Another question about dating and physical attraction?
September 5, 2019 2:04 PM   Subscribe

I already have an idea of what the responses to this question will be but I still can't help it. I'm a 27M and have had one previous long term relationship. While I know I have a decent personality/am relatively charming/am interesting enough for dates, I'm not exactly stellar in the looks department...

At BEST I'm 5.5/6 out of 10, probably closer to a 4-5. I've read into fashion hygiene and getting a good haircut and the like but there's only so much that helps. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, my last girlfriend was really, objectively attractive, probably an 8-9. My friends would jokingly ask me how I landed her knowing that at least physically, she was out of my league I was originally smitten with her and I've never been so attracted to anyone else before or since.

But as you can imagine, this didn't last. We dated for about 6 months and the relationship was probably based on lust more than anything else. As I continued to get to know her, I found parts of her personality really unattractive and she would make comments about my friends that inappropriate and hurtful.. So I made the decision to break up with her and move on with my life. This was 7 years ago.

Now, as I'm continuing to date and meet people, I've been on dates with women who I'm far more compatible with and would love introducing to mom and dad. My issue is that I can't get past comparing these women to my ex in the attractiveness-department. And this comparison is wholly unfair, my ex was out of my league physically to begin with, and the people I go out with now are probably on par with me as far as looks go. But usually what happens is after 4-5 dates, my date can tell something is off and the reason is most likely that I don't "lust" or want to sleep with them, especially not in the same way I did my ex. So at this point, I'd make up an excuse saying that I "don't feel chemistry" or something along those lines and move on.

I know it's unfair to date someone your not attracted to but again, I'm not great in the looks department either. I really want a wife and kids and though I don't want to "settle" as I know that's unfair to my potential partner, something has got to give. This cycle has been going on and off for 6-7 years now and quite frankly, it's getting annoying. Looking for thoughts/comments? Thanks
posted by 47WaysToLeaveYourLover to Human Relations (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You are on the right track with not wanting to settle for someone you’re not really into. I’ve never found it to work (even though it’s tempting!) to try and talk yourself into someone who’s good for you on paper. But maybe you could reframe the kind of non-physical traits you’re looking for to have better luck finding a partner you are attracted to. Other than your very attractive ex, are there women you’ve known (even ones you were never remotely involved with) who you felt drawn to for reasons other than pure looks? Most of us have people in life who take us by surprise, that we really enjoy spending time with, that have that special something quality. Can you pinpoint what that might be and try to sort for it better in early dates or on dating apps?

If the answer is no, that you’ve only ever felt any kind of attraction to women purely because of looks, I think maybe then you want to start thinking through why that is. What is holding you back from appreciating women as full people separate from looks and what could you do to change that (therapy, etc).
posted by sallybrown at 2:45 PM on September 5, 2019 [10 favorites]

I can’t stress enough what a turnoff it is to be using the “out of ten” scale as much as you are. I will just say this: plenty of people date partners who are objectively better looking, and this is because looks are only part of what makes a person attractive (as you found with your ex). I really don’t think a short-lived relationship when you were 20 is what’s holding you back here. You should do some soul-searching about why you think only hot people deserve to date.
posted by cakelite at 2:51 PM on September 5, 2019 [144 favorites]

I don't want to question your read of what's going on, but the general pattern you describe, of experiencing a lot of desire in emotionally terrible relationships + no desire (or even avoidance/ self-sabotage) in emotionally stable and intimate ones, is incredibly common among both men and women. Various sources attribute it to anxious/avoidant attachment style, a taste for drama in relationships, or some kind of self-esteem issue, but IME it generally has very little to do with the objective physical qualities of the partner-- in fact, one very classic version is "I have this incredibly beautiful, smart, sane partner, why do I feel no desire when I found that ugly crazy one so sexy?")

