Relationships

Do You Care About Height When Dating?

joanna goddard alex williams wedding

Alex and I recently celebrated our ninth anniversary, and my big question of the night was…

Should I wear heels? Alex is 5’8″ and I’m 5’6″, so when I wear heels, I’m slightly taller. As seen in sitcoms and movies and reality TV, there’s generally a societal expectation that women should be shorter than their partners, and it was ingrained in me as I stood at my closet debating footwear. But, then, my second question was: WHO CARES?

emma straub wedding michael fusco

My friend Emma, of Books Are Magic fame, is an inch taller than her husband. Sometimes I call Mike my short stack of pancakes,” she told me. “I truly don’t think about it anymore. My last boyfriend was even shorter! I suppose I always think of being tall and voluptuous as being sort of goddessy, and who would mind feeling goddessy? Not me.”

jana laidlaw wedding

Jana and Colin, who have been married for almost eight years, have a two-inch height difference (she’s 5’10” to his 5’8″). “When we were first dating, he asked, ‘Is it okay that I’m not taller than you are?’ Of course, it didn’t matter. He was a person I wanted to spend time with. He’s so confident and funny and goofy.”

jana laidlaw wedding

The only time it felt odd was for a moment at their wedding. “We had a great photographer, but she had go-to poses for couples, and I remember some of them felt awkward. She kept wanting me to put my head on his shoulder, and I’m like, my head is bending really far down and it feels really weird.”

caroline and leah

Caroline is three inches taller than her girlfriend, Leah. “I don’t really notice the difference,” she says, “but I also posture myself when standing next to her (leaning on one hip, for example) to be more level with her. The only time it comes up is for formal events. Now I consider flats because it makes it easier to dance together.”

brooke williams and josh

Brooke Williams is five inches taller than her husband, Josh. “I never thought I’d marry someone shorter than me, though at 5’11”, I’m not sure why the possibility had never crossed my mind,” she told me. “But then I met Josh, and all relative height considerations flew right out the window. I don’t remember being bothered by it or even thinking about it at all. Though every once in a while when I see us in the mirror I am taken aback by how much I loom over him. Plus, my hair doesn’t help!”

franny eremin and kerry

Franny, our trusty editorial assistant, and her girlfriend, Kerry, are exactly the same height. “We’re actually the same size in everything — down to our bra size! This comes in handy when packing for trips, since we can share a suitcase. I do wear heels way more than she does, though. It’s fun to play ‘tall person’ every now and then, and having her rest her head on my shoulder is weirdly romantic.”

new girl cece

Who knows, maybe cultural norms are loosening up? I was recently watching old episodes of The New Girl (because Nick), and the character Cece started dating a shorter guy. And I loved that the show didn’t mention their height difference at all. It was a complete non-issue.

michelle and barack obama

michelle and barack obama

Of course, there are some famous real-life examples, too. The Obamas are neck and neck — Barack is 6’1″ and Michelle is 5’11”. When she’s in high heels, she’s taller. And she’s PERFECT.

pharrell williams and wife helen lasichanh

Pharrell Williams is two inches shorter than his 5’11” wife Helen Lasichanh.

tina fey and husband jeff richmond

At 5’5″, Tina Fey and her husband Jeff Richmond are the same height, but she’s taller in heels…

john legend and chrissy teigan

Same with Chrissy Teigen and John Legend…

And Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres!

What about you? Do you care about height when dating? Does it feel complicated? What experiences have you had? I’d love to hear…

P.S. My sister’s awesome dating tip.

  1. Laura says...

    I love this post. I am 6’1″ (I’m Dutch) and my husband is 6’2″. He loves me in heels, but I have always felt uncomfortabel in heels higher than a inch or two because then I thought I would be ‘too’ tall. I would always get comments from ‘shorter’ people (both male and female) that I don’t need the heels, why do I wear them? This while I have always loved the look of heels: their elegance, femininity, what they do to my already long legs. They make me feel more female and sexy in a good way. But because of the comments, and the fact that with them I tower over about 75% of other people, I have always felt hessitant to buy and wear them.

    This post however inspired me to buy some really nice high heeled boots that I absolutely adore. And guess what: I have only gotten really lovely compliment about how nice they are, and how elegant I look in heels :-). And my husband loves me in them too, and even lets me call him shortie when i wear them..

    (p.s. for my wedding I did wear flats, but not because of my husbands lenght, but because of the dress: they couldn’t lengthen it enough – and keep its beautiful hem – for me to wear heels…)

  2. Jess says...

    At 5’10”, I’ve always felt “big” around people who are shorter than me. I’m average weight but have always been very solid and have a bigger bust. I’m also very outspoken and independent by nature. That being said, I love feeling small and vulnerable next to a partner who is much taller than me. I don’t feel like I’m too much when I’m the short one; like I can be as loud as I want and the height difference balances it out. I think this is partially due to the fact that I’m usually attracted to the quieter type, though if I were to find a man shorter but just as outspoken as myself, I think I’d be ok with the height difference.

  3. Deserae says...

    My husband is much taller than my 5’9″ but since he uses a wheelchair, you wouldn’t know it. His chair sits low and when seated is not even 4 ft. It was strange at first to be a bit of a tower in comparison when we were out together. We can’t even hold hands when we are moving; those social cues you take for granted. It has made me more body confident and comfortable with my height to have to stand on my own, so to speak. Plus, his chair hasn’t kept us from tearing up the dance floor together, so seriously no complaints. :)

  4. Amanda says...

    I grew up around tall guys- my two best guy friends in high school were 6’2″ and 6’3″, while my high school sweetheart was 6’6″ (which at 5’4″ myself was quite challenging for kissing and dancing!). I was always very “height-ist” while dating in my mid-20’s, especially since I could select height parameters on dating apps – 6’0″ and above only! After not having much success, I decided on a whim to expand my parameters and go out with a very cute and charming guy who is 5’8″… and we’ve been together ever since! I’m so glad I got over my pre-conceived notions about height and put more value on the things that really count- kindness, sense of humor, and smarts!

