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Friday, June 10, 2016

Is She Being Shallow? Or Is She Just Not In Love with the Guy?

Dear Bro Jo,

I read your post "Is Romance a Requirement?" and parts of it are very similar to my situation.

I spent my summer working as a camp counselor and I met this amazing guy!

We have so much in common, we have similar personalities, we have a great time together, he's strong in the gospel, an rm, and EVERYTHING else I want in a guy.

We became really good friends and then he asked me out on a date, and then a second date, and then a third date...things were going great!

We didn't know for sure if we had mutual feelings the third date, but then we told each other and our relationship changed in like 5 minutes.

The first half of the date we were just good friends and then when we told each other that we like each other, we were holding hands, getting very cuddly, and he kissed me...a lot.

Holding hands and cuddling was GREAT, I felt so safe, comfortable, and wanted.

But when he kissed me I felt NOTHING.

I had never been kissed before and so when he was kissing me, I was thinking, "people do this for fun?! This is just weird!!"

I was expecting fireworks and I felt nothing, but I wasn't grossed out or anything.

And after that I was unsure about him.

He definitely liked me a lot more than I like him.

Even though we are long distance, we still decided a few weeks later to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Some days I feel like I really really like him and I miss him a lot, and other days I don't know if I like him very much and I don't mind the distance.

And I think the main reason for this is because I don't think he's very attractive.

On the inside, he is great!! But when I see pictures of him or when I kissed him...he's not repulsive to me, just not so cute.

So my question is, do you think we should stay together?

Can I and should I just try to overlook my dissatisfaction with his appearance?

Is it rude to ask him to change his hair to be a little more attractive?

I'm just afraid of having him waste his time on someone who doesn't like him as much as he deserves to be liked.

And is it weird that I felt nothing when we kissed?

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,


Not necessarily.

I think it's a little weird that you did so much kissing him if you didn't enjoy it at all . . .

 And it does sound to me like you had some unrealistic expectations of what kissing is.

Understand: I love kissing Sister Jo, but every kiss isn't filled with lust and sexual excitement.

That would be silly.

One thing you may want to consider: kissing gets better with practice.

It was your first time, and he may not be that much more experienced, either. So that may be part of it.

I know Sister Jo doesn't pine for me every minute we're apart, and even on our Super Dates (usually 3+ days) where we love spending time together each of us has moments (we fight at least once on these dates, btw) where we're thinking "okay, I need to be away from you for a little bit".

You should never enter into, or stay in, a relationship where you think "it would just be perfect if the other person would change a little" - that's a sure path to sadness . . . even disaster.

Should he get a better haircut? That's likely!

Can you, as the girlfriend, recommend that he do? Well . . . yeah.

And you should.

You should also understand that bit of manipulation may cost you the relationship. (Wise people will tell you that it's much more effective to compliment improvement than to suggest change.)

(Personal story: at one point early in our dating Sister Jo said I should grow my hair out longer; I did, it looked horrible, and she said "yeah, you look awful, go get it cut"; and I did. Not a deal breaker. I think that kind of stuff might matter more to girls than guys. For example, even if I ever thought so, I would NEVER suggest a hairstyle change to Sister Jo. Ever.)

Candidly, if your only problem with this guy is that you'd like him to change his hair, and that's enough for you to be thinking of breaking up and moving on, then I'm not sure you deserve him. 

However, that said, I think you should make the suggestion and see what happens.

Even if he'd be better off without you, you might not be better off without him, and that's a great reason to keep trying.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I knew I was going to sound like a shallow person...

Let me explain, it's not just the hair.

When I look at him, I'm just not that attracted to him. I would never break up with him because of a bad haircut!

(Although he would look better with a different hairstyle . . . )

I'm just afraid that if we get to the point of deciding if we should get married, that I'm not going to know what to do because I don't know if I want to spend my whole life with a man that I'm not very physically attracted to.

I know that sounds shallow, but I do think physical attractiveness is important in a relationship.

I guess a better question would be, should I continue pursuing a relationship with someone who I am very compatible with, but I do not find very physically attractive in hopes that the deeper our relationship grows, the more attractive I will find him?

And, by the way, I feel like a terrible person that I don't think he's very cute, because he is an incredible, loving, selfless guy.

And the kissing thing....we maybe kissed for 5 minutes which I consider a lot for me and then he gave me some good night kisses too.