Mediocre-looking people meet and have hot sex with other mediocre-looking people every single day-- it's arguably the modal type of sex for all of humanity, thus the one we're programmed to successfully undertake-- so it's hard to believe that a few months with a cute girlfriend seven years ago could really irrevocably fry your circuitry to the point where no sub-8 girl will ever delight your eyes again. I'd say the probabilities are more in favor of this being a garden-variety intimacy issue that you could probably iron out with, yes, a little therapy.
posted by Bardolph at 2:53 PM on September 5, 2019 [90 favorites]

I'm 35, and I understand what you're going through. (Though please no more ranking humans numerically unless it's their chess ELO.) I thought maybe I would be alone forever - I don't mean that in an incel way because I was going on dates and generally doing my best to be a positive, kind person - but that I was increasingly not sure I would meet a person who wanted to be with me at the same time that I wanted to be with them. I'm 35 and I was thinking this more and more as I moved through my 30s. I had a relationship where physically it "wasn't there" for me (though it is a far more complicated story than being actually about looks as she was in no way unattractive to me and such a lovely, kind person) and when I ended that on moving across the country, I really thought "Maybe that's that." even though I was trying in a kind, not-jerk way to get out there and go on dates with people who interested and attracted me physically, mentally and emotionally/ethics/spiritually. I felt broken. Really, really broken for an unspecified fault I couldn't pinpoint and fix.

So yeah, I think I was doing everything right including working on past trauma and my own barriers to finding this mythical relationship. It was one week after getting an ambiguous "I think we moved too fast." text from a person I'd dated for a month and thought was a genuinely lovely person (but did agree with her) that I just had a random date to take my mind off something else that I met my now super serious partner.

Now, let me put on my objective hat. She is not the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen. She is not the most gorgeous woman I have ever dated. I am probably not the most hawt, buff dude she's ever dated or slept with. Whew, okay, now I can rip my stupid objective hat off. FROM THE MOMENT I SAW HER, she was the most attractive person I have ever seen in all the ways I did care about and in a ton of them that I didn't know I cared about! I mean right away it was just how she carried herself and looked, but in each new way, also yes.

Whew, what a long story, eh? So draw a line between me over Christmas 2018 saying to my mom, "I just don't know if I'll meet anyone. I'm okay with that, but it's a bummer." and her saying, "I felt that way until I met your dad." to being dumped and my dad dying in a week to a few days later meeting this person who I just can't stop wanting to delight, stare at, talk to or sit quietly next to with my eyes closed.

I can't guarantee success, but I do think you haven't met a person who you fit with yet IF you're working on/aware of issues you have. It took me a LONG. TIME. Honestly, I still can't believe it worked out some times at which point my girlfriend can tell where my mind went and will probably bop my nose.

1. Do not settle, that's cruel to them and yourself
2. Work on yourself, be a positive and kind person
3. Behave in a way that you wouldn't mind anyone knowing about, if you have second thoughts about dating or what you're doing in relationships, change how you behave.
4. Realize that idealizing the past is a natural but false idea.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 3:09 PM on September 5, 2019 [27 favorites]

Please do not date or sleep with women you are not attracted to. You aren't doing them any favours. Seriously, someone you think is awesome to hang out with is just a friend if you aren't interested in sleeping with them.

It's really, really a huge mindfuck to be on the other end of this. Let's look at this from the perspective of a woman you're dating. As an adult, she understands that even relationships between two people who are sexually attracted to each other can still have some challenges in the bedroom at first, so she starts off excusing those challenges as normal. But then they continue, and she wonders if it's something she's doing or something she can fix. In a relationship with mutual attraction, things would eventually start to work for both of you and your effort would be rewarded, but that's not going to happen here. Because you're settling, you kind of encourage her to continue trying but at the same time she can tell that nothing's working, or you don't seem fully willing to put the work into trying new things. The thing is, it's a futile effort - you know she's never going to do it for you, but you're willing to allow her to humiliate herself in the name of patience. What's the point? Both of you end up unsatisfied, and she probably comes out of the experience with her sexual and romantic self-efficacy damaged. Why do this to someone you otherwise like as a person?
posted by blerghamot at 3:17 PM on September 5, 2019 [12 favorites]

Attraction is not objective. You will judge yourself differently than you judge prospective partners, because your drive for sexual attraction is outward looking (for most people). Do what you need to do to feel good about yourself--it's worth asking why you think you're objectively at some specific point on an imagined attractiveness scale. Both low and high self opinion, when taken to excesses, can be personality quirks that prospective partners sense and shy away from. As an example, my first real boyfriend was gorgeous (to me), and I loved his broken nose and chipped tooth. But both of those things made him so extremely self-conscious that he thought of himself as heinously ugly. It wore me down seeing him unable to believe that I was genuinely attracted to him, and that ended up being a major reason that we went our separate ways.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:34 PM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

Attractiveness is the number one least interesting thing about another human being, ever. Therapy seems like a good place to start, to unpack why that's such a priority for you. It sounds like that relationship was traumatic and you are stuck seven years in the past, unable to learn from the experience or grow or change.

