Social Question

MrsDufresne's avatar

Are the majority of heterosexual men likely to leave/stray if their partner loses their looks?

Asked by MrsDufresne (3547points) April 3rd, 2010

When faced with a cancer diagnosis, a lot of women think about the fear of being betrayed, or their marriage ending, because of losing their hair or being disfigured.

Even if they’ve been married for many, many years, they consider this before they consider the fear of dying.

Some women even forgo appropriate treatment because of the fear of losing their hair or breasts.

Do men have less patience or tolerance if their partner loses her looks? Women, does this hurt you? How does this make you feel?

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29 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Not a gender thing.
It’s all about attitude which transcends gender.
Some people are fucked up like that, men and women both.

gailcalled's avatar

And not an issue that can be generalized. People in happy and loving relationships are usually very supportive and no longer concerned with the superficial, I have found.

zophu's avatar

If a wife worries about her husband leaving her because of her losing her looks, they probably shouldn’t be together anyway. Already too deep. Only goes down from there.

cytonic_horus's avatar

I think it comes down to the individual rather than a male thing…if you are with someone just because of their looks then you are with them for the wrong reason as it should be more than that.

You can have the most beautiful looking person but behind that face is the memory span of a confused goldfish but then someone could look like Shrek but could be the most amazing person inside.

I’m sure there are guilty people from both sides

Hexr's avatar

Although it can occur with either gender, it is true in surveys of men and women asking their priorities in a partner, looks rank higher With men than with women. But it’s more complicated than that in most relationships. Chances are if a man is with you for long enough to know about your diagnosis (and he is not a sociopath), he is probably committed, since seeing someone through a serious illness is a big commitment.

Just_Justine's avatar

It depends how deep the relationship was before the illness. Plus the reasons they are together. If he feels she is a trophy only the trophy is lost. My mother was in nappies after a brain injury and my father doted on her, simple mind and all, until he died. Because they had married for love and not looks.

majorrich's avatar

I wouldn’t say the majority of men; or women for that matter. There are people that will have a roaming eye it the depth of their commitment isn’t what it should be. Hair loss in cancer treatment, at least for me was temporary. Mastectomy reconstruction is raised to such an artform that reconstructed bosoms are almost nicer than Ma nature made if looks are an issue. But if a man is is committed enough to make it through the chemo, chances are he is there to stay.

dpworkin's avatar

Everyone loses his or her looks. It’s really rather a trivial occurrence. Maybe some people blame their leaving on something that idiotic, but I suspect that when someone leaves a spouse it’s for much deeper reasons.

wundayatta's avatar

So the premise here is that men are shallow and all they want in a wife is looks? That she should be eye candy? It doesn’t matter what other skills she has or how she feels about him or how many children they have, if she loses her looks, she’s tossed out?

I dunno. It’s hard for me to imagine how any woman could fall for a guy that shallow. Unless she were that shallow, too. In which case, she’d be going for looks or earning power or something statusey that has little to do with who the guy is.

I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to see a woman in such as situation as a victim. She made choices, too. She chose the the man based on whatever criteria she used. But those criteria apparently did not include empathy or caring.

majorrich's avatar

would a woman cheat on her husband if he got cancer and lost his dork?

MrsDufresne's avatar

@wundayatta I phrased the question with the description of “the majority of men” because I am aware that not all men feel this way. (And thank goodness for that;)

Love is a choice, but that choice is based beyond the limits of understanding for lots of people.

Thank you for your input.

MrsDufresne's avatar

@majorrich This reminds me of the story about the man that had lost his face due to cancer. His wife stayed faithful to him. I have a feeling she would’ve stayed faithful if he lost his dork too. (LOL)

gailcalled's avatar

Very few guys lose their “dork,” but thousands of men develop prostate cancer; 50% chance of erectile disfunction after surgery and radiation. Loving couples figure out ways to have fun.

dpworkin's avatar

Looks has to be the single silliest criteria for deciding whom to marry.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Statistically speaking, the answer appears to be yes, men leave wives with cancer more often than can be accounted for by the normal divorce rate.

majorrich's avatar

I am pretty sure losing ones dork would be pretty traumatic to most guys. Even more traumatic if one had an epic huge dork before the loss?

dpworkin's avatar

@the100thmonkey But do we know if that correlates with looks? Maybe those men are cowardly for other reasons.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@dpworkin – the abstract doesn’t mention those specifics, and getting institutional access to the full text from my phone is too much of a PITA for me to check :D

It’s an interesting answer to some of the issues raised in the OP. The CNN article derived from the paper includes anecdotal evidence from cancer sufferers that suggests a correlation, although it’s just that – anecdotal.

