I won’t shut out a guy if he doesn’t qualify for my height standards.  Height has nothing to do with personality, which is far more important to me.
     
    That being said, my boyfriend is 6 feet tall, but it honestly had very little to do with my attraction to him.  He’s just an awesome person who happens to be tall.  I’d feel the same about him if he were 5’4″.  It really is inconsequential in the great scheme of things.

  15. 15
    Amy

    When I see couples where the man is shorter, woman taller, I think it shows confidence on the part of both people, they just don’t care about conformity. There is something very sexy about that. I am 5ft 6in, and have dated men who are 5ft 5in, all the way to about 6ft 3 in. Taller isn’t necessarily better, sometimes I feel slightly intimidated if a guy is too tall, like he’s looking down on the top of my head…not a good feeling.  At the same time, no woman wants to be in bed with a guy who makes her feel like the incredible hulk. 5ft 5in or so is almost too short for me, though I’m fine with a guy who’s 5ft 8 or 9 in. There are plenty of women who are tiny, 5ft tall or shorter. A guy who is 5ft 5in is almost 6 inches taller than those women, so have at it I say!
    There is a strong psychological element to this that the article doesn’t address: many women feel safer with a guy who is at least a little taller (2-3in) than them. I don’t think this is cultural, but more biological, evolutionary.

    1. 15.1
      Brian

      Thank you for finally saying it when no one else would. It’s biological evolution, but I also believe it satisfies a woman’s subconscious desire for social upward mobility (for her and her offspring), and is fueled by our societal concept of height being directly proportional to success/admiration.

  16. 16
    Vanessa

    Joe #11 – Again I understand that and agree with Evan that the idea of dating someone by height is ludicrous.  My point was more in addressing where Evan stated, ‘But one thing that I’ve never really gotten – after 10 years as a dating coach – was women’s obsession with height.’  I was making a point of noting that although women may be ‘obsessed’ with height, men are just as likely to be obsessed by the height factor.  

  17. 17
    Goldie

    @ Cat #13 – congratulations on your marriage. But I’m confused, why do you advise other people, who didn’t yet find love, not to give up on their height requirements, yet you do not give them any logical reasons why they shouldn’t? “I am married to a tall guy” is not a logical reason. What good it is to them that you are married to an awesome tall guy? it’s not like they can have him.

  18. 18
    cat

    @Goldie#17…I’m saying you don’t have to lower your standards or try to change what you are naturally attracted to. If you’re a woman who is attracted to shorter men that’s great, if you’re a woman who is not attracted to shorter men, that’s great too. Don’t be ashamed of what you’re naturally attracted to. In the long run, if you’re trying to force yourself to be physically attracted to something you’re not naturally inclined to just because there is “more out there”, I think it may cause problems down the line in the relationship.

  19. 19
    Jackie Holness

    Height shouldn’t be too critical of an issue in finding love, but so glad my fiance’ is over 6 feet tall…LOL….

  20. 20
    Kristen

    I am a six feet tall woman. It would be nice to date men who are taller but it’s not realistic. The vast majority of men I have dated have been shorter than me. The shortest was 5’2″. Despite the fact that I am very open to dating shorter men, I have found that men, no matter what their height, are not nearly as open to dating very tall women. I’ve had quite a few men insist that I only wear flat shoes so that I don’t appear so much taller. I’ve never asked a guy to wear lifts nor has even it crossed my mind.

    I would venture to guess that the discrimination I face in online dating based on my height is probably equal to or greater than that faced by very short men. I have found that listing my height in my profile as 5’11″ instead of 6’0″ has resulted in more men contacting me or responding to me online but not significantly more. Once I changed my height to 5’7″ for a week just to see what would happen. I had probably 100x the number of men view my profile and recieved 20x the number of messages than I did when my height was listed at 6’0″. To put this in perspective, when my true height was listed I was only getting 1 or 2 messages per week. Then I removed the fact that I am a vegetarian and a lawyer from my profile. It made no difference in the number of profile views or messages I recieved regardless of whether my height was listed at 6’0″ or 5’7″. So I know that of those three things (vegetarian, 6’0 and lawyer), it’s my height that makes the difference in whether men online are interested in me.

