How important is it in a relationship that your partner be good-looking?
May 1, 2008 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I am in a fairly satisfactory relationship with a guy except for the fact that I think I could find a better looking person. Is that a reason to break-up?

(I am sorry for the length of this post.)

I am in a fairly happy relationship with a guy except for the fact that I think I can find someone better looking. I feel horribly guilty about thinking about ending my relationship for something which seems so superficial, yet, I am having a hard time getting rid of this feeling.

People say that looks are superficial and that is what I, too, have been brought up to believe. However, at the same time, I think that people in general want to be good looking and also want to have good looking people as their partners.( Though, beauty is usually not a criterion for friendships and other relationships.) So, to that extent, I think there is a contradiction inherent in the society about the importance of beauty. I also think that each time we compliment others on how they are look, we implicitly convey how important beauty is to us. So my worry is: Am I wrong in caring about my partner's looks?

I have also come to think that the concept of beauty is incredibly hard to pin down. Often times, a physically attractive person( and by that I mean someone who has a good-looking face as well as a good physique) comes across as beautiful, but, there are times such people tend to lack personality or charm and this detracts from their beauty. So I have always wondered how much of our looks is in our control.

Whatever beauty is, I do not mean to suggest that I want a partner who is good-looking to the exclusion of other qualities. In fact, I do value being a good human being, a reasonable amount of liking for your work, health, style, cleanliness and organization --- and would like someone who values them as well.

I wonder if I am setting myself up for a life of permanent spinsterhood by having all these expectations from my partner. I sometimes feel that I should appreciate what I have ( and, frankly speaking, it is quite a lot, considering my relationship is good in other respects, although, there a couple of other problems related to my partner's career, his level of cleanliness and also his general dressing sense. On the positive side, I think I have a great relationship and we are quite open with each other---in fact I have spoken to him about this stuff too, though I felt like a morally bad person while doing it.)

I am sorry if I have asked too many questions. Please feel free to answer whatever you feel like. Thanks in advance.
posted by Ria to Human Relations (43 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
No need to justify being a superficial person, the world is full of them. You should just find a person as superficial as you. So go ahead and dump this guy, you'll probably be doing him something of a favor.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:51 AM on May 1, 2008 [18 favorites]


"fairly satisfactory"
"fairly happy"
"problems...level of cleanliness" (etc.)

vs.

"great relationship"
"quite open"

Do you actually love this guy or anything? If you don't feel you are going to move past the "fairly" anything stage despite the great relationship aspects, you may as well move on now not even taking the looks question into account.

"I think that people in general want to be good looking and also want to have good looking people as their partners."

Keep in mind if you find a person that feels the same way that you might get dumped once your (exterior) beauty fades a bit. There is always someone prettier, younger, etc.
posted by mikepop at 6:59 AM on May 1, 2008


I agree with ape, and I'll add that the phrase "fairly satisfactory relationship" is kind of a red flag. Your relationships should be great if they're meant to last, not just "fairly satisfactory."
posted by joshrholloway at 6:59 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Am I wrong in caring about my partner's looks?

My god, don't stay in a relationship just because of how you imagine others might judge you for breaking up! Not only are you not "wrong" to care about looks, but it would be wrong not to recognize that you do care about looks.

If I'm ever in a relationship with a woman who would be satisfied with the relationship if only I were better looking -- i.e. someone who's dissatisfied with the relationship because of my looks -- then I hope she breaks up with me. Otherwise, I'm just wasting time being in a relationship with someone who doesn't value me very highly, when I could be pursuing a more promising relationship.

If you stay with him because you'd feel bad about yourself for breaking up, even though you know there's not a sufficient mutual attraction, then that's the most selfish thing you could possibly do.

People care about looks. It's one of the things that matters in a relationship. Deal with it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:02 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you truly love someone, they will be attractive to you, no matter what they look like.
If you're not attracted to the person you chose, choose someone else.
posted by AsRuinsAreToRome at 7:03 AM on May 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yes you should feel bad about thinking this way. But it's not entirely your fault - we're all conditioned by the media to believe that this is the right way to think. Learn to think of it as your duty as an intelligent, thoughtful person to try to fight this superficiality in your own personality, and to challenge it in others - people will respect you more for it. I can't emphasise enough how good for you it would be to get this out of your system.