Stop dating, work on you for a while. Your ticking clock is not an excuse for anything but self-improvement.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:39 PM on September 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

Yeah, that bit about being fixated on a specific person you were with briefly seven years ago is the part of your story that I think is most fixable.

Agree with posters upthread that "settling" isn't what you should be doing, for everyone's sake: but by all means, therapy to see what need of yours is getting satisfied by fixating on the 7 years ago woman. From some of the things you've said here, I'm guessing it's (at least partly) that being with a conventionally beautiful woman made you feel like you had higher worth as a man, and that's the feeling you're chasing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:49 PM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

The stuff you dismiss as an excuse, "not feeling chemistry " with these women, that's real. Physical attraction is a part of chemistry. The stuff about "leagues" and rating people by numbers, that's bullshit. And the "friends" who teased you for supposedly not being attractive enough for your previous partner were being mean, immature assholes and you should call them on it and/or get new friends.

Try to get out of your own way. Focus on what is attractive about yourself and only date people you're attracted to.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:19 PM on September 5, 2019 [11 favorites]

At BEST I'm 5.5/6 out of 10, probably closer to a 4-5
my last girlfriend was really, objectively attractive, probably an 8-9

Nobody is any of these things.

The fact you can even think of people this way is just the tip of a massive iceberg of bullshit that you have internalised, and need to get serious about unpacking if you want to have healthy relationships with anyone.
posted by automatronic at 4:29 PM on September 5, 2019 [63 favorites]

Speaking as someone with an avoidant attachment style, "the phantom ex" is a key symptom: when we start getting closer to someone we might actually have a future with (modulo our avoidant attachment style), we start using "deactivation strategies" to distance ourselves. Comparing the current person with "the phantom ex" (who exists only as a memory of their positive attributes, in your case, her body) is a deactivation strategy.

(Can you tell? I just read Attached. I found it helpful and maybe it will help you too.)
posted by batter_my_heart at 4:51 PM on September 5, 2019 [12 favorites]

Rating people is unkind to say the least. Please pursue therapy before you subject any of these "in your league" women to your values.
posted by vanitas at 4:55 PM on September 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

You’re being very selective in what you’re choosing to focus on about this past girlfriend. You’re constantly reminding yourself how hot she was and that no one else stacks up. Why aren’t you also reminding yourself that her personality wasn’t attractive in the least and her looks weren’t enough to compensate for that?

I’ve dated objectively very attractive people. For some of them, their personalities were ugly and they quickly became unattractive to me. I’ve also dated people who wouldn’t have been deemed beauties but their inner qualities were so amazing they became beautiful to me.

Yes, you can’t fake physical attraction or manufacture it but you can be open to meeting all sorts of people and you can reframe the narrative of what you tell yourself. Even if you do find yourself a perfect ‘10’ to use your pretty gross terms, people age and if that’s all your relationship is based on, in twenty years you will be disappointed at your middle aged faded beauty and on the hunt again.

I think you need to do some work on yourself before you try dating again. Good for you for asking this question and recognising this.
posted by Jubey at 4:59 PM on September 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

Lemme throw something in here that might serve as therapy for you:

Got Tinder? Good. Now set up your profile, any way you want, but make it an honest and not-creepy presentation of yourself. Now buy Gold, so you can see who liked you and you can change your location and there's no swipe limit. Set your location to somewhere exotic. For maximum effect choose someplace with an ethnicity that ticks your wish fulfillment sex box, or someplace with beautiful beaches and people in bikinis, just someplace where you think sexy wish fulfillment happens. Go wild, this is for science. Bali, Ibiza, Moscow, Bangkok, NYC, Bogata...just make sure it's populated, because you want lots of people there. Now buy a pack of Boosts. Set your age range to...oh...I dunno, your ideal. 18-35. Something conventionally attractive. Calculate the local time difference, and for two weeks, Wednesday to Sunday, use two Boosts at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the time zone of your chosen location. Swipe on a few people every day to let the system know you're alive, or more if you're inclined to get a wider view of the dating pool in this location. Fire off the Boosts only as soon as you're sure "this is the place".

