Relationships

Do You Care About Height When Dating?

joanna goddard alex williams wedding

Cup of Jo has been running for 14 years (!) so we’ve decided that now and again, we’ll be highlighting some of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on November 20, 2018.

Alex and I recently celebrated our wedding 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 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…

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. Grace says...

    At 5’3″ I am fairly average in height but I’ve always felt like a shorty. I come from a tall family, my parents and five siblings all hover right around 6ft. A 6ft tall coworker friend once joked to me that I must have a thing for 6ft tall humans after meeting my boyfriend (6ft) and my two best friends (also 6ft). It wasn’t until she pointed it out that I realized how many people in my life are 6ft tall, I guess they just feel like home to me.

  2. Ailyn says...

    I have been attracted to guys who are shorter, same, or taller than me. Height was never one of the factors necessary for dating someone since I was more interested in finding someone who is fun and loving. Height is a part of who someone is, but it does not determine how compatible they will be.
    I somehow ended up falling in love with a 6’8″ man (I am 5’4″). He is WAY too tall for me, but I fell in love with him and height did not stop us from getting married.

  3. Tara says...

    At 5’8″, I’m not super tall, but I’ve found that it’s usually the guys that have the problem with the height difference. I’ve dated two guys that ended things shortly (ha!) after they realized they were shorter than me. It didn’t really bother me. I did end up marrying a guy that is almost 6’3″, but his height wasn’t a factor in why I fell in love with him.

  4. Bren says...

    I am 5’10”, and my husband is 5’9″. But let me start off by saying, we used to be the same height. Then I got pregnant with twins and started going to the chiropractor and she straightened some of my scoliosis and fixed my back pain…. BUT I GOT TALLER!!!!! I mean, my back felt better, but all I could do was laugh because years ago I used to struggle with the height difference between us, and now here I was, pregnant with our 3rd and 4th babies….and I got TALLER! I even made a joke about it to him, like hey, I think we’ve both noticed that I’m taller now…but it’s fine right!? Like, we’ve been married 9 years but this is okay?! Of course he ZERO percent cares and is the most amazing human alive. But I came here to say to all the girls like me that are tall, and perhaps even writing off the amazing guys that are not…..do you know when height doesn’t matter? When your newborn twins are screaming and your husband leans over and says “Go back to sleep. I’ve got this.” THAT’S A MAN, LADIES. Get over the height difference and marry the man that you KNOW will step up and deal with the screaming newborn twins. This is the kind of marriage advice I want to give people!!! And for the record, our surprise baby #5 is due any day now, and after almost 10 years of marriage, I can promise you that height is not what makes a marriage work! It’s selflessness.

  5. Amy says...

    I’m 5’9” and my husband is 6’0”. I really relate to the other commenter who said they wanted to shrink themselves when they were younger. Social expectations are awful and wrong and frustrating. I have dated guys around my height and much taller. As much as it shames me to admit it, I do initially feel a stronger physical attraction to a man who is significantly taller/larger than me. Whether this is social conditioning or an evolutionary response (maybe both), tall broad guys often give me that automatic weak-in-the knees feeling. Maybe there is something about a man who could physically dominate or protect me that appeals to my id/reptile brain. But I married a guy who I connected with on a heart and intellect level first. He’s a handsome guy, but it took longer for the sexual attraction to build for me.

  6. Dana says...

    A guy friend of mine who is 5’5″ once told me when he sees a girl he’s interested in, before he goes to talk to her, he’ll first look to see if she’s wearing a wedding band, and then look to see if she has heels on. I asked him if that meant he wouldn’t be interested in a girl if she was taller than him, and he said “Oh, she could be 6’5″ for all I care, I just know the chances are slim she’ll be interested in me if she’s that much taller than me.” Made me sad to think of all the tall ladies who hadn’t given this great guy the time of day!

  7. Meredith says...

    I am 5’9”, my husband is 5’7”. And I have a thicker build and he is fairly thin so I outweigh him by a fair amount as well. Before him I only dated much taller men because I felt I “had to” basically in order to be feminine. I’m so glad I got over that bit of internalized sexism. The height and weight difference in my relationship has never been an issue at all and my husband has always made me feel like a goddess. I wear whatever shoes I want. I think the key is to date someone who is secure and confident in their own self—it frees us up to be the same.