  5. linde says...

    This is a fun post. One thing that surprises me though, is how positive and “who cares!” most of the comments are! Not because height difference is or should be an actual “issue” in a relationship, but because so many more women than seem to be represented here do have significant body and indeed, IDENTITY issues that height difference simply highlights. In other words, as much as many of us would like to feel “like a goddess” when we are taller or bigger than our partner, we instead have to fight feeling ugly or conspicuous because we have been so socially conditioned, as women, to take up as little space as possible, particularly in relation to men, (whether it’s physical, intellectual, or emotional space doesn’t matter so much – we’re just not supposed to take it!) Realizing this has really helped me be more compassionate with myself and get over some of my own hang ups, not only with being nervous about my physical size, but the size of my personality, emotional needs, career aspirations, and so on. It’s also helped me combat this messaging with my daughters, who as pre-tweens are already pressured to shrink their bodies and their voices, especially if they want to appear attractive to a man. Anyway, glad so many women here are past this struggle, but there’s no shame for those of us who aren’t – the fight is real and knowledge is power!

  6. Carmen says...

    I agree it doesn’t matter, but it would bother me personally. I’m just under 5’9 and my husband is 6’2”. I almost never wear heels, a habit formed in my youth surrounded by shorter people of both genders all the time. (I was 5’7” at 11.) So I’ve basically never worn them and find them really uncomfortable. I’m pleased I don’t feel the need to add height.

    I dated someone who was 5’7” once and hated being taller. Half of me can’t imagine marrying someone shorter, but we obviously have no control over who wins our heart either!

  7. Amy says...

    5’8″ here, living with my boyfriend who is 5’5″. We both love it!

  8. Amy says...

    I’m 5’11” and always refused to let myself factor in height when dating, since it seems like one of the silliest things to get hung up on. Why be bothered by something a guy literally cannot control, rather than the many, many things he can? This is why I am embarrassed to say that the *only* reason I came across my now-boyfriend on okcupid is that I set the filter to show me guys 6’1″ and above! We were something like a 90% match but for some reason he never popped up until I searched for him specifically by height. He’s 6’2″ and we’ve been together for three years and I’m madly in love. I hope I would have been interested in him initially at any height, because he’s my perfect match.

  9. Amy says...

    I’ve actually never dated a tall person. I’m 5’5 and the tallest anyone I’ve dated has been is 5’6 ish. I’ve also dated someone shorter than me. It’s never bothered me. I more so worry about how the guy feels on this topic because I know a lot of pressure is put on them to somehow be taller, even if it’s simply not in their genetics.

    However, with that said, I will not avoid wearing heels in order to be shorter than someone. To me, you’re either okay with the height difference or you’re not.

  10. Summer says...

    Of course I always imagined I’d end up with a tall guy, because that’s just “the way it is,” but I am here to say:

    I don’t get the hype with tall guys. I swear, every tall man I ever dated only had height going for him. Personality, humor…nah, but he’s tall and we looked great in pics together.

    So, needless to say, nope, height doesn’t matter (and if it matters to him, as I’ve experienced with a few guys, then he’s too insecure anyway).

  11. Liana says...

    I’m 5’2″ (barely), this has never been an issue for me

  12. Rosa says...

    My husband is around 5′ 7 and I’m around 5′ 9 1/2. I think our height difference bothered me a bit when we first started dating but we’ve together so long now that I don’t even notice. I still wear heels when I feel like it too.

  13. Kate says...

    I think it is silly because if you let the physical trait bothers you, he/she might not be the right one. All that matters over time is your love and respect for each other.

  14. Emily Fordham says...

    I love this. At 5’9″, I am tall so height was always a big deal to me. I was (still am sometimes) self conscious about my height. Coming from a family of men where 6’3″ is the shortest, I expected to end up with a really tall guy. I didn’t. My hubby is 5’11”. When we were dating, it really bothered me. I slumped and always wore flats. When I was pregnant, I weighed more than him.

    We’ve been married 10 years and I don’t even think about it anymore. I wear heels all the time. Okay not really. I wear them to church sometimes. But when I do, he loves It! I’m pretty sure me being taller kind of turns him on. haha

  15. Sylvie says...

    This was never something I cared about much. I dated a few guys shorter than me, and others at the same height. The guy I wound up with is seven inches taller than me–but his height came pretty far down on the list of his good points.

    Sometimes when I was out with one of my shorter dates, I’d feel conspicuous–but it had nothing to do with *them*, or my sense of them as men. It was about me. I’m already pretty tall for a woman, and I have a deep voice, and my body type is best described as “sturdy.” So maybe I felt less feminine when I dated shorter dudes. That said, I always knew that was about me and my insecurities. It never kept me back from dating a guy I liked.

  16. Sarah says...

    My fiancée (how fun, we just got engaged on Thanksgiving so that’s the first time I’ve written that!) is 5 or 6 inches taller than me but before him, I’d never actually been into tall guys! I’d found myself drawn to mostly guys who were closer to my height so when he and I started dating, I actually had to contend with accepting that he’s actually quite a bit bigger and stronger than me. I’ve got such an independent and tough mindset, I was used to feeling like I was just as big and strong as the guys, haha.

  17. Joy says...

    I’m six inches taller than my husband!

