Why Focusing on Height Might Be Selling Your Love Life Short

Fun fact — only about 14.5% of men in the U.S. are 6 feet or taller. And yet, so many women stroll into the dating scene with their 6-foot minimum height requirement tucked securely in their list of non-negotiables. They dream of that tall, dark, and handsome man who’ll sweep them off their feet.  But while they’re fixated on finding that guy who can reach the top shelf, they might be overlooking the ones who can reach the depths of their hearts.

Now, I’m not here to shame anyone’s preferences. We all like what we like. But someone with a bit of experience in the love department (and yes, I’ve dated the towering giants and the guys who were more eye-to-eye), I’m here to nudge you gently towards considering a slightly different perspective.

My aim here is to challenge the premium being placed on a man’s height and to encourage you to look beyond this superficial measure. Because at the end of the day, when the high heels come off and you’re both sitting on the couch, his height really doesn’t impact your relationship all that much.

The Height of Expectations

Why do we, as a society, seem to equate a man’s stature with his overall desirability? Well, for one, there’s the media’s portrayal. In fairy tales and Hollywood, the tall, heroic figure has been beaten into our collective psyche. Every prince, superhero, and leading man must tower over the crowd to command respect and win hearts. And let’s not forget those evolutionary theories whispering that taller men were historically better protectors and providers.

Many of us associate height with personal security and confidence. There’s something undeniably comforting about having a man who can physically look over you. But let’s be real, emotional security and genuine confidence don’t necessarily come packaged in a 6-foot-tall box.

The average height for men in the U.S. hovers around 5 feet 9 inches. Not even close to 6 feet. And when you consider the global perspective, that average dips even further. So, by insisting on that 6-foot-and-over fantasy, we’re literally overlooking the majority of the male population.

Height is distributed on a bell curve. Most men fall within the average range, with the 6-footers being the outliers. So, when you’re setting your dating app filters to 6 feet or taller, you might think you’re just being selective, but you’re actually venturing into unicorn territory.

The Shortcomings of a Tall Order

By sticking to this height criterion, the dating pool gets significantly shallower.  You’re not only limiting your options but potentially missing out on someone who could make your heart soar higher than any 6-foot man ever could.

I once dated a guy who was, let’s say, more on the compact side of the height spectrum. But his stature never once stood in the way of his charm, wit, or ability to make me feel utterly cherished. He was the kind of guy who’d write love notes, plan surprise picnics, and knew exactly how to make me laugh. Not once did I find myself wishing he was a few inches taller because he was already larger than life in the ways that genuinely mattered.

And I’m not alone in this. I’ve heard countless stories from friends and clients who found love with men who wouldn’t make the cut in a basketball lineup but scored big time in the relationship department. These men brought qualities to the table like kindness, intelligence, humor, and a level of emotional understanding that no measuring tape could ever size up.

Could the fixation on finding a tall partner be overshadowing the chance to meet someone who, although may not see eye-to-eye with you physically, could very well be your perfect match in every other sense?

The Long and Short of Compatibility

Think about your favorite couple. Maybe they’re friends, relatives, or even a duo from your favorite TV show. Now, ask yourself, what makes their relationship work? I’ll bet it’s not because one of them can reach the top shelf without a step stool. It’s the laughter they share, the way they look at each other, the respect they hold for each other, the dream they share, and the way they handle a disagreement with grace and understanding.

Personality, values, and chemistry – these are the real heavyweights of a relationship. A man’s humor can lift your spirits higher than his height ever could. Shared values ground your relationship in ways that physical stature just can’t compete with. When the chemistry’s right, it’s electric, no matter if you’re looking up, down, or straight ahead into your partner’s eyes.

During college, I dated a guy who was 5’5, I believe. Now granted, I’m only 5’2 so he was still taller than me. But he was still shorter than the other guys I was used to dating.  Our personalities just clicked and his height quickly became an irrelevant detail.

Then I dated a guy whose towering presence at 6’5 was initially quite impressive. But as we spent more time together, I realized we were walking different paths in life, our values on different pages of the book. His height suddenly seemed just like a number, rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

These experiences, and many more, taught me the valuable lesson that it’s not about looking up or down but seeing eye to eye on what truly matters. I knew I had to find someone who matched my stride, someone who fits into my life because of who she is.

Raising the Bar Without the Height

When it comes to relationships, it’s crucial to have standards. But let’s make sure they’re the right kind of standards.

Consider the qualities you value in a partner. Think honesty, ambition, a sense of humor, empathy, or whatever else you find important. These are your non-negotiables. This doesn’t mean you toss out physical attraction. It just means you’re focusing on what will sustain and nourish your relationship in the long run.

It’s fine to have preferences, including an affinity for taller men. The key, though, is to recognize when a preference becomes a limitation. Are you swiping left on potentially great guys because they don’t meet your height requirement? If so, you might be doing yourself a great disservice.

It’s great to know what you want, but it’s also wise to be open to surprises. I know firsthand how awesome it is to meet someone and think, “Wow, I never thought I’d go for someone like this, but here I am, utterly smitten.” Give yourself the freedom to explore and be pleasantly surprised. Love often comes in unexpected packages.

In the end, it’s about striking a balance. Have the confidence to know what you deserve in a relationship, but also have the wisdom to recognize that a great partner comes in many different forms and sizes. Your love life doesn’t have to be short on quality, depth, or excitement — and certainly not because of a number on a measuring tape.

Next time you’re swiping through potential dates or meeting someone new, take a moment to reflect. Are you giving this person a fair chance? Are you focusing on what truly matters? Try to look beyond the inches and see the person standing in front of you. You might just be surprised at how tall they stand in the ways that count.

Until next time,

Ash Pariseau

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