Can attraction grow? Great guy, but not too terribly attracted?
August 11, 2013 4:07 AM   Subscribe

Casually dating a great guy. He's smart, funny, we're comfortable with each other. We've been seeing each other for 2 months now. The issue is... I don't find him incredibly physically appealing. Can I overcome it?

The guy is super smart, recent law school graduate, he makes me laugh, we could be ourselves within a few dates. There is a connection that I felt immediately. The thing is, although he's a great kisser and I personally enjoy kissing him (as odd as that sounds) I don't want to jump his bones. He wanted to get physical and the interesting thing is I didn't think much about how he looked until sexual activity came into the picture (perhaps before I was ready for that to happen). I went along with it but realized I didn't find his body exactly the most appealing and know that I'm not perfect either, and while I'm more used to how he looks now... i wonder if our relationship will have long term validity. He's a rather awkward guy, but then again so am I so I'm one to talk.

I would honestly like it to, because he's a fantastic and caring guy. I have asked myself tough questions like could you see a future? Would I be able to overlook anything I perceive to be kind of unattractive? He's a tall, very thin guy. He's had a rough time dating because he's not your standard macho guy. He's become kind of a cynic about dating because he's been passed over so many times. He's dated girls who used him for money. He's been on a dating site for 3 years with no luck. That's how I met him. I thought he was quirky but cute. He still is quirky and cute but perhaps doesn't light me on fire physically?

I don't like to even think of these things but sometimes, I don't know what he's thinking when he gets dressed. I haven't said anything and don't feel it is my place to, but he could look so much better with some better fitting clothes. He says lots of his clothes are forever old. I feel really shallow for thinking like this and personally don't like that I've thought about it so much.

He's really great though. He's 25 and already seems to know a lot about life and the important things. I believe he would honestly marry me. He's already mentioned engagement quite a few times although it is still quite early. I have always wanted a committed relationship... but find myself wondering if we could have one. I don't foresee myself wanting to be with some other super goodlooking jerk (which seems to be who I used to date) but wonder if a lack of attraction will kill our chances even if everything else is great and we work well together? Sexually things really are not bad and I don't cringe when we sleep together and enjoy kissing... its just I don't exactly get super turned on by his appearance at first although I do get aroused. Does this spell doom? Is it still too early to tell? I do have feelings for him, I know that much and don't want to see him leave my life.
posted by Chelsaroo650 to Human Relations (65 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have to say, if it's been two months (which is when it's normally at its hot and heaviest) and your comment is that at least you don't cringe when you sleep together... Errr... Well imagine how you'd feel if your partner said that about you. Sorry, two months is long enough to know by now and I think both of you deserve to be with someone who can't wait to tear their clothes off. It can, and should, be so much better than that. I know, it sucks because he clearly has other awesome qualities. But sadly, great on paper doesn't always translate to great in real life. I'd walk away.
posted by Jubey at 4:24 AM on August 11, 2013 [9 favorites]

Sexually things really are not bad and I don't cringe when we sleep together and enjoy kissing...

Let him go. I am saying this more for his benefit than for yours.
posted by mochapickle at 4:26 AM on August 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

After two months, if you're really not feeling it, I don't know that it's going to get any better. You don't have to date this guy as a project. I understand the appeal of thinking, he's had trouble dating because he's such a special snowflake but I'll be his one true love because I'm special, but how is that fair for you? And on the other hand, I don't think you should date him just because he's financially stable and has an interest in getting married. You need to be in love with him, not the fact that he's capable of loving you. I see in your last question that you mention that you're 21, which makes you way too young to be not having any fun. Get out there and start dating guys you're into 100%, not guys you have to make extensive allowances for.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:41 AM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

you deserve so much more than "I don't cringe when we sleep together."

(and if you want a committed relationship that leads to one day being married, you should be dating around until you find someone who you are excited to sleep with, rather than merely "not cringing"...)

generally, things like how someone dresses, how much they weigh, what hair and skin looks like - those things can and do change over time due to aging and style choices. but the physical, pheromone-level-falling-in-love attraction needs to be there at the beginning, in my opinion, and without it even the best looking person in the world won't get you hot.
posted by zdravo at 4:56 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Most of the people who marry for looks find out that looks fade in time. Marry based on the quality of a person and be happier.
posted by BillyAnne at 4:58 AM on August 11, 2013 [34 favorites]

Define "spell doom" - for him rather than for you - and think the thought experiment through.

Another good thought experiment would be to imagine how you would feel in, say, five years (one kid three years old, the other one in the making), and he hasn't changed the way he dresses. Will it make a difference to you then?

