I Am Not Physically Attracted to My Boyfriend. Can We Possibly Have a Future Together?

Hi Evan, I am in a very tricky situation and don’t know what to do, I found your web site and your advice are great. I hope you will answer my question, I need your precious advice too. I met a man online a few months ago, and, to make a long story short, we met, we are a great match intellectually/emotionally. I am concerned sometimes he is too attached to me and the way he started to make long term plans with me quite soon, but this isn’t a real problem.

The real problem is that I don’t find him attractive. He is not ugly but I don’t like his features and overall appearance. Physically, I find he is not a “match” for me and I am not proud of being so shallow. I don’t know what to do because other than that he is just perfect and I like him very much, he makes me feel very good. But I am not sure if I should be making plans with a man I don’t feel much attraction for. I decided to tell him the truth about my feelings and he said he will take all the steps necessary to improve himself physically as he doesn’t want to lose me. I am torn. Is he really the man of my life if physically I don’t like him the way he is?

Thanks you so much for your help. Mia

Making a life-long decision based on attraction is like getting a tattoo with someone’s name on your back and breaking up four months later

Mia, I can’t answer your question, because NOBODY can answer your question. Attraction is the big X Factor in any relationship. When you have it, you don’t think twice about it. When you don’t have it, it’s hard to overcome. Which would seem to indicate that you should break up with your boyfriend. Not so fast. I’ve put a lot of thought into the pros and cons of how much you should weigh the lack of physical attraction in a relationship. I urge you to consider this before taking any rash steps.

Reasons for Staying Together Despite a Lack of Physical Attraction

Ask most long-term married couples about the relative importance of sex in their lives, they will generally say things like “It’s the dessert, not the main course”. And it’s true. It’s just hard to consider that when you’re 27. But realize that in 10 years, you’re 37, raising little ones and your life is no longer your own. By 47, your bodies have thickened and drooped. By 57, you’re probably finishing menopause and his libido is largely gone. By 67, you’re thinking of retirement, travel and grandkids. By 77, you’re hoping just to stay healthy, and … Can you see how making a decision based on attraction is a perfect example of short-term thinking? Like getting a tattoo with someone’s name on your back and breaking up four months later. The truth is that life lasts for a REALLY, REALLY long time.

And yet we base our relationship decisions on evanescent emotions like lust, passion, and chemistry. Fact: In relationship studies, traditional “attraction” wears off within 18-24 months of dating. This probably corresponds to what you’ve experienced in real life – namely, that it’s hard to get “excited” about someone with whom you’ve been intimate for two years straight. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but if you ask most married couples, the nature of sex changes. Sure, you might be that rare “three times a night” couple well into your fifties, but most of those clichés about parents not having time or energy for sex are true.

We’re attracted to what we’re attracted to – often to our own detriment.

So if life becomes more about responsibility, friendship, compatibility and all those other “boring” things that old married couples cite, how much emphasis should we put on physical attraction in our 20’s/30’s? It is no secret that compatibility is a stronger predictor of relationship health than chemistry. Yet chemistry is what we chase – somehow hoping that it turns into compatibility as well. It rarely does. Look at your most “passionate” relationships. Where are they now? Exactly. Yet we can’t help ourselves. We’re attracted to what we’re attracted to – often to our own detriment. Which is how men end up with hot crazy women and women end up with hot emotionally unavailable men.

This isn’t my opinion. This is life. Just look around. Does this mean that you should stay with your amazing boyfriend even if you don’t feel attracted? Ah, if it were only that simple…

Reasons to Break Up Because of a Lack of Physical Attraction

As you know, sexual attraction rarely grows over time. With men, this almost never happens. With women, it tends to be correlated to her feelings about her partner. However, this is presuming a steady baseline of attraction from which to grow. If there is NO attraction to start, there’s not even any room to go down. That’s a rough proposition for you to endure with a boyfriend. Thus, it’s impossible to convince you to give a shot to someone you’re purely NOT attracted to. No rational thinking is going to overcome your genetic and cultural biases.

So we discriminate on age and height and weight and dozens of minute details of which we may not even be aware. Then there’s the Paradox of Choice. We dissect others physically, although none of us wants to be dissected physically as well. I can explain this phenomenon – as author Barry Schwartz did for a few hundred pages in his amazing book, but, at the end of the day, we can’t help ourselves. As noted dating guru David DeAngelo says, “Attraction is not a choice”. We’re still going to crave choice and variety, and something approximating societal ideas of perfection, however unrealistic this might be.

In a good relationship, sex is the dessert, not the main course

If you doubt this yourself, go to an online dating site and make a list of your “favorites”. Odds are, they’re going to be among the most physically attractive singles on the site. That doesn’t mean that you don’t care about who they are as people – what they do, what they earn, what they believe – but it all starts with attraction. The problem is that when we compare people side by side, great catches often lose out. Why respond to the 5’5″ guy when there are six-footers out there? Why go out with the heavyset person when you can write to a lean model-type? Why go out with the 45-year-old when you can try the 29-year-old? Once again, this isn’t my opinion. 20/20 did a study years ago in which women were more likely to date a cute 6’1″ plumber than a 5’4″ heart surgeon/concert pianist. But hey, you can’t help what you’re attracted to.

That doesn’t mean you’re shallow – no more than anyone else. It just means you’re human. The other long-term thing to consider about why it’s important to have attraction is that in a monogamous relationship, there’s only ONE person with whom you’ll be having sex for the rest of your life. In that case, well, you’d BETTER have some measure of attraction. Anything less is a recipe for wandering eyes and future infidelity.