  8. K says...

    The guy I dated in high school was 5″2 (an inch shorter than me) and his height wasn’t what bothered me, it was his integrity. He would lie a lot, cheated on me, and was always very jealous and insecure. I ended up marrying a wonderful person who just so happens to be 6″3. In the end, values and personality matter so much more. The fact that I can wear shoes other than flats without my partner feeling insecure is just the cherry on top.

  9. Elizabeth says...

    I am 6’2 and always went for men who were taller than me because it made me feel less conspicuous. When I read that back to myself it makes me cringe, but that was my reality, growing up in a world where the first thing anyone ever commented on when meeting me for the first time was my height.
    When I met my husband 8 years ago, he was newly widowed with 2 small children and probably 1.5 inches shorter than me. We were set up by friends. After a few dates he said to his dad ‘she’s a bit taller than I am’. His dad pointed out that after all that he had been through that should be the least of his worries!
    We have been married now for 6 years and we are so simpatico that the fact that he is a little shorter than me does not cross my mind. He loves my height and has made me so much more comfortable with it myself.

  10. Elle says...

    I’m 5’8″ and I have a lot of *feelings* about this haha – I went to a small school so was one of the taller girls, and classmates and teachers commented on it; I graduated high school thinking I was an Amazonian freak. (Imagine my surprise, and delight, to find three girls taller than me on my hall in college alone.)

    Society constantly illustrates (through media, ads, etc.) that women should be dainty and feminine and smaller than their boyfriends; being too tall or big is seen as “masculine” or unappealing. Smaller women are so sought-after that there’s a massive subsection of porn dedicated just to “petites”; the same doesn’t exist for tall women. When I was on Tinder, many men’s profiles had comments like “no girls taller than 5’4″” or “no giraffes”; women aren’t the only ones writing height requirements in their bios. The “adorable short girl standing on her tippy-toes to kiss her tall hunk of a boyfriend” is a very common narrative in media.

    All of this to say – growing up as a tall girl, I felt (ironically) “less-than,” and frequently found myself wishing I could shrink myself down. Like with most body-image issues, it took growing up to realize that all of the nonsense I’d internalized was just that – nonsense. Tall women can be adorable and strong and beautiful, just as can petite women, and height is nothing more than a tickmark on the wall. And having dated men as tall as 6’5,” my current boyfriend is 5’6,” and I couldn’t be happier. (And, unlike some insecure exes, he loves when I wear heels!)

    • Megan says...

      Wow, I’m 5’8” and had almost the exact opposite experience as you. I’ve always felt lucky to be on the taller side, but it’s interesting to hear this perspective! Embrace your height, girl!

    • megs283 says...

      I’m 5’11” and everything you wrote struck deeply and brought me back. My husband is about an inch shorter than me. We’ve been married for 10 years and heights haven’t crossed my mind in ages!

  11. Sarah says...

    Love reading all these comments as a 5’9″ girl! My now boyfriend is 6’4″, but before we started dating I usually would be interested in guys around my height or just a little taller, height was never a huge factor for me when dating. I started dating my boyfriend for the other reasons – he is so kind, a great friend, makes me laugh and is very secure in himself and our relationship. I have to say though it makes me laugh watching him move through the world because everything is too small for him – including my couch and my bed!! And airport bathrooms. Haha

  12. Aleta says...

    I never really cared but have ended up with my own personal giant (6’5″). I had never dated a super tall person before and it took some adjustments because being that tall is somewhat impractical. When I bought a new car we had to nix some because he didn’t fit!

  13. Heather says...

    I am 5’6″ my husband is 6 feet. I never feel shorter than him until I see a photo of us standing together or a reflection of us in a mirror or glass. I am surprised every single time I see us (even after 32 years} at the disparity in our heights.

    • Rosa Barlow says...

