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Physical Attractiveness in Relationships

ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
edited January 4 in Sex & Relationships
Hey guys, I'm slightly worried about posting this for fear of being judged and for fear of sounding stupid and clueless. But I'm really struggling with this issue and wondered what other people thought. Basically I want to ask, how important or essential is it for you to find your partner physically/sexually attractive? 

A bit of context.... I absolutely love this guy and everything about his personality (well, nearly everything.... everyone has flaws!) He is an absolutely amazing person and understands me in a way nobody else does, but I don't find him physically or sexually attractive. There is also a big age gap, so that might be a factor too, I'm not sure. We tried things for quite a few months, but eventually he asked me directly about whether I found him attractive and I just couldn't lie to him. In retrospect, I probably should have lied to spare his feelings, but I'm a very honest person and I just couldn't bring myself to lie, especially to someone I have so much respect for. So I told the truth and it broke the poor guy's heart (although he knows I love him and love everything else about him). Obviously we haven't been together since then, but amazingly (and with all credit going to him) we're still very close friends. 

So what do people think? Is physical attraction essential in a relationship? Should I have lied and just kept the relationship going under false pretenses? I really don't know, and it's eating me apart, especially now he's getting with other people too. :( 


  • LaineLaine Llama Mama Posts: 1,333 Fanatical Poster
    As for whether physical attraction is essential everyone's opinions of course differ.

    I myself am a personality person,  I go for personality and then fall for them physically.
    That being said I still have preferences(however not mandatory) such as more average or stocky and not ripped with loads of muscles,  glasses, certain other attributes i have in this moment forgotten haha.

    But personality definitely is most important to me. 

    To sum it up,  while I have opinions and preferences, personality is most important and from.  That I then become physically attracted to them. 

    Other people base more on physical attraction overall. Humans are all different :)

    I can see it has made you quite sad, do you miss him?  Do you talk anymore?

    Relationships without attraction can work they're simply known as "platonic" it's what people who are asexual and aromantic do(those who don't feel sexual or romantic attraction) 

    That being said,  if one or both are sexual or even romantic beings then this type of relationship won't thrive or be good, and it's generally best to move on and find someone else for both xo

    Do you feel sexual and or physical attraction? And just not with this guy?  Or do you not in general? X

    If any of my mess confuses you just let me know haha 

    🌈Positive thoughts🌈 

    "Maybe it's not my weekend,  but it's gonna be my year" ~ All Time Low

    "No one else is dealing with your demons, meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning friend" ~ TOP

    "What's gonna be left of the world if you're not in it?" ~ Bastille
  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Thank you @Laine I really appreciate you replying and giving me some of your thoughts on this.

    I am the same as you in that I value personality far higher than attractiveness. I had thought that because I loved his personality so much, the other stuff would grow with time, but it just didn't. And the issue was that to him, attractiveness was very important. By which I mean he needed be found physically attractive and so I don't think he would find a relationship where the other person didn't find him attractive and tell him he was attractive fulfilling at all. He'd had issues with his previous partner about them not finding him attractive anymore and that really upset him and was part of the reason they broke up, so it was like the one thing that he really really needed was the one thing I couldn't give. I don't even know why I couldn't make myself attracted to him. Other people find him attractive (which is why he had no problem getting another girlfriend a few months later, despite saying he still loves me, which really hurt). So I don't know why I don't. Like whether I'm broken or messed up or something inside me is just not right. I tried so hard to make myself but just couldn't.

    I do find other guys attractive and I do feel sexual attraction in general, just not with him. I don't know why, but the fact I don't and was honest about it completely ruined everything and it's not something I can ever undo. I can't go back in time and lie instead. And he was the one and only relationship I've ever had, nobody else I've liked has ever liked me back, so my whole life before him was just a stream of unrequited love. I don't believe anyone else will ever like me back again, so I think I've ruined my one and only chance of happiness and I don't know what I can do about it. :'( 

    Sorry for the depressing ramble. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot.
  • LaineLaine Llama Mama Posts: 1,333 Fanatical Poster
    It can be really distressing to feel that way but it's positive that you do feel attraction. 

