How Do You Know He Loves More Than Your Looks?

young adults having a restaurant date, blindfolded

Hi Evan,

I’m a very successful, 37-year-old black/mixed race female who had over $40,000 worth of plastic surgery 4 years ago. I won’t lie: I did it to hopefully land a “top quality” guy. Here’s the problem: It actually worked. The surgeon was very skilled and I ended up a much prettier and younger version of myself.

Pre-surgery, very successful men have always found me attractive enough to date. But it was my “personality,” I was often told, that they were attracted to. But wedding rings eluded me, and these men soon broke my heart and went on to marry hotter girls. And the black men I wanted ended up marrying white women. (Yes, yes, all the clichés.) Now, with my new looks, these same types of alpha males behave quite differently: they call regularly, talk about a future together, and yes, some have even proposed.

To give men some credit, I have to say that I’m also more fun to date. Because when a guy always treats you well, it’s easier to be confident, sweet and lighthearted. Here’s my dilemma: I am currently with a “great catch”: early 40’s, tall, black, very successful, treats me well. He wants to marry me and have a family. He tells me that he was initially attracted to my looks, but it was my personality that won him over. Thanks to me, he is now all about family values and want to raise a strong black family. (Prior to me, he had mostly dated blonde women.)

But I can’t seem to say yes. I can’t shake the feeling that should my looks fade, he might change his mind, and I will end up divorced in 7 years, with young children. What I really want now is “that nice guy who would have loved me with my flaws and all” — the kind of men you encourage strong women to give a chance to. Even though my boyfriend tells me he loves me, even he admits that had he met my former self, he might not have given me a chance in the beginning, but now it doesn’t matter because he sees me for who I am. What to do? Dump him and start looking for that “nice” guy who might not show up in time for me to have children? Stay with this guy and live with my fears? Help!


Dear Martine,

Not only have I already written a treatise on how difficult it is for attractive women to trust men, I’ve had at least 3 girlfriends who lost over 40lbs before dating me. I can pretty much guarantee you that I would not have given them a second look at their former weight.

This doesn’t mean that I’m shallow — at least no shallower than anyone else in the world.

It means that I have preferences, same as you reading this. And as much as I preach being open to all sorts of possibilities, the fact remains that all of us are as valuable as our options.

All of us are as valuable as our options. If you have 500 men in your Inbox on, you be afford to be choosy…

If I prefer women who look like Barbie, but am not particularly tall, rich, charming or charismatic, I’m probably not going to get many Barbies. I can theoretically hold out for the Barbie of my dreams…or I can consider dating a curvier woman who has everything else that I’m looking for in a partner. Same thing goes for women. If you’ve got 500 men in your Inbox, you can afford to be as choosy as you like. If you determine that none of them are suitable because you want a six-foot-tall man with dark skin who loves dogs and Glenn Beck, then, well, you may be waiting for a while.

What you’ve done through your plastic surgery, Martine, is made yourself more “valuable” and desirable to the opposite sex, thereby increasing your number of options.

This is nothing to apologize for, as it’s had its intended effect. And if you’re doubting whether your boyfriend is being “real” with you, I don’t even think that it’s the right question. The issue here isn’t about your boyfriend: it’s about you and your own self-esteem. The fact that you’re not positive you “deserve” this guy is just beneath the surface. You’re looking for an excuse to run instead of delighting in your successful relationship.

This reminds me of a girlfriend of mine who never quite believed that I could be attracted to her — not while I was attracted to the women in Maxim and Internet porn. I couldn’t have been crazier about her, yet she broke up with me three times because she just didn’t feel safe. She had a fat girl complex — from how she treated me as a constant threat to cheat, to how she fumed that men were gawking at her new body in the gym, as if it’s their fault that she was once 40lbs heavier.

I’m no therapist, but, in layman’s terms: you eventually have to get over it.

Do you think ugly rock stars spend much time worrying about WHY women like them?

Do you think rich men squiring golddiggers around are losing sleep at night?

The truth is that we are the sum of many parts. Some of them are what draw people in… some of them are what keep people sticking around forever.

Do you think ugly rock stars spend much time worrying about WHY women like them?