Which is not to say that physical beauty has no place in choosing a partner - it would be naive to suggest that. But really, it's as simple as 'do I love this person or not?' If you have to analyse it, then the answer is probably 'no'. You sound like you're being very calculating in the way you're thinking about this.

If the problem just boils down to the fact that you're starting to find your partner less attractive (which I suspect may be the root of the issue), then maybe you should make an effort to help him understand how you feel about his personal hygiene and his dress sense; don't make him feel put-upon - as a starting-point, just buy him a few nice grooming products and suggest that he use them. Take him out shopping for some new clothes - be encouraging and let him know what you think he'd look good in, but don't make a fuss if his idea of sytle is a little different - try to find a compromise. But really it's you who needs to change, not him.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:04 AM on May 1, 2008


You're not wrong in caring about your partner's looks, but if you're destroying a relationship with chemistry because of an arbitrary ideal, you're making a mistake.

However I wonder what kind of attractiveness we're talking about here? An extra twenty pounds and a receding hairline, or dirty underwear and unwashed hair? You refer to his health and cleanliness a couple of times here. That might clarify what's going on to some degree.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:04 AM on May 1, 2008


I do not mean to suggest that I want a partner who is good-looking to the exclusion of other qualities.

It sounds like your relationship with this guy is pretty good. I bet you can find someone else who is better looking, but they probably won't have everything this guy does. Only you can decide what is more important for you.

On the other hand, it sounds like you don't really like him that much, so you might all be better off if you found people you could truly love.

I would note that while attraction is important in a relationship, I think dumping a guy in part due to his dress sense is way superficial. Like more superficial than average. If that is really a problem, then you could just give him some guidance in that area. Although, if you have tried, and he doesn't want the help, then I guess it's his problem.
posted by grouse at 7:05 AM on May 1, 2008


You care about what you care about and giving yourself a hard time about it is counterproductive if it keeps you from doing or getting what you want. Trying to justify this as if caring about looks is or is not under your control is just after-the-fact rationalization. Who cares?

That said, you have conflicting issues here. You have issues with your partner's looks (and a few other things) and yet you fear being alone. If this were me, I'd be balancing those things somehow and asking myself "Do I care more about being with someone who does not meet my supposed standards for attractiveness, or do I care more about potentially nitpicking myself out of a good relationship?" Caring about what other people think in this regard is not going to get you there. Other people are not in your relationship. I understand that there is a social component to relating to people [i.e. maybe he is attractive enough for you but you feel that he doesn't measure up to your peers] but again, this is who you want to snuggle and screw and brush teeth with in the morning and if he's not pleasing to you, he's not.

I have some friends who are just the type who are never happy in relationships. No matter who they are dating and how awesome they may be, there's always this "grass is always greener..." fussiness they have with their partners that leads them to wonder about breaking up with them. I could never live this way either as the fussy person or the partner of the fussy person, personally, and so I'd tend to err more on the "I'm sure your bf is nice, maybe you should give it time" side of this. BUT, if I were the bf in this situation and someone told me my partner was thinking about breaking up with me because she didn't like the way I looked, I'd want out, tout de suite, so I could date someone who would cherish and adore me.

Any reason is a reason to break up if it's your reason. The rest of the philosophical issues are just how you look at yourself in the mirror after the fact and have nothing to do with your relationship with your bf, they have to do with your relationship with you.
posted by jessamyn at 7:09 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Being in a relationship that you can only call "fairly satisfactory" and "fairly happy" is an excellent reason to break up.

You can tell yourself it's beacuse of his appearance, or you can tell yourself something else. It doesn't really matter. Just DTMFA.
posted by Perplexity at 7:11 AM on May 1, 2008


You both deserve better than "fairly satisfactory."

That said, the current situation is particularly unfair to your partner who, as jessamyn suggested, deserves to be cherished and adored -- not merely tolerated (despite his looks) because you're a fish who thinks she desperately needs a bicycle.
posted by somanyamys at 7:15 AM on May 1, 2008


Ria, the sensation I get from your post isn't so much that you're honestly wondering "how important is it that your partner be good looking?" (in general) but rather you've come to the conclusion, evidently unwanted, that your current partner isn't that attractive, and you want reassurance that having those feelings doesn't make you a bad person.

Having those feelings does not make you a bad person. Chemistry is complex.