Intuitively, I'm with mochapickle here. The great danger is that you maneuver yourselves into a corner where he ultimately won't have much wiggle room. Will he be doomed to be together with someone who finds that he's a great guy but should dress better to mask the fact that he's not all that attractive to look at? That's a bit of a dire prospect for a great guy.
posted by Namlit at 5:00 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had attraction grow, pretty much from the same place you're at right now. But because I was focused so much on having it grow, and nurturing it, I ignored a few red flags pretty early on, and I feel you're doing it, too. Marriage plans ring a bit of an alarm bell (see fast forwarding), but are not necessarily proof of bad intentions - a lot of people in their early twenties are less prudent and ponderous; couple them with his complaints about his dating history, and there is more cause for concern: I feel like he is emotionally blackmailing you (probably unintentionally) into staying in the relationship out of pity.

I think this murkiness plus your lack of genuine attraction means you might want to let this one go.
posted by miorita at 5:00 AM on August 11, 2013 [13 favorites]

I stayed with somebody for two years like this. He's a wonderful guy who I could have easily married. The best I can say about our relationship was that it was really pleasant. And people liked being around us. They were sad when we broke up but we all moved on quickly and relatively painlessly. You should want more out of this (or any) relationship. Two months is long enough to learn that lesson; drawing it out longer than that might be unnecessarily occupying everyone's time.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:12 AM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

He's had a rough time dating because he's not your standard macho guy. He's become kind of a cynic about dating because he's been passed over so many times. He's dated girls who used him for money. He's been on a dating site for 3 years with no luck.

These seem to me to be strange things to know about a person you just met and have only been casually dating a short time. Dating isn't all sunshine and roses for anyone but that kind of talk is a pretty serious turnoff for most people. It's like those online dating profiles that say "NO DRAMA ISN'T THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO ISN'T A USER" and you just click past it because yikes.

So since you like the kissing, maybe it's not his appearance that's holding you back. Maybe your instincts are picking up on something red-flaggy in his manner/words/outlook.

He's already mentioned engagement quite a few times although it is still quite early.

After dating casually for a short time? Again, pay attention to your instincts. They may be telling you something.
posted by headnsouth at 5:40 AM on August 11, 2013 [45 favorites]

This guy is too needy and not confident enough. I bet that's why you're not attracted to him. He seems to be trying to move too fast. You're beating up on yourself for being "shallow" when what is really going on seems to be an instinctive gut-level reaction to the fact that he seems kind of a nebbish.

Think about it. If he were just a bit more confident, wouldn't he seem more attractive? People who are incomplete in themselves don't make good equal partners. Do you really want to be picking out this guy's clothes for the rest of your life? Bolstering his failing ego when things go wrong? Maybe it's time to let him go so he can grow up a bit, and so you can meet someone so cool that you'll never even think of the word "cringe" when you're together.
posted by xenophile at 6:12 AM on August 11, 2013 [17 favorites]

Though people experience attractiveness in visual terms, it's usually about more than that. Figure out what part of the "more" is missing. Is it lack of confidence on his part? Is it that you have trouble explaining him to others? Is it a lack of fear of losing him because he's not in demand? Some sources of "attractiveness" (e.g. unavailability) are best passed up while others are worth seeking out. Until you know more what you're missing it's hard to say whether it's something you should pursue.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:26 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is a difference between 'I don't cringe' and 'I am sexually attracted to them in some way'.

There has to be SOMETHING you can find attractive. Be it how they smile, or how they smell, or the thought of who they are. If you can't think of something - say goodbye.

For his sake, it absolutely sucks to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't find you attractive, even when the sex is great and they're in love with you. Sadly I'm talking from experience - it did quite a lot of damage to my self esteem.

On the other hand, if he's at least slightly attractive while naked, and the problem is that he has no sense of style: the solution is to take him clothes shopping. It might take some time, effort and tact - but that could change.
*This does not work with someone who dresses poorly but likes how they dress.

However: 2 months, attraction problems - there's too many red flags in this post to really be worth trying.
posted by Ashlyth at 6:40 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I do think attraction can grow, but if it hasn't grown significantly in two months? No.

(And I say this as someone with very broad attraction criteria; I've found myself attracted to tall men, short men, heavy men, bald men, hairy get the picture. And I've also found my physical attraction growing exponentially as I get to know someone's personality. But it's noticeable, long before 2 months. Sorry.)
posted by Salamander at 6:53 AM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's possible for attraction to grow with time, but if it was at such a low level when you started dating and hasn't grown much after two months, it's not likely to happen for you. Either you'd be physically attracted to him, or you'd be excited enough about the rest of him that it'd spill over into physical attraction.

I don't think you'll be satisfied with this guy. There may be other tall skinny awkward guys who turn you on, just not this particular guy. The love of your life may not necessarily be your type on paper, but he will never feel like someone you're settling for.