Attractiveness is a sales tool — nothing more. You’ve probably heard the expression, “See that hot woman over there? Some guy is getting sick of screwing her right now.” It acknowledges a basic truth — looks can only get you so far. Personality, emotional stability, playfulness, generosity — those are the things that keep men hooked on you. This is a central tenet of “Why He Disappeared”. Yes, he has to be attracted to you, but long-term relationships are forged in something much deeper.

Every man knows that there will always be someone younger, hotter, and thinner than his wife… He makes a choice to forgo those women because of what he stands to lose.

Your concern is a real one, Martine. Rich men with nothing going for them WILL lose their golddigger wives when they lose their money. Hot chicks with nothing going for them WILL lose their shallow husbands when their looks fade.

But that’s not you. And it’s not your boyfriend.

He only knows you as you are now — smart, strong, successful, and, after $40,000 in plastic surgery, a lot more physically attractive. Take heart in the fact that you were able to afford the kind of changes necessary to increase your dating pool, and don’t spend anymore time second-guessing how you got there.

Your very reasonable insecurities only stand to mess up the good thing you’ve already got going. Please report back and let us know how it goes.

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  1. 81

    Thanks Helen.
    Zaq, I personally have no idea why some women put so much emphasis on height. I think its stupid. My last lover was short, and he dumped me because I wanted to be more all these books and studies you read don’t translate to the real world for me.
    Stacy, considering you are only in your 20s and not in a committed long term   relationship like posters Helen and Karl R are, I’m willing to bet that they have a considerable amount of life experience on ya.

  2. 82
    Karl R

    Stacy said: (#81)
    “or I am the most cynical person around here who’s lost all illusions.”

    You are cynical, but cynicism is a distorted view of reality.

    People most often act in their own self-interest (cynicism is correct to that extent), but ethical people will look for ways in which ethical behavior is in their own self-interest.

    Since I was far more cynical and pessimistic in my 20s, my comparative experience has shown me both traits get in the way of dating and romantic relationships (and most other relationships).

    JuJu said: (#78)
    “why do you put such a premium on the truth?  […] Otherwise you have to ask yourself if there is anything to be gained by stating the truth.”

    I get a reputation for being honest, even when it would be easier to lie.

    Shortly after Evan got married, his wife found a pair of women’s undergarments (not her  own)  in their laundry. When she questioned Evan about it, he had no knowledge how they got there … and she believed him. (They eventually learned that  one of the machines in the communal  laundry room would swallow items of clothing and spit them out in later loads.)

    Imagine you’re in Evan’s wife’s position. You just found another woman’s panties in the laundry, and your husband is pleading ignormance. Who are you more likely to believe: the person who always  answers truthfully, even when it’s inconvenient -or- the person who habitually tells you what he thinks you want to hear?

    Zaq said: (#77)
    “when it comes to mating we are driven by powerful evolutionary forces to desire things that may not make us happy.”
    “What I take from all this is that it is  best to avoid the members of the opposite sex of the highest value,”

    Since you’re already seeing dating in economic terms, let’s run with that metaphor. What happens when you have a market system where an objects actual worth may be completely different from its perceived worth? (This applies to everything from appliances to stocks.) In any system where this is occurring, there will be items which are overvalued and others that are undervalued. The people who profit from this are those who can see the substance without being distracted by the hype.

    Which person has genuine value? The person who  will make you happy. Which person is overvalued? The one who has some trait which people are biologically or socially driven to desire, a trait which is irrelevant to your happiness. (i.e. I don’t want kids, so fertility is a useless trait to me.)

    Stacy said: (#82)
    “marrying someone for ‘money’ or ‘looks’ is no more shallow or stupid than marrying for the ‘personality’.”

    This reminded me of a quote from comedian Ron White:

    But if you truly believe what you say, act on that belief.

  3. 83

    Karl R #84: Oh dear, I clicked on that link and started laughing hysterically!

    C #83: you’re Ellen Page’s lookalike, right? While we’re on the topic of movie quotes (Karl R’s link), the quote I thought of that most applies to this conversation comes from Juno, the movie that made me fall in love with Ellen Page.  From Juno’s father:

    “The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

    I’ve been a pain in the  neck  all week to my family because of illness: serious, but not as serious as I’ve oftentimes made it out to be. Hubby has borne the brunt of this. Now things are improving. He commented that I seem more chipper tonight. I asked him outright, “Does it take a lot of patience to live with someone like me?” He laughed, gave me his loving smile and said, “No. Just a sense of humor.”  