    I’m 5’10” and he’s a perfect 5’4”

    People used to comment on it a lot when we first got together. A neighbor said, “Wow you must have a lot of confidence.” After we first got married, we were strolling through the East Village holding hands and someone shouted at us, “You’re too tall for him!” So I just stopped and planted a big kiss on him in response.

    The truth is we are a perfect fit. I don’t buy that women are evolutionarily wired to need a taller man because it somehow makes you feel safer. That reeks of tired bias that would be best to clear out of our cultural system, don’t you think? My husband is strong and makes me feel safe in our relationship because of the way he treats me and our children — not because he towers over me or strangers on the street. I’m so grateful I was wise enough to listen to my heart whispering This Is the One and not the noise shouting around us. It’s been the most meaningful 15 years of marriage — and I still wear heels! — because what’s 2 or 3 more inches? ;)

    • Ashley says...

      I love love love this :) What a powerful mindset you have!

    • Lidia says...

      I love this comment so much! My husband is 5’3 and I’m 5’0, so he’s technically still taller than me, but I find it fascinating how all the single ladies I’ve talked to recently mention they won’t date anyone under 6ft (regardless of their height)! I’ve heard that comment SO many times lately and it always surprises me that so many women are okay being that vocal about something so superficial. Great men and women come in all sizes!

  18. Alexandra says...

    I’m 5’3″ and my boyfriend is 6’6″. Even though that’s quite the sizable difference, we’ve been together long enough that I mostly don’t notice anymore. Every once in a while I’ll catch a glimpse of us in a mirror or something and it’ll catch me by surprise though! I like that when he holds me I feel so protected and like I can just curl up into him.

  19. linda says...

    My husband and are are exactly the same height 5foot 5″. He likes me wearing heels and I feel glamourous. Height has never been an issue although he maintains he is a bit taller!

  20. Laken says...

    My husband and I are the same height but my shoes often make me taller. He couldn’t care less about it, but sometimes it makes me feel less feminine. The patriarchy gets us in weird ways!

  21. Jas says...

    No. I don’t care. If he cares, his problem :-)).

  22. Christine says...

    I’m 5’9 and my husband is 5’7! I used to avoid wearing heels on special occasions because I didn’t want to draw attention to the height difference and make my husband feel bad. Turns out he prefers the heels! 😂

  23. Dee says...

    I tend to date guys at or slightly above my height and it never bothered me. What would bother me much more is dating a guy who has a chip on his shoulder about not being tall enough or would ask me not to wear heels because it might make me taller. Confidence is so important. I only once dated a very tall guy and it actually bothered me so much because I’m not used to it.

  24. Annie says...

    My boyfriend and I are the same height. At first I was like “will this bother me?” But now it could not matter less. I know many tall women who have been on the dating scene for a while, really want to find someone, but refuse to consider someone their height or a little shorter because it makes them feel “less feminine”. I see their point in some ways… we are told often in society that femininity is more dainty and small and I have also felt that a lot. For instance, my boyfriend is my height BUT he is also stockier and generally larger. I’m not sure how’s I would feel with a man shorter and lighter than me. But at the same time, you are seriously limiting your dating pool with that thinking considering the average man is only 5’9”. . .

  25. Claire says...

    Just to say: thanks for the ‘normality’ of these pictures. Mixed-race and same-sex couples were included wholly without remark. These small acts are so important in breaking down prejudice.

    • Jenny says...

      Yaaaas! Thank you. : )

  26. I did have height issues in the beginning or our relationship but I’m not the tallest… my husband is almost 6’6” and I’m barely 5’0” :) it’s not been an issue for us anymore for a long time now (we’ve been together for 12 years so we learned to not share umbrellas), but I still see people staring at us on the streets

  27. Dru says...

    My husband and I have been together 19yrs and counting. I’m 6’2 and he is 5’8.
    Oh to be dealing with the question of “should I or shouldn’t I wear heels?” Lol!
    Rock them ladies!!

  28. Margaret Forsey says...

    Height isn’t an issue for me. Tall people are babes. Short people are babes. Middling people are babes. Everyone is a babe. Except jerks.

    • Jennifer Hodges says...

      “Except jerks.” TRUTH

  29. Julie says...

    I am 6’0 and I’ve always been attracted to tall guys. I can’t date shorter guys as it makes me feel even more like a giant (I tried once and hated it). I’m always towering my girlfriends so it’s nice to feel short next to my man. Being 6’0 it hasn’t always been easy to find guys taller than me, but Tinder reeeaally helped! I could filter them fast lol Now my boyfriend of 3 years is 6’3 and I’m very happy with that.

  30. Carrie says...

    I’ve been aware of my height for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was the only girl in the back row of school photos, and a promising career in ballet was cut short when an instructor warned that no man would want to partner with me and appear shorter on stage. These moments combined with generally only seeing couples with a taller male partner made me feel as though my spouse would certainly have to be taller than me. I spent years discounting so many happy relationships because of that insecurity, and even when I met my husband I doubted that he could possibly be interested. At nearly 5’10, wouldn’t he want someone smaller, someone slighter than my 6’1 broad frame? Thankfully he was unbiased about my size, or his by comparison, and it’s made me proud of my height rather than self-conscious of it. This isn’t what my younger self pictured true love looking like, but I feel more loved than I ever dreamt possible. Love is love.

  31. M says...

    My boyfriend is 10 inches taller than me and while I can’t imagine being with someone else, I do miss the chemistry you can build with only eye contact at eye level. He’s so tall I can’t go in for a surprise kiss — I’m like hey look down! I want to kiss you! 😂

    Luckily that’s the only thing I miss about dating.