Considering the baggage he seems to have, I think it's important for you to remember that what he brings into his relationship is not your responsibility. Don't feel obligated to compensate for all the times he's been used or rejected. People who are cynical about relationships can sometimes hang too much hope on any relationship that seems like it might work, only to crash further into bitterness when it doesn't. If/when you break up, be gentle, but remember to protect yourself.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:58 AM on August 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

If you were going to overcome a lack of physical attraction, it would have happened in the first few weeks. I would think about it this way: if you were really truly connecting with this guy, stuff like dressing poorly and being awkward would seem adorable and charming. You are absolutely not being shallow. Something is probably missing in the relationship that goes deeper than appearances, but not as easy to see so you haven't noticed it yet.
posted by velebita at 6:59 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Your question is 'will attraction grow?' So I just want to focus on that. I've personally been in your situation where physical appearance has been a turn off in the beginning but gradually ceased to matter. Another where I didn't particularly feel attracted to someone and the sex seemed insipid but with whom over time sex improved - it was always satisfying and comfortable (reliably good), never mind-blowing ,but that kind of thing stops after a while anyway.

You aren't really asking if you should let this go or not (except for the possibility of attraction not growing) and so I don't want to comment on that. Unlike other posters I'm not sure I see red-flags in the cynicism or the bad relationship choices. At 25, it won't alarm me as it would at 35.

Like someone else said, I think both of you should take things very slowly, even if you may both be wanting similar things in the long-term (that's not a bad thing).

If sex is the only problem, it doesn't look great but I'd probably give it some more time; if only so that I know I gave it enough before I gave up.
posted by drummergirl80 at 7:19 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Sure, physical attraction can grow. After you've been together 2 months and you've started having sex, though? I'd expect that to have started happening by now. Sounds like you're looking at him with a more critical eye as time goes on, not a more affectionate one.

Take another week or 3 and be honest with yourself about whether you are becoming more attracted to him. Not whether you "should" be, but whether you actually are.

For god's sake, don't get engaged to this guy. Him wanting to get engaged so early is a bad sign, by the way.

It doesn't sound like you love this guy, or you ever are going to. Be honest with yourself about this. Once you get that clear in your mind, do both of you a favor (especially him) and break up with him. The fact that he's so into you and treats you well may make it tempting to drag it out, but don't.
posted by mattu at 7:30 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just as one point to consider. Your description matches one I could have written 10 years ago about my husband. My level of attraction has not changed, but my heart still swells when I'm with him and think of him. Our compatibility in every other way overshadows any misgivings I have about his physical appearance. No one I have ever met warms my heart as much as he does. But perhaps the difference between my experience and yours is that I knew pretty early on that this was to be the case.
posted by alusru at 7:36 AM on August 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Everything he's told you about his dating experience is filtered through his perspective. It sounds like the relationship is moving faster than you are ready for.

Looks aren't everything for sexual attraction. That cuts both ways: his rushing you into the next relationship levels can kill attraction that was growing.

He's not your only chance for a committed relationship. You don't have to settle for not cringing. You don't have to put in more time to see if things start changing for the better. You can stay in the relationship if you want to.
posted by RainyJay at 7:45 AM on August 11, 2013

It would not be shallow if you were to break up with him. It might even be the opposite of shallow. Physical chemistry, is, for most people, one of the most important components of a romantic relationship. It is what separates it from a good friendship.

I know a lot of people who are smart, interesting, nice to me, and who I have no interest in boning. And so I love spending time with them-- doing things together, having great conversations. But to share a bed with them every day for the rest of my life? No, that would terrible for both of us.
posted by Asparagus at 8:07 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Three types of love:
• Intimacy (emotional)
• Passion (physical)
• Commitment (rational)

Three categorisations of love:
• Romantic love – intimacy + passion (emotional + physical)
• Companionate love – intimacy + commitment (emotional + rational)
• Fatuous love – passion + commitment (physical + rational)

Consumate love:
• Intimacy + passion + commitment – emotional, physical, rational

We can also look at the loves by what they lack:
• Romantic love lacks commitment. There is an intense connection, but it may or may not be permanent. If it is permanent, and commitment is added to the mix, it becomes consummate love. That it is missing commitment is not distinctly negative, for commitment is a rational decision – a decision made repeatedly an continuously.

• Companionate love lacks passion. There can be a deep and abiding connection – intimacy + commitment – however, there is no passion present. This is the love of friendship and family.

• Fatuous love lacks intimacy. It is essentially commitment to passion, in a way. Passion ebbs and flows, and fatuous love is essentially the extension of infatuation into a relationship, hence the lack of intimacy.

If your question is can companionate love turn into consummate love, I think it is very difficult. As companionate love is the emotional + rational, it is missing the erotic. Yet the erotic is also very short-lived, as it is a chemical love designed to push people together so that commitment has a chance to bloom.