Yes, attraction is subjective. Yes, there are many physically attractive people that are personally repugnant. Yes, things that once bothered you about a person can be excused after you've known them for a long time.

HOWEVER, in my experience, none of those things make up for the fact that finding someone attractive or good-looking is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary for a relationship because it's necessary to having "chemistry" and that's the foundation for having a passionate relationship.

This doesn't make you superficial! If that were true, only the blind would have a chance to evade being superficial. I think whether or not you're being "morally wrong" by expecting a certain degree of attractiveness from your partner is a matter of degree.

For example, I would have trouble dating someone who was grossly overweight, and it would be because I didn't find them attractive. My definition of "grossly overweight" is almost certainly not the same as yours, but I would venture to say that in the Western Hemisphere, most people share that definition of attractiveness.

Similarly, I would and have had difficulty dating someone who was terribly ugly. We met online, but in person, I couldn't ignore that the conversations I'd enjoyed would be coming from a person with a face I couldn't stomach. Not to mention I never wanted to wake up and have that person, who I really cared very deeply about, see in my eyes in an unprepared moment an expression of distaste or how I could be a bit shocked at how ugly they were.

Maybe that makes me superficial. I'm sure there are going to be people who read this post and think I'm a horrible person, and I did feel horrible about having those feelings! I felt pretty much the same way I'm guessing you do right now.

But in the end, I'm glad I didn't deny they were there, because I don't think they would've ever gone away, and that would be doing a great disservice to me, my ex, AND the person that now loves my ex just the way they are, no lying required.

It's human nature to want our mates to be attractive/symmetrical. It's been written into your genes. You're not being superficial here; you're being realistic. If this is something that's bothering you enough now that you've engaged in this much thought, I really doubt it's going to go away.

Dump him. For his sake, if you feel too guilty to do it for yours--he should be with someone whose definition of attractive includes him.
posted by saveyoursanity at 7:21 AM on May 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Your feelings about your partner's "looks" are probably a surrogate for something else going on. If the "looks" that concern you are the result of poor personal habits - bad hygiene, unhealthy diet or lack of activity - then you might be realizing that you want a partner who takes better care of himself.

If, on the other hand, it's just that he got dealt a bad hand genetically - funny shaped nose or other odd features - then it's likely you're manifesting something else because if he was really the guy you wanted, those things would stop mattering to you.

Keep in mind that biologically speaking, what we find "attractive" are often indicators of health and youth, and other desirable breeding qualities. So it's not crazy for you, on the reptilian level of your brain, to care about your perception of his looks. But if you're looking for something more than a eugenically optimal breeding partner, you might recognize that that's just one factor.

I wonder, if you don't think this guy is what you want in the looks department, how you ended up partnering with him in the first place.
posted by mikewas at 7:28 AM on May 1, 2008


You're not (unusually, sinfully) superficial to care about looks.

On the other hand, if you were with a guy who made you feel completely loved and deeply important... if you were with a guy who made you laugh, who shared in your interests, who seemed to want to grow with you...

...If all of that were true and you wanted to break up with him because he didn't live up to some beauty standard, that would be a problem. I'd think there was something wrong with you.

But it doesn't sound that way. Judging from your post (which may not give the whole story, but it's all the info I have), it sounds like he a so-so guy to you in many ways. Perfectly adequate, some good qualities, but not special. Nowhere in your post do you seem passionate about him (even as a friend). If this is the case then, sure, looks might be a reasonable deal-breaker.

Frankly, given your apparent luke-warm connection with him, the relationship probably wouldn't last if he was an adonis. It might last longer, because you'd be dazzled by a pretty toy. But eventually your lack-of-deeper-connection would kill the relationship.

But if I'm wrong -- if you truly connect with this guy -- then your superficiality is a problem, more for you than for him. If he's a cool, loving, giving, passionate guy, he'll find someone else after you dump him. I'm not worried about him.

I'm worried about you. I'm worried about you getting mesmerized by looks and falling into an otherwise vapid (or worse) relationship. I'm worried about you passing up some great guy -- the one who could truly make you happy -- because you couldn't see past his plainness. Most of all, I'm worried about what will happen to you, in a long-term relationship, when (inevitably) your partner's looks fade.