  32. I’m 5’1″ so being taller than a guy has never been an issue. For some reason I have always tended to date taller guys, which I got yelled at for by my taller female friends (“leave the tall guys for us!”) and shorter guy friends (“save yourself for one of us!”) I’ve gone on the occasional date with a short guy and I’m not saying that’s why it didn’t work out, but all my long-term boyfriends have been 5’10” or taller. My husband is 6’4″! I guess we just each have who we’re subconsciously attracted to. The only real issue is that on formal occasions, I can’t ever wear flats because I can’t reach my husband’s shoulders to dance with him without 4″ heels. (I even had to find white platform sandals for my wedding because I could NOT stay in those heels the whole entire night!)

  33. Tam says...

    I’m 5’8 and my husband is 5’7. I only ever dated taller than me before him. When we met and were friends, I would jokingly say to my best friend “I would be in love with him if he was tall.” Well, turns out that part didn’t matter, I couldn’t help falling in love with him regardless.
    All of my tall friends end up with men close to or shorter than them!

    • Lara says...

      I said the same thing about my 1”-shorter now-husband. “Gahh if only he was taller!” But he is just the best guy ever so, really, a total no brainer.

  34. Alex says...

    I’m short only 5′ (on my good days). I often forget how much shorter I am compared to most until I see group pictures. People are always so surprised when I tell them my actual height and I mostly wear flats. I like to say my perceived height is 5″8 this is mostly comprised by my big curly hair, loud voice and assertive personality. I think we all have a an actual height and a perceived height.

    • Celeste says...

      Oh my gosh, yes! My best friend is several inches shorter than my 5’7”, but she is so assertive and such an alpha she never feels like the smallest person in the room.

      Similarly, my husband and I are only a few inches apart, but I rarely feel shorter than him. The only time I notice is when I find that little nook under his arm when we’re hugging.

  35. Hannah says...

    I actually thought for most of our dating time, that my husband was shorter than me, and I was okay with it, only to realize he is actually a little taller. It might have helped that he was a good deal bigger and broader than me. My Mom is tall, and vehemently says she would not have dated someone shorter than her. I feel like a lot of tall guts like to date much shorter girls, which leaves the tall girls in a pickle. I don’t quite know why some ladies are saying others are too old fashioned for liking certain heights etc. , isn’t it acceptable in society to have your own romantic preferences?

  36. Elaine says...

    At 28, I’m 5′. At 65, I’ll likely be 4’8”. I don’t think many humans come shorter than me, so it’s never been an issue. HOWEVER, I do carry a tall-person-complex, meaning I’ve always been attracted to men who are 6′ or taller…which is weird because 1) I look super young and 2) the height difference makes me look like their kid.

    • Same! Someone once told me it was evolutionary, like we want at least average-height children to compensate for our lifelong shortness. Maybe?

  37. katie says...

    This is a bit kinky, but my husband LOVES high heels, the silly ones you only wear to clubs and have to take taxis everywhere… I’d never met a guy into heels before, but when I wear them I’m exactly the same height as him, he’s 5″10 and I look him straight in the eye. He gets so giddy, it’s kind of funny, it’s like I’m Wonder Woman to him!
    When we were first dating he sent me a surprise gift. I had no idea what the parcel was… and my mum was there… they were ummm bedroom shoes shall we say!! Immediately she laughed and joked, that she knew a lot more about him now. (NB. She actually took a pic of me wearing them whilst in my full winter pjs, so we could send the joke pic to him.) 😆

    • That is SO GOT! Always tried to get with tall women for this reason. Makes me crazy just thinking about it!

  38. Eleanor says...

    Being 5’11 and curvy has usually meant that I am drawn to taller guys with some bulk. Dating hasn’t been successful (yet!), but I learned this year that height is not a deal-breaker. Apps make you think they are narrowing it down to what you believe you desire in a partner, but chemistry doesn’t discriminate. The best guy I went out with was two inches shorter and it was the first time I experienced sparks that I believed were only possible in fiction. We parted ways for other reasons, but I’m grateful for him showing me that the right personality can trump “the right” physical features that I believe I need.
    Side note: I am the tallest of six sisters, and have never felt like my height was an asset, except when on vacation and I’d get a pull out couch all to myself :)

  39. Deshanna says...

    I actually don’t think this is a “societal expectation” at all – as a student of anthropology and archaeology, I think it’s possible it’s a biological one. Typically, the female body is smaller and has less muscle than a male one (not sexist, but biology). I think it’s hard wired into most women to seek a stronger (or taller) “protector.” Try as we might, we can’t escape our evolutionary past, in which many women may have sought out the tallest, biggest mates as a defense mechanism.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a great point, deshanna. there’s definitely evolutionary psychology at play, as well. good point!

  40. Alyssa says...

    Though I always envisioned myself with a taller man (mostly because all men in my family are over 6’2”) at 5’11” I inevitabley ended up marrying a man just slightly shorter than I.

    I remember when we were first dating and rude cab driver made a comment about our height difference. My husband, then boyfriend, replied, “what man wouldn’t want a tall, hot blonde on his arm, I always feel like the luckiest guy in the room.” I fell even more in love.

    • Zoe says...

      This is exactly what a friend says about his slightly taller wife. I was so impressed with him and found it so sweet :)

  41. Jenna says...

    My height is the first thing people notice about me; at 6’3″ it’s not hard to see why. I stand out in a crowd and strangers love to comment on it. My wise, beautiful, tall cousins instilled in me from a young age that these comments were compliments and to take them as such.

    When it came to dating, my younger self had one rule; my suitors HAD to be taller than me. This was a constant teasing point for my friends who often joked that I would probably end up with someone shorter than me. And guess what, they were right (much to their delight!). It turns out height is not the most important quality (duh!) and I am now engaged to the sweetest SHORTER man. We are getting married in September 2019 and I couldn’t be happier <3

  42. Kristy says...

    It’s so crazy how height is such a filter for so many people! I used to work for a matchmaker and many women would dismiss a guy immediately if he was within 3 inches.