This is why people don't like getting stuck in "the friend zone". The "friend zone" is where perhaps both sides feel intimacy and an emotional connection, but one side feels passion where as the other side feels commitment. As it's been said it is very hard to get out of the friend zone, that may well be because if passion is not present, it is unlikely it will develop. Where as commitment inherently takes longer to develop.

Thus it sounds like you feel companionate love, and he feels romantic love. If you're not feeling the flow, it's probably best to cut it off now. All of the reasons you gave about his dating status, where he is, and how he feels is all stuff one should care about in a committed relationship. But I doubt he's there. He just wants to date, get some eros on, and see where it goes. If you're not feeling the same chemicals, it is unlikely that you will...
posted by nickrussell at 8:10 AM on August 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

You shouldn't be dating this guy. You know this.

Maybe you want to want him, because you like him quite a bit as a friend and are afraid to lose him. Or maybe you want to want him because he's nice, and you're sick of dating jerks who treat you like shit. Or maybe some combination of both, or other factors.

But you don't want him, two months in, and he is feeling serious about you. You know what you should do: break up.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:12 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I went along with it but realized I didn't find his body exactly the most appealing


I haven't said anything and don't feel it is my place to, but he could look so much better with some better fitting clothes.

Except what you're asking about is basic physical attraction. What difference does it make if you like his clothing? He'll still be the same guy you're not attracted to when he takes his clothes off.

I don't think you're being shallow here. I think you genuinely like him and are trying your best to be attracted to him for who he is, but you can't force yourself to be attracted to someone.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:23 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The sort of question and answers that leave me feeling that my experience of being a human being is totally different from most. My wife and I are deeply in love with each other and accepting of each others shortcomings. These include tha fact that neither of us expect to be overwhelmed with lust or passion when looking at each other. Yet we can both appreciate physical beauty in others. I dont think the phwoar response to the sight of a loved one is a paticularly important aspect of a long term relationship.
posted by BenPens at 8:32 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think it can, and I differ with those who think two months is more than enough time to know for sure.

I don't see the harm in going on as you are for a bit longer. It doesn't sounds like you find him UN-appealing. I'd just enjoy myself for a while and not dwell on it so much.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:01 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go against the grain and present my view on issues like these which aren't represented very often in these posts. If it's really a matter of a couple, contained, changeable, physical things (some new clothes, gaining ten pounds) and not any of these personality issues people are raising: Just level with him about it.

Let him be the one to decide if these things are a critical part of who he is that he's happy with or if he's willing to put in some time, money, and effort to change them because he agrees with you or he doesn't care that much. When these types of questions are posted, there are always people in the thread saying 'Let him go. He deserves someone who's wildly attracted to him.' It's true that he deserves someone who describes the sex as better than just not cringe worthy. But the idea that telling that person why you are not attracted to them is mortally offensive is strange to me. He may not even realize how his clothes look.

In your everyday life, you should never treat people differently based on how they look. But when it comes to issues of sex and physical attraction, yes, physical apperance matters. People are attracted to what they're attracted to. Don't feel bad about that. I acknowledge this as fact, and I would feel far worse knowing I had lost someone I liked a lot over something I was willing to change than by someone asking me to change it.
posted by unannihilated at 9:10 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Why are you with this guy if you are not attracted to him?

Leave now before you ruin his life by leaving later.
posted by rr at 9:16 AM on August 11, 2013

Sometimes in life, we meet extremely attractive people but once they start talking, we're totally turned off. Sometimes we meet not so attractive people but the more we spend time with them, the more we want to sleep with them.

Since your case is the second category and desire is not growing event though you find him funny and nice, I don't see any issue there. You're not attracted and you will never be. Please leave him so he's not losing his time with someone who is not attracted to him...
posted by daile at 9:22 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

First, anyone who says they know what you should do or what will/will not happen is making it up based on who know what (personal experience, observed experience, popular culture, conventional wisdom, wishful thinking etc). I seriously doubt if there is any empirical data to help you make an informed decision. I have no idea what is best for you or him nor do I know what will happen. What I do know is that you should not make promises you are not prepared to keep. Do not lie to or mislead him. Move ahead knowing that the only person over which you have any real control is yourself ( and only some control over that), that interest in sex ebbs and flows, that all bodies change over time and what is sexy now may or may not be sexy in the future. Ultimately you have to trust your own judgement, be responsible for your own decisions and keep your word.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:06 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thought your user-name sounded familiar, so I perused some of your past relationship questions. Having read those, I'm going to reprise the young rope-rider's comment from a previous thread; "why are you dating another fixer-upper?"