Which brings us to the moment of truth. You know that sex is the dessert and not the main course…but you know that this is the only person you’ll ever be with again. You know that companionship is more valuable than lust over 40 years…but you know that attraction is important and won’t get better over time. So should you stay or should you go if you’re not that physically attracted to your partner? It all comes down to your own internal compromise mechanism. Because there’s a difference between observing that your boyfriend’s got a paunch and being physically repulsed by him. Only you can decide. If you’re turned OFF by him, the whole thing’s a non-starter.

You’re not doing yourself (or him) any favors by staying with him if he has no ability to excite you. However, if he’s somewhere in the broader spectrum – somewhere between a 5-7 on the attraction scale, you may want to think twice before you toss him back in the sea. First, ask yourself if he – or another man – could dissect YOU physically as well. How about emotionally? Intellectually? It’s simple to find fault with others, but there’s a certain grace and wisdom in loving people in spite of their flaws, just as you’d like to be loved in spite of yours.

We often underestimate how rare it is to find someone who loves us unconditionally

Second, ask yourself if your boyfriend – despite your middling attraction for him – can make up for it in bed. If he’s energetic, passionate, and devoted to your pleasure, he may be more valuable to your love life than someone who is more aesthetically pleasing with the lights on. Finally, ask yourself if you can do appreciably better. We often underestimate how rare it is to have a partner who loves us unconditionally.

Very often, the second you assume the grass is greener is the second you may find yourself in an exciting new romance…with a guy who only texts you once a week. Attraction is an intensely personal choice and is fundamental to maintaining a healthy sex life. But don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re better off with a 7 in attraction and a 10 in compatibility, than you are with a 10 in attraction and a 4 in compatibility.

Warmest wishes,

Much love,


Join our conversation (423 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 121
    Mandy Kloppers

    This does seem to be a common problem , especially in longer term relationships. Thanks for the good advice and the perspective Evan!

  2. 122

    This could not be more true! I began dating last year after 20+ years in an incompatible marriage. Hotness doesn’t last. I’ve been seeing an amazing, thoughtful, kind, emotionally available, intelligent, slightly “dorky” (as my teenage daughter describes him) man and couldn’t possibly be any happier. While he may be a 6 in outward appearance, he’s definitely a 10 inside and a 10 as a lover. I am having the best sex of my life at 51 and am so glad that I didn’t dismiss him. I told my daughter, “yes, I recognize his dorkiness, but give him a chance and he will grow on you “. She did and we have both grown to love him. I am so excited for our future together and I thank him every day for coming into my life.

  3. 123

     I really like your answer especially your quotes “We often underestimate how rare it is to find someone who loves us unconditionally”.
    Actually I also have same problems but in my side, I always think I’m not physical attraction for my boyfriend but he never complaint. I just not confident with myself, and now we must lives separate because I worked in other country. I really afraid he look for other girl because we didn’t do sex for long time, but he always said he too busy with his work to think about cheat. Maybe I need to build more trust to him, my boyfriend really shy guy and hard working. Even He only text me once a week or more less but he always gives concern about my happiness. Only him can understand me,and let me pursue my dreams 

  4. 124
    Candace Casey

    I had a boyfriend like this the thing was I could not picture a future with him because I wanted to be with someone I could stand to look at fortunately he wasnt really attracted to me either I never told him he was not attractive though I just dont think I was attracted to him to another girl he might have been the ideal guy

  5. 125

    This article is exactly what I was searching for as I am currently going through the same exact situation. On paper the man I was seeing is exactly what you would want in a partner and exactly the ideal man that you would marry. From being very honest and kind and nice and a good listener in the list goes on and on but physically it does not exist. I have given myself five months now to see if physically I could be attracted to him and get past all of the things that I strongly dislike in his appearance. I have tried to take it very slow instead of diving into something so we have gone on plenty of dates and dining out and when I come back to my own feelings I am aware there is not one thing I find physically redeeming. When you start to get angry with how the person talks and walks and how they touch you and how badly they dress and how terrible their breath smells and how ugly their hair is, that’s when you realize it’s time to walk away and allow an amazing woman to love them just as they are.  The guy that I have been seeing has so many wonderful characteristics about him and emotionally we have a really great connection but physically and romantically I do not want him. How horrible is it that I cannot find one physical attribute redeeming . it’s time for me to step back and completely let go of him. Let another woman who will completely fall in love with who he is as well as his physical appearance adore him just as he is. I really appreciate all the comments about this article because it is helped me gain perspective and to be mature enough to walk away and stop wasting his time. With our lover not only should we have an emotional connection with one another but we should also be physically attracted to each other where we want to be hugged and kissed. More recently I have discovered that I don’t want this man to hold my hand or cuddle with me because it just grosses me out. 

    1. 125.1

      How did he react when you told him? I’m kind of having the same problem. I recently started dating a  man that I met online. We have been in two dates already. He is great! everything I want in a partner: funny, smart, kind, romantic, generous, he is enthusiastic about me, he makes me feel special etc etc… But, Im not attracted to him and is so frustrating. He actually has a handsome face, amazing blue eyes and beautiful features but he is very overweight, like a 100 pounds overweight and I never have dated anyone that obese. I already told him how I feel but that I want to keep to knowing him and it breaks my heart, because he says he is doing all he can to lose weight but nothing happens. I told him he doesnt have to change to please people. I really want to be attracted to him but I cant force myself into something I dont feel. I dont know how long I can keep this going before really break his heart….