Here's when I KNEW I loved the girl I eventually married: I did a thought experiment, imagining how I'd feel if she got into an accident that left her horribly disfigured. Lest you think I'm a saint, I'll admit right here that she's super-hot and her looks definitely affected my initial attraction to her. Fifteen years in, I still love to look at her. She's gorgeous. But I knew she was "the one" when I was certain that if she got into that accident, I'd want to stay with her. There was no doubt in my mind -- not for a second. She's my soulmate. Do you leave your soulmate because she/he's plain -- or even ugly? Of course not!

I agree with others here that you're way to concerned with what other people thing. You're worried other people will think you're "dating down." You're worried other people will think you're superficial. None of that makes you a freak. We're social animals. We all care how people view us.

But if you let that control your relationship decisions, you're in for a life of unhappiness.
posted by grumblebee at 7:31 AM on May 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Chemistry and attraction is important. If you're not attracted to him, don't date him.
posted by electroboy at 7:38 AM on May 1, 2008


Is it really his looks, or does he simply not care about the looks he has, i.e. bad grooming, unfit body, etc.?
posted by konolia at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2008


Are you really holding this guy up to an unreasonable standard of beauty, or are you just not attracted to him? If you were deeply attracted and connected and your only concern was for your social standing ("shouldn't I be seen with someone taller/more built/more popular?") then it'd be a different issue, but it sounds like there's just no spark, he doesn't do it for you anymore. And that probably shouldn't be pushed through. People fall in love with ugly people all the time, but they're in love so they look beautiful to each other. You don't sound like you're in love, and that's the more important thing.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:41 AM on May 1, 2008


If you really loved this guy, you wouldn't be asking this question. You already decided before you came to AskMe, and I get the feeling you want reassurance that this is okay and you aren't a terrible person.

I agree with the calls to dump him. If you really cared for this person in a romantic sense, he would be attractive to you. That's how it works. What I don't understand is if this is a gradual thing--were you attracted to him in the beginning of the relationship? Is this something that has merely waned over time? That changes the situation.

Regardless, who are any of us to judge you? Don't stay with someone out of guilt. That will only make you miserable, and you and your partner deserve better.
posted by nonmerci at 7:41 AM on May 1, 2008


What others think of you and your partner's physical attractiveness is not a good reason to break up.

If you aren't physically attracted to your partner that is good reason to break up.

I was once a immature 20-year old. I was unsure of my new boyfriend's looks. I thought his eyes were too far apart. He was balding. I thought his voice was funny. My friends thought I was nuts, which was good, because that is what I foolishly cared about most; my friends', and strangers, opinions. I'm very fortunate and grateful that I had the sense not to dump my now husband over some shallow notions of not being attractive enough for me (I was still physically attracted to him, just unsure if his attractiveness was "good enough" because of my insecurities.)

Today I am repeatedly told how good-looking my husband is. I can say with some confidence that people aren't clamoring to tell him how good-looking I am.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:42 AM on May 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whatever beauty is, I do not mean to suggest that I want a partner who is good-looking to the exclusion of other qualities. In fact, I do value being a good human being, a reasonable amount of liking for your work, health, style, cleanliness and organization --- and would like someone who values them as well.

This passage in particular makes it seem as if you are checking potential mates off against a laundry list. And hey, that's fine, shared values are important. But nowhere do you mention chemistry or attraction.

Seriously, if you don't "click" with someone, it doesn't matter how good a person they are, how healthy, attractive, successful, etc. Before starting a relationship, the questions to ask should be: do I enjoy his company? Do I look forward to seeing him? Does he make me laugh? Does he laugh at my jokes? Do we have a lot to talk about? Etc etc.

Attraction is a very personal thing, and looks are part of that. But from your posting history I get the feeling that you are letting checklists get ahead of emotions, when you should be listening to your emotions. So yes, break up with him! And don't go out with anyone else until you meet someone that really makes you feel something.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a tough situation, but for his benefit, let him know what's going on and let him know what your plans are. If I were this guy I'd feel scared and threatened (at the least) by the sudden declaration that my girlfriend didn't see me as attractive anymore, and was wondering if she should stay with me because I don't look good.

Like nonmerci said, don't stay with him out of guilt. If you are generally confused and conflicted and you love your boyfriend (didn't use that word once), do your best.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 7:55 AM on May 1, 2008


It's important that you be attracted to your partner, certainly. If you are only attracted to Abercrombie & Fitch models, well, so be it.