Nothing to be ashamed of in this pattern; God knows I'll cop to staying in relationships way longer than I should have because of the "fixer upper" impulse. But it is a pattern that you will want to talk through with a therapist.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:45 AM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Do you tend to be physically attracted to guys who are mad, bad and dangerous to know? Do you have self-defeating patterns in relationships? In other words, are you possibly self-sabotaging a great relationship?

Is he unattractive, or does he just not appeal to you?

Think about how you'd feel without him in your life. Him, specifically, not the idea of a really nice guy and a committed relationship. Usually, if someone is smart, funny, nice, great to be with, I want to get to know him better, and that includes sexually. Make sure you want to be with *him* not just with what he represents.
posted by theora55 at 11:02 AM on August 11, 2013

Sorry if I'm reading this question totally wrong but -- What you seem to want just doesn't seem realistic to me. I love my SO and I'm definitely attracted to him, but the sight of him doesn't send me into a panting heat like I'm in a romance novel.

Anyway, I don't think it's shallow to want to be attracted to your partner and to feel kind of "meh" about someone who is otherwise great... but I don't think that you're going to get to that level with this guy.
posted by sm1tten at 11:02 AM on August 11, 2013

Response by poster: If I'm being completely honest, the lack of physical attraction was not the only thing that bugged me at the start of our relationship-of-sorts. It was his negativity. He was quick to divulge that he was on antidepressants. Which, I've been there, so I know what that's like... but I saw that he had a very angry side to him early on. He hates his apartment, his car, the area we live in, etc.

He tends to rant about women and people. For example, how people generally suck, and how women especially suck. By our third or fourth date I knew that he hated his ex (a stripper who dated him for 3 months and disappeared when she couldn't pay back the money she owed him) and throughout our first month of dating I listened to more about how he didn't trust women and how he hated her (and subsequently wished she was dead), than about how awesome he was as an individual. He openly told me women are liars, cheaters, users, and sluts. He also laid in bed with me cuddling and started hating on all of the girls he tried to date in law school one night after we had just slept together, making me feel rather odd and unimportant.

He believes all people are "guilty until proven innocent" and admitted to being jealous and having trouble trusting because he'd been cheated on. He's said some things I didn't know what to make of like saying I was "not a girl most guys would date because you're clingy, but I like the attention" early on because I would want to have small chats during the day via text when we were apart. He told me my friends were hot straight to my face, but I know he'd be insanely jealous if I said the same about men. He's also said he enjoys attention and has referred to himself as kind of a narcissist as a joke. He says he's invisible and that "nobody notices him." He's insulted my haircut and sometimes takes to teasing instead of complimenting. He called some things of mine "cheap" and it hurt my feelings. I have expressed that his negativity was not something I liked. He said he would try to improve.

This lead me to believe from early on that he didn't trust me and didn't really think before he spoke. He also seemed to not be affectionate in a verbal sense and I felt like we could only cuddle in bed. I have overlooked these things because they're so blippy and quick... but sometimes I feel he's a party-pooper about life. I haven't had the greatest one growing up, but I still am more optimistic than him.

There was a night we went out and he drove. Well someone made him mad on the way to the restaurant so the whole rest of the night he was in a terrible mood. We tried to go to the zoo a few days ago and we drove all the way out there, were about to buy tickets, when he got frustrated because he was sick of driving, couldn't find the parking lot, didn't like all the kids everywhere... and we literally left without even going in after driving an hour he was so pissed. I'd never seen someone so aggravated so easily.
posted by Chelsaroo650 at 11:08 AM on August 11, 2013

Yeah, this is not going to end well. He sounds like he has some major, deep seated issues that you will never be able to fix. Cut the ties now and move on.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:13 AM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Whoa! Wishing his ex was dead? Claiming to not trust ALL women? And then going on about his own awesomeness even after that? This is massive red flag territory. What do you think makes you so different from all those other women he hates and distrusts?

After reading this, my previous reprise of the fixer-upper comment stands even stronger.
posted by ActionPopulated at 11:14 AM on August 11, 2013 [12 favorites]

OP, your update is far more concerning than any issues about his physical attractiveness and raises more red flags than a parade. How long will it be before you're another one of those liars, cheaters, sluts that he hates?

Drop him like a bad habit.
posted by Zelos at 11:14 AM on August 11, 2013 [18 favorites]

Eeek. He's a self-centered downer who doesn't respect women and he's got major anger issues -- and you're not even physically attracted to him!

