Eye of the Beholder

sex, relationship, man, woman, celibate, abstinenceI read today in the excellent relationship blog Baggage Reclaim about what a mistake it is to be too focussed on appearance when choosing a sexual partner. Besides being superficial, the author warns, being too taken with your partner’s looks can make you let other things slide, and will also have you  more focussed upon your own looks, feeling as though you have to look perfect to measure up. It can also have you thinking he’s better than he is, ascribing to him other qualities he doesn’t actually possess.

It’s not that appearance/attractiveness doesn’t have a factor in attraction but when you overvalue appearance you end up in insubstantial, superficial relationships. If you’re appearance focused, you won’t see the leaves, never mind the wood for the trees, and will be blinded to far more substantial problems.

The post came at just the right time because I have noticed my own trend toward “handsome is better”. I have mainly used looks as a gage to assess a man’s quality, believing tall and handsome is most desirable. There is something about height that women respond to in a primal way. It answers our need for protection and we’re physically drawn to a taller man in a way that is completely of the body rather than the mind.

In this day and age, however, height may not be the requirement we should be seeking in a man. More relational qualities like communication skills, honesty, trustworthiness, etc., would make more sense. I still think better-looking equals better period, even though I know that is wrong. I realize that responding to someone on the basis of lust is unhelpful, since lust is objectifying and it also fades.

So, do you stop looking at handsome men as potential partners? It’s sad to say I thought you ought to find the best looking guy so you never have to look around and see what you’re missing. Of course that’s ridiculous and further proof that I have a lot more work to do when it comes to being relationship ready.

Do you value appearance over other traits?

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