If that were the case, I'd consider it shallow, and short-sighted, and I could tell you that you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment down the road and missing out on some wonderful less-than-hott people, and that looks fade in time... but I can't tell you who to sock it to.

On the subject of this particular guy, you don't sound particularly crazy about him, so let him go if need be. Someone else will find him absolutely beautiful as he is.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:17 AM on May 1, 2008


Do you feel that you are more desirable or less desirable than he is in general? How well do you think you'll age? How well do you think he'll age? Do you prefer to love the other person in a relationship more than he loves you, or would you prefer that he love you more? If you're more desirable than he is and love him less, eventually you'll be pulled free of the relationship one way or the other.

Go out and find someone on equal footing with your looks, career prospects, and personality. You could try for someone on a superior footing, but then you'll have the nail-biting, stomach-churning knowledge that they could do better than you.
posted by rhys at 8:28 AM on May 1, 2008


I'm with mikewas. I don't think that "good-looking enough" is exactly the problem here, especially based on this part of your post:

although, there a couple of other problems related to my partner's career, his level of cleanliness and also his general dressing sense.

This sounds less like physical beauty and more like the guy isn't as "together" as you would like.
posted by desuetude at 8:34 AM on May 1, 2008


In your own mind, you've moved on from this relationship. All of what you've written is an after the fact rationalisation. If you stay with him, you're only postponing the inevitable. Set him free and go and find someone who meets the standards that you've set for yourself.
posted by dmt at 8:34 AM on May 1, 2008


It has been my experience that the more you like a person (either romantically or platonicaly) the better looking they seem to you, a process which intensifies as the feelings of 'like' deepen into 'love.' It doesn't sound to me that you even like this guy that much, except maybe in theory.
posted by frobozz at 8:38 AM on May 1, 2008


there a couple of other problems related to my partner's career, his level of cleanliness and also his general dressing sense

I can't speak to the career, but I think the other two items are YOUR WOMANLY DUTY to improve. Lots of women clean up their man and take him shopping for decent-looking clothes. He probably has no clue that he looks like a slob (or whatever). Lots of men are just clueless in that area. If you are honestly better looking than he is, he will probably fall all over himself buying clothes if you take him by the hand to the cash register. Buy him cologne and whisper how sexy it is when he wears it. Make it a requirement that he brush his teeth and clip his toenails before you'll kiss him or have sex with him. Men can really easily be trained in this area, and if you haven't tried, then you're lying about what the problem really is.
posted by desjardins at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2008


It has been my experience that the more you like a person (either romantically or platonicaly) the better looking they seem to you, a process which intensifies as the feelings of 'like' deepen into 'love.'

Heh, I came here to post just that. It amazes me, it happens every time. The first time I met the guy I'm currently crushing on, he struck me as pretty weird/awkward-looking. Then I got to know him. *Now* he's absolutely gorgeous in my eyes -- in all ways. QED, I'm thinking that you don't actually like this person all that much.

So, yeah, if my partner were thinking s/he could date someone better-looking than me, I'd appreciate them dumping my ass so I could go find someone who isn't an arse.
posted by kalimac at 9:10 AM on May 1, 2008


I recently went on a date, which is an infrequent occurrence for me.

The woman I met at that time was much more rotund than I had anticipated based on her photograph. I thought to myself upon first meeting her that as this was almost a "pre-date" and not a date, we could just share a conversation over coffee and it then need not go further.

Instead, as I spoke with her, I found that we had a great deal in common, and that she became quite enlivened when talking about her interests. I took her a few weeks later to a improv performance, and found myself actually finding her during that time quite beautiful to the eye.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't have a happy ending for me, as due to other reasons, things did not proceed after that second date. But I relate this story by way of suggesting that your emotional attitude towards someone can directly affect your perception of their physical beauty.

I also suggest this: we are conditioned to think of soulmates, and that our relationships with them will be perfect. Harry wants to spend the rest of his life with Sally. Et cetera. It is not the case: everyone has flaws, and no one will perpetually match up with all tenets of what you desire. Eventually, some flaw will surface. If you are expecting a partner to completely and fully match each and every one of your expectations and will reject those who don't, you will indeed set yourself up for spinsterhood.