    It doesn't mean you're broken or anything some people just aren't meant to be,  it doesn't make much sense why we can love someone so much in one way but not all of them.  But it just happens xo

    I went something similar with my ex we just weren't meant to be it couldn't work for many reasons but from the start it was definitely the level or dare I say lack of attraction that didn't work out. It hurt me at the time of course it did, but it never lasts forever. And I'm really happy and definitely so so so much happier with my partner who I love in every way. Me and my ex still talk.  We got over our differences and now occasionally talk as friends because thats all we were really.  :)

    Other people will of course find him attractive and some will of course not.  Please don't beat yourself up over it as it's human nature and just because you did not like him in that way doesn't mean you are messed up xo

    Is there any way you could talk to him?  Try and settle your differences? 

    Sorry for my ramblings they may be unhelpful but I am here to listen. And while there is "someone out there for everyone" it doesn't mean that there is only one per person xo

    🌈Positive thoughts🌈 

    "Maybe it's not my weekend,  but it's gonna be my year" ~ All Time Low

    "No one else is dealing with your demons, meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning friend" ~ TOP

    "What's gonna be left of the world if you're not in it?" ~ Bastille
  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Hi @Laine thank you so much for replying. That's really good to hear that you're so much happier now with your new partner. Out of interest, do you know if your ex has found happiness in another relationship too?

    I feel like because other people find him attractive and can't understand why I don't, that there must be something wrong with me. I've even had horrible messages from other women asking what my problem is and why I'm not with him when he so clearly loves me (even though it was actually him who said he couldn't cope with a relationship where he wasn't found attractive). I tried so hard to make myself but I just couldn't. I don't know why. There is a big age gap (he's around 15 years older) so maybe that's a factor? But then that makes me sound like I'm ageist or something when I'm not. It wasn't a conscious decision to not feel attracted to him. I wish it was, then I wouldn't be in this mess! 

    We do actually still talk all the time and are still really close friends. We've talked through everything, but it is a bit awkward when the topic comes up because he's still really hurting and then I feel like I've ruined his life because of something I can't control and can't even explain. Then I also feel bad because he's got heaps of women after him, it took him a few months to find a new girlfriend, but here I am nearly 3 years on still feeling like I'm destined to be alone forever because of this one mistake. 

    Thank you so much for listening and for talking to me about this. I haven't ever spoken about it with anyone else, so it really helps to get a different perspective on things. xx
  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Okay I just found out that he has no fewer than FIVE other women in his life now. Told you everyone else in the world finds him attractive..... whereas not a single other person in the world ever likes me or finds me attractive. :'( Feel so inferior and unwanted and worthless.
  • ShaunieShaunie England 🏠Posts: 5,724 The Mix Elder
    edited January 8
    I think physical attraction is important in a relationship and without there’s no point keeping the relationship. Imo. Otherwise it could just feel like you’re friends. I think Attraction does grow a bit as you get to know people. Like someone could be reallly attractive and then you find out their personality and then they seem a bit more ugly and same with good personality can make you more physically attracted to them but if has been a while and still don’t find attractive then I don’t think he should take offence everyone is comepltly different and everyone will have someone who doesn’t find them physically attractive and is okay as there will be people who find people attractive while someone might not. You’re still young & have time to find others who find you attractive. 
    I've learnt two people can look at the exact same thing and see something completly different. 
  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this @Shaunie, I really appreciate it. I guess I feel bad because I don't understand why I don't find him attractive when I love him so much and when others do, but I guess at the end of the day we can't make ourselves attracted to someone can we? You're right that it makes it feel more like friends. Although I don't think I could love a friend quite this much or feel like they're everything to me like I do with him. But that may just be because I have so few friends! It's hard. I still feel like I'm just wrong inside and that I should be able to fix myself but I can't.
  • LaineLaine Llama Mama Posts: 1,333 Fanatical Poster
    edited January 9
    My ex has not found happiness in a relationship yet no.
    It was a very dysfunctional and at some times manipulative/abusive relationship that she has since apologized for and is working on herself first xo
    I can understand how you feel bad especially after getting those mean words from other girls but honestly nobody is attractive to everyone. I love my partner others may not,  he loves me and others may not. If we all loved the same person it wouldn't work out too well haha

    You are not destined to be alon, I know it really feels like that but we all heal at different rates and we all find someone, there is more than The one. :) 

    Platonic relationships can still be stronger than friendships so it would feel A little overwhelming loving him so much but not in that way?  Xo

    You don't need fixing just time to heal as it's still a heartbreak.  We can't make ourselves love someone it's a cruel thing but we just can't xo

    Do you feel alone because you can't get someone as in you have tried?  Or because you feel he was the only one? Or maybe another reason,  just painting a picture :)

    Here for you xo

    🌈Positive thoughts🌈 

    "Maybe it's not my weekend,  but it's gonna be my year" ~ All Time Low

    "No one else is dealing with your demons, meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning friend" ~ TOP

    "What's gonna be left of the world if you're not in it?" ~ Bastille
  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Thank you @Laine, I really appreciate you talking this through with me because I have nobody I can really talk to about it in my real life. 

