READER’S QUESTION: “I’ve been dating someone for eight months. He’s such a good person, we have a lot in common, and I really enjoy spending time with him. But I’m just not as physically attracted to him as he is to me. Does attraction come with time, or should I wait to find someone who ‘checks’ all the boxes?”
EVIE’S ADVICE: On one hand, attraction can in some cases be gradual; as we see people’s personalities shine through, they can get more attractive in our minds (that’s why on reality dating shows it always feels like the nicest or funniest men and women are more attractive at the end than when you first saw them on screen). Attraction is essential in a healthy romantic relationship, and it can come with time.
You say that you’re not as physically attracted to him as he is to you, so it sounds like you are physically attracted to him somewhat. So the question is what is it about him that you find not attractive? Is it something specific that he could alter to make himself look more attractive? Could he get braces or get some bigger muscles or change the way he dresses or get a haircut or grow a beard or shave or wear contacts? Or is there just something nebulous about him that you find unattractive? It’s kind of like buying a house – does the house have good bones and just need a cosmetic update? Or are the bones of the house bad?
If he’s husband material, it’s ok to have a tactful conversation about if he’s open to making some slight changes to his appearance.
Since you have already invested eight months into this relationship, you should have a good idea at this point if you see a long-term future and/or marriage with this guy. If you think that he’s husband material, then it’s ok to have a tactful conversation about if he is open to making some slight changes to his appearance. If you choose to go this route, do it gently (think about how you’d like it to be said to you). It could even begin with surprising him with some new stylish clothes as a gift if you hate how he dresses, or encouraging him to go to the gym with you or make healthier choices when you’re eating together if he’s out of shape. There are ways to subtly nudge him in the direction that you want him to go looks-wise. Even little comments here and there that are positive, like “I love when you wear shirts that show off your muscles,” or “Have you ever thought about a beard? You’d look so hot with one” can be extremely helpful.
If, however, you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is you find unattractive about him, then that is a bigger issue. You aren’t shallow for wanting to be attracted to your boyfriend, and if you can’t get past this one thing, then it would be best to end things — for both you and him. He deserves to be with someone who is attracted to him as well. However, a piece of advice, if you’re searching for a unicorn man who “checks all of your boxes,” the truth is that your standards could honestly be too high. It all depends on what you bring to the table yourself, and what’s in those boxes. Are you searching for a man over 6’2 who makes over $100k a year, has six-pack abs, lives in your hometown, aligns with your values, shares your faith, is your age, etc.? Make sure that you’re not holding your boyfriend to a higher standard than what is realistic or what you can genuinely match up with.
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