  6. 126

    Thanks, this is very helpful. I have been dating a man for about a month that I like very much. We finally had sex last night and I was repulsed by his body. I can usually find something attractive about the body of the person I’m with, but there was nothing. I’ve been debating whether or not to continue this relationship, but I just don’t see how. I guess it should have been a red flag when I realized how many women friends he had–two of whom were ex-girlfriends. He told me that the last person he dated broke up with him because she was not sexually attracted to him. Really, if he cut back on the snacks and started working out moderately, that would go a long way, this is nothing that can’t be fixed. I hope someone tells him, it’s just not my place.

  7. 127

    The only compromise you should make on attraction is in the very beginning of a relationship, letting people past your “list.” IF they seem like amazing people, that you’re not repulsed by, give him or her an inital chance, like a few dates, a month or so. If the attraction is not there, it’s not there it’s not there.

    Give people a chance in the beginning! But have great sex and attractiveness in the end.

    1. 127.1

      [email protected] – I don’t have a “list” that dictates who I am attracted to, nor do I think most people do. Attraction is NOT a choice, but you can choose weather or not to act on that attraction or lack thereof.

      People DISCOVER who they are attracted to. If you notice a pattern of continuously NOT being attracted to a particular physical type, why try to force the issue ? I didn’t sit down one day and arbitrarily make a list of what I am attracted to. However, in this incarnation of dating, I have discovered that the “Duck Dynasty” gray hairy face really turns me off. So I guess that is on my “list”.

      Women are CONSTANTLY being berated to “give men a chance” that they are not attracted to. (Men are given a pass, always)

      My “list” consists of a few items that are necessary for me to enter into a relationship. Things like non-smoker, non drug user, non player type. In fact, I sometimes find myself attracted to men I KNOW would not be good relationship prospects. So they have a quality that is on my “To don’t list” so I refuse to get involved DESPITE the fact that I am attracted to them.

      No one should try to force themselves to become attracted to someone who merely passes the “doesn’t repulse” me test. We should be able to set the bar a LITTLE bit higher than that.

      I don’t turn a guy down for less than a tsunami wave of attraction, but I want a little bit more than “Well, I didn’t throw up the first time I met him”.

      Why is it that men can routinely turn women away for cup size or age *, even though NEITHER those qualities speaks to her character or are within her control ? But women are supposed to settle for any man who tips his hat her way.

      I can see the age factor coming into play, if a man wants bio children, but some men here make a big deal over women being past their 20’s. Women can bear children well into their 30’s or early 40’s. Yeah, and I know an A-Cup could get surgery, but why should a woman take that risk ?

      Me personally, I would like to be MODERATELY attracted to a man, and let it grow. Not wildly attracted because my judgement would be clouded, but not one point above being repulsed, because quite frankly, that rarely grows into even a moderate attraction.

      1. 127.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        “I don’t turn a guy down for less than a tsunami wave of attraction, but I want a little bit more than “Well, I didn’t throw up the first time I met him”.”

        Who’s asking you to do this? Not Evan.

        “Why is it that men can routinely turn women away for cup size or age *, even though NEITHER those qualities speaks to her character or are within her control ? “

        Unless you’re a A-cup, why would you care? I know plenty of men who love A-cups. So those men have self-selected themselves out of the A-cup’s dating pool. Good. Less work for her. 

        But women are supposed to settle for any man who tips his hat her way.

        If you want to broaden your dating pool, then it would be wise to consider all the fishes in your pond who take your bait. The key word is consider. If you’re not attracted after a convo, then let them off the hook.

        I stayed out of your tete-a-tete with Evan on another thread…

        But I’m going to say something you’ll hate to hear.

        While you saw yourself as expressing your opinion strongly, from where I stood you were being extraordinarily stubborn and not open to new ideas.

        Could that possibly come across through a date or two with you? Maybe that scares off the men you find yourself attracted to?

        Men want women who have fire. They don’t want women who refuse to look at a situation from the other side.

        And yes, too many men don’t look at things from the other side. So what? You can’t change him. Only yourself. If you get to a second date with an attractive man and you deem HIM unworthy of you because HE’s closeminded, well good. You’ve weeded him out. But your stated problem is not getting 2nd dates (and maybe not even a first one). Would you give a man a second date if you found out on the FIRST date he had qualities that would make it difficult for you to deal with him on a regular basis?

      2. 127.1.2
        Karl R

        Sparkling Emerald,
        You constantly seem to be unhappy about dating. Maybe “pissed off” is a better word. If that’s the way you feel about it, why do you bother?

        I suppose it makes sense if you find it unpleasant being single. No matter how lousy you think dating it is, I suppose it’s still possible that you like being single even less.

        You might want to learn how to enjoy being single. I liked being single. I was happy being single. And that attitude made dating a lot easier for me. If you can learn to be happy being single, it will make dating easier for you too.

        Dating is all about trade-offs. One of the trade-offs is time. If you’re unwilling to compromise, your search takes longer. If you’re willing to compromise a lot, it takes less time.

        Here’s where it pays to be happy being single. You don’t have to compromise as much. First of all, you never choose someone who isn’t an improvement over being single. I was happy being single, so I wasn’t going to settle for anyone who didn’t make me distinctly happier than that.

        When I was dating my wife, I could have decided that I wanted to hold out for someone even better than her. I had been dating about 3 1/2 years before I started dating her, and if I wanted to spend additional years (or decades) dating, I could have kept searching for someone better. It would have just added time to my search.

        However, if I was searching for someone substantially better than my wife, it might have taken longer than I’m going to live. Since I was happy being single, that didn’t seem like a horrible outcome.

        I’m happier being married than I was being single, but there were still compromises. I could have avoided those compromises by making a different trade-off … extending the duration of my search.