    He’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with. I’ll do my darndest to be equally worthy, even if I constantly fall short trying.

  4. 84

    Karl, I’m not really disagreeing with much you are saying. For a successful relationship the most important thing to have is the ability to be kind. If the choice is between someone who looks great, but is somewhat selfish, versus someone that looks average but has a beautiful personality, then the second would be a good long term bet.
    However, I would view both as being attractive. The problem comes when there is no sexual attraction. Without sexual attraction, all you have is a friend. How we look is important to the vast majority of the population.
    I was reading an article in a newspaper about the founder of one of the longest running dating agencies. She stated that she would not take on any woman over 50. Indeed I know someone who was rejected from a dating agency for being too ugly. That is the reality.
    I read a lot on this blog about the problem of those who are 7/10 holding out for the 10s. But the reality is that most of us are 5/10 with aspirations for a 7, but with dating options that are a 3/10. Hence the frustration, particularly from women who don’t like being told to settle for some they are not attracted to.

  5. 85
    Karl R

    Zaq said: (#86)
    “the reality is that most of us are 5/10 with aspirations for a 7, but with dating options that are a 3/10.”

    One person’s 3 is another person’s 7.

    In my early 20s I was about 6′ and 135 lbs (182cm and 61kg). I was too scrawny for most women’s tastes, and I had rather little self confidence about my looks.

    Then I had a fling with a sexy young lady who obviously found me very attractive. (Neither of us was looking for more than that.) What I learned from that experience: some women (even attractive women)  found me attractive, even if the majority didn’t.

    There aren’t uniform views  on beauty (for men or women). I don’t find Pamela Anderson attractive. I can recognize why other men might, but she’s just not my type. On the other hand, I find some women attractive who most men might consider plain.

    You don’t need to find “a 7”. You need to find someone who you find attractive, and who also finds you attractive. This becomes easier if your looks improve. (While I wouldn’t consider plastic surgery, building up to 160 lbs certainly helped me.) Even without that, it’s not an insurmountable task.

  6. 86

    Plastic surgery is just really not that big of a deal. It’s like braces. You go through it, you look better, you pay the bills, and move on.

    Good for the OP that she did that, since she wanted that. But true, you do question why someone likes you, when someone likes you. You wonder what would make them  stop loving you. What would have to happen to make your relationship end. How much is real, how much is fantasy. How deep is your bond, what does the future hold–good or bad and how will we get through it? You realize that all love is conditional, no matter what kind of claptrap every is spouting about soul mates, unconditional love, etc.

    Even EMK talks about unconditional love, but then admits that he wouldn’t go out with a woman 40 lbs overweight. So what happens if his wife gains 40 lbs, for whatever reason?

    These questions are part of the human condition. What the OP needs to know is that with this guy or not, she will be OK. I think she will be.

  7. 87

    Karl, you reminded me of this one anecdote I read I don’t remember where, in which some very honest guy openly told his girlfriend (unprompted, as I recall) that it was her roommate he was initially interested in. And only when it became clear that nothing was going to pan out on that front did he pursue his eventual girlfriend. After which he very quickly became her ex-boyfriend. 😀

  8. 88
    Karl R

    JuJu said: (#89)
    “some very honest guy openly told his girlfriend (unprompted, as I recall)”

    He didn’t need to lie. He just needed to keep his mouth shut … which everyone would consider to be an ethical option.

    A tactless person supplies information or opinions when they are not solicited, needed or wanted. If Martine asked her boyfriend whether he would have dated her, then he was being honest. If she didn’t ask, then he was tactless.

  9. 89

    I dunno, I think it’s hurtful both ways.   😐
    And I am sorry, but Evan could hardly be used as a paragon of behavior in this regard (no offense) – after all, he told his then future wife that he never thought he’d end up with someone like her, and imagined it would be an East Coast, Jewish, Ivy-League-educated intellectual instead. That’s just not the kind of thing you say to someone you actually want to be with.

    1. 89.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @JuJu: I’m not offended. And I hope you’re not offended when I say that I think you’re the type of person I wouldn’t want to marry. The type of person who gets offended by inoffensive truths. So WHAT if I wasn’t looking for my wife? So WHAT if she knows it? She wasn’t looking for ME either. Once you’re happy, in love, and married, who CARES about this crap?