It then becomes a question you must ask of yourself, and when you do, divorce yourself entirely from society's perspectives. Ask yourself what qualities matter most to you, and force yourself to be truthful to yourself; you will be unhappy otherwise.

Then, look at your current relationship and try to weigh whether the qualities you appreciate and enjoy in him are greater than the qualities you feel he lacks.

And realize that should you end the relationship, what you are ending it for is not a better-looking yet still-as-nice boyfriend. What you are ending it for is the opportunity to spin the roulette wheel once more, hoping that the ball lands in a slot that has a better-looking yet still-as-nice boyfriend. You might find yourself losing that wager.

The good qualities you relate about him seem to be rather special and unique. I personally feel they would be enough to offset any lack of handsomeness. However, who knows? I might find myself making the same choice. I'd feel similarly shallow as you do, but physical attraction is an important part of a relationship.
posted by WCityMike at 9:45 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


As harsh as his/her comment reads, I think 'damn dirty apes's feedback (the first response to your post) is the most fitting. It's brutal, but cuts to the chase and highlights the central issue here: superficiality. Someone else mentions our culture's obsession with 'looks' as part of the problem as well -- implying that you're sort of exempt from deeper inquiry, etc. And there's some truth in that, too, but ultimately you're responsible for rising above the lock-step dictates and shallow values of our collective mindset -- which I'm sure an anthropologist/psychologist would describe as ill and spiritually bereft.

Too, your question represents the worst fallout of objectification; treating people as objects in our quest to arrange (imagined) perfect circumstances and appearances in our life. So in the end it has nothing to do with what is true and good, and everything to do with how it looks and appears. A horrid sort of charade.

My advice is to work with this quandary so it serves both you and your boyfriend in the healthiest sort of way. In other words cut him lose so he can find a relationship that's based more in 'truth' ie, someone who wants to be with him because they like him/love him. And for yourself, perhaps become involved with therapy or counseling that will help you discover why you're more concerned with appearances and artifice vs. what's true and real.

Finally: Your aging process is going to be harsh, given the way you lay judgment around physical comeliness -- it's a short ride for all of us, always with diminishing (physical) returns.
posted by zenpop at 9:58 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It comes down to this: if you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it. And it's evident that you're not feeling it.

This aphorism relates to just about anything in a relationship, from the heavy to the mundane. It can relate to how much it bugs you that he spills his Cheerios every morning or to the fact you don't find him physically up to par. Sometimes there's some unquantifiable thing you can't quite discern, but you just have a general sense of emotional lethargy about the relationship.

When you find yourself trying to convince yourself, along the lines of, "Everything's great but there's just this one thing..." my experience is that it's not just that ONE thing. It's that un-fingerable thang that ain't gonna get better. If you try to force your way along in this relationship, my bet is that you'll slowly start to resent him. Then comes the death spiral of anger and confusion and guilt and that's just not good times. For either of you.

So, my suggestion would be to set aside the reasoning for your "not feelin' it-ness" and focus more on the big picture emotion, which is one of dissatisfaction. You're not satisfied. For whatever reason, you're just not satisfied and it's ok for it to be about his looks. (Although I would not mention that to him if you decide to part ways, as the male ego is a fragile, fragile entity.)
posted by December at 10:07 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


okay, so you feel that your boyfriend is ugly, dirty, dresses like a slob and has some kind of shitty career. why are you calling this relationship great?

i dunno, i don't get why people feel they have to have a reason for breaking up wiht someone besides "not really feelin' it anymore".

would you feel less shallow if you broke up with him because he was an unemployed stoner?

get over yourself. break up, find someone you think is attractive (why did you start dating this guy if you didn't find him attractive?). he'll get over you and find someone else that he digs.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:09 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you have chemical/raw attraction to a person and you like everything else about him or her (or at least generally respect) them, then looks don't really seem to matter, at least for me. I think maybe you just don't like this person enough.
posted by zeek321 at 11:04 AM on May 1, 2008


i don't get why people feel they have to have a reason for breaking up wiht someone besides "not really feelin' it anymore".

Bingo. There are some things in life that really require nothing more than going with your gut. If you're not into him anymore, it doesn't really matter why.
posted by lampoil at 11:16 AM on May 1, 2008


As of a month ago you were trying to decipher the clues from another guy (who clearly just wants to string you along, but never mind), and as of five months ago you were looking for a reason to break up with your boyfriend.