Get out.
posted by jaguar at 11:16 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

There is nothing in your description of him that is positive for you. What is he bringing to a partnership? Invest the time and energy you would have spent on him on yourself, you deserve it more than he does. He isn't being negative, he is outright insulting you (which can be emotional abuse), which can be a precusour to an abusive and dysfunctional relationship.
posted by saucysault at 11:18 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

For heavens sake--you have almost completely changed the information you provided. Seriously, this makes me wonder about the reliability of your reporting and what you are/are not experiencing. I personally think your time is best spent looking at yourself, your ambivalence and the clarity of your expectations for yourself and a romantic partner.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:26 AM on August 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

Between what you posted and your additional comment, I have the strong sense that you know that you should end this relationship and mostly wanted a reality check. And you should end the relationship — as others have said, your description of him in your new comment has a bunch of very serious red flags.

You probably don't want to end the relationship because you are insecure about being out of one and finding someone else. This doesn't seem so bad right now and you're thinking of possible many nights alone and frustration and loneliness and so, hey, this isn't so bad, maybe I should just give it time. But the stuff in your comment is pretty unpleasant stuff that bodes very poorly about the future of the relationship. It may be mostly mildly pleasant now and you're able to overlook the unpleasant things, but my sense is that this will be more and more difficult to do and "mostly mildly pleasant" will turn into "being very unhappy".

You're not responsible for somehow being a counter-example to his notion of women — there's reasons why he's had bad experiences and those reasons are about him, not the other people.

Let him go.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:28 AM on August 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: I guess I have just tried to ignore it... but that's the truth. It's all true. When he's in a good mood, he is great... but if he's irritated nobody is having fun.
posted by Chelsaroo650 at 11:29 AM on August 11, 2013

He tends to rant about women and people. For example, how people generally suck, and how women especially suck.

I would have walked the hell out right there! This guy is not stable. You DO NOT want to be with this guy. He IS trying to keep you by saying he wants to marry you. Trust me, I've been with that type of guy and it's the worst thing that ever happened to me.

He is insulting you, then coming to your rescue by saying he wants to marry you, making you feel like no one else would. Leave this guy now.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:31 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I looked at some of your past questions because the amount of bad you seem comfortable putting up with in relationships made me wonder if you had a history of abuse. Given other info you've shared on the site, you might want to get a copy of How To Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved. It's not a perfect book, but it's a good overview of what should be red flags in relationships.

When you grow up in a super-dysfunctional household, it can be difficult to identify things that should be deal breakers, because no one taught you that you were worth respecting. The book is helpful in teaching some of that.
posted by jaguar at 11:33 AM on August 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, as some people on here may know, I have a history of emotional abuse stemming from a schizophrenic parent. He regularly insulted me on my appearance/intelligence and called my mother just about every name in the book in front of me. I am aware of the issues and try not to repeat the cycle... but understand this is all bad news. I guess it just sucks to think another guy really isn't what I thought he was going to be. I have gathered he most likely wants to bring me down to keep me around, but it sucks when you know it but you wish it were different.
posted by Chelsaroo650 at 11:38 AM on August 11, 2013

Yeah, that's just going to get worse. I'd end this. This has way less to do with physical attraction and way more to do with your gut telling you this is a terrible idea.

I've been there and wish I'd had folks help me see it at this stage!
posted by batmonkey at 11:40 AM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Whoa, girl, just read your update. This is about way more than bad pants. Please leave. He is not a healthy person. You deserve better than this.
posted by unannihilated at 11:41 AM on August 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Yeah, the update changes everything. There's a lot of behavioral ugliness going on there, and I'm not sure I'd count on any amount of time keeping it from showing through.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:42 AM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I guess it just sucks to think another guy really isn't what I thought he was going to be. I have gathered he most likely wants to bring me down to keep me around, but it sucks when you know it but you wish it were different.

Yes, it does. I'd give yourself major credit, though, for not being super attracted to him -- I suspect that part of you was so put off by all the red flags that you couldn't relax around him, and it's hard to be attracted to someone who makes you anxious. That sounds to me like there's a very healthy part of you giving you good feedback.
posted by jaguar at 11:45 AM on August 11, 2013 [18 favorites]

"Well, as some people on here may know, I have a history of emotional abuse stemming from a schizophrenic parent. He regularly insulted me on my appearance/intelligence and called my mother just about every name in the book in front of me."

It's really, really hard to cut loose from the relationship patterns we learn in childhood in our families. Our parents are our role models for being in a relationship; as children, we learn habits of interaction within the context of intimate, emotionally fraught and intense relationships from our experiences within our families; and, importantly, we tend to attempt to make our adult relationships a "response" to our childhood familial relationships — a recapitulation but hoping for a better outcome, or a negative image of them in the hope that the opposite people and behavior will resolve those old hurts.