      My brother is 6ft 3” and his wife is 5 ft 1” they are super cute together ☺️

  14. Sarah says...

    It’s weird/sad to me that any woman would worry about being taller than their partner these days. Surely the expectation that women be child-like (shorter, smaller, more naive) has reached its expiration date. I am not saying there is anything wrong with being attracted to taller people, but surely part of this idea of what feels “right” is based on outdated gender norms.
    I personally am very tall and have a shorter husband. I rarely wear heels, not because they would make me even taller but because for me they are another symbol of female oppression, a way to make women appear weaker (literally unable to run away). Also, it’s hard for me to believe they are actually more comfortable than flats, though I do like a kitten heel from time to time. Again, it’s ok to enjoy wearing them and enjoy the way they look or make you look, just please don’t chose your shoes based on what other people might perceive about your femininity.

    • Heather says...

      YES YES YES

      This is my issue with this conversation: that it’s being posed as, “Do you feel weird dating someone taller than you are” instead of: “People today no longer need to care about what other people think about the physical appearance of their partner because we all get to love whoever we want.”

      I’m a little over the word “normalize” but for lack of a better term, we need to be normalizing being with the person you love No Matter What anyone thinks about your relative heights, weights, genders, colors, whatever.

  15. Meredith says...

    I am 5’11” tall. Growing up a lot of value was placed on proper appearances including finding a nice, tall guy with all of the perfect credentials. Now as I approach my 50s and with a little wisdom in my pocket I wince just a little when I hear a person discount a potential partner based solely on height. In my 20’s I tried marrying the tall guy who appeared perfect in theory and that was an epic disaster. Yesterday, I celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary with my second husband who is 5’9″ and everyday I am thankful that I did not discount him because he is shorter than me. I learned from my first marriage that aesthetics really do not mean a lot in the long term. Yes, you have to be attracted to your partner but we all get older, sometimes heavier, and sometimes things happen and you just may not always look the same. Aesthetics really start to take a backseat when the serious things in life happen. My husband may be shorter than me (and in many other ways on paper we make no sense at all) but he is my ride or die. Height made no difference during what I now call “my bad health year” as he was kissing my face after I threw up three times in the hospital and took care for me after 4 surgeries in 9 months. It has made no difference as he has literally followed me all over the country for my career. And I have never thought about our height difference as we have had some of the best belly laugh moments of my life. Frankly, the only time I even consider our difference height is when I quickly slip out of my heels when we take a picture just so I can press my cheek right up against his.

  16. Rosa says...

    Lol my husband Neil is shorter, & much thinner than I am plus I’m a Mi’kmaq and he’s caucasian. We’ve heard many disparaging comments over the years but now when people talk they just mention what an awesome husband I have and they tell him how lucky he is to have married me;) I can’t hide my height 5ft 10″ or my weight so I just do what I like in terms of high heels and clothing.

    • Heather says...

      Yes, Rosa!! Do not hide. You sound awesome.

  17. Kayleigh Collins says...

    Because I’m 5ft 1 I would never date someone shorter! Who would reach the top shelf for me?!
    Luckily almost everyone is taller than me haha

    • Heather says...

      Buy a stool? Or one of those reacher grippy things (great for grabbing socks that fall behind the dryer). They sell them on Amazon. Fold up space-saving stools, too. All the colors. Totally affordable. It will be delivered to your house in 24 hours and then you can expand who you date to like, LOADS of other super nice interesting people because you are capable of reaching stuff on tall shelves. Then sing that song from Waiting for Guffman, ‘It’s a stool!! it’s a stool!!!!”

  18. anna says...

    I’m 5’7 and my boyfriend is 5’8 and I love our heights so much! It makes holding his hand and stealing a kiss while walking so much easier.

  19. Sarah K says...

    I am a skinny 5’5″ and my husband is about 6″. Even though we are very much adults (I am 39 and he is 46) we still enjoy a lot of horseplay- he will do things like pick me up horizontally and try to press me towards the ceiling. We look incredibly ridiculous and not graceful at all doing this but it makes us laugh. I have always enjoyed our size difference and find it to be somewhat sexy.

  20. Nicole says...

    I’m 5’10, my husband is 5’8…it’s never been an issue for us! While I wear heels all the time, I will admit that I wore the flattest shoes possible to our wedding (comfy and a bit shorter, perhaps?)

  21. rachel simmons says...