    I'm sorry to hear the relationship was dysfunctional, but it's good that your ex has at least realised their behaviour and is working on herself before getting into another relationship. I think that's really positive.

    It's interesting to hear you call my feelings a kind of heartbreak as well. I guess it does feel like that, but it's almost like we're not allowed to feel that way if we're the ones that caused things to break off isn't it? I'm really lucky that he's still willing to be such close friends with me and he's still the most supportive person I have in my life.

    In terms of why I feel like I'll be alone forever, I think it's a bit of both! I've tried quite hard with one guy since and just got nothing back at all, but to be fair he doesn't seem to like any girls who like him because I've seen another girl clearly flirting with him and getting nowhere too. But I do think my main worry is that the guy I love is the one and only person I've ever felt actually understands me in life. Like he knows the whole of me and still loves me for it. So I am scared that he was "the One" and now I've thrown my only chance at true happiness away. He does feel like my soul mate. I'm just not physically attracted to him and I can't really fathom why.... xx
  • independent_independent_ Boards Baby ScotlandPosts: 1,213 Fanatical Poster
    Hiya, Personality wins for me, all the way - of course, a person's physical appearance can help to determine some (very limited) aspects of their personality, but it's not everything. The most physically attractive person could be the biggest nightmare to be with!
  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Hiya, Personality wins for me, all the way - of course, a person's physical appearance can help to determine some (very limited) aspects of their personality, but it's not everything. The most physically attractive person could be the biggest nightmare to be with!
    I completely agree @independent_ and I'm the same, but unfortunately he's not, so being found physically attractive is really important to him and no amount of me loving his personality is ever going to be enough for him (not judging him for that, just saying it how it is). I guess different people value different things to varying degrees, so that makes it hard. Think we're just not meant to be, but don't think there's anyone else out there that I'm meant to be with either.  :/
  • DangerousDaveDangerousDave Posts: 5 Newbie
    Hi Ariana,
    I'm sorry to hear you are feeling worthless and unattractive. What you're going through is really hurtful.
    Some general attractiveness is good, but it's good to remember that thoughts affect your feelings. If you find someone who is worth falling for, even with all their crap and baggage, then your choice to love them will affect the way you feel about them.
    Hope you can find someone you feel comfortable enough to talk to in person about what's happening - is there anyone around?
  • chubbydumplingchubbydumpling DurhamPosts: 278 Rampant Poster
    Hi there, 

    You have nothing to fear :) Everyone has their preferences when it comes to what they find attractive in a partner. Personally, I don't feel much sexual attraction to anyone. I'm more interested in getting to know someone's personality and mind before entering a relationship and even then, sex isn't usually on the table for me. Sometimes what attracts us sexually, emotionally, physically etc doesn't always line up and that's okay!
  • peachysoopeachysoo Posts: 151 The Mix convert
    Hi lovely,

    I'm sorry to hear how you'e been viewing yourself and how this relationship has panned out. I definitely agree with some of the things said here - you can't make yourself fall for someone (physically, if not in other ways), and everyone has their own idea of what is attractive.

    For me, I think that it's quite important to find someone attractive physically, but more than that, getting on with them as a human and viewing them holistically as a whole individual (personality, habits, how we generally interact) is much more important. Looks are a nice add-on, and I think are often the things that we tend to notice first, since it's literally the thing we first see! I personally want to be physically attracted to a person, but it isn't the defining factor. Looks don't last forever, and, truthfully, neither do personalities - we all change as we grow, but this isn't a bad thing! In terms of personality, we often tend to change for the better as we age with others, since we can learn to compromise and work together through difficult situations and less favourable ones. Physically... it's not always the case!! But that is fine! I think that, once a relationship has gotten so far into this stage, our preferences in appearances probably will have changed anyway, and, again, appearance wouldn't be a main factor in deciding who you fall for.