      Seriously, if you’re so thin-skinned that this kind of stuff offends you, you’re going to have a hard time connecting with any man who just wants to be himself, without pretense, without lies. It’s not an insult to say that I was chasing the wrong women for 35 years. It’s an insult that you think I should have to pretend around my own wife.

  10. 90

    I truly feel sad that so many women in this day and age feel the need to go under the knife to feel worthy of love. And that quite a number of men encourage it because they’ve bought into what they media has been selling. Our culture doens’t support a womans’ natural body. I am not talking about being over-weight or anything like that but we seem more facinated with implants in America then real breasts. A woman’s natural beauty isn’t supported or encouraged, but the fantasy of what the world wants women to be is. Whether that’s due to wanting wome nto spend money or due to a male dominated society.
    Women’s liberation didn’t factor in plastic surgery and too much disposable income. In foreign countries, women aren’t getting implants like we do in America. They like their normal non-perfect breasts. You don’t get plastic surgery if you feel completely confident in who you are as a person. I’m disappointed in the amount of women that subcumb to society preasure. And the amount of men that buy into the illusion of what society tells them a woman should look like.
    I would also like to say take a hard look at someone like Lady Gaga. Talented beyond belief. Intelligent. Articulate. Sexy. But not beautiful. Not a hard body. No big huge fake breasts. If you saw her on the street sans wacky outfits, you wouldn’t look twice. But she is truly a dazzling entertainer and beautiful sexy woman. If you’ve never seen an interview with her, you should find a clip.
    Lastly, Evan as a woman I’ve heard alot of guys say “even men get tired of sleeping (insert worse word for “sleeping”) with a beautiful woman” or “even men get tired of putting up wit ha beautiful woman’s crap”. And I never quite understood why they thought this was a positive reference for any woman. Infact, I find it to be kind of a negative and even boarding on degrogatory.

    1. 90.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @JerseyGirl: It IS negative and derogatory. I wrote it because it’s TRUE.

      By repeating it, I don’t endorse the sentiment, but acknowledge that it’s a commonly held sentiment.

      Please stop shooting the messenger.

  11. 91

    I think by agreeing with the statement as “true”, you are infact endorsing it. You even agree that the sentiment s negative and derogatory to women yet you thought it was worth putting in your blog to women. What isn’t endorsement if that?   How is that positive? Women don’t need more comments endorsing negative derogoatory thoughts about them, especially the ones that agree certain sentiments are negative and derogatory. Almost like it’s just a woman’s lot in life to accept that this is the way men view us, degradement and negativitiy and all.
    How is that any different then saying something negative about a person’s heritiage, culture or race and saying it’s “true” even if it is negative and derogoatry?
    Look, I am really not trying to be difficult but lets try this exercise in all fairness.
    You’re statement:
    “See that hot woman over there? Some guy is getting sick of screwing her right now.”
    Inserted with different adjectives: ( My intent is not to offend ANYONE. Just to show how different a statement looks when certain words of equal value are inserted in place of others. Such as inserting “woman” for ‘African American”, ” Man”,   or “Jew”.

    We would never make these statements about others or think to! Lets stop making them about women under the pretense of “helpful”.
    I am honestly not trying to be difficult. It just gets over whelming hearing how easily some guys can say things about women that aren’t very positive and we are suppose to listen to it as “truth”.

  12. 92
    Karl R

    JuJu said: (#91)
    “I think it’s hurtful both ways.”

    You might want to read this blog post again:

    You don’t get a man who tells the truth when he should be truthful and lies when he should lie. You get a man who tells the truth  damn near  all  of the time … or most of the time … or some of the time.

    Unless you’re with someone who reads minds, your significant other doesn’t know when you want him to tell the truth and when you want him to lie. He does know when he’d prefer to lie to you … and that preference is going to color his decisions about when he lies.

    The more often he tells the truth, the more likely it is that he will tell the truth when you’d like him to lie. The more often he lies, the more likely it is that he will lie when you would like him to tell the truth. Which of those two options are you more comfortable with?

    JerseyGirl said: (#92)
    “we seem more facinated with implants in America then real breasts.”

    A lot of men prefer real to synthetic. That’s why Pamela Anderson isn’t attractive to me. She was a pretty girl before she had any plastic surgery.

    I’m a big fan of reconstructive plastic surgery. I’m a big fan of the surgeries that help hideously deformed people look normal (or as close to normal as the surgery can take them). It’s the purely cosmetic surgery that tends to turn me off.