        Sparkling Emerald said:
        “Women are CONSTANTLY being berated to “give men a chance” that they are not attracted to. (Men are given a pass, always)

        Men aren’t given a pass. If men are too picky about looks, it takes them longer to find a partner … just like women

        It’s the exact same trade-off. You’re not being berated to choose differently. You’re being provided information which will allow you to make that trade-off in an informed manner.

        Sparkling Emerald said:
        “Why is it that men can routinely turn women away for cup size or age *, even though NEITHER those qualities speaks to her character or are within her control?

         In the 6 1/2 years before I got married, my dates ranged from 11 years younger to 16 years older. Their cup sizes ranged from A to I. By being open minded about those less-relevant qualities, I shortened my search.

        I don’t care whether your search takes you 6 months or 60 years. Evan recommends that you be open minded and broaden your dating pool, because he is in the business of providing women the information that will help them speed up their search.

        Sparkling Emerald,
        You seem to greatly resent being given this information (for free). Unlike age or cup size, that attitude is under your control. Furthermore, I think it speaks volumes about the quality of your character.

        Dating is full of trade-offs. Many of the men who pursue young and hot women end up making the trade-off of accepting women with poor character. The men who are less picky about appearance don’t have to make that trade-off.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          KR & KE – My response was specifically to amydk @126 who said
          “The only compromise you should make on attraction is in the very beginning of a relationship, letting people past your “list.” IF they seem like amazing people, that you’re not repulsed by, give him or her an inital chance, like a few dates, a month or so.”
          KE – I know that EVAN didn’t say lack of repulsion should be the only factor, but amydk was.  I was specifically responding to HER assertion that women should give men a chance as long they don’t repulse her.  I want a little bit more from a relationship than merely not being repulsed.
          Also, KE – You agreed to not respond to any more of my posts.  Please keep that agreement.  You and I are nothing alike, I am not obsessed with a man being handsome like you seem to be  (just attractive to me, not drop dead gorgeous) and I don’t have sex in ambiguous uncommitted non monogomous relationships like you seem to enjoy doing.  I don’t judge you for your free spirited sexual lifestyle but you have “prude shamed” me several times on this blog and on FOCUS.  Your advice is irrelevant and unwanted to me.  
          Karl – I REALLY did enjoy being single, when I initially separated from my hubby and refused to date.  I was enjoying the freedom of coming home and not being berated and badgered for every breath I took.  The last thing I wanted was to be trapped with a hyper critical man who wasn’t happy no matter WHAT I did.
          Then someone reached out to me through meet up, and I ignored him for 3 months, thinking I just can’t go out with some random man who sends me a note through meet up (he hadn’t even met me in person yet).  Well, his picture showed a rather attractive man, so reluctantly I agreed to meet him, and we ended up having a brief relationship.  (He pushed for couplehood very early on, then as soon as I agreed to be his girlfriend he started treating me shabbily, so I broke it off) He still stalks me occasionally, now that we have broken up.  He pays more attention to be broken up, then when we were supposedly a couple.
          So we broke up, but all my feelings were stirred up again, so I decided to try dating again.
          I would like to go back to being happily single again.  And I was until I started dating.  If I can get back to that place of being happily single and not dating at all, that would be best for me.   I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.  I enjoy decorating my home and acting and going to see concerts and art shows.  I enjoy community service work.  Dating, well I no longer enjoy that.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Karl – When I said “men are given a pass” I meant that men are NEVER advised to give a “sweet girl” a chance if they aren’t attracted to her.  I wasn’t talking about the results in their dating life.  But women are constantly being told to give guys a chance, even if they aren’t attracted to them.  (Not by EMK, he admits that there must be at least SOME attraction, but he says to also look at compatibility)  And I said earlier, I was responding to a very specific post (which I referenced and quoted) where now the bar has been lowered to  women should date men that don’t repulse them. 
          Sorry, but I think advising men OR women to go out with someone they aren’t attracted to and setting the bar as low as “doesn’t repulse you” is bad for 2 reasons.
          Give that advice to women, and many will take that advice, and then end up with a man they aren’t attracted to.  How many letters have we seen in this blog from women who are cringing in a relationship with a “nice guy” that they feel no sexual attraction towards ?  That advice is not only bad for women, it is bad for the men who they end up with.   Heartbreaking in fact.
          Giving that advice to men is a waste of time.  Men don’t change.  They don’t give women a chance if they don’t find her attractive.  Which is good, I would HATE to be in the reverse position as the letter writer, to be in a relationship with a man who wasn’t attracted to me, all because he took some bad advice to “give me a chance”.  
          I have actually been in such relationships, where I gave a “nice guy”  “a chance”.  Never worked out.  Never did get up a decent amount of attraction to make a relationship work.  Very sad for both of us. 
          And when I talk of men I’m attracted to, I suppose their physical appearance is only a small part of it.  I have been NOT attracted to men who were physically attractive, and I have been VERY attracted to men who are average, plain and/or quirky looking. Last guy I felt attraction toward was short, bald & rather pastey faced.  But sexy in a very quirky way.  But I didn’t fully  act on that attraction on a first date, so there was no second date.     So I’m not holding out for Mr Super Handsome, I just want a guy who stirs up SOME level of desire in me, regardless of what he looks like. 

        3. Karl R

          Sparkling Emerald said:
          “When I said ‘men are given a pass’ I meant that men are NEVER advised to give a ‘sweet girl’ a chance if they aren’t attracted to her. 

          You’re not a man. How do you know what advice men are given?