    Im very tall, almost 6 ft, with bare feet, and I find taller men very attractive, so that for sure is something I looked for when I was dating men… my first marriage I was married to someone shorter then myself and I didn’t really love it, I am already a larger fem and so I felt like it made my size stick out more. I am happily married (celebrating 8 years next week) to a man who is about 3 inches taller then myself and I love it. <3

    • Heather says...

      Rachel it’s OK for your size to “stick out” because you are allowed to exist and take up space in the world. Just sayin’

    • rachel simmons says...

      AH HEATHER. i love that, and you. thank you!!!

  22. Suz says...

    In college, I tried to set up my roommate to date a friend of a friend who was 6’4”. She loved tall guys and wanted to marry one. They never dated; it just didn’t work out. But I started dating that tall guy and married him! I’m 5’4” and my college roommate loves to remind me how I took the tall guy-I didn’t he just liked me after I kept chatting him up to date her. Funny how life works out: that tall guy and I have been married for 20+ years.

  23. Aj says...

    At this point (age 55) I would be happy to have one date with a kind, funny, intelligent man – no matter what his height is!

  24. jan says...

    Once when i was in college, i heard my date refer to me over the phone as ‘a 5’8″ blonde.’ so strange to hear someone talk about you like that, it had never come up before.

    • Eliza says...

      As a fellow 5’8″ blonde, this was jarring to read haha – it is funny to hear someone else describe you like that!

  25. Annie says...

    I am 5’4″. Decades ago, in the years before I married, I had boyfriends ranging from as short as me to huge with my tallest two boyfriends being 6’4 and 6’6. I did not consider height of the slightest importance at the time and only knew the heights these two men reached because they told me. In retrospect, the very tall felt uncomfortable for me and my beloved, gorgeously handsome, fizzingly clever husband of 23 years is 5’9. I have two boys who inherited my husband’s beauty and brains but are not tall. I sometimes worry that at 5’10” it would be better if they were taller. Then I remember there are people out there like the young me who are attracted to the person, the man. They are perfect as they are.

  26. jasmine says...

    I fall in the category of ‘larger than average’ female at 5’9″ and size 12… I have a few friends who are also kind of tall/big women and we all married smaller men. Either the same height or shorter, and same weight or smaller. I thought about it a lot when we were younger – not wearing heels much, really concerned about whether he looked shorter than me in pictures, etc… but why but so much energy into this? It’s what our bodies are shaped like and has nothing to do with WHO we are.

    • Heather says...

      Yes, Jasmine. You are allowed to take up space and exist in this world and I’m glad you aren’t wasting any time trying to disappear. I hope you wear a lot of bright colors, too, and belt out songs you like. I’m serious. Too many commenters wanting to feel small and so I’m going to try to draw more attention to your pro-existence comment.

  27. CS says...

    I am deeply fascinated by this topic and frankly rather conflicted. On the one hand, attraction is a very personal thing. However, I think as women, if we are going to say we will only date men of a certain height, then we have to accept that men also have the right to judge us solely on superficial qualities we can’t control (like weight?). It doesn’t seem right. Yet, if it is an honest preference… how can we fault anyone for feeling that way?!

    People cannot control their height and there is so much more to a person! So it I question why I have always been attracted to taller men. I have dated tall men and married a much taller man.

    Reading this post and comments is helping me adjust my thinking. I am realizing that there is a lot to unpack in the preference for taller men. I am happily married, but I still want to understand where this is all coming from.

    • Heather says...

      CS, I think the issue for me is that the post is framed in a way that we SHOULD contemplate whether height is something we should care about, period. The title is, “Does height matter when dating?” Out of the gate, it introduces the notion that relative height is a legitimate thing to care about. It has the same societal heft as a post entitled, “Does weight matter when dating?” or “Does race matter when dating?” or “Would you date an ugly person?” And it is deeper than the superficiality or levity the post’s tone takes because soliciting answers to a question posed in this way invites people to say, “Yes. Height matters in a person’s attractiveness,” which is a statement of a human’s VALUE based on immutable physical characteristics. How do you think all of those comments about tall men being attractive make short men feel? And all of these comments about how being smaller than your mate is somehow sexier? How does that make big women feel? Tall or fat or whatever, women who take up space in this world? Are we unsexy until we are with a guy who is bigger than us? Who needs comments from people on the sexiness of different sized people pairing up?