Watch in amazement as hundreds of women "out of your league" right-swipe you, all up and down your age range, women you wouldn't in a million years have a chance with going by your own self-judgment. It will be hundreds. Talk to them. Be honest, maybe be non-committal about kinda going there someday, 'cause you might, who knows, but have real conversations where you're honest about yourself and your reasons for doing this. Be as charming and engaging as you can without being misleading or lying. Marvel at how you have wonderfully unlikely connections and also encounter a range of reactions from being instantly deleted to being called a gentleman for not asking for nudes. You will make at least 5 chat friendships that endure for 6+ months if you do this, and they'll all be women you right-swipe. I promise you a good portion will be actual professional models bru. Like, models.

Do this thing. Then ask yourself - is it me they like, or is it the fact that I just paid about $100 to cheat at what amounts to chat roulette? And if I'm bored and desperate enough to do this, and they matched me, and talked to me, how bored and lonely and desperate are they? And if these people you right-swiped in your sexy fantasy destination, are bored and want to chat with random "ugly" you, can safely rule "I'm ugly" out of the equation.

Give yourself hard, numerical evidence that you can and will meet interesting, desirable partners if you put yourself in front of them and signal interest in an honest way. I did this 3 years ago. I had, and still have at times, crippling anxiety about being ugly and undesirable. I thought no one could compare to my last took two relationships and three years with successively more physically attractive women until I thought, wait...I want variety! Novelty! Maybe I just need to shake things up! Maybe that's what I need to get my mojo back! That's when I tried the experiment above. I got it alright. Hundreds of women matched the first week. I talked to some who were happy to wait to meet me, and others who were far more forward than that. Immediate choice paralysis. I felt shocked and ashamed at myself for not being psychologically ready to move on it. I meekly crawled back a week later and began talking to a few, the ones who seemed like they might understand what was actually going on, and most were fine with it. I made it a tenth of the way down the list of the matches I wanted to apologize to. They remain there in my Tinder today, years later, too late to apologize, too many to unmatch. "All kinds of freaks on Tinder, at least you're nice and interesting," said one. I made friends. I visited them. Most were platonic, none were fantasy wish fulfillment, some were disastrous failures that ended in yelling and tears, and none stood a chance in hell of turning into a relationship because of the distance, and everybody knew that going in.

Do this. It'll scour a lot of the silliness from your brain. If physical attractiveness is what you seek, you'll get it in spades, but woe to the fool who lets desire stall there. If you're anything like me, you'll hate yourself for the friendships you let slip by as you tried to feed your ego using others' bodies, and you'll develop a profound respect, dare I even say desire, for the women who are used to your bullshit, disappointed by it, and manage to forgive you. It will be painful, and you'll despise yourself, and you'll regret all the women you let down. The details may differ, but it will end here, and the sooner the better. That's when the healing can begin, because that's when your desire to be a good partner to someone deserving will overwhelm your desire to "own" someone you think you deserve. That's when your understanding of what allowances others make to befriend and love you will overwhelm your vanity. The way your eyes work will change as they adjust to new kinds of beauty, physical and otherwise. You'll feel it happening, and you will be in awe of your desire's mutability, and you will never be able to unknow that it changed and can again, and you will begin to cultivate it, rather than be ruled by it.

Worth a shot, right? Worked for me.
posted by saysthis at 5:40 PM on September 5, 2019 [6 favorites]

Ever played that game where everybody walks around with a playing card stuck to their forehead? You can't see your own card, but other people can? Yeah - the things people care about aren't encompassed in this 1-10 scale you keep talking about. I'm betting you can't see them at all.

And if you are evaluating others that way - stop. That's no way to find happiness.
posted by amtho at 5:56 PM on September 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

One big problem is the whole notion of ‘leagues’.

Quit that; it’s juvenile and harmful to you and anyone you might date.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:06 PM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

People have given you many wise answers already, but I'm going to tell you a story about a cat. Bear with me; I promise it's relevant.

Several years ago, I got it into my head to adopt a cat to be my companion. I duly secured my family's agreement and we all went to the shelter. There I met a truly, truly ugly cat. I don't mean that she was mangy, or in poor health; she was in excellent health. But her coat! The colors were mottled and truly, truly ugly.