          Heck, I can easily think of an example that’s common enough to be cliche. Have you ever heard of a guy being set up on a blind date where he’s told, “I know a woman who is just perfect for you. She has a great personality.”

          Sparkling Emerald said:
          Give that advice to women, and many will take that advice, and then end up with a man they aren’t attracted to.

          Following that same line of reasoning, I shouldn’t tell people to stop for red lights, because many will take that advice and then end up sitting at the intersection for the rest of their lives.

          If you follow one piece of good advice, while simultaneously ignoring every other piece of good advice, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster. The flaw isn’t in the advice. It’s in the cretin who ignored every other piece of good advice. (Even if they did so for the sole purpose of trying to set up a straw-man argument.)

          Sparkling Emerald said:
          Giving that advice to men is a waste of time.  Men don’t change.  They don’t give women a chance if they don’t find her attractive.

          You read men’s minds?

          One of my friends tells a true story about a guy he knew in the army. The story ends with the guy saying (about his wife), “She may not be much to look at, but she sure can fuck.”

          I know plenty of guys who will have sex with a woman that they describe as ugly, just because it’s an opportunity to have sex.

          The majority of men are more selective, but men like this seem to be a sizable minority. The noteworthy point of my friend’s story isn’t what the man said about his wife. It’s that he said it loud enough for the wife to hear him.

          Sparkling Emerald said:
          “That advice is not only bad for women, it is bad for the men who they end up with.   Heartbreaking in fact.”

          If any woman (or man) can’t handle the “heartbreak” of a breakup after “a few dates, a month or so” (amydk’s words), then that person has no business dating.

          I’ve dated a couple women who I wasn’t initially attracted to, but wasn’t repulsed by either. In both cases I ended up breaking things off for other reasons.

          Sparkling Emerald said:
          “I would HATE to be in the reverse position as the letter writer, to be in a relationship with a man who wasn’t attracted to me, all because he took some bad advice to ‘give me a chance’.

          Don’t worry, if you end up with a man who isn’t that attracted to you, he’ll probably be smart enough not to mention it.

          Sparkling Emerald,
          You choose to live in a world where men never make exceptions for women. And I use the word “choose” deliberately, because you choose to blind yourself to all the exceptions that we see around us every day. I just looked out the window and saw my 95 year old neighbor going for her morning walk, holding hands with her boyfriend. He’s in his 80s.

          In addition, you get pissed off because you think men aren’t being given the same advice as women. Regardless of the advice that men are given, it will have no effect on your dating success. The only thing that will affect your success it the advice you choose to follow.

          Sparkling Emerald said:
          “Dating, well I no longer enjoy that.”

          Then stop dating. If you don’t enjoy dating, then you have no chance of succeeding.

      3. 127.1.3
        Dina Strange

        Sparkling, i am with you…right on! Men don’t date women they are not attracted to, why should we date men, we are not attracted to.

    2. 127.2

      Oops, guess I have to take SOME of this back, as your advice  said “Not repulsed by him OR HER” so your advice was to both men AND women.  

  8. 128

    Mia, I decided to respond because maybe my experience may help a bit.
    I’ve recently posted about my situation and have been deciding if I should end this RS. It’s been a short 3 months….but there seems to be a lot to think about. I’m older, 55, educated. He is 62, and very smart cerebrally. I love that about him. It attracted me to him. Initially, he also made me laugh so hard I peed my pants. Loved that, too. We met from an online dating service and when we met in person, 6 weeks after emailing and talking on phone (and me looking at a couple of pictures for 6 weeks) I was mad at myself because I didn’t feel the physical attraction to him in person. It took me a while to reconcile the picture I had of him for weeks with the real him.
    I’ll try to get to the point…When he kissed me there was the pheromone thing for sure and the attraction built. When we had sex I was very happy. We had the best sex I’ve ever had. I still had an issue, however, outside the bedroom and believe me I felt shallow about it. Slowly, gently, I thought maybe a bit of a makeover might help. And when he dressed a bit less “old” and a bit more up to date he did look better. It def helped my attraction to him on a day to day basis.
    But….his behavior began to change and then I realized what was really important to me. How i FEEL when I’m with him. There have been very subtle verbal abuse, and emotional mind games. VERY SUBTLE. I’ve had to question if I’m really seeing this or not. But, when I began to feel anxious, unhappy, exhausted and upset and I began to make excuses to not see him on weekendsI knew it had to be real. I’m really bummed because our “potential” was so great. But potential can’t be the reason to stay. I have to accept him as he is right now, behaviorally.
    The issue for me, too, and hopefully this will address some of what you are going through, is he is attentive, thoughtful. He calls me, texts me, makes time for me. It’s very confusing to make a decision because there are some great things, plus I pretty much overcame the physical attraction issue only to lose it again when I started to feel he was treating me disrespectfully.
    I understand completely your dilemma. Some posters have already mentioned this but is there any way you can improve your attraction to him? Is the sex good enough for you to enjoy that with him despite the fact you don’t love his physical appearance? Because right now I see how lucky you are that he is so great to you. If my guy had not started the mental mind games my RS would have been really great. And I was able to get past some of the physical barriers I initially had.
    So, I’ve decided to end it because after several times trying to bring up my concerns all I’ve received was denial and putting things back on me. He has had no ability to look within and he comes from a family with some pretty tough dysfunction….and his behaviors are entrenched from that I think. People CAN change, but only if THEY want it. I cannot make him see anything. He doesn’t even think calling me a slut (not as a joke) was a thing.
    One thing about your guy, Mia….I might be a bit cautious by him saying he’d do anything to change, he didn’t want to lose you. That might scare me a little (not knowing him like you do, tho) that he is too accommodating. Only you know if that is true or not. My guy seems to be a bit emotionally needy as well as the other stuff I’ve mentioned and it goes to his background.
    I admire your honesty by telling him your concerns. That takes guts and is a part of true communication. I’ve NOT discussed the physical stuff with my guy because the other things overtook that. I realize I haven’t probably helped at all! But bottom line, for me is: How do I FEEL when I am with him? I can overlook a lot if I feel safe, loved, important, supported. I feel important and supported but I do not feel safe emotionally with my guy so I was able to answer my own question. Good luck!