      It is simply good to love and be loved.

      Why did you create a forum that would inevitably invite comments regarding size and attractiveness?

      Joanna, I’m calling you and your team out on this. The title and tone of this post is beneath 2021 COJ.

      Here are some ideas:
      “Couples Look Great Together When They’re In Love”
      “The Delicious Freedom of Personal Taste”
      “How Do You and Your Partner Fit Together”
      Or take it a brand new direction…
      “My feet, hips, and knees have healed after going barefoot for 18 months. Is anyone ever wearing heels again after this pandemic?”

    • CS says...

      @Heather- thanks for this comment. Yes, that is SUCH A GOOD POINT about the title. It is an older post and I think attitudes have already changed a lot even since it was originally posted… including mine. I think part of the reason the topic fascinates me is that the comments challenge my rather un-analyzed choice to date tall guys. (I love my husband and would regardless of height, but still… he is tall and so was every other guy I dated). I agree with your questions… “how do these comments make a shorter guy feel? A bigger woman?” So true.

      Still, I appreciate how many of these comments helped me rethink the old, conventional norms that I grew up with. I love all of these comments embracing diversity. There is so much that makes a person beautiful. As you said, “It is simply good to love and be loved”. Wonderful way to put it!

      All in all, though, I do think this was a good post because it is a good conversation to have. I read it the first time it was posted, and am reading it again. It has helped me re-think my perspectives! This is good.

  28. KD says...

    I think a lot of women wouldn’t really care for themselves but worry about potential sons being short. The world can be mean to short men. Having said that, only about 15% of men (or something) are over 180cm, and its not like 85% of men out there are single, so hopefully times are changing!

    • Heather says...

      This is bordeline eugenics talk and it makes me really uncomfortable. Breeding out short people??? WTH.

    • Eva says...

      @heather: eh I don’t think she meant it that ominously. I think a lot of cultures value taller men over shorter men. For example, I’m Chinese and Chinese moms definitely would rather their daughters marry taller men than short men. Not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just how people view things. I mean when you think about it, it probably comes down to a biological instinct. Taller men = “bigger” = more alpha male = better able to provide.

    • Meredith says...

      @Eva, the justifications you provided are literally eugenics talk. It’s not “that ominous” to say that a lot of cultures value particular body types and would rather their children have that body type out of some notion that it makes those folks better in a deeply biological sense? And it’s NBD just because it’s common? This is disturbing and I hope you can understand why.

    • Angela says...

      KD – it isn’t actually eugenics, despite the pearl clutching above. There is plenty of science and statistics behind you. The world is harder on shorter men. They get promoted less often, are paid less, and may have difficulties fitting in or with confidence throughout their lives.

      At my son’s 2 year old well-visit, my ped told me that it looked my son would be shorter than average and asked if we wanted referred to a endocrinologist. Being aware that my husband was a very petite little guy and hit his growth spurt later in life, I declined the offer. A bit of research turned up that there are actually plenty of parents PAYING for endocrinologists to give their children the competitive edge or leg up the ladder by prescribing HGH in childhood.

      My progressive ideals prevented me from piercing my baby daughter’s ears, with the thinking that her body= her decision. 6 year old now finds fault with me, because I should have done it when she was a baby, before she had to agonize over it. I surely hope my little guy doesn’t blame me in the long run when he is disappointed in not being the starting varsity pitcher.
      Heather- we can wish for the world to be different, but that doesn’t make it so.

    • Joy says...