    My mom doesn’t like my boyfriend because he’s not the same race as me, but/and it is followed closely by jabs about his height. It’s so disappointing when people we generally respect still have these old-fashioned rules! I honestly think many times the height requirement is socially induced rather than an innate preference.

    • Annie says...

      I’m sorry you have to hear not only rude comments about his height, but also the racism directed at him. I hope your relationship can find peace away from such harsh familial toxicity.

  43. Emilie says...

    This is definitely an interesting topic, as it forces us progressive-minded readers to confront assumptions that we often can’t control and which (at least for me) are somewhat more old fashioned than we are comfortable with.

    I am 5’10”, though narrow-shouldered and slim so people often think I am shorter than I am (also likely due to my poor posture). My three serious relationships have been with men who were 6′, 6’5″, and 6’2″, respectively. The latter two are former forest firefighters, so a bit of a trend is emerging.

    I realized while dating between #2 and #3 that, despite all my efforts, I could not alter the fact that I am not attracted to men who are shorter than me. If he is the same height and broad-shouldered it’s just fine, but I dated an extremely handsome and kind man who was 5’6.5″, and I could not get used to him going on his tip toes to kiss me. After that experience, I put my own height in my dating profile — I find the whole “only men above ___ height” to be a bit demanding, but figured if I mentioned my own height it would softly suggest that I was looking for someone taller. I was surprised when a male friend (who is himself 6’2″) berated me for “putting so much emphasis on a physical trait — what if I put ‘skinny girls only’ on my profile?!” It was an interesting point — are other physical traits comparable to height preferences?

    I applaud the readers out there who can buck this cultural expectation — I wish could count myself among you! I also like to think that I would be head over heels in love with my current partner regardless of his height.

  44. Snookums says...

    I’m a 5’10 woman and all of my full height adult life, I’ve been very self conscious of my height. I am a shy person who strongly dislikes being looked at or noticed (not sure why…) since this causes me intense discomfort! Being tall-ish automatically makes me noticed, I guess! I didn’t even realize I was “tall!” until boys in college commented on it, and I burned with shame that the boy I was desperately, unrequitedly in love with announced he wasn’t attracted to tall girls. I don’t know if he was speaking to me directly, but I literally never forgot that feeling of shame. I have had a few boys/men who are shorter than my want to get together, but I was simply never attracted them. It was almost as if they didn’t register as males to me… super weired. I have a bunch of very tall (6’2″ and up) males in my family. Maybe they are my reference point, but I do know that a tall, strong man is highly physically attractive to me in an almost animalistic way. I could see myself possibly becoming attracted to a man my height or shorter over time, but I would never be outright attracted to him. My husband is 6’3″, and that he is stronger and bigger than me (and I am very atheletic and frisky ;) is actually pretty important to me. I am embarssed to say that I do not know why, and I feel like kind of a jerk about that… I don’t even wear heels or clogs or shoes with height, if possible, almost always flats. I don’t even like running shoes with too thick of a sole. What a weirdo I am!! I guess in reading this piece, and everyone’s comments, I see how messed up I am by this male/female appearance issue. I have two daughters and I wish very much that they are not impacted by my height-ism!

    Thanks for sharing all.

  45. Marci says...

    I’m just over 5-foot-1 so almost everyone is taller than I am. I did hate getting approached in bars by very short men because I knew I just ticked the “she’s shorter than I am” box and not because of any great attraction. Confidence is more important than height.

    Strangely enough, I’m not aware of my height or lack thereof most of the time. I hit puberty early and was the tallest girl in my class in the later elementary school grades. It wasn’t until high school that I figured out I was short. :) I still think of myself as tall until I have to reach something on the top shelf.

    My husband is 5-8 but had a 5-5 father so he thinks of himself as “exceeding expectations.” Our son is 6 feet, and our daughter is the same height as I am so genetics worked out according to societal expectations, but I’m sure somewhere down the line there will be short sons and tall daughters and I hope by then the world sees them all as beautiful. Cup of Jo readers are there already!

  46. Katie says...

    I’m 5’8”, and have always wanted to date a tall man (broad shouldered, hairy-chested, etc), but the last few guys I’ve dated have been considerably shorter than I. It hasn’t been an issue because they didn’t make it an issue. They even seemed to like my height. Who doesn’t admire a tall, sexy woman?? Like another commenter said, it seems to be an inherently feminine thing to want to feel small and held, but if you’re confident and can carry yourself well at whatever size you are, I think that’s the ideal.

  47. This post is so positive, but I have to admit I just have never been attracted to short men – the men I’ve looked at with googly eyes are always the extremely tall ones, for whatever reason. And so it goes – my husband is almost a foot taller than me. Of course, I don’t think it’s a rule that you have to be tall to be handsome, but that’s what I’m drawn to.

  48. Karen says...

    I don’t care about height. It’s not how tall we are that is going to make us be happy and stay together for the rest of our lives. My husband is 6’2″ and although I like that he’s tall it’s not something I specifically look for in a man. At 5’6″ most men are taller than me (the average male height here in Norway is 6′) and I have never dated a man shorter than me.

  49. jaime says...

    When living abroad, I was much more brave with online dating because it was often the only way to meet men. I once passed over a guy who seemed cool but was 5’6, which I thought would be too short since I’m 5’7.5 (short for women in my family!). I ended up meeting him socially and being completely smitten, and asked him out immediately. It reminds me of the Aziz Ansari dating book — you’d be surprised by what you think matters but is actually irrelevant when chemistry takes over.