This is especially true of children of abusive parents. My father was emotionally abusive. And I know how difficult it is to break these patterns and not have my romantic partnerships be strongly influenced by my childhood abuse. I'm 48 and I'm still struggling with this. I only realized after my most recent relationship ended that it and my much earlier marriage were the two relationships that I was most passionate about, where I was deeply engaged in trying to understand my partner and make her happy ... and those two partners were more like my father than the rest. A big part of me wants to work out the "puzzle" of my abusive and emotionally unavailable father — so I find that the critical and negative and unpredictable and sometimes emotionally unavailable are the women with whom I'm most intensely entangled with. And it's a mess and makes me unhappy. Yet I'm not very happy with the women who are utterly unlike my father, the available and kind and predictable and smooth-sailing partners — I'm just casually content, at best, and they rightly become dissatisfied with my lukewarm level of interest.

I mention this because although it doesn't sound like you're doing that with your current boyfriend, I notice from past questions that you do have a pattern of being with insensitive, critical, and emotionally unavailable guys. And it seems to me that this guy is already partly that way but, more to the point, he's giving signals that sooner or later he'll be full-on that kind of person. And you're attracted to that sort of person. It may be the opposite of what I wrote in my comment — you may have been hoping, or a part of you was hoping, to get validation for the idea of sticking with this relationship because passion and attraction might come later. And indeed it might, when you're chasing after him once he's stopped chasing you and takes you for granted (and regularly treats you badly).

You need to break out of this pattern, assuming that my guess about this is correct. You're only going to do that by doing two things — first, probably with a therapist, work through the childhood issues you have from your father with a particular emphasis on how it affects your sense of being in a romantic/sexual relationship, both in terms of what you want and in terms of the patterns you follow. Second, you need to stop dating these kinds of guys.

Begin the process of becoming a healthier and happier person by ending this relationship now. It's scary and hard and it may feel like the opposite of an improvement, at least at first, but it's a necessary first step.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:11 PM on August 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

You have no attraction to this man and are just making excuses so that you do not hurt him when you drop him. Do the right thing and say goodbye. Excuses only turn into huge problems later on.
posted by ladoo at 12:30 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The stuff you put in your update makes him sound not so great/fantastic as your original description. From what you say, he has the mindset of an angry victim -- it's really disturbing that he wishes his ex dead and it makes him sound like he has his boundaries/emotions very poorly sorted. Also, the idea that all women are liars/cheaters/sluts etc is a huge red flag. I would not trust this guy with your time and your heart even if you were devastatingly attracted to him.

The discussions of engagement are also kind of a red flag. Partly they make me think he's an unrealistic thinker, and partly they make me think that you may be getting in over your head, especially considering that you have trouble with both his looks and his attitude.

I don't think this relationship has a happy future. If I were you, I would be considering a breakup.
posted by feets at 2:04 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I will add to the chorus that hopes you will break up with this man.

For the future, I know these things can be hard to unpack, but a few things that should be immediate dealbreakers:

Any time a guy talks about how all the women in the world/ in his past life are [negative thing], while somehow you are not -- that's a red flag. There are 3 billion women in the world, they can't all [negative thing]. If all the women in his life are [negative thing], that probably indicates something about his skill in his relationships, not anything about women in general.

Any time he insults you, even in a teasing manner. Lots of hurtful things can be said in the guise of teasing, and you should not put up with anyone who treats your feelings with so little concern. You should never be in the position where your partner, who is supposed to be your rock against the world, is belittling you and undermining your self-esteem.

Seriously, any time either of these things happens, that's your cue to give up on the relationship.
posted by peacheater at 2:14 PM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you were taking the blame of this not being a good fit by focusing on the fact they YOU were not attracted to him, while the truth seems to be that HE has some hard issues. The truth came out in your update, and I think you can see the answer from there.
posted by Vaike at 2:17 PM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

His past lack of success in the dating world is not your problem and it is not on you to fix that for him by staying with him. If you need permission from someone, you have Metafilter's permission to stop seeing him.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:19 PM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's really, really hard to cut loose from the relationship patterns we learn in childhood in our families.

Amen. Attraction is the least concerning aspect of your relationship with this man.
posted by nickrussell at 3:02 PM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

"I saw that he had a very angry side to him early on"
"He tends to rant about women"
"how women especially suck"
"how he didn't trust women"
"wished she was dead"
"He openly told me women are liars, cheaters, users, and sluts"
"started hating on all of the girls he tried to date in law school one night after we had just slept together"

Forget whether you're attracted to him or not, dump him for being a misogynist!

"has referred to himself as kind of a narcissist as a joke"

I don't think it was really a joke.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:41 PM on August 11, 2013 [9 favorites]

Please please please dump this guy. Two months is no big loss compared to what he will suck you into if you let him. The posters in this thread have a lot of good things to say.

