Why Are People Uncomfortable When a Short Man Dates a Taller Woman?

A question as old as time is still being asked today: why are people so uncomfortable when short men are dating taller women?

The debate took itself to Hollywood after a member of the paparazzi snapped photos of Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner and her husband Joe Jonas walking down the street. Turner stands only two inches taller than her hubby, but the comments section where the photo was posted lit up with criticism.

tall woman short man dating

Some of the critics blasted Turner for wearing heels in the photo, which made it appear that she towered over her 5’7 husband even more than she would have she wasn’t in heels. Others commented on Joe’s height, poking fun that he must be the “little spoon” during their cuddle sessions.

This harsh criticism doesn’t start with these newlyweds. Instead, if effects a number of couples. Hollywood singers, models, and TV stars like Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Gigi Hadid, and Taylor Swift all tend to tower over their partners.


The question is so common that Jean Fitzpatrick, a relationship expert, has an answer.

“Because we think of man-as-taller as ‘normal,’ sometimes this height difference sparks anxiety, usually at first,” Fitzpatrick says. “A very tall woman may have felt like a giant growing up and dating, and may sometimes wish for a guy who feels like her match in height. A shorter man may have been the smallest guy on the team and so dating a taller woman may be an uncomfortable reminder of shame he hasn’t worked through yet. The biggest height difference any of us experiences in life is the one we have with our parents growing up. When we were small and they were tall, we felt taken care of and loved, or deprived and judged, or both.”

There is something to be said about a man who does date a taller woman. He usually knows about the perception described by Fitzpatrick, and he knows that he will be under scrutiny for his size. However, he makes sure that he is emotionally ready before starting the relationship.

He is confident in his masculinity and is likely very in love, since he will face a lot of backlash and hurtful remarks because of his stature. He really wants to be with the woman if he is willing to put up with hate for his height.

Fitzpatrick also explained that tall men are associated with success. It may not bother celebrities too much because they are already successful. He also credits the changing times.

“With today’s partnership marriages, I find couples less interested in height and more in sharing career, household, and parenting equitably,” he said.


So, next time you see a mean comment about someone’s height when compared to their female partner, think twice! Does height really matter if the couple is in love? Does height really correlate with success, or are both of these social constructs we’ve yet to get over?