      My husband is short (5’4”) and I’m a tall woman (5’10”). So it’s not really a surprise we have a son who is on the shorter side. I absolutely refuse to let anyone talk about his body like there is something wrong with it. Maybe the world does prefer tall people to short ones. (Just like the world has long preferred white skinned, heterosexual males people). But I refuse to accept that as “just the way it is.” The world doesn’t automatically change. If we want to live in a better, kinder world, we have to change it ourselves. I can’t control whether other folks will have a bias because he’s short. I can control whether I feed the narrative that tall is better (by giving him shots! which our doctor tried to tell us about and I put my foot down with a hard no) or obsessing over how tall he *might* be or constantly repeating that everything is better or easier for tall folks (which my in-laws constantly told my son and that didn’t help at all). When folks say, “he’ll shoot right up one of these days” I usually say, “Or not. It’s great to be short!” My husband loves to tell my son the advantages of being short and when it comes up he will say, “Being short didn’t keep me from having the job I want or marrying the person I wanted or making the life I wanted.” It’s a bummer to know people will still so openly discriminate but I’m going to focus on making the world I want to live in, one relationship at a time. And anyways, it’s y’all’s loss. As we say around these parts, short people are friendlier. :)

  29. Beth says...

    Wow. I am SO disappointed to see this here in 2021. It feels bizarrely regressive and out of synch with the values I cherish in this blog and community to invite this kind of scrutiny and judgement about bodies at all, much less in a gender-based way. This reifies a whole bunch of creepy, patriarchal, heterosexist norms.

    • jasmine says...

      Valid. I also think it can be interesting to allow discussion for why these things still occupy our thoughts, even if we consider ourselves to be progressive and feminist.

    • Emily says...

      YES! Thank you for this comment. I was thinking the exact same thing but struggling to find the words.

    • Anne says...

      I guess, but does it mean that we cannot talk about it? It is just not ok to talk about whether you have a height preference and what that does to your love life and whether that is even something you should have (like having a hair color preference).

      My point is, just because you don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it went away and is it wrong really with having a preference or having an opinion? It is not the talking, it is how we talk (short men are gross and useless, bad lovers, etc).

      Anyways, I am tall and have always been attracted to short guys (not sure why), but ended up marrying a guy who’s quite tall. When we first started dating I was mystified why my calves were so sore – turns out I was standing on my tippy-toes when kissing him and we kissed A LOT in the beginning:-) Not something I had tried before cause I always dated guys my height or shorter.

    • Heather says...

      AGREE BETH AGREE AGREE. And simply by having a title that poses this as a question to which there is some survey answer or average or norm, you’re legitimizing height differential social norms. To me it is no different than if the question had been, Would you date a person of a different race? or, Would you date a fat person? Height is physical appearance. It is superficial. And by prizing male height you are highlighting the somehow inappropriateness or unattractiveness of tall women as a social norm. Everyone gets to be attracted to who they are attracted to. Can you change the title to that???

    • Sarah says...

      Yes, exactly. Thank you.

    • Mary says...

      Beth, I hear you. I agree. And as I tall (almost 6-ft) woman I also had SO many hangups about this and it made me feel like the very worst feminist. I actually returned to this article a few times during my single years to 1. acknowledge my feelings (I’m not the only feminist trying to get over this hangup), and 2. to read all the lovely, wonderful, heartwarming comments from other tall women in relationships with shorter partners. Naming something can take away its inordinate power over us, and this article really helped me remember that my “preference” for taller men came from a need for a big, strong man to make feel like a dainty feminine damsel (*barf*)…rather than what I actually need, which is someone who is kind, curious, and really into books!

    • Joy says...

      Thank you for this @Beth! As a genuinely tall woman married to a genuinely short man, so many of the comments here have been a shock to my system. When my kids brought up height this week (“her daddy is taller than her mommy, isn’t that strange?”) and my short son started to worry about his size, I realized it’s a hidden super power! Not only because it will weed out any potential romantic partner who will judge you based on how you look and not who you are and how you treat them, but that’s certainly a huge benefit. It’s bizarre, in this moment in time, to see how many people *so comfortably* dismiss an entire category of humans based on one factor. I just cannot imagine a post on this blog inviting this kind of scrutiny over women’s bodies. If we want to raise MEN who are sensitive and kind and thoughtful we have to treat boys like they have feelings that matter. Just like girls do. (thank heavens the culture has *begun* to acknowledge some body positivity for girls! Buy the bikini, etc). Boys need it too. Because every human person needs it. It is essential to feel loved and valued for who you are, particularly for the things you cannot change. When I first read the original post, I felt kinda bemused thinking about my relationship with my husband (because we have only become happier through our 18 years together). But reading it again, through the eyes of a mother, this post is such a bummer and cracks my heart into a million sad pieces. I’ll keep teaching my kids to live in the kind of world I wish existed. I will always hold space for the sadness this current world brings to their door. I trust their strength and resilience. But man, reading this just sucks.