On the other hand, I figured even ugly cats deserve to have loving homes, and I wanted to pick a cat for its personality, not its look. And indeed, of all the cats there, she sniffed my hand politely when I offered it, and when I asked to hold her, she sat quietly in my arms, and I knew then that she was the cat for me.

We got to know each other, the cat and I. The cat purred the very first day we brought her home. She rolled over to show me her belly and wanted me to pet it--something I had been warned not to do, but she really, really wanted it. That was also on the very first day.
The whole family was charmed. She came up to me pleading for petting and attention. After a few months she even started sleeping on me.

And you know what? I noticed something strange after those first few months. This cat, which I had thought the ugliest of all possible cats, now appeared to me to be the most beautiful of all cats. I loved looking at her. I loved brushing her fur and petting her. Just seeing her made me smile. She's a calico-tortoiseshell, which I had thought so terribly ugly when I first saw her, and I kind of think, on that sad day when she parts from me, I would be so tempted to get ANOTHER tortie, because I've come to find torties beautiful.

It's not that physical appearance doesn't matter. When I first fell in love with the man who became my husband, I sure noticed his looks. But after a while, if you're looking with the eyes of love, the looks don't matter in the same way. When you really, truly love someone, it's not going to matter if they're the ugliest tortie, you're going to discover that somehow the tortie has become beautiful to you.

(Here's the tax, by the way.)
posted by yhlee at 7:22 PM on September 5, 2019 [31 favorites]

Join something that is not condusive to dating but where there are women you will have to interact with. Make friends with as many people (men & women) as you can but with the absolute promise to yourself that you won't ever date anyone from this crowd. Having someone of your preferred mate-gender will open your eyes to intrinsic attractiveness. But you mustn't be friends with an eye to something more pr you will be the stereotypical "nice guy". Listen, be vulnerable, do fun things with these people. When you know you have made friends, good friends, eith a number of women, that's when you go back on dating sites. Your criteria will be different. You might like someone who has Amy's sense of humour, or Jill's compassion or Ali's spontaneity.

I don't know if this will work for you because like yhlee and their cat, I tend to find people attractive after I know them, because then I know them. I've dated short men, tall men, racially diverse men, older men, younger men, men who have a limb missing, men with tiny penises and men with monsters, men who were conventually attractive and men who were not. I find sex and companionship far more rewarding with people who are kind, funny, and smart. Their face and physicality bother me not at all. And of those men, the ones who are still in touch found me attractive, though conventionally I'm not: overweight, lazy eye, clumsy, autistic, sometimes bald from choice. But although we are all now partnered with someone else, we have loving memories of each other and stay in touch.

Good luck changing lifelong socialisation to prefer symmetrical faces and slim bodies, because I believe there are a lot of women out there that you could be happy with, if you let the concept of conventional beauty (and the status that comes with it) go.
posted by b33j at 8:01 PM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]

there is no such thing as objectively attractive, as should be obvious after a moment's thought, because attraction is always, is necessarily always, subjective. If you are ever feeling 'objectively attracted' to anyone then you are suffering from some degree of disassociation/alienation from yourself and your libido, and should maybe get that looked into.

there is such a thing as objectively beautiful, adjusted for contemporary standards, but that is of course very different. We have models and movie stars and classic artwork so that we can all see objectively beautiful people even if we live in very small towns. We have no need to date a "10" in order to encounter objective beauty and be hurled into the sublime through our eyeballs, and aren't we all very grateful for it.

the number rating system is exclusively used by people, mostly men, who are desperately afraid and ashamed of their own subjective desires, and who feel that nothing is real until they get a grade for it and a nod of approval from a man with more status. they attempt to expel this feeling by trying to be the ones who themselves assign the grades to other people. this is transparent and besides, it doesn't work.

and once you graduate to the basic adult ability to recognize your own subjective attraction, you will see how grotesque it is to intentionally date someone to whom you are not attracted, or to hope for a woman to do the same vis-a-vis you. but it has to happen in that order, the adult realization has to come first. it has to be about women you are attracted to, not about women who are "attractive."
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:57 PM on September 5, 2019 [20 favorites]

the relationship was probably based on lust more than anything else.

how does believing that the relationship was based on her lust for you square with your low-average physical self-assessment?

or weren't you taking her lust into account here, just your own? and in that case, why do you think she ever went out with you? you must have thought about this

mustn't you
posted by queenofbithynia at 10:03 PM on September 5, 2019 [19 favorites]