I kind of just went with the flow and let him kiss me because we weren't going to see each other for a while, so that's why.

Thanks so much for your response, I really do appreciate it!

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

I'm torn about your question, so I've been discussing it with Sister Jo (who not surprisingly is much smarter than I am).

I told Sister Jo that I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who didn't find me attractive and didn't like to (or worse, refused to) kiss me.

If this guy you're seeing feels the same way I do, he'd rather be cut loose to find someone else.

But Sister Jo thinks that we as a culture are too hung up on physical attractiveness and things like kissing.

She points out that lots of cultures on this planet don't kiss at all; some even find the practice disgusting.   (Which, as someone who loves kissing, I don't get at all . . . but I know it's true.)

Sister Jo said that maybe you should move to one of those places.

We both subscribe to the theory that, generally speaking, men fall in love with women that they are attracted to and women become attracted to men they're in love with . . . so maybe that's an answer to your situation?

Perhaps over time you'll find him more physically attractive.

What I'll leave you with is this: physical attractiveness is one of the most-likely to change things about any person.

Hairstyles, weight, fitness, and age are all factors that can change drastically, and often do.

If this guy was more, or less, of something that he is now, would it change how you feel about him? 

And if so, how long would that last?

Within our time together I weighed 100 pounds more than I did when Sister Jo and I married.

I'm somewhere in the middle now, but I don't know how long that will last.

Despite that weight gain Sister Jo loved me . . . and kissed me.

There must have been something more to that than just my appearance, don't you think?

Perhaps it's not that you're not attracted to him, perhaps it's that regardless of how great a guy he is you're just not in love with him.

If that's the case, then by all means move on.

It will be better for him and for you.

Someone can be a great person and still not a good person for you, which does not mean that you are a bad person.

Just be aware of what you told me: you're going to be losing a great guy.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NW's story is very similar to mine when I was dating my now-husband.
He had (and still has) very good qualities about him. Strong testimony of the gospel. Frugal. Kind, patient, and we got along well. I liked his family, he liked mine. However, I struggled a lot while dating him because I was not physically attracted to him. I was like you and thought, " hopes that the deeper our relationship grows, the more attractive I will find him."
One thing I have learned as an older adult is that you should not marry someone in hopes of the relationship or the person changing after the marriage.
Sure, you hope that as you continue with your eternal marriage that you'll both become better people, stronger in the gospel, which in turn will make your marriage and relationship better. Hold on to that.
It sounds like marriage is not in your imminent future with him. But if you're hoping that you'll find him attractive after you get married--
I'd strongly advise you not to.
I still don't find my husband physically attractive and we've been married several years. I finally had to come to grips with my reality and I'm in the process of letting go of those hopes and dreams. I'm focusing my attention on what I already like about him instead of the things I think are missing. This is a completely appropriate thing for someone who is married to do. I made promises to do this. You, however, should not be expected to do the same thing I am.
I very much disagree with Bro Jo's statement of, "...generally speaking, men fall in love with women that they are attracted to and women become attracted to men they're in love with.."
Women have sex drives too. If you're going to have sex and create children with someone, not being physically attracted to him is going to make it much harder than it should be.
However, I do agree with this statement he made, "Someone can be a great person and still not a good person for you, which does not mean that you are a bad person."
Bro Jo has also brought up some other very good points. Some people are ok with marrying someone they're not particularly attracted to because they prioritize the compatibility. Compatibility is a more enduring trait than physical attractiveness. However, I think you have to be a very secure and mature person to make such a decision like this. You have to know what you want and be very comfortable with it.
You don't sound comfortable with your choice to date your now-boyfriend.
And that is ok!
By no means am I implying that you are immature or insecure. It sounds like you actually know what you want: you want to date a guy you're attracted to. That does not make you shallow. Men write off women all the time because they're not attracted to them, and no one makes a big deal of it.
Be secure in following your intuition/gut. If you're eventually going to be with someone for eternity, I don't think you should have to talk yourself into it.
As for the dating stage you're at now with him, give it a couple dates and see if things do change for you. But if you're still going back and forth, I'd say end it. It may hurt now, but the purpose of dating is to figure out what you want and who you could be happy with long-term. Should your relationship end with him, at least now you know more of the qualities you are looking for in someone.

I hope that I've been helpful. Bro Jo or anyone else is fully entitled to disagreeing with what I've said.