  30. Annie says...

    My mum is slightly taller than my dad was, both my sisters are with men the same height/ shorter than them, and I have dated men shorter than me – I was always aware that the ‘norm’ is for men to be taller but my lived experience … doesn’t reflect that! I’m taller than my current partner in heels, and I frankly do not care – neither does he, which in my mind is how you know they’re a keeper

  31. Rita says...

    I’m 6’ and feel huge around shorter men. For me, height matters a lot. I was in a long- term relationship with a shorter guy, trying to convince myself height was just superficial and positive things outweighted me being taller, but nope. I want to be shorter than my man and will not compromise on this one. But I do envy those who do not care – they have more options to choose from :)

    • rachel simmons says...

      im 5’11 and couldnt agree more! tall sisters!

  32. Rosie says...

    I’m 5’11” and when I was dating I had a height range I preferred. I felt so uncomfortable with super short women. A huge height difference just felt uncomfortable. I liked women over 5’4” and taller than me was fine.

  33. Tucker says...

    My boyfriend is 6’4 to my 5’2 and I love it! I do have to remind myself that he may not be comfortable on my tiny furniture and ducking under tree branches.

  34. jackie says...

    My boyfriend of three years is 6’3″ and I’m 5’6″. We met playing pickup basketball! My two previous boyfriends were around 5’8″- 5’9″ and didn’t play basketball. The improvements (among many other more important aspects) of my new partner is that he can dunk a basketball, which I think is really impressive and attractive haha

  35. M says...

    I’ve always been attracted to men around my height (I’m 5’8”) and my husband is 2 inches taller than me. It’s so practical for hugging/kissing standing up – I don’t have to crane my neck – plus we can easily share height dependent things, like the bike hooked up to our kids’ chariot and no adjusting the driver’s seat in the car.

  36. JP says...

    All the examples you featured are thin women. As a fat tall (5’8″) woman, I’ve always felt like it does matter. I’ve been larger than most of the men I’ve dated, but not taller. I know it’s probably internalized misogyny, but being bigger AND taller just makes me feel uncomfortable. And it welcomes more looks & comments.

    • PS says...

      JP – totally get where you are coming from, I think bigger/fat women in particular are already under social scrutiny and so the comparative size of our partners feels even more important than it might to a thin women.

      While it’s not as common as a taller man/shorter woman combo, society does make an exception for thin tall women and shorter men when the man is funny/rich/good looking etc, but the woman is always THIN. I’m not sure how it is perceived in the queer community. However, I rarely ever see bigger/fatter/broader women and smaller/shorter men and I honestly think it’s mainly a media issue, because I think it happens in real life all the time.

      I’m 5’9 and my frame is naturally broader than the average woman. Even at my thinnest and most active, I’m still a size 12, although I’m typically more like a 14/16/18. I sometimes feel physically awkward with my boyfriend who is 5’11, but who has a smaller frame than me overall and I outweigh him by a good 50lbs. Friends say they don’t notice the difference and I think years of trying to shrink myself have made me oversensitive to it, but I still think about it! I would love a good solution to this hangup. I’m attracted to my partner, but sometimes when I see myself in the mirror next to him (interestingly, not by myself) I feel TOO BIG. Does anyone else feel this?

    • I’m 2″ taller than my spouse and about 150 lbs heavier than him and I think we fit together perfectly.

    • Angela says...

      PS – I am a small child heavier than my husband. He is “normal” height and build, if not smaller than average for a man. I am ALOT of woman in most senses of the euphemism, though average height at 5’6″. I am uncomfortable at times because it is unusual to be femme and bigger than your dude. I know the discomfort is 1 way though, because my husband loves every bit of me. He may not be outsized in much, but I should remind myself he is brave/bold/patient/steady enough to love all of me.

      My previous single/dating life I desired/pined after the BIG guys, who were always jerks. They wanted the skinny perfect girls, out in public anyway. I wanted someone to make me feel small, and really just to be desired. It took me being more secure to think about the whole package and what was really attractive for the longer term.