    1. 128.1

      …..after 3 months, the banquet/perfect period, is over….that is a given/fact…

    2. 128.2

      Morgan, he sounds like a narcissist..

  9. 129

    I think you should see if you can deal with that and if he can deal with that too. My last boyfriend was a similar case, we were awesome in the emotional part but in the physical part we were always in a crisis ,he started to reproach me all the time if I didn´t kiss him with passion or if I didn´t want to make love, it was horrible. One day was like “I like the way you kiss me today” and the other was “why you didn´t kiss me like yesterday”. For me was a hell until I just prefer to be alone. I just can tell you to trust in yourself, if you feel that this part is important believe me, IS IMPORTANT.

    1. 129.1

      OH I know how you feel. My by and I go through the same thing.

  10. 130

    Stop wasting his time. You’re being extremely selfish.

    1. 130.1

      She’s not waiting his time.  You seem very short sighted. She wouldn’t behaving such dilemma if she didn’t love him. It’s a shameful enough feeling to love someone and not be attracted to them without people calling you selfish. And the crazy thing is, she has nothing to be ashamed of.  If anything I applaud her for falling in love with the man before the appearance. 

  11. 131
    John Winters

    romantic relationships have 3 parts.  Logical attraction, emotional attraction, sexual attraction.  Sexual attraction includes appearance as well as performance and the concept of being sexy, a turn on.  If you find him emotionally and logically attractive, he’s in the friend zone. If you find him sexually and logically attractive, he’s a fuck buddy. If  you find home sexually and emotionally attractive, the timing isn’t right, or there’s crazy drama of a bad kind.  Go on a few dates. If you can’t find him attractive in all 3 areas, go find someone else who’s perfect for you. Be nice and let this John know you see him as a big brother. He’ll get over it. 

  12. 132

    Who wants to be with someone if they knew that their romantic interest thought they were attractive? I wouldn’t. There is someone out there for everyone. If you are not attracted to someone, you can never ever be crazy ‘in love’ with that person. If you  can live without the fuzzy doed eyed love  you see in movies then do as you will. But you can ‘love’ them as a friend. Some marriages are like this and they can last a lifetime.

  13. 133

    …I agree with you, most relationships are lopsided….

  14. 134

    A quote from the Kings of Summer:

     “She didn’t…I don’t know. She didn’t make me nervous. Not like your mom did anyway, and you need that”

    I know it’s just a film but is it possible to be TOO comfortable with someone and it kills attraction? 

  15. 135

    I have been with my partner for over 4 years. When I first met him I was not attracted to him physically, but he was very attracted to me. Over time he has found faults in me which he continually points out, whereas I have found myself finding him more attractive. Not perfect, but more an 8 than the original 5! I think sometimes regarding someone highly only leaves room for disappointment, as that’s how it seems with my partner 🙁 

  16. 136

    What is sad is that it seems like the author of the letter has confused what society views as attractive with her own interpersonal attraction to this man. This seems to be an increasingly common phenomena in society today. People will see something in the media and then all of sudden they will start to feel self-conscious about whether or not their partner is “attractive”. However, what they are focusing on is a marketing image of “attraction” rather the real interpersonal flesh and blood attraction that occurs between two individuals.

  17. 137

    I feel my situation is similar but with a few differences.  When I met my boyfriend of two years I decided I wasn’t going to make my decision to date based solely off of my attraction for someone anymore.  Past relationships have taught me that attraction means nothing if you don’t have love, respect,  humor, and all the intangible things that make it last.  However now I’m in a situation where I can’t enjoy intimacy with him.

    For me it’s his weight.  In the interest of brutal honesty I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to find him attractive undressed.  Now before I get the “well are you fit yourself” responses, I am.  I work out and I’ve been Vegan for almost a year now which has done wonders for my health.

    I’ve tried to introduce healthy eating and exercising to him but he always makes me feel like I’m depriving him of everything.  To be fair I didn’t come to him and say “from now on you will eat what I eat and work out everyday!” I started incorporating different foods into our meals, he wouldn’t touch the healthy stuff.  I invite him to take walks with me, he says he’s too tired.  After a while I’ve become less and less attracted sexually and it’s putting a serious strain on our relationship.  I feel I can’t talk to him about it for fear of hurting him and making him feel as if I don’t love him.  I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. I just wish there was something I could do that would make the both of us happy.