  50. Sarah says...

    Thank you for posting this! The photos made me so happy. I am 5’11” and my fiance is about 5’9″. My mom is also an inch or so taller than my dad. We are a family of tall, Scandinavian women–my shortest female cousin is 5’7″. I’ve always loved being tall, except during the seemingly never-ending cropped jeans trend.

    Although the height difference between me and my partner doesn’t really bother me, it is definitely something I’ve thought about, especially when choosing footwear. Our wedding is in June and I’m still deciding whether or not I want to wear heels. The wedding photo part of this article definitely lends some perspective. Thanks!

  51. Wow. I am shocked to see this presented as an issue on such an open-minded blog. I’m 5’9” and am often taller than lovers; I am taller than my husband. I do not think of this as different than other physical qualities. I like long hair and short hair, I like big hooked noses and little button noses, I like people of all genders and sexes. I do not spend time thinking about height in relation to personal value; height is one facet of the kaleidoscope that makes up a lovely being.

    • Susan says...

      I don’t think this is presented as an issue here. I think it’s more presenting something that for many people is an issue as actually being not an issue.

  52. Megan Lec says...

    I am just an inch or so shorter than my husband and decided to wear flats for the wedding. Interestingly, I never think about our heights. I’ve always loved being tall and even in heels I don’t notice the height difference. My husband on the other hand does notice it and can feel insecure about his height, especially if I’m in especially high heels. Women are confronted by so many body expectations but men definitely feel the sting too when it comes to meeting societal ideals.

  53. Dating anyone shorter than me (5’10”) was always an absolute turnoff for me. My first husband was the same height and I always disliked wearing flats all the time around him. My husband now is 6’2″ and I love it. Call me old fashioned but I feel more womanly around taller men.

  54. Nathalie says...

    I wish I wasn’t one of those women who would make a vain issue out of dating men with a certain height. And truth be told, to me it doesn’t even feel like a vain issue, but moreover an emotional one.

    In a romantic relationship I feel best when my masculinity gets a rest (yep, tomboy at heart here). In my mind, this only seems to work when a guy out-testerones me in umpteenthfold, both in behavior and in looks. The more masculine the man (in height and in width, either by muscle and/or fat), the more at ease I feel. Like I’m getting the chance to truly be myself and that I can let my guard down and show my vulnerability. I guess it makes me feel like someone (physically) has my back, and that I don’t have to be in control all the time. I even remember feeling this way when I was little; I would watch Strongman competitions and pretend these guys were family, who would playfully tousle my hair with their big hammy hands and fill my birthday parties with big thunderous laughing salvos.

    I know this is ridiculous, because I know a 5ft thai boxer will wipe the floor with a bodybuilder any day. I also know someone “having your back” goes way beyond physical strength. I guess this is where the vanity comes in; it’s probably a very deeply ingrained physical preference I (romantically) seek in men. And I wish it wasn’t that way, because I hate being that shallow – especially because I have quite some male friends who are deeply insecure about their height. The trend of women who state they only want to date over 6ft isn’t helping much either!

    I count myself lucky that my life partner fits my physical preferences (and that I fit his) so that this won’t be an issue in the future.

    Also, what an interesting discussion, you never disappoint at a Cup of Jo!

    • Sarah W says...

      Nathalie – I completely get this! 100%.

      I’m a shorty (5’2″) and recently (guess still do?) have a guy interested in me who is 5’2″ or 5’1″. I’ve been beating myself up for being so hung up on his height. I simply cannot get over the fact that I feel “responsible” – that I have both our backs and do not feel like I can be at ease and don’t have to be in control. I’m finally aware that feeling this way is not due to his height as obviously his personality is the primary factor but it took me some LONG nights of thinking to realize this – that it’s an emotional factor, not physical. I’m so glad you brought that up. I finally played the, “If he were taller/bigger, would I still feel this way?” game and the answer is yes. I think.

      Deviating a bit…I feel like the biggest progressive failure because I kept thinking about if I had children with him and I didn’t want to because I wanted them to be taller than me (aka have a physical advantage that doesn’t really exist but I’m stuck in societal norms and in my mind’s eye, two shorties aren’t doing them any favors). I don’t even know how to break out of THAT rut. I expect though, since I’m fighting in my head over not liking this guy, I should just let it be. If I liked him, I wouldn’t care about height.
      Then of course there’s the additional worry that when I turn him down, he’s going to take it as a “height thing” because he is short. But maybe he won’t and maybe I don’t have to take on that emotional baggage and maybe that’s me being regressive and assuming he’ll have height insecurity when he doesn’t at all.

  55. Gaby says...

    I’m 6′ and my boyfriend of 4 years is 5’7”. I’m 32, and when I first started dating in NYC in my mid-20s, I discovered that many men I dated who were my height or an inch shorter than I was became very insecure about my tallness. That was a huge turn-off for me, and I realized that it didn’t matter the guy’s height; I wanted to be with a guy who had the confidence to be with a taller woman! As soon as I let go of the “height requirement” I started dating amazing men who were self-assured and found my life partner. He loves that I am tall, and like other commenters have mentioned, I love to be treated like a goddess! But I must say, I have gotten a lot of “looks” from passersby, not only for the height difference, but also because I am white and he is Latino. I’m happy that we represent the atypical “Other” couples for those who have been marginalized or have been made to feel low self worth about this issue, but this post definitely hit a chord with me. It made me pause and realize, sadly, again that there is a stigma and judgment around partners’ height differences and fitting into the “norm.”

  56. Ella says...

    One of my friends, who’s a trans man, is almost eight inches shorter than his wife. When they first started dating, he freaked out about it a lot, but they’re a beautiful couple!

