What is ladder theory of relationships?

What is the well-known ladder theory of relationships? Have you ever heard about it and what do you think about it? Here is a brief explanation of this theory and the ways it can be applied in your life.

ladder theory

The method known as a “ladder theory” in relationships is seen as a controversial one. It aims to help men and women realize what their core goals and targets in the relationships are and what qualities they pay most attention to when trying to take the gage of the person.

This theory was first found in 1994 by an American psychologist Dallas Lynn and his companion Jared Whitson. These two individuals came up with an idea of how opposite sexes build relationships based on their first impression of each other.

The theory used to be just an idea; however, it gained great popularity and is now quite popular among the people from all over the world, and they started creating whole websites and blog posts dedicated to the topic. The ladder theory about relationships is now one of the most popular beliefs in the area of personal relationships of the young people today. So let’s see what this ladder theory is all about.

The first thing you should know about the ladder theory is that it is related to the questions of how men and women get attracted to each other as well as what men are considered to be attractive by women and what women are considered by men to be beautiful and on what basis.

This ladder theory is also used to explain the reasons to start or not to start dating with a particular person. The whole argument is based on several lemmas. The first lemma states that when a man meets a woman as well as when a woman meets a man the first thing they evaluate each other by the level of sexual attractiveness.

ladder theory of relationships

This theory claims that women primarily rate men according to their sexual attractiveness at first not any other quality they claim to be very important. This first impression is paramount and in many cases can be their final one. The process of defining and evaluating of the person of the opposite sex is also known as a “ladder.”

The second lemma notes that women and men are looking for different traits in each other and rate each other in a different way after the first impression is made.

A woman can get higher or lower on the man’s ladder according to a few factors such as looks, perceived sexual attractiveness and other qualities including kindness, leadership skills, perspectives on being a good mother, etc.

Women put men on the given level at their ladder according to their wealth and power as well as their attractiveness and other personal traits. The attractiveness is usually defined by women according to the presence of the following factors in it:
ladder theory dating

1.    Physical appearance – this quality is very subjective and strongly depends on the personal preferences of a woman in the way she wants her man to look like. However, Lynn and Whitson were persuaded that sexual attractiveness of a man to a woman is just as important to her as to him unlike the traditional stereotype that men tend to be more sexually interested, and women usually fall in love with the personality only.

2.    The level of competition in his life. The man should also be interested in things other than this very woman for a woman to be interested. The areas of interest might vary greatly as it is not important whether he is into sports or is keen on politics. However, it is more likely that a woman will fall in love with a man that has other interests than her than that she will go out with someone who sees no other interest in life other than herself.
READ ALSO: Why do guys like short girls?

3.    The third factor is known to be “novelty.” Women are known to be interested mostly in men that are different from the other people they know. Moreover, “novelty” factor states that the woman is more likely to start dating someone completely distinct from the men in her immediate circle.

4.    Finally, the fourth factor women rate the men by is a broad range of traits of character including his emotional stability, sense of humor and level of maturity.

The final lemma emphasizes that men have only one ladder for all women, and each woman is making her way up this ladder while women have two ladders for men making it way harder for men to get to the top of it.

boyfriend ladder theory

According to the explanation given by Lynn and Whitson to the ladder theory of relationships, this means that when a man meets a woman, he rates her right away and puts on a certain level on his ladder. She can now only get higher or lower.

However, women having to steps known as “lover” and “friend” ladders, put the men on either the first ladder or the second one. This where the well-known “friend=zone” theory emerged. It is closely connected to a “ladder theory of relationships”.

The “friend-zone” approach defines whether a girl will ever consider a guy a person she would want to date one day. Lynn and Whitson believed that one the guy got onto her friend ladder, he will never be her boyfriend no matter how hard he tries.

Some of the bloggers came up with a fun rating scale to explain the ladder theory from a man’s point of view. Man’s only ladder and woman’s lover ladder can be rated and marked on a scale of 1 to 10 where ten is being the highest as follows:

0 – a girl you would never kiss or would kiss only under penalty of deathю

2 – a girl you would only kiss on a forehead if she promised you the latest Xbox in exchange

4 – a girl you would kiss on a cheek

6 – a girl you would kiss (not on a cheek)

8 – a girl you would want to give a French kiss to

10 – a girl you like so much you will give a French kiss to even if her entire family is nearby watching you two.

girlfriend ladder theory

Looks pretty clear, doesn’t it? However, girls or women, according to a ladder theory, also have a “friend’ ladder for a guy they would never picture as their boyfriend. On that ladder the rating on a scale from 1 to 10 where ten is being the highest would look as follows:

0 – a guy she does not even notice or if notices, she won’t talk to him.

2 – a guy she can tolerate being in the same room but not too close

4 – a guy she is likely to prepare for exams together

6 – a guy she would ride the bikes along

8 – a guy she would talk to when having troubles with another guy

10 – a guy she considers to be her best friend

Therefore, as you see the ladder theory can be of great interest to people who do not know why they got stuck in a “friend zone” and cannot proceed further. The authors of the ladder theory claim that this idea was based on many trustworthy sociological studies and, thus, can be trusted.

ladder theory reasoning

Lynn and Whitson stated that it is merely necessary for a man who got into a friend zone to get onto a lover ladder. It is only possible under unique circumstances like when a man turns out to be an entirely different person a woman thought of him to be, or in case these two people were in love with each other before they became friends. The forgotten feelings might revive and lead this relationship to a new level.

However, many people see no firm foundation behind this theory and believe it to be entirely unreasonable and even silly. Other people claim that this approach makes people look primitive as they are shown in a manner that belittles the role of inner beauty in the view of the exposed sexual attractiveness.

It is up to you to decide whether you believe or not based on the brief explanation of the ladder theory of relationship we provided above.

Your comment
Add image

By posting your comment, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.