    You can't control your emotions. You might not have found this person physically attractive and, whether your age gap played into this, I can't say. But I think I can definitely say that the fact you tried to make yourself find him attractive says a lot about you as a person - you clearly care for this man and love him, and that is the most you could have done. I'm not sure how comforting it will be to hear, but I think the fact that you've tried is amazing and honestly a really attractive thing. It's a shame that the two of you couldn't progress any further because of something like this, but nothing is to say that nothing may change in the future! (Maybe he might place less emphasis on his own appearance, or your preferences change and you find him attractive, else you both find a way to work around this.) 

    In terms of you feeling that you have lost 'the one', I'm really sorry you feel this way. It's very understandable you would feel upset, and very okay to feel so! Again, you can't control how you feel, but it's completely okay to allow yourself to feel these emotions - give yourself time, and let yourself heal. It's okay that maybe it will take some more time for you, but I promise you, in time, you will feel okay with this, if you let yourself. I think I can understand how you feel, feeling unlovable and worthless. It's very easy to focus on the negative aspects of ourselves, and give ourselves way less credit than is due, and struggling with self-love for a long time makes it even harder for us to "rewire" our brains so that we can finally feel at peace with ourselves. But it is something we need. I really wish you would make the relationship with yourself your best relationship, and I'm sorry if it seems I am making unfair conclusions, but your expressions that you feel unlovable definitely seem to me that you do need some self-love (daily self-affirmations are a good way to start, but it is a life-long thing we gotta do)!!

    Clearly, I don't know you, but from reading these messages on this thread alone, I feel quite comfortable in saying that you seem like a really lovely and caring person. Definitely traits that aren't of someone "unlovable". Sure, you might not have been able to meet someone suitable yet, but who is to say you never will? It can be hard to accept, but the uncertainty of the future can actually be a blessing. We don't know what will happen, and we shouldn't assume the future will be a certain way just because our thoughts say they will be. Though some things (to an extent, a lot of things) are beyond our control, we can definitely help mould our futures. You have already been doing this, whether you are aware of it or not, by trying to get on with another person. Sure, maybe they might not be the one, but there are plenty other people, and a lot of time to meet them (even if through the numerous dating apps now available)! 

    Having said that, I acknowledge that there are some people who don't end up finding someone they love for a long time, if at all. Sometimes, people end up preferring their own company, or just don't end up finding someone. This is okay. It sometimes happens (though, statistically, it's more probable you will find someone, so even just finding comfort in numbers alone) which is why I think it's so important to build that strong relationship with yourself, and with others - your friends and family. Calling this man as "the one", or viewing things in this sort of closed way can be quite painful and scary. There may be a few people, a lot of people, or even no one who is "the one" ( the School of Life made a small video on this: ) and that is okay. Even if you don't feel it, don't know it, or can't believe it, I believe there is definitely at least one person out there who loves you.

    You are precious, important, and lovable, and you deserve to feel this yourself.

  • ArianaAriana Posts: 193 The Mix convert
    Thank you so much @DangerousDave, @chubbydumpling and @peachysoo for sharing your thoughts on this, I really appreciate it. I guess it feels difficult because I personally value personality far higher than physical attractiveness, but he doesn't feel the same and needs to be found physically attractive to be happy, so we've kind of hit a brick wall there because we both want and need different things. 

    You're right peachysoo about me needing to learn to love myself too. I have incredibly low self-esteem, both because of my upbringing and because of how other people have treated me since then. I'm just not too sure on how to work on that. I've tried. But the lack of self-worth and feelings of undeservedness seem to be very very deeply ingrained.

    I found your video really interesting too. Quite depressing in a way..... but also made a lot of sense. Everybody has flaws, so I do realise that there is no perfect partner out there and that any relationship will require some compromise on both sides. I guess it's a case of finding someone you can love even with their flaws, rather than finding someone without flaws because those people don't exist. This guy definitely has flaws (like we all do!) I still love him and could definitely live with most of them, but to be honest I think the huge age gap is probably the biggest factor in why I don't find him physically attractive and why we maybe just aren't meant to be in general. We're at such different places in our lives (for me it was my first ever relationship, for him he's been previously married with three kids) that I can't see it working long term. But then he often tells me that I worry too much about the future and should learn to live in the here and now, which is probably also true, but I can't help thinking about what it would be like in 10, 20, or 30 years time and worrying that that isn't the right path for me.

    I don't know, I guess my head's just a bit of a mess over it! But thank you all so much for taking the time to comment and giving me new ways of thinking about the issue. It is much appreciated.
  • chubbydumplingchubbydumpling DurhamPosts: 278 Rampant Poster
    You're welcome @Ariana I hope you've been able to settle on a course of action. 
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