  37. Jaime says...

    I’m 5′-5″, and my husband is 5′-2″. I don’t notice the height difference too often because it usually feels like we’re standing eye-to-eye. It’s only when I see pictures or sometimes look into the mirror together that I’m surprised by the height difference! I’m really glad that I didn’t let his height bother me while we were dating, because my husband is the best, and I can’t imagine being with anyone else.

    • Kim says...

      I love this.

    • Lovely that you think like this. So good to know your experience :)

  38. amy says...

    Is it societal or is it evolutionary? I definitely fall prey to feeling weirdly attracted to men *mostly* because they are tall – I can recognize that I would not really be interested if they were average height. There’s something about feeling like a big, strong partner would protect you.

  39. Jenn says...

    I’m 5’8” and don’t really care about height, but I do hate it when I guy lists his height as 6’ and then clearly is not that tall in person. It screams insecurity which is not attractive. Just be honest! You shouldn’t want to be with someone who cares that much anyway.

  40. Heather says...

    I’m 5’10”, and most of my boyfriends have been shorter than me. Some MUCH shorter – like 5’6″. Obviously the idea that the girl has to be shorter is sexist BS — but more importantly I was attracted to who I was attracted to so on some chemical, meta-physical, biological level I do not care about my BF being shorter. More often, the guys cared. More than one felt self-conscious about us walking together holding hands. Isn’t that so sad and insulting? I had two LONG TERM boyfriends who wouldn’t hold my hand in public! So mean! Forget the question of whether or not they are short! Are they nice??? My husband is actually taller than I am, and soon after I started dating him my most recent ex confronted me and demanded to know if I’d dumped him so I could be with a taller guy. I can sympathize with bodily insecurity, but in these cases I feel like it has so much more to do with women’s size being some kind of statement or threat, like just by BEING tall I was calling into question his masculinity. Remember that bible story about Lilith and how Adam made her dig a hole and stand in it so she wouldn’t be taller than he was? Eye rolls forever.

    • S says...

      See, you get it! The idea that women have to be shorter in a relationship is completely based in sexism.

    • Sarah says...

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

  41. Elizabeth says...

    My grandparents were Irish immigrants. She was tall, he was short and mighty. He was the life of the party, the director of fun, heated about politics, and always singing. She was more reserved but so kind, the type of woman who always stood up for whoever you were complaining about. It never occurred to me, as a child, that there was anything unusual about their height difference. Yet when he died, she didn’t look as tall to me anymore. I wonder if the whole time, he had been the reminder to stand up straight.

    • Tara says...

      This is so lovely–thank you for sharing!

  42. Ellie says...

    My first adult boyfriend was a couple inches shorter than me, and I often felt insecure about it. Did he think I felt “big”? Did other people think I was so desperate for a boyfriend that I settled for someone short? I would scrunch down around him and started to say I was 5’11” (instead of my actual 6 feet) to try and make the difference feel smaller. Then one day this gorgeous, elegant woman mentioned to me that she thought it was chic for a woman to be taller than her man — and it changed me. One person’s opinion maybe shouldn’t matter, but it did! I realized she was right: a height difference requires a certain amount of confidence, for both people, that is sexy and maybe even glamorous. That boyfriend and I eventually broke up, but the height thing stopped being one of my requirements. There are more important things to look for in a partner than a 6 foot frame. :)

    • CS says...

      Love this!!!

    • Eliza says...

      Oooh I love this take!

  43. jane says...

    I’m 5’11” and my husband is 5’8″. I was always the tallest girl in my class and swore I would never date anyone shorter than me. But then I met my husband… his humor, personality outshined everything else. I did feel a little awkward and I remember leading up to my wedding day I was getting self-conscious. But I quickly snapped out of it bc everyone in my wedding already knew about us and no one cares. lol

  44. Karina says...

    My mum told me once that before my Dad she dated a guy who was shorter than her and it bothered her so she ended it. Worked out well for me or I wouldn’t be able to write this now 😂

    • Sam says...

      I actually prefer taller women. And then, i actually prefer they wear heels. On top of it. I look for women that are at least 3 inches taller than me. I am 5 ft 9. Most women think it’s crazy!