  13. 93

    Why, I really don’t think that honesty and tact (or common sense) are mutually exclusive qualities.

  14. 94

    #95 – JerseyGirl, Evan tells women the truth so that they can make positive changes in their lives, based on the way the world really is, not how we’d like it to be.

  15. 95

    JerseyGirl,  I’ve never heard anyone say, “See that hot Jew over there? Some guy is getting sick of screwing her right now.”   Whereas I  have heard, “See that hot  woman over there? Some guy is getting sick of screwing her right now.”

  16. 97

    Chris, I’m curious, have you/would you go under the knife to improve your professional status?
    I’ve noticed a surge of the men at my office getting eyelid surgery (Korean men). The CEO even encourages it (so I’ve been told by the office gossip). I get sad when some of my co-workers have their young children come to the office, and they look nothing like their parents…but they may someday because apparently some have their kids get the surgery when they hit 14.
    I wonder how long before we performing cosmetic surgery on infants!

  17. 98

    Karl, I agree with you on reconstructive surgery.
    Cat, what positive change are women suppose to make from the comment that even *hot* women get old and boring to guys? I am not asking for cupcakes and ponies. I’m not asking to be lied to. I’m just asking for comments that are derogatory not to be made.


    JerseyGirl,  I’ve never heard anyone say, “See that hot Jew over there? Some guy is getting sick of screwing her right now.”   Whereas I  haveheard, “See that hot  woman over there? Some guy is getting sick of screwing her right now.”
    That’s exactly my point Joe. You would NEVER say “see that hot Jew/African American/Guy..etc etc etc” because that would be slanderous. But for some reason, it’s okay to say it about women. That’s not cool.

    1. 98.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @JerseyGirl – You’re really missing the point here.

      Nobody says “Someone’s getting sick of that screwing that Jew” because it doesn’t make any sense. It has no resonance. It’s nonsensical, like “Flapjacks taste better on Mars”.

      The statement about women – whether you like it or think it’s derogatory – is something that is a WIDELY held sentiment among men. They chase the hot girl, get the hot girl, and realize that beauty is only skin deep. As such, this is more an indictment of THEM than it is of HER. They got the hot girl and now are bored with her – and need some stimulation. But to deny the reality of this statement, simply because it offends you, is patently foolish. You, as a woman, NEED to know what men think and what they feel in order to understand and connect with them.

      To ignore a statement like “See that hot girl over there…” is the equivalent of an ostrich putting its head under the sand to hide.

      So please, stop with the “Evan is derogatory” stuff. I’m not derogatory for reporting things that men say any more than the New York Times is derogatory for reporting what Mel Gibson said to his Russian girlfriend.

  18. 99

    #102, I have to agree with Evan. He wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t tell you the truth about men, and some of that truth is ugly. You don’t have to like the truth. But getting angry at him won’t change anything. And frankly, I appreciate his honesty on these topics! I’m out there dating in the real world, not some imaginary one. It’s a good to remember that women can’t just rely on being “hot” to keep a man’s interest, even if that gets faster short-term results.

    #85, Helen, I hope you’re getting over that illness! I love the Juno quotation and the way you applied it to your relationship.

    #36, Annie, well-said! I had a boyfriend in college who refused to work out because he said he wanted to be loved as he was, not as he could be. Except he became a lawyer… Guess he’ll never know if he’s loved for his income or his… income! 🙂

  19. 100

    I hope you don’t mind if I try to clarify your point about “see that hot girl over there…”
    Part of the meaning behind the phrase, as Evan pointed out, is the indictment of the guy who’s “tired of boinking her”.
    You have to look at why he’s tired. One reason is that often times a guy will overlook very obvious flaws in a girl who’s very hot. Then he hooks up with her, and after a while he finds her beauty and the sex not enough to compensate for her being vapid, self-indulgent, a b*tch, a nag,   or anything else that makes her personally unattractive to him. (This isn’t to say all hot women are as flawed as they are hot, but some are).
    This is very typical of young (i.e. College-aged) guys. Been there and watched it happen over and over (not with me, but my peers).
    So he’s not just tired of “screwin’ the hot chick”, he’s tired of dealin with her BS, and even her being hot isn’t enough to get past the nuisance of putting up with her non-physical shortcomings.

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