  57. Helga Thomsen says...

    I really love this article. It’s 2018 and I think we need to get over a lot of stuff including height differences. I’m 5’10” and my husband is 5’11” so he’s taller than me but he’s the shortest guy I ever dated. When I was younger I only wanted to date tall guys because I was teased a lot about my height and going out with someone half a foot taller made me feel less freakish. It seems ridiculous now because I’m not really that tall.

  58. Scarlett says...

    I’m the exact same height as my husband– we are both 6’1″. He was the one man that I dated that didn’t mind if I towered over him in heels, in fact, he rather liked it. One of the many things I love about him! He still loves when I embrace my inner Amazon. :)

  59. Michelle says...

    Great post and comments that are inspiring me to dig out my heels! I’m 5ft 7 and my husband is 5ft 8 but I would admit that I nearly always wear flats. I think of myself as a ‘tall’ person as I was literally the tallest person, not just girl!, in my school until I was 11. I stopped growing and slowly others caught up but the feeling of being ‘too tall’ hasn’t left me.
    I’d always imagined I’d marry someone at least 5ft 10 ( my arbitrary ‘ taller than me in heels’ point) but I met my husband when we were matched on a well know dating site a few years ago the very day after I finally relaxed my height criteria to 5ft 8!

  60. Oh, I love this post! I’m 5’10” and my hubbie is 6’2″, and I have to admit our first hug was so lovely in part because I could snuggle into him in a certain way

  61. Marta says...

    I’m 5’9” and I never dated someone shorter, I felt awkward enough on my own, thanks. My husband is slightly taller so I can only wear very short heels or I would surpass him – however I never wear high heels anyway so it is not a big deal. I guess it would have helped to ever get a compliment about being so tall – rather than getting surprised looks. I am in fact not thaaat tall! I hope my daughter is not taller than me or that I manage to boost her self esteem enough not to care… Anyway, I would gladly give away 3 inches.

  62. Emily M says...

    I’m 5’5″ and when I started dating a guy who is 5’7″, of course my mom had to make a not so nice comment about it! I told her it really didn’t matter to me. A few days later, she came back to me and said “I know WHY you’re dating someone on the shorter side…You like to be able to look into your partners eyes!”
    After him and I broke up, I vowed to not date anyone less than 5’10” because deep down I guess I was insecure about wearing heels. Fast forward 4 years- the love of my life is 5’8″ and has the MOST beautiful green eyes that I could stare at for days. Mom was right :)

  63. Marianne says...

    My boyfriend is taller than me, but he’s got skinnier arms and legs than I do. (I also have a bigger butt than him.) It bothered me for a while, but in the end I know that it has nothing(!) to do with him. It’s all my own insecurities that are haunting me, not his physical appearances.

  64. Hannah says...

    I’m roughly 5’2”, so it’s never been much of an issue. That said, my boyfriend is 6′. My sister’s boyfriend (she’s about the same height as me, maybe a tiny bit smaller) is about 2-3 inches taller than mine. I don’t think height factored in for any of us, when we started going out.

  65. Tiia says...

    My husband is a foot taller than me. Some days it makes me feel sweet and dainty, other days I feel like a toddler out with dad…

  66. Karolina says...

    That’s interesting! One of my best friends (who is tiny) for years insisted that she needs a really tall man. Now her husband is taller than her, but still not that tall… At her bachelorette weekend she joked that with her hight, any guy would be “a tall man”.

    My mom is 156cm, but still insists she’s taller than I am(165), even than my brother (178) and dad (180).
    I seem to have inherited this: when I started dating my fiancé, a friend asked how tall he is. I said that I really don’t know, but I guess we’re kinda the same hight. Then another friend, who had already met him laughed and said that he’s at least 12cm taller (and she was right!).

  67. Zoe says...

    Hi Hannah – I have the same situation with my partner, in that I am generally just bigger and curvier than him. He also never seemed to notice, while I have really struggled with it, fearing that I look ‘ridiculous’ next to him. He seems perfectly at home with a large blonde on his arm.

    We also both have huge hair, and we are different races. So when we walk around together we never know why people are staring at us! Interesting – when we finally discussed it – that I always assumed it was the size/ height difference when he assumed that it was the race difference (he is the person of colour).

  68. Jamie says...

    If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how tall I was or if they could have a couple of my inches I would be super rich…and very short! I love being tall! I feel like I won the lottery with my height and it’s hard to imagine my life without it. And I don’t mind the questions…in my experience they always seem to come from a positive place and those that ask seem genuinely in awe. Maybe it’s that goddess theory?? Anyway, I’m 6′ 4″ and my husband is 6′ 2″ and our two girls are starting out tall too. I just hope my husband’s “short” genes don’t dilute them down too much! :) We have a well-worn copy of my favorite childhood book “the very tall little girl,” which celebrates all the awesome perks of being tall for a little one…reaching the cookies, swimming in the deep end, being found in a crowd…it’s a favorite around here.

    • Julie says...

      Your comment made me feel good about my height. Thank you. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious of it.

  69. I’m 47 and 5’10” and my partner of 19 years is exactly the same height. He’s 16 years older than me so will eventually become a little shorter. I love my height and wear heels every day to work and for events and dinners out without hesitation. I’m 6’1″ in my heels and feel sexy and elegant (despite the regular podiatry care required to maintain healthy feet!). My partner loves it when I wear heels and he loves my height!

  70. I’m 6’3″ tall. Never dated anyone taller than me and had honestly given up that altogether. Not gonna lie: guys have a problem with 6’3″. They would always say they were cool with it, that it was sexy…but then down the line the truth would come out: I made them feel insecure.

    My husband & I met on OkCupid. I thought he was lying when he said he was 6’10”, but then he showed up and WAM there he was. We had wine and cheese in this bar in Brooklyn. Afterwards, we were standing outside in the cold and he looked down the street at a couple a few blocks away and said “Do you think from where they’re standing we look like we’re a normal height? Once they get to us they’ll scream and run away!”