If you want to talk more about this dating pattern in general, please memail me. I have been there too with misogynistic/emotionally abusive men (adult child of an alcoholic here, yay for unreliable parents). I did eventually move past it but it wasn't easy and I second-guessed myself a lot. Now I'm happy with a wonderful man who respects me and has never insulted me, not even in anger. That is what love should be like.
posted by annekate at 4:35 PM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

No wonder you don't find him attractive, but it's not his body. I reckon this lack of attraction will only grow the more you get to know him.
posted by moody cow at 4:55 PM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

reading your updates it's no wonder you aren't attracted to this guy. he sounds quite awful and the reason women don't like him probably has extremely little to do with his looks. do try to be really honest with yourself in the future so you don't end up with such abusive men. it's important to look at the whole person and not just their good points.
posted by wildflower at 5:38 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

He's said some things I didn't know what to make of like saying I was "not a girl most guys would date because you're clingy, but I like the attention" early on because I would want to have small chats during the day via text when we were apart. ... He's insulted my haircut and sometimes takes to teasing instead of complimenting. He called some things of mine "cheap" and it hurt my feelings.

Gross, this sounds like PUA negging.

Chelsearoo, I just want to tell you something about this.

I guess it just sucks to think another guy really isn't what I thought he was going to be.

It does suck but you are not doing anything wrong, this is what dating is FOR! We meet these people as strangers and we date them in order to get to know them and find out what they are really like. That takes time. That's why we don't go to Vegas and get married to someone the same night we meet them.

If you meet a guy and start dating him and he turns out to have really negative traits, that doesn't mean you made a mistake or did something wrong. It means you did everything exactly right. You met someone who seemed to have potential and continued to investigate and see if the potential turned out to be anything real.

SOME people give off negative signs right when you meet them. Some people don't start giving them off until weeks or months later. Some people give off negative signs under circumstances that should be ordinary (like when this guy got super mad about other drivers). But some people don't give off their negative signs until you see them under stress or in very particular scenarios.

That's why most people date for at least a year or two before making a permanent commitment because that gives you enough time to catch the people who don't show their bad or incompatible signs right away.

I think that you are doing everything right. You have been very aware, with him. You have been noticing his troublesome traits. You have described them to us very well. You have told us why they are weird or negative. And you have busted out with some VERY VERY insightful thoughts about it like this:

I have gathered he most likely wants to bring me down to keep me around ...

I totally agree with you there, by the way.

So you have been doing everything right so far and the last thing to do is break up with him now that you have noticed these very serious and concerning negative traits.

but it sucks when you know it but you wish it were different.

I know, and I totally sympathize. It does suck, A LOT. It's just hoping it will change will only keep you in a situation that keeps getting worse, much of the time.
posted by cairdeas at 6:41 PM on August 11, 2013 [9 favorites]

like saying I was "not a girl most guys would date because you're clingy, but I like the attention" early on because I would want to have small chats during the day via text when we were apart

This is either negging-- which means he's a PUA loser who is too (apparently) mean and unlikeable to date in a normal way-- or he's the kind of guy who is OBSESSED with status and what other men think and what other men say about women and takes it all at face value without an ability to think or feel for himself. Either way, he's sounds like a moron, and he hates women. Dump his sorry, boring ass.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:32 PM on August 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also, no you do not have to date someone you're not attracted to, ever. For some reason people always give women this "watch attraction grow" advice, because we're supposed to not be as sexual as men, I guess. It's incredibly difficult to maintain a forced interest in sex, when you begin to feel like you're giving it as a gift, over a long period of time, without resentment-- it's unhealthy behavior. You should want to have sex with the person you're going to be having sex with. (Yes, I think attraction can grow, but I think that should happen outside of a romantic relationship, not inside one.)

There are plenty of unattractive people who don't become sour, mean assholes who read PUA websites. He is not a victim, don't feel sorry for him. Date someone you like and are attracted to. Simple as that.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:36 PM on August 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think you have already figured the answer out yourself... Please cut loose before you become too emotionally invested in this person. The lack of attraction is just the tip of an iceberg. The root of the problem is the lack of trust which is evident in your follow-up. Take a break, relay all the things he has done that make you feel bad, and go from there.
posted by azalea at 9:58 PM on August 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow, your updates are scary. He's like that after 2 months of casual dating?! What's he going to be like after a year or two of serious dating? Hint: not better.

And now I remember you. Your last question was 4 months ago about your last toxic relationship (of a long string), and now you're already 2 months into another one. Did you start dating this guy because you liked him, or because you didn't want to be single? You're 21. You have lots of time to find a great guy. You don't need to jump from one rapidly sinking raft to another - you can take a breather on dry land for a while to recover your breath.

You really, really, really need to stop dating people until you can figure out why you're choosing so badly every time. Therapy can help with this.
posted by randomnity at 8:10 AM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

The question asked in this thread should instead be:

Should I keep dating this guy?

I think you would get 100% "no".
posted by Dansaman at 12:17 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

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