    While tall men may be both in high demand and short supply, only 0.7% of women are 5’10″ or taller so it’s not like men feel they are missing out by excluding such a small percentage of women. I find it interesting that I get approached by men much more frequently in real life than ever contact me online. At this point, I have kind of given up on online dating as a way to meet anyone due to the lack of interest men online have in me.

  21. 21
    Robyn

    It’s a great idea in principle – broaden your search criteria & there will be many more candidates that meet your criteria & are potential partners.
    But just because you decide, as a tall woman (which I am at 6ft barefoot) that you are now open to dating shorter guys, doesn’t mean that there are suddenly going to be a slew of shorter guys that want to date you.
    In my personal experience, the majority of men do not find women that are physically bigger than them (height-wise or width-wise) attractive. Some of it’s due to millions of years of biological wiring, and some of it’s due to centuries of societal attitudes and practices (that were partly driven by the same biological wiring), and then there’s just individual personal preferences that are not logically explainable (e.g. some guys love brunettes, others prefer blondes – there’s no reason for their preferences – it just “is what it is”).
    So in some ways. “going shorter” when you are a significantly tall woman may just result in even more rejection. Which kinda defeats the object of the exercise.
    But on the other hand, holding out for the perfect 6’3″ tall guy would make it exponentially more difficult to find a mutual match.
    I have always set my desired height range to 5’10″ and up when it comes to online dating, because that’s a total of twice the potential partner population than the number of men that are over 6′ tall.
    Assuming that not too many of the bunch are lying about their height (ha, ha, ha!).
    I don’t “go shorter” than 5’10″ online any more for much the same reason as I mentioned above – plus many more men exaggerate their height if they are below average height (which is 5’9″ for men in the US).
    In my experience anyway – “going significantly shorter” was in the end counter-productive. I just ended up on more dates where I got the “gee you’re so tall” comment (& it wasn’t a “oh goodie, I’m loving that you’re tall” complimentary type of comment).
    [Note: My profile contains my real height - I guess these fella's didn't read too closely... yet another cliche].
    I’ve heard of some tall women that actually post their height online as been an inch or two taller than it really is, so that they – in theory – are less likely to run into the above situation. But I’ve never tried it myself. Seems like too much of trying to “game the system” which is already full of people fudging their age/height/marital status in order to get ahead.
     

  22. 22
    Rochelle

    I think it’s about finding a medium.. I toned down my preference for taller men awhile ago. In my early college years he HAD to be at least 6′, lol, then I found myself attracted to men  the same height as me and realized it was one of those criteria that wasn’t as important as I thought.   I would ideally like him to be 6’2″ but it’s hasn’t been mandatory for years. Funny thing is once I let go of making it “must be at least 6′” mainly 6′ or so men started to show up. And I’m still not particularly attracted to shorter men, like 5’5″. (I’m 5’7″) For me I don’t see it as a hindrance in my current  decision in not dating shorter than me, since all  the men who approach me are either slightly taller or much taller.

  23. 23
    Karmic Equation

    I’m just shy of 5′ and only TWO guys 5’9″ or less have ever asked me out on a date (one was was about 5’5″, the other 5’9″). My ex hubby and ex-LTR of 6 yrs were 5’10″ — my other bfs have been over 6′ tall. And currently most of the men I’m attracting are around 6′.

    I get what Vanessa’s saying. If “short” guys don’t ask me out, I can’t date them, can I? And practically ALL shorter-than-average guys ARE taller than me!

    Since I don’t believe in making the first move, that means I’m dating 5’10″ + guys because THEY are seeking ME out, not the other way around.

    I believe Vanessa’s saying that MEN’s preferences contribute to the statistics as much as women’s do. Maybe even more so, as I’m pretty sure that MOST women on this site AREN’T making the first move.