    I don’t wear heels often because when I do I can be as tall as 6’6″ (door ducking height as I like to say). But my husband always encourages me to tower with him. I recently bought a few pairs of three inch heeled boots and I have to say it feels powerful gliding around not giving a fuck ;)

    • katie says...

      I LOVE this!! Great story. A close friend of mine is over 6 foot, and she always wore really high heels out to clubs. I thought she looked so powerful, and beautiful! Her husband is only about 2 inches taller so she doesn’t were AS big as heels these days… but I love she doesn’t live a ‘flat’ life as she really does love her heels : )

  71. Owl says...

    In the end, it’s all about who each person is as a whole and about the chemistry between the two. Things you think matter, might not, if a person is right for you. I am rather petite (5’4”). Have to admit that height is one of the things that attracts me in a man… I like tall man, and my husband is tall (6’2”). If I were a single woman, though, I’d certainly consider dating a short man if he seemed like a good guy and I found him attractive. Absolutely.

  72. Liz says...

    I am a 5’11’ bean pole, I’m all skinny legs and arms and angles. I have never worn heals, I wear a size 6 shoe and tend to topple over quite literally in heals. My current boyfriend is also 5’11’, though much less of a bean pole. I have dated men both shorter and taller than I am, and to be honest, being with someone my same height is truly wonderful. I can borrow his extra mountain bike, or his sweater, seats and mirrors don’t have to be adjusted in cars, I could go on. There are all sorts of delightful things about sharing my life with someone who is my size. He also seems to get a kick out of it and enjoy it too.

  73. Anna says...

    At 5’5″, my husband is just barely taller than me. I almost exclusively dated shorter men before I met my husband (tall men freak me out!!) and his height has never been much of an issue for me. I prefer not to feel physically overwhelmed by my partner – I guess it helps me feel equal to them in other ways, too. Plus, having our bodies line up perfectly in bed is my favorite!!

    Loved this post. Down with meaningless societal norms!

  74. Allie says...

    When I was younger and self-conscious of my five feet and eleven inches, my mom would wink and whisper that “it doesn’t matter how tall you are when you’re lying down.”

  75. shannon says...

    I had dated short(er) men before meeting my husband who is 6’3″. It was the first thing I remembered about him (we had to meet twice before we went out for a date)…”oh yeah, that tall cute guy!” Height was not a requirement for me, but it is a trait I find very VERY attractive…so I feel quite lucky that the person I fell in love with is tall.

    I now am so used to his height that I don’t really perceive other men as “tall” unless they are in the 6’5″+ range! The 6’3″ range feels normal to me now after spending years together and getting used to looking up all the time.

  76. Victoria says...

    I always say that if my boyfriend and I have a baby, it won’t stand a chance and will receive a new ladder every birthday! I’m 5’2 and he’s no taller than a solid 5′.

    It doesn’t bother me, but I admit I feel a little silly wearing heels around him just because I’m not use to being “tall” compared to those around me haha

  77. Emmie says...

    My husband is only a half an inch taller than me. The only time we ever discuss it is when he makes me fun of me for not being able to reach something on a high shelf. I always come back with “who are YOU calling short?” and we have a big laugh about it.

  78. Nicole says...

    Oh I love that you’re addressing this topic! It does matter to me. That might be the case because all the men in my family are 6’6”+! I am always the leader, the boss, the navigator and I feel more confortable being vocal and assertive when I’m smaller in size. I even enjoy being shorter than my sisters for the same reason. I recently discussed this with my youngest sister and she feels the opposite; being tall & in heels helps her feel more confident when playing a leadership role.

  79. Jamie says...

    I’m 5’10” and my husband is 5’8” There were a few times we felt a little awkward early on, probably during wedding/heels season. But realized pretty quickly we were really only concerned about what others might think of us. Gender pressures are real!
    After we realized that (and after 10 years together) it’s no longer an issue.

  80. Megan Isennock says...

    Thanks for covering this! When my husband and I started dating in early college I was 5’6 but then, freakishly, I grew two inches, making us the same height! It bothered me in my mid-twenties (and I opted out of heels at our wedding) but now I like being the same height. He’s easy to hear (and gossip with) at parties and there’s something romantic about having the same exact outlook on the world.

  81. Karin says...

    Thank you for this post! These are the things I think about too. I’m 6 foot and my hubby is two inches taller but he loves me wearing heels (which I rarely do because I’m so hopeless in them) and being taller than him. I must say that I do like him being taller than me because he can pick me up and hang me upside down which is fun … possibly weird, but fun. We are so conditioned to think that ‘normal’ means a man being taller than a woman and it’s hard to break out of that perception. I wish we could see more of the tall woman / short man combo in films and on TV. I get so annoyed when I see tall female actors – eg Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Sigourney Weaver – on screen with male actors who are shorter in real life but not shorter on screen. What is that? Presumably the men are wearing heels, or standing on a box. Why the need to hide this? It only continues to re-enforces the same warped message for our children that makes short men and tall women feel uncomfortable with their height.

  82. Jess says...

    I’m 5’11 and my partner is 6’1 (just like Michelle and Barack!) and I feel like a super model when I wear my HIGH heels next to him. I love it!
    It helps that he finds it really sexy too ;)

  83. Claire says...

    I’m 5′ 3” and I ended up with someone who is 6′ 2” even though I would’ve actually preferred someone shorter and closer to my face. I’m small in stature but have a big personality and speak my mind; I think we feel equally “safe” in each other’s presence as we’re similarly large in aura :).

    • Rose says...

      Same!