  18. 138

    Few people ever consider whether a man should continue dating a woman he has absolutely no physical attraction to.  Of course not.  Yes, it may appear to be shallow, but that’s what makes romance different than friendship.  If this were written by a man, there’d only be a couple of sentences. True, attraction waxes and wanes over the years. I had been in a long marriage in which our initial attraction waxed and waned, but throughout most of the time, we did have enough attraction to want to be intimate.  You have to have a starting point.  Saying that “Oh, what do you do if he ends up disfigured in a car accident or oh, you’ll be old and ugly someday” skirts the issue that there was attraction to begin with.  Every successful elderly couple has always been nostalgic about their attraction for each other and how that spark kept them together.
    I’m not going to go into the details about the break up of our marriage except suffice to say we were no longer attracted to each other and the idea of having sex with him repulsed me.  I was sexually abused by a relative who repulsed me and the idea of having sex with someone I’m not attracted to while not quite akin to that because it’s willingly starts to remind me that I’m doing this as a chore, not a pleasure. Considering a woman’s desires and preferences is taboo – a woman should love a man with character and stability even if having sex with him might mean she’ll literally suffocate, or she’ll have to hold her nose because he doesn’t bathe. That’s an extreme, but it was a reality in the later stages of my married sex life.
    Sex and attraction are a piece of the puzzle.  Looks fade and attraction can fade, but so can other things – mental health, character, stability. Once should not have to sacrifice one to have the other.

    1. 138.1


      ….in one sentence…..a mans eyes are his biggest sex organ…. 

  19. 139

    I met a girl online and we got to know eachother for quite a while before deciding to try a relationship together. She was coming out of a divorce, and Id had enough of crazy relationships and was willing to work and wait for one that was healthy for me. We really were a great match intellectually, and spiritually. When we finally did meet her pic did not match her at the time, but it was bc of nursing school; shed gained a lot of weight. Unfortunately its been 3 years, and shes simply done nothing about it. She has image issues from her childhood and marriage (ex was abusive and a cheater) so she thinks/has expressed that she thinks things like physical attraction is kind of shallow. The problem is i AM repulsed when we’re in bed together. She enjoys me very much in bed, and i just get frustrated by HER in bed. I truly dont want to throw such compatability otherwise away; I also truly dont want to be in a relationship anymore with someone who in no way does it for me physicially, and never has. Itd be one thing if the attraction had simoly faded w time, but it was never there to begin with. 

  20. 140
    Dina Strange

    Women are as visual as men. Unfortunately in the past, women often overlooked the physical appearance of a man, because of financial/physical security. But now with more women feeling they don’t need a man to provide, gain back their ability to pick men based on their physical appearance (something that men had been doing all along, and still are doing).

    If she is not attracted to him, if there is absolutely zero chemistry, no matter how well he treats her, no matter what he does, she will never love/want him as a man. She might like/love him as a friend/brother but no more. Eventually, the relationship will fall apart because she will either cheat or he will feel her lack of physical desire with him, and that will make him turned off.

    Men pick women exclusively based on their looks, why shouldn’t women follow in the steps. Also, regarding physical appearance, men had been giving a slack because of the above reasons, but now boys you better buckle up. Go to the gym, get a good haircut, wear stylish, clean clothing….present yourself with the same care, which women been presenting themselves to you. Basically INVEST in your appearance as women been investing in theirs since the beginning of time. Once again, women are visual as well, and the old ways not gonna be working anymore. You wanna a good looking, in shape, woman – you better get in shape, and get a haircut yourself.

  21. 141

    I settled.  I married a man who treated me like a queen.  I was not attracted to him at all.   Then, over time, I became repulsed.  The repulsion in the bedroom spilled over to everything else in our life.    Sex is not just desert.  It’s an important way to connect.  
    The difference between your relationship with your partner and your relationship with your friend is SEX.    DO NOT SETTLE. 

  22. 142

    If,  as women, you are ok with your husband or boyfriend seeing you as doesnt-give-me-the-sparks-but-is-the-stable-loyal-calculated choice; then its alright if you think the same way about him.

    If you want him to be passionate about you then you’re a hypocrite.

    Many men have self respect and want nothing to do with women who don’t desire them physically and sexually. We would rather be alone or pay hookers than play husband for a woman who lies to herself that she has ‘matured’ and physical attraction and lust arent that important to her anymore.

    Unfortunately many men don’t have that self-respect.


  23. 143
    Rhonda Rose

    I’ve been reading this thread at work and after reading page one’s comments I had to share my thoughts.  I find attraction (sexual) very important. I loved @-NN- #7, post! If I can’t imagine kissing someone then *it* isn’t there and a romantic relationship just won’t work. But I also go for all types of guys, model types (my current bf) and nerdier types. Evan’s response was the best love/relationship outlook I’ve ever read. Life is long and initial lust will fade and intellectual/emotional compatibility does matter most for a life long relationship. Here is why I don’t see Mia and her bf lasting, if she’s met him online and already established that  intellectual/emotional connection and that has not had an effect on her then nothing will. Agreeing with Kenley #17, ” I think when a man and a woman are really and truly right for each other, he thinks he’s got the greatest all around gal ever and she thinks she’s got the greatest all around guy ever.” Guys I liked bc of their unique personality , sense of humor ,or high intelligence  we not hot or sexy and my friends never got why I fell so hard for those guys but to me their other attributes made them highly (sexuality/physically) attractive to me ! Also I’ve dated nice guys who treated me great (my ex) who as a plus was very handsome but I didn’t have romantic feeling for him bc after a few weeks his looks were there but I realized he didn’t have that intriguing factor in his personality I needed. He was so sweet but nice, isn’t your soul mate. You NEED a click and that click needs to be mental bc your brain will control how you perceive your significant other form that point on. 

  24. 144

    Evan – thank you so much for your opinion. I have struggled with a guy  is short, paunchy, blue collar worker. However I did spent time before him with a tall gorgeous executive who constantly hurt me, put me down and was a yo-yo in my life. I finally left him to be with the nice guy.

    He definitely is a 6-7 on attraction but a 10plus on compatiblity.

    Glad I didn’t tell him to beat it as we just came back from a trip with him that was so amazing and tons of fun.