  24. 24
    Goldie

    Cat #18, this is exactly the point I am trying to make — yes, we need to have our standards and not compromise on what we want in a partner, otherwise the relationship will not work. But compared to other things that are critical in a partner, including physical attraction, height is not that strict of a standard. Worse, it is an artificial standard. On paper we have no problem saying that we only want 6’0″ and won’t ever settle for 5’11″, yet in real life we won’t be able to even tell the difference between the two. Worse yet, it is an artificial standard that distracts us from things that we are really attracted to. One thing I found with strict, external guidelines like that is that they create a blind spot. They make you overlook things you should not be overlooking. If a woman only wants a guy 6′ tall or higher, and only finds three of them available that are also interested in her, she’ll be tempted to ignore those three guys’ negative traits, because these tall men are so rare and were so hard for her to find. Now this is what will cause her problems down the line in the relationship. Don’t know how long you’ve been married, but from my experience, after you’ve been with the man for over 20 years, his height is the least of your concerns. Other things become more important and they are the things that will make or break a marriage or relationship. When we severely limit our pool based on something like height, this makes us ignore those other things. This is all I am saying.

  25. 25
    Lauren

    Aren’t we ignoring a real factor here – the psychological impact that being short and having a small stature while growing up has on a man?  It’s common enough that it has a name – a Napoleon Complex. I have had male friends and acquaintances who have been under 5’8″, and I’ve found that these men can be defensive and feel like they have something to prove, and might be excessively into lifting weights or into their looks.
    While they might be great guys on the inside, if he feels like he has to compensate for something, that is a turn off (as it would be for anyone, male or female, that doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin).
    I’m 5’4″, I’ve dated men ranging from 5’6″ to 6’7″. The last time I did online dating, I didn’t restrict my matches on height since I figured it would increase my odds. I do have to admit, my boyfriend is 6′, and his height/build is part of what makes him attractive, but even if he was my height, I’d still be attracted to him!

    1. 25.1
      TheForgottenOne

      @Lauren — I’m 5’7″ and can tell that I most definitely do not have a ‘Napoleon Complex’.  I’m not defensive about my height and I don’t really care if a woman is not attracted to me because of it.  I’m very active, fit and successful in my career.  I have plenty to offer for any woman.  If a woman is not attracted to me because of my height that’s their problem, not mine.  Next!

  26. 26
    Duri

    This is something I’ve discussed with my live-in boyfriend. Early on, he asked me if I would have dated him if he were exactly the same, except 5’8″ or 5’10″ (I’m just over 5’8″ and he’s 6’2″). My response surprised me: “I would have, except I never would have found you.” I can honestly say I would be very happy to be with a 5’10″ version of him (who really cares; we’re compatible), BUT I realized that we literally wouldn’t have met if he were that height because it was the most constant criteria I used in running searches online (OKCupid) and that’s how I first contacted him. He wasn’t in my matches until I searched, either. It’s hard to knock a system that worked extremely well for me (I was online dating less than a week, because I met him, and we’re coming up on 2 years of bliss), and at a certain point you have to use some criteria to narrow down the masses online, but I now recognize that that particular criteria could have really screwed me out of the best thing I’ve ever found. 

  27. 27
    cat

    @Goldie 24 – I agree, it’s not that “strict” of a standard, but it is what it is. I guess there are women that can/do compromise it & there are those that don’t. I was the latter & it all worked out.

  28. 28
    Laine

    I like tall men. I am just not attracted to men who are shorter than me. Never have been, never will. Im 5’8 and my boyfriend is 6 ft.

  29. 29
    starthrower68

    Height is to men what weight is to women.  Except with overweight women are perceived as lazy and stupid.  Because my weight makes me unattractive no one would guess I work two jobs and have an MPA.  I’m not mad about it, it is what it is.  I have not been successful at weight loss so I will just accept that I am undatable.  The pressure is off :-D

  30. 30
    Kristen

    I agree with Robyn 21. As I mentioned ealier, I am 6″0″ and, while the majority of men I have dated have been shorter than me, only a couple have been under 5’10″. I would guess that this is because men don’t want to date women who are much more than a couple inches taller.  I don’t list a height preference on my profile. Nevertheless, most of the men (at least 90%) who contact me online are not under 5’10.” So while I am open to dating any height, men of average height or less don’t seem too interested in dating me.

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