I found parts of her personality really unattractive and she would make comments about my friends that inappropriate and hurtful.

just as an aside to all the other good points already made above, maybe try to think about looking at her pov on this. your friends were constantly making "jokes" to you about her physical attractiveness? if you were not shutting that kind of shit down, right away and hard, then they were definitely making comments like that directly to her face. no wonder she didn't like them if they were constantly reminding her that they felt her only value was how she looked.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:06 PM on September 5, 2019 [18 favorites]

Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, absolutely. That means there is no such thing as ratings and leagues in a relationship. You’ve surely heard of having a “type”, right? Many people’s types are not aligned with the current fashion in beauty and some are. I mean, it’s ok if your type is a thin, blonde woman - there’s plenty of wonderful people who fit that physical description who will also find you attractive. But your type probably isn’t anyone who could be a model (a cringe “10”), right? Just think about it a bit more, outside of the pressures of other people’s opinion.

I think a lot of your issue is just one of maturity. It’s immature to be so focused on your friends perception of your partner’s physical attractiveness, and it’s gross. I have a long story about ruined self esteem when I dated someone who was dating me because his friends thought I was attractive (he did not, and it was terrible). It just doesn’t matter what your friends think. Who do you find appealing?

Don’t date people that you have zero chemistry with, it will not end well. But do be honest about what is attractive to you, personally, both in terms of physical traits and personalities.

Your looks are fine, probably good. You are not a rating.
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Nobody is out of your league. There are no leagues.

It's been SEVEN YEARS and you are still hung up on your ex. Please go into therapy because this is a) really not healthy and b) impacting your current life in very detrimental ways.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:50 AM on September 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

The thing about "leagues" is not just that they are insulting and stupid it's that the people who talk about leagues are completely clueless.

Come on, you really think that someone you think of as "a 10 out of 10" is automatically attractive to everyone? Like, for real, anyone would want to have a physical relationship with them but only the other tens get to? Yes?

I'd never think I'd say this openly on the internet but okay. For me, I'm attracted to a certain type of guy but I'm downright repulsed by super conventionally attractive guys. Just, nope nope nope. I have been very strongly attracted to conventionally unattractive men and not in some intellectual sense, or show them to my parents sense. I mean raw physical sense.

You broke up with your ex girlfriend because you stopped being attracted to her as a whole person.

I'd say, spend some time around regular people and notice how you react to them. Do not try to force attraction to someone who you think matches your objective degree of conventional human beauty standard.
posted by M. at 8:02 AM on September 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

You life will improve immensely in ways you don't know yet if you stop viewing natural human variances as flaws.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:32 AM on September 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

OK - If you don't want to focus on looks, then maybe try to figure out what qualities you DO think are important.
posted by amtho at 4:35 PM on September 6, 2019

I strongly disagree with a previous poster’s suggestion to set up a Tinder account and begin talking to attractive users who swipe right on you in some exotic locale—I see that it was helpful for him in the long run, but as a female Tinder user myself I would find it highly upsetting if I connected with someone who was not even living in the area but presented his location as such. I think there are better ways to tackle this issue that don’t involve misleading anyone.

I think that yes, physical attraction is important, so definitely do not settle. But what else do you value in a partner? Maybe it would be helpful to make a list and see how closely the women you’re dating match that list? I’m not suggesting that you should disregard physical attraction altogether, but it could be useful to start weighing other factors along with the physical attraction piece. I’ve had folks whom I wasn’t attracted to at first become the absolute bee’s knees because of their personalities.

A couple of points about the rating system: on the one hand, it’s so subjective—someone’s “10”could be another person’s “4,” so to speak. On the other hand, even typing that previous sentence, I feel like I’m arbitrarily deciding the worth on this imaginary “10-to-one-person, 4-to-someone-else” individual. Which is partially why I’d imagine a lot of people are suggesting you shun thinking about the rating thing altogether. Everyone has something special about them—dating is just about finding that person whose particular brand of special really lights you up.
posted by dean_deen at 7:36 AM on September 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

You are committing a lot of energy into how you look, how women look. If you spent half that energy being kinder, better-read, learning to listen, exercising, basically working on mental, physical, and emotional health, I think you would be happier and have better and more successful relationships.
posted by theora55 at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2019 [5 favorites]

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