Exhausted's avatar

I have heard some men say they couldn’t stay with a woman that lost her looks. But I have also seen many more men that truly love their wives or S/O’s and would stand by them no matter what happened to them. It goes both ways too, although I think men are more likely to leave than a woman would. If my S/O’s need for me to be attractive would cause me to hesitate to do whatever it would take to save my life, I don’t think being with that person is worth dying for. They are shallow and selfish. Why would you sacrifice your life to hang onto someone like that?

MagicalMystery's avatar

if the wife foregoes cancer treatment to preserve her looks, and she dies as a resut, will it matter if her husband stayed with her?

MrsDufresne's avatar

@MagicalMystery I know!! Crazy, isn’t it? (Thank you for answering)

davidbetterman's avatar

Too bad women have husbands who make them think this way. If a guy loves his wife and she gets cancer, why should that make him cheat on her?

If he is going to stray, he will do so whether she gets cancer or remains perfectly healthy.

Harold's avatar

I certainly wouldn’t! If someone leaves for that reason, you are probably better off without them anyway. Such a superficial person would be no comfort during the trials of chemotherapy, surgery, etc.

jeanmay's avatar

@the100thmonkey @dpworkin Having a serious illness such as cancer puts an enormous strain on a relationship in so many ways, not just regarding appearance. Statistics don’t ‘speak for themselves. ’

Now that my husband has seen me give birth, I cannot imagine a situation where he would leave me based on the way I look.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The PC answer is only crappy people would do that, of both sexes. In my years of observation though, it seems true to me that men are more likely to leave their women if they no longer find her physically attractive while women may carp a bit but stick around.

YARNLADY's avatar

I believe only a very shallow person (male or female) would feel that way. There are very few people who keep their looks.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Be it a man or a woman I guess it would come down to if they care more for visuals or comfort. If you are in a great relationship that is comfortable you think of the peace of mind and calm it gives you to be in it more than if heads are turning as you walk down the street or eat at a restaurant. If you have little supporting the union other than “you are such a cute couple” them there maybe staying or out right abandonment. If the connection is much deeper than anything on the surface you will stay because it will be similar to a battle field buddy but much more, and a guy will not abandon his buddy and leave him in the brush simply because he wasn’t pretty.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Of the males I’ve known in my family and circle of acquaintances, the answer is yes. It sounds so shallow but for some reason it happens, mostly cheating followe by discovery and then divorce. I hate the lip service people give each other about accepting this and that and how other qualities of a person are so important when I hear from their lips to others what they really think.

Me, I learned first hand years ago when I had gone from about 95lbs to 110 and my then partner told me he loved me but no longer was in love with me and the first thing out of his mouth was, “you’re not the girl I first met and I’m worried about your health, about you becoming obese.” That kind of killed it for me and him, I learned even the most loving and faithful person can lose it for you if you “get fat”.

As humiliated as I was, I did learn the world is not going to be PC just because I want them to be and no amount of me telling a person what should be acceptable to them was going to change how they felt so I vowed never to let myself go again and just rule out one less pain in the ass irritation. Men lie to women about their looks and women lie to men about their but you know what, from what I’ve seen the women take it in stride and have a greater tolerance and hold out on the love than the men. Sorry guys, you suck a lot of times.

Does this hurt me? Oh hell yes because I have age creeping on my looks, am single wanting to be remarried and in competition with women in their late 20’s and early 30’s just coming out of their first divorces all optimistic and energized for the game like I once was. Yup, life’s a bitch.

dpworkin's avatar

When I met my girlfriend she wore a size 6. Now she wears a size 16. I figured her body shape must have changed after menopause. Who gives a shit? She’s the same person.

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