Do the poor guy a favor and just break up with him already. And then do yourself a favor: don't get into another relationship right away. Spend time learning to be confident and happy while being single. It's good for you on your own, and it will be good for the health of your future relationships.
posted by scody at 11:20 AM on May 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


I think you're just not that into him, for whatever reason. Move on, you both deserve better.
posted by granted at 11:41 AM on May 1, 2008


Focusing on someone "good looking" in an mainstream, otherwise-I'll-be-ashamed-to-be-seen-with-them way is shallow. Being with someone you are attracted to on all levels is absolutely not. We all find different things/people attractive and we all deserve to be with someone who matches what we want.

If you aren't attracted to him (as in sexually), then it's time to move on.
posted by lacedback at 12:23 PM on May 1, 2008


There is another problematic aspect to the superficial aspect that I don't think anyone has addressed yet.

Beauty is transitory. If beauty is a criteria for a relationship, what happens when both parties get older? Do you want your 60 year old husband to leave you for his 25 year old secretary? Beauty can also be robbed. What happens when you put your face through a wind shield in a road traffic accident? Do you think that's a good reason for your partner to leave you?

Having said all that, if this is Five Months Ago Guy, then the bottom line is that you're not madly into him and probably not ready to make a life-long commitment. Please just dump him already so he can find someone who's right for him - because it's pretty clear you're not.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:22 PM on May 1, 2008


We all deserve to have someone who is head over heels in love with us. You are not head over heels in love with this guy. Let somebody else be.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:14 PM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


As of a month ago you were trying to decipher the clues from another guy (who clearly just wants to string you along, but never mind), and as of five months ago you were looking for a reason to break up with your boyfriend.... Do the poor guy a favor and just break up with him already. And then do yourself a favor: don't get into another relationship right away. Spend time learning to be confident and happy while being single. It's good for you on your own, and it will be good for the health of your future relationships.

Seriously. This is the only logical advice you need. Especially since he has posted a totally separate question expressing his admiration for you and asking how he "make you feel as important as he thinks you are."

But since you've closed your account, I guess you'll never get that?

Since you're so open with each other, though, hopefully he'll fill you in.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:18 PM on May 1, 2008


You are not a bad person for no longer wanting to be with someone, even if it's over their looks.

You are a bad person if you keep them around knowing you don't really want them any more while you look for their replacement. Let him go and find someone who cares more about him than how he looks or what his job prospects are.

You are a shitty person if you dump him in a way that leaves him with a complex about it.

And, as the dirty ape says upthread, don't complain later in life if someone ditches you when you no longer measure up in the looks department.
posted by rodgerd at 1:16 AM on May 2, 2008


If you think about it everyday..yes, break up with him. If you think about it once in a blue moon, do not break up with him. This is a normal feeling...if you were dating the most handsome person in the whole wide world...all of you'll start seeing the beauty in what you consider ugly...because we all want what we cannot have. As I said before since this is normal you can ignore the feeling as long as it is not a constant feeling that nags you (I do think there is a big problem since it was nagging you enough to post a question here). If you feel like this every day...or every other day...then forget about this....then you become real susceptible to handsome guys with the right thing to say and trust me...thats not good...
posted by The1andonly at 7:08 AM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


This seems like an issue regarding your self-esteem and not his looks per se. He probably is pretty aware of what it is that going on in your relationship. He's fine with it.

a couple of other problems related to my partner's career, his level of cleanliness and also his general dressing sense.

You are not. You appear to want to have a more beautiful partner so that society will think better of you. Which is fine and so utterly human.

These are things that are most visible to other people and are most important in social situations, not when you are sitting around in sweats on a Sunday morning. It indicates that you are less concerned with what he is providing you with and more concerned about what other people think about you because of the person you are with.

But the problem for you is that every time you are with someone, and you start to feel less self-assured, you will start to want someone more beautiful so that you can again think that society thinks highly of you. It could be a spiral you could not get out of.

That's a tough place to be in. Regardless of what you do with this particular person, give yourself a break and get into some therapy.

There's nothing wrong with these feelings. Nothing. Just realizing that you are taking a risk is important. You may lose something great. If so, be ready for that.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:50 AM on May 2, 2008


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