    Shawn is very special to me. He treats me like a queen!!! First time ever – feels uncomfortable. But we are making progress.

    Again thank.you – i read your stuff constantly!!! 

  25. 145

    That is very courageous. I’m afraid to tell this guy, I’m not physically attracted to on some days . He makes me feel comfortable , he makes me laugh , he is sweet , kind , gentleman. We make out  a lot so he’s a great kisser. But I find myself not liking him sometimes , and I don’t want to be shallow , I don’t want to be that person who cares about looks but sadly I do . He kinda just got out of 5 year relationship , and I’ve known him for 4 years . He started liking me this year (summer) and I kinda did too. He kust is not photogenic and I find that his younger self was more attractive.  He gained some weight and has a new hairstyle which isn’t that bad if it weren’t for the weight thing. I mean he is not like obese or anything he looks pretty normal but still a little chubby. He’s 21 and im 19. We are not together , but I’m afraid if he pops the question soon , I’m gonna have to say no and I hurt him , and I don’t want to stop making out with him. I don’t know what to do , he’s a great guy.

  26. 146

    If women were as shallow as men, no man would ever be in a relationship because most of them are hideous. Nothing sexy about 90% of them, while most girls are cute, petite and nice but “not hot enough” for the average joe. If women weren’t so forgiving, everyone would be on their own and you certainly wouldn’t ever see so much of the hot girl-ugly guy phenomenon. 

    1. 146.1

      Men aren’t shallow, men are the pursuers and as such we are very visual.  What other information does a man have to go on other than looks when he approaches a women he’s never met?  It’s only shallow if his only criteria are looks, but most guys I know need physical attraction and along with other qualities.  I realize that women are wired to seek out men they feel can provide them with security, so I don’t criticize them for being a bunch of gold diggers.  I see plenty of unattractive women  with boyfriends which would suggest that while men want hot women, most are more realistic and will settle for less than their ideal.  If you’ve  read “Marry Him: Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” which featured Mr. Katz, there are numerous examples in that book of women rejecting men for incredibly superficial reasons.   Why is it that many men often go months or years without a girlfriend when most women I know rarely are single for more than a couple of months if that.  Seems to me that women in general are far more selective than men.  Most of my guy friends are over the moon to get the attention of an even moderately attractive woman since it can be so difficult to attract a woman.  

      In addition, online dating sites, especially Tinder which is purely picture based, suggest that women are just as superficial about looks as men, but it’s less socially acceptable for them to admit it. 

  27. 147

    Thanks for the article.  I just went on a 6th date with a nice lady I met online.  I was on the fence about physical attraction, but the attraction is really happening now.  I’m 44 and she’s 38 and what Evan says is sage advice.  If you’re thinking long term looks fade anyway.  I was considered quite handsome in my younger days and I’m still considered attractive, but I’m more realistic now with my expectations as I’m not getting gorgeous ladies hollering at me as they drive by with the window down like the old days 🙂

    With this lady, when she opens her mouth she just becomes so much more attractive.  She has a gentleness and femininity that really shines through and draws me in.  Contrast that with my ex-wife who was the hot, busty brunette with the pretty face and an ugly, narcissistic personality. I think if there’s any attraction there, you can nurture it along and if the person has a great personality the attraction will grow.  Even physically good looking people lose their looks and in the end you’re left with their personality.    Physical attraction is important, but once my marriage settled in sex was 2 or 3 hours a week.  The rest of the time it was all about living with her personality and let me tell you, the raw lust didn’t make up for the misery of living with a high maintenance women who was never happy and always demanding more and better.  

    If there’s zero attraction then I don’t think that can work, but if there’s even an ember I say give it a chance. 

  28. 148

    The author’s answer was great, but there’s one thing I would add.

    “I am concerned sometimes he is too attached to me and the way he started to make long term plans with me quite soon, but this isn’t a real problem.”
    Yes, it is.  If you felt the need to mention it as a concern, it’s a real problem.  That doesn’t mean you need to break up with him, but it’s still worth consideration.  Also keep in mind that a person being too clingy often makes them even less sexually attractive.  
    And one more thing…
    Our society has conditioned women to feel bad about caring a lot about a partner’s looks…something men do proudly all the time.  It isn’t smart for either gender to pick a partner based solely or even mostly on appearance.  But the fact of the matter is, women instinctual care about appearance too, and that’s not something we can help.  So don’t let anyone make you feel shallow.

  29. 149

    Am in the same situation, my gf and i been dating for exactly 2years now. She’s says shes not attracted to me she doesnt know when the drive would come back. Thing is i love her, i do feel awkward even touching her sometimes. We ve had bad sex four times in a row, she told me that was “a let down” for… Some history about me and her is she earns more to make things worse i haven’t been working for months but still claim to be there for her. I have lost confidence on myself because she told me she wasnt attracted to me we both the same age she’s successful and am trying to find my way. I have a job now but she still earns more. She says she wants to stay but she doesn’t want us to talk about the future together. I used to be confident and i think I’ve my ambition along the way, I think i need to fix me inorder for to fall for me again. Its complicated, am complicated.😞

  30. 150

    Omg Evan thanks so much for this amazing advice. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been in a long committed  relationship with my bf, gone through many hardships and he always supported me. Yet, I’m no longer physically attracted to him.. At all. I was wavering  and as you said at this exact moment I met someone whom I am madly attracted to, chemistry is incredible but we have 0 compatability and 0 chance of long-term success. Thanks for telling me today exactly what I needed to hear to be fully awake and to avoid at all costs any mistake I’d regret later. Keep up the good work Evan, you’re helping many people out there!!! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *