My Boyfriend of 3 Years Says He Isn’t Attracted to Me. Should I Still Marry Him?

After struggling in relationships, I finally read your book Why He Disappeared 4 years ago, did everything you said and finally found a guy that I’ve built a great relationship with. He takes me on vacations, makes dinners and packs lunches for me. Offers many surprises, backs me up when I’m mistreated. We have a lot of the same interests; we make each other laugh and can carry on deep, authentic conversations. He has introduced me to his friends and family and we moved in together after 1.5 years.

It did take him 2.5 years to say he loves me, and it was in the midst of me leaving because he hadn’t said it. A few months after he said it, I moved out because he said he wasn’t sure he could marry me. He fell completely apart after I left, couldn’t eat or sleep and begged for me back 3 weeks later with a promise to marry me. He had some things he wanted to work on for himself but he was definitely going to marry me soon. Fast forward 8 months… we’ve been in couples’ therapy since we got back together and have gotten to know each other on a deeper level than I could imagine.

But come to find out he isn’t attracted to me and he isn’t sure he can marry me because of this, and is nervous how our kids might look. He didn’t tell me this directly, but I came across notes he had written that said these things. I’m not ugly – I definitely don’t have the most adorable face but I do the best I can with what was given to me. I keep my hair highlighted and choose light makeup that accentuates the good features. I’m 5’5, 130 lbs, very active and have never had problems with dating or men checking me out. Our sex life has always been and still is great and frequent, he’s openly affectionate with me but he avoids any pictures and NEVER compliments how I look.

Do I leave and find someone who can offer all of these things and finds me attractive….or do I stay and hope he gets over his hang ups on his attraction toward me, but also worry he might cheat or leave me for someone more attractive in the future.

Erin

I’ve heard this story before and it does not end well.

I know a guy who had an amazing relationship with someone he liked, respected, had fun with, and was legitimately his best friend.

Privately, he always confessed his lack of attraction.

I told him I didn’t understand. Their sex life – if the reporting was accurate – was as active as ours. How could he spend two years sleeping with someone he wasn’t attracted to?

He couldn’t quite say. All he said was that, on a scale of 1-10, his attraction was 0.

So I did what absolutely no other guy friend in history has ever done before:

I told his girlfriend to dump him.

Predictably, she didn’t want to. She loved him and saw him as her future husband and the father of her children. There was no way she was letting go after two years.

My request fell on deaf ears. Except for my friend, who heard what I did and confronted me.

Him: “How could you tell my girlfriend to dump me? You’re supposed to be my friend!”

Me: “You’re not going to marry her. You’ve already told me.”

Him: “She knows that. I’ve already told her as well.”

But she’s 38 and wants to have kids. If you loved her, the right thing to do would be to let her go find another guy.

Me: “Then why don’t you break up with her?”

Him: “Because I enjoy the relationship.”

Me: “But she’s 38 and wants to have kids. If you loved her, the right thing to do would be to let her go find another guy.”

Him: “She can break up with me if she wants. I’m not going to do it.”

THREE YEARS LATER, they broke up. It was a mutual decision.

This only goes to reinforce a popular Evan-ism from a long time ago:

Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.

The positives? “He takes me on vacations, makes dinners and packs lunches for me. Offers many surprises, backs me up when I’m mistreated. We have a lot of the same interests; we make each other laugh and can carry on deep, authentic conversations. He has introduced me to his friends and family and we moved in together after 1.5 years.”

The negatives? It took him two and a half years to say “I love you.” He only did it at the threat of you leaving. He said he was going to propose to you quickly, and 8 months of therapy later, he still hasn’t. Finally, and most importantly: he said he wasn’t attracted to you, isn’t sure he could ever marry you, is worried about how your kids will look, and avoids taking pictures with you.

As always, the negatives win.

This isn’t putting up with a guy who likes video games, or has a crazy ex-wife, or has a slight potbelly. This is ignoring a disaster waiting to happen, all for the sake of continuity and not starting over.

You deserve better, Erin. The sooner you act, the sooner you will have it.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Kath

    How sad, especially for Erin. Sad that he strung her along for selfish reasons, and even sadder that she accepted his behavior. I’m certain this type of relationship complacency happens more often than realized. Hopefully, he grew up and she has more self esteem and confidence in herself to find an emotionally available/secure man who accepts all of her.

  2. 2
    Donna

    I feel badly for Evan’s friend’s ex-girlfriend.  She didn’t listen, and then ended up being 41 when they did break up. The guy was totally selfish, and so un-kind.

  3. 3
    Karl R

    Erin,

    I agree with Evan on this one.  You should have cut your losses and run long ago.

     

    I’m not sure that Kath’s assessment is accurate, however.  While the guy’s behavior could be caused by selfishness, it could also be caused by a lack of self-confidence.  For example, I don’t believe a selfish guy would fall apart because Erin (whom he doesn’t find attractive) left him.  A guy who lacks self-confidence, who isn’t sure he can get a relationship with someone else he likes as well, might have that reaction.

    1. 3.1
      Noone45

      It’s not ok to string someone along because of a lack of confidence.  It is selfish behavior.  Using someone is selfish. That’s all this guy was doing. It doesn’t matter what holds him back. Would you say it’s ok for me to be with a man I don’t find attractive, don’t truly love, and let him pay my bills knowing all of that? I doubt it. Most people around here would call me a user. The only thing different here is she’s paying in time rather than money. I’m not sure there is a term for men who willingly use women to build their self esteem then dump then when they have sucked everything they can out, but there should be one.

      People aren’t objects to be used to build up confidence.

      1. 3.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Noone45,

        People aren’t objects to be used to build up confidence.

        Agreed. That’s  what’s happening here. Plus, he’s emotionally dependent on her and sex is available.

        1. Sandra

          I am curious as to what the “not attracted to” really means.  In this case and the one of Evan’s friend, it has little to do with sex appeal.  It’s a flimsy excuse for something else.

        2. Emily, the original

          Sandra,

          I am curious as to what the “not attracted to” really means.

          He’s fond of her, he enjoys her company, he feels close to her emotionally but he’s not excited by her. He doesn’t look at her and think, “Wowsa.” She doesn’t get his engine going.

           It’s a flimsy excuse for something else.

          I’m guessing, of course, but that’s a hard thing to tell someone, that you’re not attracted, especially if you’re been together for a while. I think he’s being honest.

    2. 3.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @Karl R

      I do not believe that the guy lacks self-confidence.  If anything, the description of him makes him look kind of narcissistic.  I believe that he just wants to maintain a relationship with a woman who is a sure thing while he searches for his dream woman.  Like it is almost always easier to get a new job if one already has a job, it is almost always easier to get a new woman when a man already has a woman.  A man who already has a woman is not as hungry for female attention as a single man.  Women can smell that a mile away.

  4. 4
    Kath

    @Karl- agree, could also be due to his lack of self confidence. Actually thought of that after I posted earlier.

  5. 5
    SparklingEmerald

    This is another case where a man strings a woman along, because she is “do-able” but not “marryable”.  Probably holding out for a trophy wife.  Very strange that this guy flips out and begs her to come back when she leaves.  I agree with Evan, she should DUMP this one, and find someone else, no matter what the reason  is for his bizarre behavior.

    As much as I would like to call such guys “jerks” and “losers”, these situations could NOT happen if the woman involved allowed it.    I can see some sort of limbo situation going on for a few months, but after a few years . . . well that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    1. 5.1
      Noone45

      My first thought was a guy holding out for the hottest thing he could get. There was a documentary that I watched years ago on beauty standards made by a man who pulled something similar to what this LW speaks of. The tragedy for him was that his girlfriend eventually just left. He made a documentary because of that event. He stated he never found anything better and she was the best thing that happened to him.

      If beauty is all you want, you may find yourself with nothing at all. I think it’s down to status chasing honestly.

  6. 6
    S.

    How could he spend two years sleeping with someone he wasn’t attracted to?

    This is scary because you’d think that things were set.  How could he manage that?   Even the letter writer says their sex is good and frequent.  But he privately writes the word ugly associated with her.  Such a sad situation.

    But two years of having sex with someone you think is a zero?  I don’t get it.  And if the sex enjoyable enough to keep having it, then isn’t that attractive?

    I think Erin’s guy is attracted, but thinks he can do better and is hung up on looks.  Either way, she’s not the one for him. To never take a photograph with your wife?  That’s messed up.

    I did more math. I just realized Evan’s friend had been with his girlfriend for two years.  So five years of having sex with someone you aren’t attracted to. Wow. It’s one thing for the attraction to fade but to never have had it and go on anyway. Wow.

    Don’t do it, Erin.

    1. 6.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @S.

      But two years of having sex with someone you think is a zero?

      An unattractive women is not necessarily a zero.  It is any women who is less than a 5 in a man’s mind.  A woman can be unattractive and still be doable.  There are a lot of women who are unattractive facially, but who have smoking hot bodies.  A zero is a woman who is so unattractive that she is not doable.

      Here is a tongue-in-check video that explains it all:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwbKYcBdVyk

      1. 6.1.1
        S.

        He said his attraction level was zero.  Evan’s friend said that in words to Evan.

        My disconnect here is if someone is doable and you can complete the act many times a week satisfactorily for both, there is sexual attraction there.  He said he wasn’t attracted to her, thus my disconnect.

        If he says she wasn’t attractive, or not pretty, but he still enjoys sex with her, that’s different.  Yes, we’ve all be attracted to someone most don’t consider attractive before. I totally get that.  That’s just not what he said to Evan.  He said he wasn’t attracted.  The LW’s boyfriend said the same thing.  The two words differ for me.

        Maybe not to these two, though.  Is there some zone for men where you can have an erection, have sex with someone, have an orgasm and still say there was no attraction at all–zero–there? If so, then what does ‘attraction’ even mean in that case?

        Baffled.

        (And ugh, that video.  That’s my only comment. Ugh.)

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @S.

          I was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.  However, there is quite a bit of truth to what was written on the matrix.  The positive emotional tension that Dr. Glover writes about is prime example of where men believe that all women are a little crazy.  Men attempt to eliminate it while women need it.

        2. Sandra

          Is there some zone for men where you can have an erection, have sex with someone, have an orgasm and still say there was no attraction at all–zero–there? If so, then what does ‘attraction’ even mean in that case?

          This is what has baffled me also.  I can only surmise that the word “attractive” or “attracted” in these cases is used because it is inoffensive and does not make the guy in question seem too much of a jerk.

          I think in the case of the LW, the boyfriend is holding out for more status, a trophy, hot enough to impress his friends and co-workers.  He believes she does not bring the status he wants and thinks he deserves.

        3. S.

          @YAG

          I know it was meant to be tongue in cheek, but still ugh.

          men believe that all women are a little crazy.  Men attempt to eliminate it while women need it.

          Women need the crazy?  I’m still baffled.  It’s like studying another language the comments to this letter.   And I missed the class altogether somehow.

        4. SparklingEmerald

          S.  I can’t wrap my mind around this either.  3 years with a girl you aren’t attracted to ?   Only saying “I Love you” to keep her from leaving ?   Crying and carrying on when she leaves because the relationship isn’t leading to marriage ?  Then promising marriage, but not following through ?  I just don’t see how you sleep and live with someone for 3 years that you aren’t attracted to.  And I really don’t think he loves her, just said that to get her to stay.  Perhaps what he feels is some version of “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you” or some such thing.  Who knows.  I think she should leave and find someone new.  If she misses the boat on having kids, so be it.   Having kids in this situation would just be dragging kids into the misery.  He even said he was worried about what their kids would look like.  If their children bore a strong resemblance to their mother, who doesn’t find attractive, what kind of relationship would he have with those kids.  Erin, please take EMKs advise and run !

        5. S.

          @ Sandra

          So Evan’s friend was trying to be inoffensive, even to Evan.  And he really means she’s ugly to him.  He can sleep with her but doesn’t want to look at her for the rest of his life.  He didn’t say that.  But you think he meant that? He’ll sleep with her and all the rest (Evan’s friend, not letter writer’s boyfriend but may be him too), but he doesn’t want to look at her.

          Then just say that.  It sounds offensive because it is offensive.  The weird thing is, in my mind he is attracted to her.  He can get his body to get it up for her.  That can be a low bar, sure, but some men can’t do that for someone who looks unattractive to them.  So there is something there physically for him.  Apparently not much more, but something.

          Five years.  After five years of regular and good sex, no wonder the woman was surprised.  She should have listened to Evan, though, as odd as the situation is.

          To other men out there: could you have regular and orgasmic (both sides) sex with someone for five years that you had deep sense of revulsion for?  And I mean revulsion.

        6. Yet Another Guy

          @S. and SE

          I do not think that a guy staying with a woman to whom he is not attracted is all that strange. Men are not the gatekeepers to sex, so they tend to have two thresholds for attractiveness, a threshold for sex (doable) and a threshold for true commitment, which is often significantly higher. If a woman meets the doable threshold and is great in bed, I could easily see a guy keeping her around, even living with her if it is easy while he continues to seek a bigger, better deal. How is this duality any different from a woman hooking up men who have low commitment quality for NSA sex while making a guy with high commitment quality wait? To most guys, that duality appears to be backwards. Most guys are willing to date and often pair down (frequently way down) for easy, good sex while they are looking for the woman to whom they are willing to commit long-term.

          The problem here is not the man. It is the woman allowing the situation to occur. It is no different than a man not walking away from a women who made him wait while she had NSA sex with guys she met before him while that knowledge eats away at his soul. While a woman may think he is special, that guy is a fool in my book. There is nothing special about being made to wait for something for which a less desirable man received a fast pass.

        7. SparklingEmerald

          Hi YAG – I am fully aware of the “doable” threshold vs the “lovable” threshold, but I can’t wrap my mind around 3 years living with “doable”.  I always thought men passing time with a merely “doable” woman was for one night stands or short flings.  The carrying on when she broke up with him part puzzled me to.  If they aren’t on the same page after 3 years, why not let her go ?  Also, it definitely is on her to leave, and ignore his crying and begging.  I just don’t understand why he is challenging her when she leaves him.  He doesn’t appear to be in love with her.

          I did see it once go in the opposite direction with a good male friend and room mate of mine (Yes, I had a male roommate for awhile, and I loved him like a kid brother).  He really wanted to marry his girlfriend, and they had this crazy on again off again relationship, and she left him at the altar so many times that they finally put a revolving door on the chapel.  OK, not really, but she would go as far as to set a date, buy a dress, then back out.  Then break up.  Then make up.  Lather rinse and repeat.  Believe me, all of us tried to stop him from putting his head on the chopping block once again.   And every time he would tell us that they were back together and getting married, we all just groaned and rolled our eyes.  I don’t understand why he kept doing that over and over.  He finally married someone else, but I believe that was a short lived marriage.  Eventually, we lost track of each other, so I have no idea where he is today and who he is with (if anyone)  I sure as hell hope he is not with HER !

          Lots of things people do in relationship are crazy, and I don’t understand.  I’ve done my share of crazy myself, and still don’t understand.  There’s a reason why the marriage counseling and date coaching industry will always be around.  🙂

        8. S.

          @YAG

          I’ll try one more time. Sigh. I do understand why people stay with less attractive partners.  That’s not where the disconnect is.  This isn’t about commitment, either so I don’t want to further muddy already unclear waters.

          The disconnect is how do you manage to get an erection for someone who makes your skin crawl?

          That’s the disconnect. If you can, I get it.  No judgement.  I don’t understand mechanically how the body can do that and do it over and over and over.  Yes, there are situations in violent acts where the body responds.  But that’s not this.  This is a man choosing of his own free will to have sex with a woman for years who he thinks is gross.

          It’s kind of like, you know when food turns bad and it has that offensive whiff and your stomach just recoils against the smell?  This is like eating it anyway for years and not throwing up.

          That’s what I’m thinking.  No offense to the LW or to Evan’s friend’s ex-girlfriend.  But that’s what’d I’d think. How could you eat rotten food for five years?

          Now. If it’s just like milk that’s just turning bad, a little off, but smells fine. I’d drink it. I happily do that all the time.

          These are two very different situations, though. I don’t know how to make my question it clearer. Could be why women stay, though.  Maybe some people can drink rotten, chunky milk more easily?  A woman can think, oh, this is a minor thing we can fix it.  And he’s like, no sweetheart you’ve been grossing me out for years, just didn’t want to find fresh food, goodbye.

          Yeah, it’s up to her to leave, but gosh, she doesn’t know she’s grossing him out like that.  Not with him being all in her fluids several times a week like it’s nothing. Erin, the letter writer, does know.  At least she does after reading these comments.

      2. 6.1.2
        No Name To Give

        I can’t speak for all women, but I’ve spent a great many Friday and Saturday night at home alone because there is no room in my life for “the crazy”.

        1. Marika

          I know where you’re coming from, No Name. I’ve come across crazy-making in men multiple times in my dating career. I’ve seen that video before and it’s funny and all, but women definitely don’t have the market cornered on crazy.

  7. 7
    SparklingEmerald

    From the OP “But come to find out he isn’t attracted to me and he isn’t sure he can marry me because of this, and is nervous how our kids might look. He didn’t tell me this directly, but I came across notes he had written that said these things. I’m not ugly – I definitely don’t have the most adorable face but I do the best I can with what was given to me. I keep my hair highlighted and choose light makeup that accentuates the good features. I’m 5’5, 130 lbs, very active and have never had problems with dating or men checking me out. Our sex life has always been and still is great and frequent, he’s openly affectionate with me but he avoids any pictures and NEVER compliments how I look.

    This makes me so sad for the OP.  At her height and weight, she certainly has not committed the cardinal sin (sarcasm) of being over weight.  The fact that he avoids pictures, NEVER compliments her on her looks and worries about how his kids would look tell us that his hesitancy is based on not finding her attractive enough to marry, (but apparently attractive enough to have frequent sex and all the other relationship perks)  Please Erin, find a guy who thinks you are beyond adorable and can’t wait to show you off to his friends.  (and be compatible too)

    I have been saying for YEARS on this blog, that I have to be attracted to anyone I get involved with, and THAT I WANT THEM TO THINK I AM BEAUTIFUL.  Is this shallow ?  Well you decide.  Can a relationship thrive if one partner thinks they could “do better” as far as how good looking their partner is ?  I doubt it.  No amount of compatibility can offset lack of attraction.  Of course no amount of attraction can offset a lack of compatibility either, but I have NEVER seen anyone being called “shallow” for looking for compatibility.  I have never seen anyone be advised to not consider compatibility.

    I would NEVER want to be with a guy who thought I wasn’t cute, pretty, gorgeous or whatever his brand of attractive is.

    Evan has printed a letter or two from women who married men who they didn’t find attractive, and I found those situations heart breaking.  I find this situation heart breaking as well.

    Let’s (in general) stop fretting about how “shallow” attraction is.  Let’s stop debating what is more important, attraction or compatibility.  They are BOTH essential, we might just as well debate weather or not water or oxygen is more important.  Erin, this guy doesn’t think you are good enough in the looks department, but that you will do for now.  Judging from your height and weight and past experience with men, there is a guy out there who will think you are BEAUTIFUL.   But you will never find that guy if you keep wasting your time with this one.

    Good luck to you !

    1. 7.1
      Karl R

      SparklingEmerald said:

      “Can a relationship thrive if one partner thinks they could ‘do better’ as far as how good looking their partner is?  I doubt it.”

      I dated someone who was more attractive than my wife.  And that particular woman thought I was amazing.  So if you want to limit the criteria to “good looking,” I can definitely “do better.”

      I’m referring to the same woman who I wanted to dump during the first date.  So I’m completely certain that I did far better by dating my wife.

       

      During the first year of dating my wife, I met and got to know another woman who seemed “perfect on paper.”  She and I clicked as friends.  And I had to give serious thought whether I should end my current relationship to pursue that woman.

      I eventually decided not to pursue that woman, because I followed Evan’s advice to evaluate the quality of my relationship, not my partner.  (My wife has become friends with this woman, and thinks very highly of her as well.)

      In addition, the other woman probably seemed more compatible since I hadn’t encountered any of her flaws, and I’d discovered most of my wife’s flaws by then.

      But my wife definitely has this woman beat in the looks department.

       

      SparklingEmerald said:

      “I have been saying for YEARS on this blog, that I have to be attracted to anyone I get involved with, and THAT I WANT THEM TO THINK I AM BEAUTIFUL.  Is this shallow?”

      The second part sounds insecure, not shallow.

      I would say that both partners have to find each other attractive.  If there’s not enough attraction to sustain a sexual relationship, then the relationship is sunk.  (And I’m rather puzzled by people who can have sex with people they’re not attracted to.)

      That’s a minimum requirement, in my opinion.

       

      But I get the feeling that your minimum level of required attraction sits high above mine (and my wife’s).  Particularly your requirements about how attractive your partner has to find you.

      1. 7.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Particularly your requirements about how attractive your partner has to find you.

        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want your partner to find you hot, even if objectively to the outside world, you aren’t. You want to be hot to that person.  And before anyone opens this can of worms: Not the hottest your partner has ever seen or dated. But hot.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Have you looked around? Most people – somewhat objectively – aren’t “hot” even if most people have something attractive about them.

          When you raise the bar for all couples to find each other “hot” you’re suggesting that people should be delusional, liars or perpetually single.

        2. Noone45

          My guess is Emily means “hot to them”, not objectively hot. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say one should be with a partner that finds them physically attractive.

          Either way, as an ugly person, none of this is my bag.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Emily said : I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want your partner to find you hot, even if objectively to the outside world, you aren’t. You want to be hot to that person.  And before anyone opens this can of worms: Not the hottest your partner has ever seen or dated. But hot.

          Exactly Emily.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  my husband find me beautiful in HIS eyes, both inside and out, and I feel the same about him.  I don’t know how the rest of the world see us, but I don’t care, it’s not up for a vote.

           

        4. Emily, the orginal

          Sparkling E,

           my husband find me beautiful in HIS eyes, both inside and out, and I feel the same about him.  

          And he’s not delusional and he’s not a liar. To him, you are beautiful, which is all that counts. I’m not sure why this concept is so hard to understand. Do some people lack any romanticism at all? He’s in love with you. Therefore, you’re his bee’s knees.

        5. SparklingEmerald

          And he’s not delusional and he’s not a liar. To him, you are beautiful, which is all that counts. I’m not sure why this concept is so hard to understand.

          I don’t either, especially since the topic at hand is a woman who has spent years with a man who doesn’t find her “attractive”.  I don’t ever want to be that woman, and I don’t want to put a man in the position of being that man.  And yet, that is insecure, delusional or lying ???????  Oh well, different strokes for different folks.

          When I said I want my partner to find my “beautiful”, it could be, beautiful, cute, pretty, adorable, hot, or whatever term is his term.  And I have to find him handsome or cute or sexy or hot, or some variation thereof.   What I find weird, is that I have met men that I would say that were objectively attractive, but I personally wasn’t attracted to them (and there was no glaring personality issue going on either) and I have been attracted to guys, who objectively speaking were just OK looking, but something about them drew me in.   When I see “average” looking people all starry eyed for each other, it doesn’t surprise me, nor do I think they are delusional or lying.  I think when you love someone, you find them beautiful (or cute, or hot, or attractive).

          I find my hubby to be quite handsome, but one of the  young and “hot” girls in my office wrinkled up her nose when she saw one of his pics and asked “Do you like ’em that old ? “.  (Yeah, she didn’t have much of a social filter) I replied, “Hey, I”M OLD !”  Maybe she thinks I’m “delusional” to be so in love with him and to think he is so attractive.  So what, I think he’s the bees knees, and it isn’t up for a vote.

           

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          We seem to have a language and definition problem here.

          NO ONE disputes that your spouse should find you attractive at a bare minimum and vice versa.

          The objection is the seeming demand that he find you HOT or BEAUTIFUL or more attractive than just about all other women. This is what was implied by you and Marika to both Karl and I.

          If your defense is that “attractive” ( is the same as HOT and that thinking you’re a 6 is the same as thinking you’re a 10, then we have no dispute whatsoever. No one is criticizing your marriage; if anything, you are failing to understand Karl’s marriage, which is like a textbook to what I teach. Looks are great and they’ll get you in the door but they won’t make a couple happy for 25 years.

          PS – No one is voting on your marriage. All I know is most couples aren’t HOT and I suspect they know it and are fine with it. That’s why I find this conversation maddening.

        7. SparklingEmerald

          We seem to have a language and definition problem here.”  Agreed.

          When you raise the bar for all couples to find each other “hot”    I’m not raising the bars for “all couples”, just sharing what I want in a relationship.

          The objection is the seeming demand that he find you HOT or BEAUTIFUL or more attractive than just about all other women.   

          I don’t DEMAND anything.  If I am dating a guy and he seems “meh” about me, I move on.  I don’t want to end up like the woman in the OP.  I never said my partner had to find me more attractive than just about all other women. I don’t do a comparison.  Not sure where you get that I demanded THAT.

          You and Karl both have very attractive wives.  I’m sure your both compatible as well.  It’s easy to tell others to downplay attractiveness when you both have very pretty wives.

          BTW, I’m not sure if you think that I don’t evaluate compatibility at all, but in case that’s what you thihn, that is not true.  My point is that attraction and compatibility are BOTH essential.  I wouldn’t be in a relationship unless there was MUTUAL attraction AND compatibility.

          But the OP seems to have miles of compatibility with her guy, but he’s not attracted to her, and no amount of compatibility is going to make up for that.

          I think you and I actually agree on it (except you describe it as me DEMANDING something) but we have a semantics dispute.

           

        8. Evan Marc Katz

          “My point is that attraction and compatibility are BOTH essential.” On this, NOBODY IN THE WORLD disagrees with you. But there are some women who seem to have a pretty high bar for how “hot” their husbands need to think they are – and to me, this is problematic. I don’t know a single man who married the most attractive woman he’s ever met/slept with/dated. Yet all of my happily married friends find their wives suitably attractive, if not “hot.” I think I’ll leave it there for now. Have a good day, my friend.

        9. Emily, the original

          Sparkling e,

          What I find weird, is that I have met men that I would say that were objectively attractive, but I personally wasn’t attracted to them 

          You’re preaching to the choir, but there are some people who can only be attracted to people who are aesthetically very attractive.  It’s too bad for them because most people aren’t 9s and 10s and won’t end  up with 9s and 10s. I guess, in their minds, they’ll be settling. I think chemistry has little to do with appearance but explaining that has been like shouting at the wall. It’s like trying to get an analytical person to not lead with his mind or have a shred of romanticism. Can’t do it. Not going to happen. And all of this has NOTHING to do with demanding that your partner finds you the most attractive. Never mentioned that. 

        10. sylvana

          Definitely seems to be a language and definition problem.

          The objection is the seeming demand that he find you HOT or BEAUTIFUL

          If attractive does not equal beautiful or hot, then what exactly is causing the attraction? I mean he’s a great guy, nice, supportive, etc. makes for a good friend, but not someone I’d have sex with.

          And how does one NOT consider a 6 or 7 hot or beautiful?

          I think that maybe Emily, SE, and I are thinking of looks, beautiful, hot, and attractive as different things, each measured on their own scale, and by our own standards.

          We basically have 0-10 in looks, 0-10 in hotness, etc.

          While it seems like Evan includes all of them in the same scale. Something like:

          3-5 is you’ll do

          5-7 is attractive,

          8-9 is beautiful

          9-10 is hot or extremely beautiful

          There is no 0-10 level of hotness. No such thing as a 5 in hotness. Hotness implies 9 or 10. With other words, you don’t get “hot” or “beautiful” labels until you hit a certain level on the scale.

          By those standards, I would not expect my partner to find me hot or beautiful, since it’s the very top of the scale.

          But by our standards, we expect our partners to find us at least mid-range beautiful or hot. Because we HAVE a range of hot, beautiful, etc.

           

           

        11. Gab

          Sylvana hit the nail on the head. I think of it like this. Forgetting the adjectives used to describe attractiveness we are aware there is an objective/universal rating and an experiential/interpersonal rating. My last partner would probably have rated me a 7 compared to other women my age (celebs, models included) as an objective rating of my looks (what I would term as beauty scale and based on attributes like bone structure, skin quality, hip waist ratio… youthful qualities), but rated me as a 9-10 in his experience of me (what i might term as hotness).

          As a woman I am in not delusional about my objective attractiveness except perhaps in the direction that I judge myself harshly. Women are our own worst critics and we know every single one of our physical flaws, the kind of stuff most men wouldn’t even notice. But I also expect that my partner find me very ‘hot’ and vice versa. One of my ‘hottest’ exes was a 5 in objective attractiveness, but I would literally swoon being near him. This is what us women are talking about when we say we want to be very hot to our partner. Based on this scale, you can be old and fat and your partner can still want to tear your clothes off and go to town. It’s got little to do with  conventional beauty and everything to do with chemistry and genuinely being into each other.

        12. sylvana

          Gab,

          that was perfectly stated!

        13. SparklingEmerald

          Gab said “Forgetting the adjectives used to describe attractiveness we are aware there is an objective/universal rating and an experiential/interpersonal rating. My last partner would probably have rated me a 7 compared to other women my age (celebs, models included) as an objective rating of my looks (what I would term as beauty scale and based on attributes like bone structure, skin quality, hip waist ratio… youthful qualities), but rated me as a 9-10 in his experience of me (what i might term as hotness).

          Yes, Gab, I think you understand.  When I say that I want my partner to find me beautiful (or cute, or pretty or something) I mean IN HIS EYES. (what you call experiential/interpersonal rating.  It’s like that song “You are so beautiful TO ME”.  Also, when I use the term beautiful, it encompasses inner and outer beauty, and of course I want my partner to find me as both.  I know there is an “objective” standard of beauty, but all that means is what some OUTSIDE measure deems.  I don’t really care what an outside third party thinks of either one of us.  If he’s so beautiful TO ME, and I am so beautiful TO HIM that’s all that matters to me.  His subjective opinion of me trumps any outsider’s “objective” opinion of me.

          Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

          Actually, this isn’t something I though much about before, I always assumed if a guy wanted me to be his girlfriend, that he thought I was beautiful (or pretty, cute, adorable etc).  Most would even say this.  It never occurred to me that a guy would be with a woman for 3 years and be ashamed of her looks.  I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the OP.

          In fact, my husband’s inflated view of me as “gorgeous” (OK, I’m pretty cute, but I don’t think I hit gorgeous thresholds, just makes me think that he is looking at me through the eyes of love, and not some objective measure.  Which makes it all the sweeter to me.

          I remember when my son was very little, a toddler, we were watching TV together and a commercial came on for the upcoming Miss America contest.  He looked up at me and in all his innocent seriousness said “You should enter that contest, Mom”.  I almost snorted my coffee out my nose.  Holding back laughter I said “Honey, married women aren’t allowed to enter the contest, and it’s for younger women as well”.  He just shook his head and said “That’s too bad, because you could win”.   So yes, beauty is on the eye of the beholder.

          If I am with a man, I want him to find me beautiful in HIS EYES.  Only four eyes count in my relationship.  The objective eyes of outsiders mean nothing to me.  Oh, and I don’t care how beautiful he finds me compared to others, I never would ask such a question.  I think my original statement that I want my partner to find me beautiful was construed to mean the most beautiful women he has ever seen, or some such thing.  That’s not what I said or meant.

        14. Evan Marc Katz

          Quoting Karl: “SparklingEmerald said:

          “I have been saying for YEARS on this blog, that I have to be attracted to anyone I get involved with, and THAT I WANT THEM TO THINK I AM BEAUTIFUL. Is this shallow?”

          The second part sounds insecure, not shallow. I would say that both partners have to find each other attractive. If there’s not enough attraction to sustain a sexual relationship, then the relationship is sunk. That’s a minimum requirement, in my opinion. But I get the feeling that your minimum level of required attraction sits high above mine (and my wife’s). Particularly your requirements about how attractive your partner has to find you.

          Karl and I were reacting to your all caps definition of BEAUTIFUL, which sounds like a higher threshold than “find each other attractive”. I know we’re parsing terms, but if you want to know where we got this idea, it’s because of what you wrote and how you wrote it. If you had just said “find each other attractive,” we wouldn’t have suspected that your need for validation was unusually high.

      2. 7.1.2
        Marika

        Karl R

        If you’re interested, there’s quite a long discussion about this very topic on the post a few months back called something like: How should I react if a guy contacts me again after a month (I can find the exact title if you’re interested).

        The premise was that someone contacts you online, then pursues someone else, it doesn’t work out, then they come back to try with you. Evan suggested you act like it’s no big deal and go out with them.

        I’ve done this to guys myself, and would have no qualms dating someone who did this to me (as I specified at the time, unless they ghosted, as to me that’s a deal-breaker). Other people on the thread were adamant that they would never be okay with it. Some people have to be their partners ‘first choice’. I don’t put that in inverted commas to be mocking, I just don’t see how any of us are anyone’s first choice, as we’ve all had relationships before.

        Neither camp could understand where the other was coming from, so I concluded in the end that some people have to be the hottest in their partners eyes they can get (and vice versa), others don’t. I’m definitely in the second camp.

        Can I ask, if your wife read what you wrote, do you think she’d worry you’d eventually leave her for someone ‘hotter’? I suppose it is possible… but somehow I’d still be okay not being the hottest a person could get.

        1. Karl R

          Marika asked:

          “Can I ask, if your wife read what you wrote, do you think she’d worry you’d eventually leave her for someone ‘hotter’?”

          My wife has definitely heard the anecdote about the attractive lady that I wanted to dump during the middle of the first date.  Probably more than once.  (After you’ve been together for a while, you hear almost all of the stories more than once.)

           

          I don’t think that my wife spends time worrying about me leaving her.  Maybe in the general sense that the divorce rate is greater than 0% (and she does express a small amount of concern about me dying first … even though that’s statistically less likely than her dying first).

          More relevant to this topic, I would be shocked if “hotter” was a concern of hers.  I think she knows me better than that.

           

          Not being the “first choice”:

          If you’ve dated as many people as my wife and I have, you’re guaranteed to have dated someone hotter, smarter, richer, more successful, funnier, etc. than your spouse.  I think there’s only criteria where my wife definitely outdoes all of my previous partners (and I definitely outdo all of hers) … we’re the easiest to get along with.

          I’ve broken up with women who were hotter than my wife, younger than my wife, and smarter than my wife.  She’s broken up with men who were better looking than me, smarter than me, better educated than me, funnier than me, and more successful than me.

          If either of us really, really wanted those traits, more than we wanted each other, we could have stayed with that boyfriend/girlfriend.

      3. 7.1.3
        SparklingEmerald

        Karl said “But I get the feeling that your minimum level of required attraction sits high above mine (and my wife’s).  Particularly your requirements about how attractive your partner has to find you.

        Well, I can’t answer how my level of required attraction sits compared to you and your wife.  I’ve seen the dance vid, and I think you are both attractive, but I won’t claim to know you, or your wife’s attraction level requirements.

        Also, you told me awhile back before I met my husband that I was holding out for a 6 foot tall, millionaire rock star, and I have NO IDEA how you formed that opinion as I never said anything remotely to that effect. So your ability to judge my level of attractiveness required is jaded and way off base for reasons unknown to me.

        Karl said ” If there’s not enough attraction to sustain a sexual relationship, then the relationship is sunk.” Which is why I want my partner to think I’m beautiful.  I don’t know of many men who would really be attracted to a plain Jane (at least a plain Jane in their eyes).  I would never want to end up like the girl in this the original post.  If that makes me “insecure” so be it.

        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

         

        1. Marika

          SE

          I don’t know about your previous conversations with Karl about attractiveness etc., but I think we can get the idea of how he formed that opinion from this:

          I have been saying for YEARS on this blog, that I have to be attracted to anyone I get involved with, and THAT I WANT THEM TO THINK I AM BEAUTIFUL. 

          No judgement (as I learned from the other post to some people this is a vital requirement in a partner to be happy) but given you’ve been saying it for years and put it in capitals, I’m not sure how you can also have NO IDEA how Karl formed that view.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Marika – I have no idea how Karl concluded that I want a 6 foot tall, millionaire when for years I had been saying I don’t mind short, and I only require financial stability many, many times.  This was before I met my husband.  What I said today, is irrelevant to his completely false statement about me wanting a 6 ft millionaire rock star.

        3. Karl R

          SparklingEmerald said:

          “Also, you told me awhile back before I met my husband that I was holding out for a 6 foot tall, millionaire rock star, and I have NO IDEA how you formed that opinion as I never said anything remotely to that effect.”

          Really?  Find where I said that.  Because I have NO IDEA where you think I said that … as I never said anything remotely to that effect.

          It’s been less than one week since I proved that you misquoted me in another thread.  And at that time, I asked you to stop making these claims unless you could find the exact thread and ensure that you weren’t misquoting me.

           

          You already owe me one apology for an ugly misquote.  Are you really that anxious to make it two apologies that you owe me?

        4. Marika

          Sparkling

          As a curious person who likes to understand things… can I ask if you and your hubby felt the way you do about each other from the beginning? Or did those feelings grow over time? You said if someone was ‘meh’ about you you’d move on, but would it be okay with you to give them some time to figure out their feelings?

          I recall you said your ex (and please correct me if I’m wrong) ended up telling you he was with you as he liked how you looked and wanted a cute wife and baby mama. So I guess I wonder if it felt differently with your current hubby (i.e., the right amount of both attraction AND compatibility). Did you worry about that happening again (the pull of chemistry!!)?

          On this thread some of my questions have been taken as though they are statements or misunderstood … please know that I’m just asking – I’m interested, as one of the success stories relationship-wise on this blog, I’m keen to know more. Thanks.

        5. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Marika

          Thanks for your questions, I will try to answer them without making Evan’s eyes bleed 🙂    Evan, put some gauze over your eyes. You have been warned.

          As a curious person who likes to understand things… can I ask if you and your hubby felt the way you do about each other from the beginning? We clicked right away.Or did those feelings grow over time?  We clicked right away, and our feelings got stronger over time. You said if someone was ‘meh’ about you you’d move on, but would it be okay with you to give them some time to figure out their feelings?  Actually, anyone who has felt “meh” about me hasn’t tried to pursue me as a serious girlfriend,  just for sex.  Most men were pretty honest and issued the “I’m not looking for anything serious” disclaimer while they are groping me and trying to escalate to sex.  No way was I going to fool around to give them time to figure out their feelings, when they made their feelings clear.  I honestly don’t know that very many men start off “meh” and end then end up falling in love.  I’ve never experienced that. And no one who has felt “meh” towards me has asked for more time to let their feeling grow.

          I recall you said your ex (and please correct me if I’m wrong) ended up telling you he was with you as he liked how you looked and wanted a cute wife and baby mama. No you aren’t wrong, good memory there !  So I guess I wonder if it felt differently with your current hubby (i.e., the right amount of both attraction AND compatibility). Did you worry about that happening again (the pull of chemistry!!)?  Good question.  Well, being beyond the childbearing years, I didn’t worry about being a brood mare.  As for my attraction levels, I used to have about 4 levels, moderate, moderately high,  and off the chart crazy.  Then I had what I call “intellectual attraction”, is that I could see that the person was pleasing to look at, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t feel drawn to them physically.    Well my “off the chart crazy” attraction has never made an appearance since my divorce.  I really do think that is due to my age and declining hormones.  Believe me, I read a lot about senior sexuality, and declining hormones,  declining pheremones, the dulling of the sense of smell plays a role in loss of attraction.  I am very actually relieved that I don’t feel “off the chart crazy” any more.  So my attraction tops out at moderate to moderately intense and I really like it that way.  I have never been able to get a “intellectually attraction” level to grow.  Very frustrating to meet a great guy, who is attractive enough, and just not feel ANY desire to kiss him, and thinking to myself, that I SHOULD be able to feel something I don’t.  I have tried to give those guys a chance, but it has never worked and has only created hard feelings.  So while I felt a moderate high level of attraction for my now hubby, I didn’t feel out of control.  I did get a “giddy” feeling.  I remember on our third date, just feeling all a flutter and giddy when we sitting in the back of a bicycle cab kissing.  It was a GREAT feeling, but not like that screaming, out of control feeling I felt for my ex-hubby.  To describe it metaphorically, the attraction I felt for my “baby-daddy” was like crack cocaine, the amount of attraction I feel for my “golden years” hubby is like a glass of fine wine.  I feel a nice warm glow, perhaps a bit light headed, but not out of control.  So with this moderately intense attraction, I am not worried that I am being blinded by it.  We are very compatible, and while we enjoy our intimacy, it is not the focus of our relationship.  Sadly with my ex, the focus of our relationship was sex and making a baby.  By the time our baby was a beligerant teen, the sex buzz had dwindled and the marriage died.  We did have 10 good years (but were married for over 23 years), but once the sex buzz was gone and the baby was now a difficult teen, things just fizzled.  Just for the record, my son is now a delight to me, and those nasty teen years really just were a phase (but oh, it was a painful phase) I can never completely regret my marriage to his father, because I have a wonderful son from that union.

          Also, while my now hubby tells me I’m “gorgeous” (I think I’m merely cute, but I think it’s sweet that he thinks I’m gorgeous) he has good things to say about me that have nothing to do with my looks.  When I was in community theater, he came to see my performance several times, and told me and the whole world how proud he was of me.  I recently became certified to teach a body movement class, and he came to our graduation, took pictures, posted them on social media, and once again said how proud he was of me.  He tells me that I am fun to be with.  He is thrilled that I like to do community service projects, and happily joins me.  He told me he likes my community mindedness and is happy to have a partner to work with on volunteer projects.   We also like to take road trips, and he tells me he is so glad to have someone to go places with, because he really didn’t like traveling alone.  When he and I banter, we both crack up at each other’s jokes, and just egg each other, on and on.  My ex-hubby was pretty humorless, and would get pissed off if I made playful banter at social events with other people.  (Nothing sexual or flirtatious, just goofing around cracking jokes)   So while I do think my now hubby has an inflated view of my beauty (the eye of the beholder in action), we really do provide excellent companionship for each other, so I am not too worried about our moderately intense attraction (it has probably just mellowed out to moderately comfortable at this point) because THIS marriage is based more on fun companionship, rather than crazy wild sex or procreation.

          I hope I answered your questions.  Thanks for asking.

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          No bleeding. That was beautiful- and completely consistent with everything you have explored since joining me here. I’m very happy for you and proud of you, since you were very negative for awhile and came back strong.

        7. S.

          S.E., That was a lovely thing to read to end my night. Thank you for sharing it.  Yay, for mature love!

          I’m not sorry to see room-spinning crack cocaine chemistry go, but I will admit that I’m glad I got to experience it or I would have always wondered what it felt like.  It was very short-lived for me (and I’m glad) but yeah, I think you now have what most seek.

          🙂

        8. Nissa

          I really liked your description of your relationship with the new hubby, too. I’d be very happy with what you described – appreciation, interest and effort so long as they met the minimum attractiveness bar.

    2. 7.2
      sylvana

      SE,

      I fully agree with you.

      “You’ll do,” or “I’m not gagging when I kiss you” isn’t really a nice thing to feel about the person you’re with. And it’s not a good position to put your partner into.

      And no. I don’t think it’s selfish or insecure.

      You don’t have to be (or think them to be) the hottest, prettiest, cutest, most beautiful, etc. But if you don’t think they’re cute, hot, pretty, beautiful at all, you might as well find another partner.

      Maybe it’s just me. But I’d like a relationship to be more than an arrangement for convenience.

      And even if not conventionally beautiful/attractive/whatever, one would think that the fact that they have a lot of other, wonderful qualities would make your partner beautiful/attractive/whatever in your eyes. Therefore, we’re right back to finding them cute, pretty, beautiful, etc.

  8. 8
    Marika

    Follow up to my last comment to Karl R: none of what I said means I understand how a relationship with no attraction has lasted 3 years. In my first relationship I stayed longer than I should as I respected him so much, but my attraction was too low (maybe a 5 or 6). I was young and very naive… And possibly made a bad decision, as he’s one of the best guys I’ve known. Even then, there wasn’t ‘no’ attraction. I wonder if the OP is exaggerating (extrapolating ‘not enough’ to ‘none’).

  9. 9
    No Name To Give

    Do not marry him.

  10. 10
    Marika

    Noone45

    Attractive, yes, but “hot”… I personally have seen no correlation between how hot I’ve found someone and the quality of the relationship.

    “You’re hot” feels good for 7 minutes. “You’re an amazing person and I can’t imagine life without you” feels good for a lifetime.

    1. 10.1
      Noone45

      ” I personally have seen no correlation between how hot I’ve found someone and the quality of the relationship.”

      Hot is simply a descriptor people use for attractive. I don’t ascribe to the belief espoused around here that it refers to some different level of attractiveness. Most people in the US and Europe are not that sophisticated in their use of language.

      ““You’re hot” feels good for 7 minutes. “You’re an amazing person and I can’t imagine life without you” feels good for a lifetime”

      For you, different people have different needs. I’m not going to give a value judgment on their wants. I will state both of those statements would induce an eye roll from me and I’d get my guard up for the BS that’s about to follow those hot takes.

      1. 10.1.1
        Marika

        Noone45 said:

        Hot is simply a descriptor people use for attractive.

        I disagree. I can see objectively that some famous people are ‘hot’, but I don’t find them attractive. The last guy I dated definitely had a ‘hot’ body, but I felt more attracted to my ex husband’s much less ‘hot’ body. There’s also a school of thought (not necessarily on this thread) where people claim not only does their partner have to find them attractive (completely agree) but hot/the hottest person they’ve ever seen/as hot as a Hollywood actor.

        It’s an important distinction to make, as being with someone you find attractive is important, whereas being with someone who is ‘hot’ isn’t.

        I will state both of those statements would induce an eye roll from me and I’d get my guard up for the BS that’s about to follow those hot takes.

        If you’re that cynical, I’m not sure how much you’re getting out of this blog.

        1. Noone45

          “It’s an important distinction to make, as being with someone you find attractive is important, whereas being with someone who is ‘hot’ isn’t.”

          Again, the majority of people on this planet do not make that kind of distinction.  They do not use language in that way. You have this habit of assuming everyone lives the same way you do and it’s not even close to ok.

          If you’re that cynical, I’m not sure how much you’re getting out of this blog.

          I’m not trying to get anything out of this blog. We don’t all have the same life circumstances. I have an autistic child and am unattractive. That’s objective, people let me know all the time and no one compliments my looks. Given these two facts, most men who do say nice things are simply trying to take advantage of me. I’ve had enough experience with it to know better. If your life is such that you’ve never had to deal with that, good, but don’t make assumptions about my life.

        2. sylvana

          It’s funny how differently everyone views hot, attractive, or beautiful. I’m the opposite of you, Marika.

          To me, hot is something that causes sexual arousal or at least sexual interest, and has nothing to do with looks, really. It’s a matter of how much something turns me on. And I think Noone45 and maybe Emily might be feeling the same.

          Attractive on the other hand is something strictly related to looks. Just because I think someone is attractive or beautiful doesn’t mean I’m in any way attracted to them. It simply means they’re good looking. For example, a straight woman can fully acknowledge that another woman is attractive or beautiful, without ever feeling any sort of attraction for that woman.

          But if I say that someone, or something about them/some part of them/etc. is “hot’, it means that it triggers sexual arousal, or at least sexual interest  me. Hot is or produces sexual (and only sexual) energy.

          Basically, if your partner whispers something in your ear that really turns you on, you would say he/she whispered something “hot” in your ear. Not that he/she whispered something attractive in your ear.

          Hot equals sexual and/or arousal. Whether it is a person’s looks, they way they talk, the way they move, a certain body part (shoulders, hands, etc.), the way they act, and so on.

          Also, hotter does not necessarily mean better looking. A gorgeous person with low sex appeal will never be hot. Likewise, a person who exudes sexual energy might not be considered conventionally beautiful or attractive.

          So, yes. I would absolutely want my partner to think that I’m hot. Because that is what triggers him to be aroused by ME (instead of the hot woman he saw/is fantasizing about, or needs to fantasize about in order to get it up around me). Likewise, I fully expect to find my partner hot, because it means he actually arouses me and that I desire him.

          That does not mean that it has to be my looks that he finds hot. It could be certain things I do, or say, or kinkiness, compatibility in bed, etc.

          It also does not mean that I have to be the hottest person/thing he’s ever seen. Heck, I love porn. And I’ve encountered a bunch of stuff where I found myself saying that’s the hottest thing I’ve ever seen. Yet there is no way, no how I’d ever attempt that in real life.

          If you don’t find your partner hot, it simply means a low level of sexual attraction. A few kids and fights later, good luck keeping your sex life alive.

           

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Sylvana

          To me, hot is something that causes sexual arousal or at least sexual interest, and has nothing to do with looks, really. It’s a matter of how much something turns me on. And I think Noone45 and maybe Emily might be feeling the same.

          Add me to your list!  Hot is about arousal to me.

        4. Emily, the original

          Sylvana,

          Attractive on the other hand is something strictly related to looks. Just because I think someone is attractive or beautiful doesn’t mean I’m in any way attracted to them

          Agreed. And attractive is also very generic. You can find any number of people attractive.

          Well, on previous posts we heard the accusation that women pair up with guys they find only minimally or moderately appealing in order to have a relationship/marriage/kids.  The implication was that the women were using these men, whose attraction was stronger and therefore their interest was genuine. But from this post I think it’s pretty obvious men do it, too.

    2. 10.2
      sylvana

      Marika,

      “You’re hot” feels good for 7 minutes. 

      Yup. The 7 minutes it will take you to get laid. And while you might not see the correlation, ask any husband or wife who hasn’t had sex for years if it hasn’t influenced the quality of their relationship.

      “You’re an amazing person and I can’t imagine life without you” feels good for a lifetime.

      Once again – yes. Makes for a wonderful friend or family member. Does not cause the slightest bit of arousal, though.

      In order to move someone out of the friend zone, you need to find something “hot” about them. Whatever that may be. Being an amazing/wonderful person is obviously not enough. There needs to be a sexual spark, as well. Something you find “hot”.

      1. 10.2.1
        Marika

        Of course there needs to be a spark / sexual arousal. No arguments here. I’m pretty sure I never said to find someone you felt no sexual spark for and to marry them.

        In order to move someone out of the friend zone, you need to find something “hot” about them. Whatever that may be. 

        True. And in order for someone to be a spouse/life partner rather than, say, a friend with benefits, you have to like and respect them and want to spend lots of time with them. I’m trying to find the best combination which will result in an amazing relationship, not a hot one night stand.

        You and I have been down this road before, sylvana. We just see things differently. It’s fine.

  11. 11
    Marika

    Thanks Karl R.

    If you don’t mind me asking another question, you seem to put compatibility above looks – is that a conscious choice or did it come easily to you? Or you learned the value of it through experience? A hot chick didn’t inspire you to want a second date (or even continue the first date) and you thought about ending it with your wife to be (I know she wasn’t at the time) to be with someone less attractive as she seemed more compatible at the time.

    To clarify, I think it’s a good way to be. I’m just wondering if it is in your nature to be that way or you had to work at it.

    I like picking your brains as you have a very logical approach to dating. Which I don’t!

    1. 11.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I have to weigh in here. Karl is saying the exact same thing I’m saying – to his credit. And, honestly, I have no idea why this is so hard to understand.

      He’s not putting compatibility OVER looks. He finds his wife attractive, they presumably have a decent sex life – but that’s the EASY part to find. The HARD part to find is easy compatibility. Which is when you find someone where you have a “7” chemistry and you have a “10” compatibility, you have the recipe for a happy life.

      All this pushback sounds like people saying, “I know I’m a 6, but I want my husband to THINK I’m a 10,” or “Evan’s saying that you have to put compatibility BEFORE chemistry.” Not true. Presuming enough chemistry is there, you can then assess your compatibility. Y’all make it sound like Karl and I had to talk ourselves into having sex with our wives, simply because we’ve both dated (and broken up) with “hotter” women.

      1. 11.1.1
        Marika

        No pushback from me, Evan. If you read my comment I said I think it’s a good way to be.

        I’m happy it’s not hard for you to understand or put into practice. Well done. For some of us it takes a bit longer to completely get there (I get it logically, but sometimes get in my own way or repeat mistakes).

      2. 11.1.2
        sylvana

        When you raise the bar for all couples to find each other “hot” you’re suggesting that people should be delusional, liars or perpetually single.

        How do you NOT have to talk yourself into having sex with someone you don’t find hot?

        If you don’t find your partner hot, that means they’re a zero on your sexual arousal scale. You do not desire them physically. So zero sexual chemistry/physical attraction. That pretty much implies lights out, eyes closed, and a pretty vivid imagination to be able to make yourself have sex with them.

        And how in the world do you get to a 6 or 7 sexual chemistry with a partner you don’t find hot – in other words, a partner who doesn’t turn you on?

        A 6 or 7 implies that you find your partner (or something about them) pretty darn hot/arousing. Or does the scale only go from 5-10?

        And no. The 6 does not want her partner to think she’s a 10. She wants him to think she’s a 6. Not a zero, or 1 or 2 (which not finding your partner hot/arousing implies). Same goes for cute/pretty/beautiful, etc.

        Basically, “you’ll do” is NOT a 6 or 7. It’s a 2 or 3. A 4 at best (and that’s generous, and likely only reached through other qualities).

        I see a lot of confusion about this scale on these posts. To me, zero means no attraction and I can’t have sex with them. 2-4 is ok and doable, but nothing to get exited about. 5 is nice, and the healthy middle. 6-7 very nice. The 8s would be rare occasions. A 9-10, a handful of times in a lifetime, maybe.

        But it almost seems as if the scale starts at 5. Meaning anything below that, you are not attracted to at all, and could not have sex with. They basically make you gag. Which doesn’t really make sense.

         

         

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          “You’re either hot or a zero.” This is nuts. I can’t even summon a response.

        2. sylvana

          Evan,

          That’s exactly what I thought. In my book, a 6 or 7 attraction requires one to find the other person pretty hot. Whether they’re objectively hot or not.

          But it appears that you think only 10s (maybe 9s) are actually hot.

          Since you’re the one recommending people to go for a 6 or 7 attraction, but then also state that one would have to be delusional, a liar, or perpetually single to find that hot. With other words, it would be ridiculous to expect a bunch of 6 or 7 attraction couples to find each other hot.

          Once again, I think this very much depends on how one views “hot”.

          To me, hot is strictly sexual. Looks don’t really have much to do with it. A 9 or 10 in looks with a “blah” energy will never be hot. Pretty to look at, but that’s about it. They might cause a twitch in my privates, but no major desire or arousal. A 5 or 6 who exudes sexual energy is totally hot.

          To you and Marika, I think, hot seems to be more about looks.

          On my scale, 5 and up is hot. End of story. As such, I would definitely consider a 6 or 7 partner hot.

          On your scale, it seems that a 6 or 7 is something (not sure what), but should not expect to be considered hot.

      3. 11.1.3
        Marika

        Evan said (in reply to Sparkling):

         This is what was implied by you and Marika to both Karl and I.

        With respect, that’s not at all what I said, or implied. You’ve completely misread or misunderstood my comments. Please stop including me as someone pushing back. I’m not. At all.

    2. 11.2
      Karl R

      Marika asked:

      “you seem to put compatibility above looks – is that a conscious choice or did it come easily to you?”

      Compatibility is harder to find than looks.  And once you get past the first date or so, it’s a lot more indicative of how long the relationship is going to last.

       

      Attractiveness has to hit a certain minimum.  But once it crosses that threshold (where I’m sexually attracted to her), extra attractiveness doesn’t enhance a relationship as much as additional compatibility.

       

      Marika asked:

      “Or you learned the value of it through experience?”

      Even before I was dating, I realized that there were lots of attractive girls in this world whom were unpleasant to be around.

      Even after I got out out of my teens (and people stopped being as unpleasant to each other), I still didn’t necessarily have much in common with most attractive women.

       

      Marika said:

      “I think it’s a good way to be. I’m just wondering if it is in your nature to be that way or you had to work at it.”

      There were certain things that I worked at, which gradually made a difference.  First, I realized that it was possible to find more women attractive than I did previously.  The easiest way to do this is to focus on the woman’s most attractive features, rather than her flaws.  (The same trick works regardless of your sex and orientation.)

      It was harder to teach myself to find more women compatible than I had previously.  I’ve always been rather picky about intelligence.  I’ve generally tried to date women in about the top 10% intelligence-wise, which rather limited my dating pool.

      The woman has to be intelligent enough that I respect her opinions.  (Just like she has to be attractive enough that I want to have sex with her.)  But she doesn’t have to be intelligent enough to understand the details of what I do at work.

       

      It was far easier to broaden the pool of women I found sufficiently attractive than to broaden the pool of women I found sufficiently intelligent.  But I consciously worked at both of those.

       

      But for having a quality relationship, the most critical thing was how easy it is to get along with the woman.  If I live with a woman, she has the opportunity to piss me off every single day (and vice versa).  In addition, it’s also possible to feel like I’m on eggshells every minute of every day.  I really want to avoid those issues (due to past experience).

       

      My wife is my roommate.  She’s my closest friend.  She’s my closest family.  She’s my sex partner.  She’s my confidant.  She’s my travel buddy … and that’s about the frequency that those circumstances occur (from most to least frequent).

      That’s something a lot of people overlook when they’re seeking a girlfriend or boyfriend.

      1. 11.2.2
        Marika

        Really appreciate your thoughtful and detailed response. Thanks Karl L 🙂

  12. 12
    S.

    To me sexual attraction is looks, compatibility, and this harder to define thing called chemistry. Not physical chemistry but also emotional/mental.

    The sexual part is the physical arousal.  Physical arousal = attraction.  Yes/no?

    People seem to be saying something different.  When you are sexually aroused you are attracted. I thought that was basic attraction. Not everyone needs the bells and whistles I added in the first sentence but I thought arousal was a key part of attraction.  So if you’re having sex, you’re attracted.  Otherwise, what are you feeling that is not attraction?

    Now, rarely (well, rarely for women), you can orgasm with someone you find repulsive.  But why would you want to for years at a time?  Kinda makes my skin crawl.  I can’t say I would never, but only if I felt very, very, very sorry for someone.  And even then I can’t imagine it would be a repeatable event.  Or even all that pleasant with me stifling full body shudders at every move.

    I really don’t understand it.  And the things that make a person a zero to me would be like poor hygiene, just all the opposite things I like physically.  It would be like sex with someone whose smell or juices really revolt you, like make you wanna hurl.  Just . . . why?

  13. 13
    Marika

    Noone45 said:

    Again, the majority of people on this planet do not make that kind of distinction.  They do not use language in that way. You have this habit of assuming everyone lives the same way you do and it’s not even close to ok.

    I love how you tell me I have a habit of assuming everyone lives the way I do while also saying that ‘the majority of people on this planet’ do x. How do you know? Have you asked the majority of people on the planet how they categorise hot v’s attractive? No. You’re assuming based on your experience. While at the same time telling me that to assume anything based on my experience is ‘not even close to ok’.

    I get it, your life isn’t good. You’ve mentioned that multiple times. But don’t take your frustration out on me. I’m sure there’s a better outlet.

    1. 13.1
      Noone45

      Nope, I’m assuming based on the fact the OECD states the average reading level in the US is at the 8th grade level. It’s slightly higher for Europeans, but it’s not college level. Most of the planet is barely literate.

      You called me cynical. Don’t expect to call people things and not get pushback.

      1. 13.1.1
        Marika

        Didn’t mean to insult you, Noone45. Honestly. My apologies.

  14. 14
    Marika

    Emily 

    At the risk of being reprimanded by Noone45, I think the word ‘hot’ is what muddies the waters here. IMHO. I can easily see a very happily, long married couple using words like beautiful or handsome to describe each other. Hot: no. As in ‘hotness’ kept us together through thick and thin. Beauty is broader and more all encompassing.

    In my opinion. I could be wrong, of course.

    And Emily, babe, I’m sure you’re hot stuff 😉

    1. 14.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      IMHO. I can easily see a very happily, long married couple using words like beautiful or handsome to describe each other. Hot: no. As in ‘hotness’ kept us together through thick and thin. Beauty is broader and more all encompassing.

      You’re getting caught up in semantics. Beautiful, handsome, hot, sexy mf! Whatever word you want to use. Hot as in “I look at you and want to do you.” Of course, there should be much more going on in the relationship. I’m not implying this holds the relationship together. Its only only one aspect. But …. “you pass my attractiveness threshold”? Wow. Let me drop my panties for that.  🙂

      1. 14.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Jesus, Emily: these are not words to be uttered out loud. These are private thoughts. Yes, “he has to pass your attractiveness threshold,” but there’s no reason to say it. At the same time, these semantics matter, because if an average woman demanded that her partner call her “hot” even when he doesn’t mean it (and even when he’s perfectly happy with her looks and their sex life) THEN we have a real problem.

        1. sylvana

          Haha. As if you needed to actually say it. The person you’re with can tell. It’s not something you can hide.

          Everything from your actions, your energy, to physical signs, etc. will clearly paint the picture of your level of attraction or arousal, or how turned on you are by the other person (how hot you find him/her).

          Actually, what a man (or woman) SAYS doesn’t matter one bit. How he (she) responds is what matters. Physical signs (in parts other than the obvious) are indisputable, and are ultimately what your partner picks up.

          I make a darn good living out of men’s arousal. And I wouldn’t have near the success if I didn’t make adjustments based on their non-verbal responses.

          if an average woman demanded that her partner call her “hot” even when he doesn’t mean it

          Wow. Just wow.

          And men wonder why they end up in sexless marriages.

          I guess that average woman should also count herself lucky she’s getting laid at all. Thank god for all the hot chicks getting her man in the mood.

          Gee, after so many years of feeling like an acceptable vessel for him to sate himself with, I can’t blame a woman for losing interest. Particularly, considering that her own chances of finding release are way higher if she does it herself.

          There is a huge difference between “I’m turned on, you’ll do”, and “YOU’RE turning me on (aka: you’re hot – at least to me). And if you men think that difference doesn’t clearly show, you’re mistaking.

          And I don’t know why you’re so hung up on that whole “women demand their men to tell them they’re 10s, or demand their men to think they’re the hottest, most beautiful, etc.”

          There was nothing in Emily’s or SE’s responses that even came near stating anything like that.

          All they said was that they want to be able to turn their partners on. Instead of being the one he sates himself with whenever he is turned on for whatever reason (unrelated to her).

           

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          I’m out of this thread. Way too many misunderstandings to continue the conversation.

      2. 14.1.2
        Shaukat

         ‘He doesn’t look at her and think, “Wowsa.” ‘

        No offense Emily, but if you’re still using that metric as the standard for acceptable chemistry, you just might still be single in your sixties.

        1. sylvana

          Hmmm..single, or being an available body for him to reach orgasm with.

          I think she’ll be just fine single. She doesn’t strike me as desperate.

        2. Emily, the original

          Sylvana,

          I think she’ll be just fine single. She doesn’t strike me as desperate.

          I had a male friend  get mad at me when I said that, if you don’t like the choices, you choose nothing. To him, if you had a choice, any choice, you picked it. If you were lucky enough to have more than one choice, you picked the best one. But you never not picked anything.  (And my “choice” wasn’t to turn him down (he was married) and it wasn’t a reflection on what he’d picked in his life. So I don’t know why what I said offended him but it obviously struck a chord. )

        3. sylvana

          Emily,

          good for you.

          I think some men are under the impression that all women are desperate to be in a relationship. And therefore should be willing to accept whomever is willing to make the sacrifice, and willing to “pay” a man for companionship with sex.

          I found that, in general, men do not like it when we meet them on their own terms: Perfectly fine staying single, unless someone special enough comes along, willing and able to have sex without emotional attachment, and insisting that chemistry/sexual attraction are important to us. Not to even mention looks. That’s the quickest way to anger a man.

        4. shaukat

          @Sylvana

          I think some men are under the impression that all women are desperate to be in a relationship. And therefore should be willing to accept whomever is willing to make the sacrifice, and willing to “pay” a man for companionship with sex.

          You have a bad habit of drawing completely false inferences from people’s statements. I didn’t say or even imply anything like the above. I was simply pointing out that if you set the standard for chemistry or attraction too high, you risk being single-and btw, men are guilty of this as well. Plus, my post needs to be situated in the broader context of Emily’s comment history–she has stated that she finds something like 95% of men unattractive.

          Finally, I think it’s great if as a woman you can have sex without emotional attachment–in fact, the notion that women can’t do this, which is circulated too often on this blog imo, is largely a myth.

        5. Emily, the original

          Sylvana,

          I found that, in general, men do not like it when we meet them on their own terms: Perfectly fine staying single, unless someone special enough comes along, willing and able to have sex without emotional attachment, and insisting that chemistry/sexual attraction are important to us. Not to even mention looks. That’s the quickest way to anger a man.

          I had another male friend who seemed to take it personally when I said no to someone for a second date. (And he himself wasn’t hurting for dates. He had women all over the place.)

        6. sylvana

          Shaukat,

          my second comment was directed toward Emily, and the man she was talking about. I wasn’t directed it at you 🙂

          I was simply pointing out that if you set the standard for chemistry or attraction too high, you risk being single

          I absolutely agree. Maybe if you would have stated it this way the first time around, you wouldn’t have sent Emily and me into a rant…lol

          Fact is, many men try to hold “or you won’t be in a relationship” over our heads like a threat. We can either cave or – lord forbid – end up single *gasp*.

          I’m pretty sure Emily’s “wowsa” was referring to probably about a 7 or 8 chemistry. It just means that we really want to have sex with them.

          In a relationship, who in the world would want to have sex with someone they’re just ok about? (Unless you’re desperate). That chemistry implies way more than just looks. A big part of it is sexual compatibility.

          If I’m going to be stuck in a relationship with just one man, our sexual compatibility better be rather high. Otherwise, he’d better be ok with keeping our relationship open.

          Finally, I think it’s great if as a woman you can have sex without emotional attachment

          I think this blog caters mostly to women from countries (like the US), that are overall rather “prude” (for a lack of better term) when it comes to sex. Or have stricter, cultural guidelines.

          How a woman feels about separating sex and emotions has mostly to do with upbringing, social programming, and how willing she is to go against social “norms”. The rest boils down to sex drive.

          But I have to agree that sometimes this blog makes me wonder whether I’m reading something written in 16-18th century England 🙂

        7. Marika

          Don’t think you can just casually drop in here that you’re seeing someone, Shaukat!

          How’s it going? Tell us more, tell us more.

      3. 14.1.3
        shaukat

        @Emily,

        You bring this up if not every week, every other week. It obviously bothers you.

        Yeah, I don’t even think I post that frequently on a regular basis in general. I ‘bring it up’ when I feel someone says something on the topic that’s false–the same way you constantly push back on the idea of leagues, the notion that looks matter, or the claim that a woman’s SMV declines with age.

        You know who women often end up going home with if they’re down for casual sex? The guy who asked. Or the guy standing next to them, etc.

        Agree, it’s often a matter of convenience and sexual availability; however, he still has to meet her looks threshold. It’s not simply a matter of asking, it’s delusional to think that.

        1. Emily, the original

          Shaukat,
          “the same way you constantly push back on the idea of leagues, the notion that looks matter, or the claim that a woman’s SMV declines with age.”
          Fair enough. I’ll stop doing that. I don’t want to be a poster with “go-to topics.”
          “however, he still has to meet her looks threshold.”
          Not necessarily. I had a casual hookup a few years back with a man just to make his friend jealous. I didn’t find him appealing at all. In fact, he borderline skeeved me out. It was a stupid idea on my part, of course, but casual hookups are often about internal motivations the other party is completely unaware of.

    2. 14.2
      sylvana

      I’ve often watched my grandfather give my grandmother a steamy look and wink, and state that she still is, and always will be the hottest, most beautiful woman around.

      I’ve heard my father make the hot comment about my mother a few (too many ..lol) times in my life.

      I’ve actually known and met quite a few couples in their 70s or older, who’ll openly tell you they still find their partners “hot”. As a matter of fact, most couples I know that have been together a lifetime have shown a good amount of sexual attraction in addition to a deep, deep bond.

      To them, it simply means that – on top of sticking together through thick and thin – they still had “the hots” for their partners. Even all those years later.  They still have that sexy spark. Which I think is wonderful.

       

      1. 14.2.1
        Gab

        Again I’m on the same page as you. I see it with my dad towards my mother who is in her 60s. And I wholeheartedly agree that noone needs to utter the words, “you’re so hot”. It’s all in the way he looks at you, touches you in and out of bed, kisses you and so on. Thank god for hotness.

        1. sylvana

          Gab,

          I think I like you lol.

          Absolutely agree!

  15. 15
    Tron Swanson

    I don’t understand how anyone can have sex with someone they aren’t attracted to. For that matter, why would you want to be around them at all? Look, for reasons both beyond my control and within my control, my options are limited…but I’d still never settle in that way, and I can’t understand why anyone else would. Are people really that desperate?

    Also, I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced this “compatibility” that people are talking about. Chemistry, yes, compatibility, no. There have been a few times when I’ve actually felt like I had a thing or two in common with a woman, in terms of personality…but we always ended up being too different. As nice as that would be, it’s probably too much to ask for. I’m just hoping to find a series of attractive, in-my-league women that I can stand to be around.

    1. 15.1
      No Name To Give

      Tron, this make come as a surprise to you, but we are around people all the time we aren’t attracted to. They’re known as family, friends, and acquaintances. Of course if you’re only looking to see what people can give you instead of what you can give them, your question makes sense.

      1. 15.1.1
        Tron Swanson

        NNTG,

        That double-standard has always bothered me. You’re acting like I’m just out for myself, but sex is a two-way street. Yes, I want to have great sex with women…but I want them to enjoy it, as well. Please don’t act like it’s something that only men benefit from. Also, if you don’t think I want to give women anything, you may need a refresher course on male anatomy.

        1. No Name To Give

          Anyone can give a gal his “package”, Tron. I’m not impressed.

        2. Tron Swanson

          You speak of it in a very easy-to-get way. It must be nice, being able to take sexual access for granted…

        3. shaukat

          You speak of it in a very easy-to-get way. It must be nice, being able to take sexual access for granted…

          Except women aren’t men Tron–most of them don’t view the ability to get sex effortlessly with randoes as an advantage. You don’t seem to fully understand that.

        4. AdaGrace

          Shaukat:

          Except women aren’t men Tron–most of them don’t view the ability to get sex effortlessly with randoes as an advantage.

          Yup.  @Tron Assuming you’re a straight man, imagine you can have all the sex you want, but only with other men… and imagine that people insist that you’re lucky to have easy access to sex and shouldn’t complain that you can’t find a women who will sleep with you.  If a guy has good technique you might get off despite your orientation, but how “lucky” would you actually feel?

        5. No Name To Give

          You would be incorrect. I’m neither dating nor seeking out sex. I’m quite the loner, actually. But just because you can get it on, doesn’t mean you possess some sort of magical gift.

        6. Tron Swanson

          shaukat,

          I understand that just fine, thanks. Whether or not they view it as an advantage, however, it still is one. And, AdaGrace, you don’t need to give me a tortured, convoluted analogy, because I’m already experiencing the mirror-image of this.

          Just as women are inundated with offers of sex, men are inundated with offers of commitment. I am, anyway. If I wanted to be in a committed relationship with a woman, it’d be extremely easy to pull off, as I’m surrounded by women that are loudly signaling their desire for commitment. I can’t tell you how many single moms have tried to get me to be their live-in boyfriends. I’m employed, I’m not paying alimony or child-support, I don’t have destructive personal habits…apparently, this puts me well ahead of the other men they have to choose from.

          So, yes, I understand that women can basically take sex for granted, but still not be happy about it…because I’m in a position where I can take commitment for granted, even though “commitment” isn’t something I’m interested in. It’s sad that both genders are being offered the thing they aren’t as interested in…

        7. Evan Marc Katz

          That’s what makes love and commitment special – because it’s not easy to find – but it’s the best thing in the world when you do.

        8. sylvana

          Tron,

          honey, we’ve discusses this before. No ALL women are inundated with offers for sex. Only HOT and BEAUTIFUL women.

          The rest have the same, exact option that EVERY man has:

          Have sex with an objectively unattractive partner.

          And yes, even men can have all the sex they want, with partner of equal quality as all those women would have that you are referring to.

        9. Shaukat

          @sylvana

          You’re wrong in this point actually. It’s much easier for an average chick to get casual sex from an average guy than vice versa. Run your own online experiment if you don’t believe it.

        10. AdaGrace

          @Tron Heh, fair enough — with one particular friend of mine, I actually had to pull out that analogy before he finally got it for real 🙂  (fwiw, I lurk a lot more than post and occasionally feel inclined to mention that I’ve never seen your desire to avoid combining a committed relationship with your sex as inherently wrong or bad; as you know, not a good choice for me or most other women, but since you’re straightforward about your intentions with your partners from the start and it seems to make you happy, I don’t see why anyone should have a problem with it.)

          I don’t understand how anyone can have sex with someone they aren’t attracted to. For that matter, why would you want to be around them at all? Look, for reasons both beyond my control and within my control, my options are limited…but I’d still never settle in that way, and I can’t understand why anyone else would. Are people really that desperate?

          I’m happy to explain how this works for me (although perhaps you already understand this intellectually, you probably e get it emotionally)

          I usually go years between relationships but when I like a guy, and vice versa, we tend to be VERY compatible/bonded — not the same thing as “codependent”, BTW — and I quickly lose interest if we don’t function well as true teammates/collaborators.  I have a very healthy libido, but most of my peak experiences have been achieved during collaboration and NOT through sex — the intellectual/collaborative thing actually brings me a far greater chemical rush.  We don’t need to be *quite* as highly functioning as collaborators if we’re physically compatible (for me, largely a matter of his scent and how the guy’s body feels against mine, nearly zero to do with how he looks) but if there aren’t signs we can form a good working relationship, my interest in a guy that feels and smells “perfect” is zero.  Similarly, an amazing collaborator I’m physically repulsed by holds zero appeal, but as long as he smells/feels “good enough” (i.e. neutral) the intellectual bond is what matters.

          For instance: I had zero physical pull toward my ex-husband and despite him being physically into me, and his libido was far lower than mine — however, we had similar goals, similar backgrounds, communicate well, and turned out to be amazing collaborators, so as long as we could work together and have sex occasionally (even though the sex itself was meh), the marriage felt fantastic overall…. he’s a mostly-alpha extrovert who gave me sufficient alone time but was usually available when I needed him to be… he was delighted by the fact that I’m a smarter than him (at least on paper) and have much better pattern recognition skills; he adored the fact that I truly appreciated the many gifts he has that I don’t.  We had enough common interests to spend time enjoying them together, but not so many that we couldn’t teach each other anything or felt unhealthily joined at the hip.  We were incredibly supportive of each other’s career goals, well-being, and extremely willing to compromise to achieve a win for the team.  Absolutely amazing while it lasted.

          However, once we stopped working together and he had some unpleasant midlife personality changes around the same time (about 11 years in), the lack of a decent sex life, coupled with increased anger and defensiveness in the way he acted toward me, eventually broke us up. Had there been anything resembling a real sexual bond between us I think we *might* have managed to limp through his mood/midlife stuff without divorcing and would have discovered other ways for us to be in sync/feel like a team.  Once he got a grip a year or two after our split we developed a solid friendship and at one point did a postmortem on the relationship; his opinion of “why it didn’t work” is nearly identical to mine (during that discussion he finally gave me the apology I’d long ago let go of needing or ever hearing — still appreciated it, though)

          While there were definitely tradeoffs to the relationship, neither of us felt as if we’d settled and we’re both glad to have spent that part of our lives together.  However, since the divorce, neither of us have been up for relationships that rely quite THAT heavily on an intellectual/collaborative bond to work since we’ve both seen how badly that can go wrong.  However, our relationship truly wasn’t the result of anyone being desperate or materialistic; we both had lots of other options at the time, felt overall very happy during most of our time together, and while I wouldn’t go there again, I’m absolutely NOT sorry I picked him… IMO my life has been far richer as a result.

        11. Emily, the original

          Shaukat,

          It’s much easier for an average chick to get casual sex from an average guy than vice versa.  Run your own online experiment if you don’t believe it.

          OMG, then meet up OFFLINE! Get creative. I can assure you that people of all levels of attractiveness are hooking up EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

        12. shaukat

          OMG, then meet up OFFLINE! Get creative. I can assure you that people of all levels of attractiveness are hooking up EVERY.

          Been dating someone for awhile Emily (from online), I just don’t discuss it here because it’s irrelevant to the issues.

          Also, online/offline, makes no difference when it comes to causal sex, men usually have to ‘date down’ as YAG says if they want to get it in abundance-not me though, not my style.

          Also I wasn’t even complaining about this fact–see my comment to Tron above.

           

        13. Tron Swanson

          sylvana,

          First of all, wow, I can’t remember the last time a woman called me “honey” or anything similar. My FWBs aren’t formal, exactly, but they seem to save “sweetie” and “hon” and the like for men they’re in a relationship with.

          Anyway, speaking of women I know–whether they’re FWBs or not, they all have one thing in common. They complain about men constantly offering to have sex with them. Online, offline, you name it. Even the less-attractive women I know have this “problem”. So, with all due respect, I don’t think that it’s only the hotter women that experience this phenomenon.

        14. sylvana

          Tron,

          it’s a southern thing. We honey, darling, dear everyone we don’t particularly hate.

          The biggest reason you hear women complain is because men are still the majority of initiators of sex. Online dating certainly makes it worse.

          But just because women, in general, aren’t as aggressive as men when it comes to seeking sex, doesn’t mean they aren’t willing.

          They’re also complaining because it’s men they’re not interested in doing the “offering”.

          The complaint is often more about the quality of partner or lack of finesse, rather than the offer itself.

          And a lot of women are looking for relationships, but are offered “only” sex.

          But if you spend some time around average or not so attractive, sexually aggressive women, you’ll quickly see that they’re not anywhere near as successful as you might think – even with average or not so attractive looking men.

          I agree with Emily. Online dating might distort reality a bit.  Especially, since a lot of women are actually on those sites to DATE, not to hook up. You’d get a much more realistic idea if you were looking on the sex-only sites. Or stick to just offline.

        15. Emily, the original

          Shaukat,
          Also, online/offline, makes no difference when it comes to causal sex, men usually have to ‘date down’ as YAG says if they want to get it in abundance-not me though, not my style.
          You know who women often end up going home with if they’re down for casual sex? The guy who asked. Or the guy standing next to them, etc. The choice is often a matter of convenience (though every blue moon you get lucky and it’s someone you’ve been sweating). Anyway, it’s just for a few hours.
          Also I wasn’t even complaining about this fact–see my comment to Tron above.
          You bring this up if not every week, every other week. It obviously bothers you.

      2. 15.1.2
        sylvana

        I think by “being around” people we aren’t attracted to, Tron meant relationship or pretend-relationship wise. Not family or friends.

  16. 16
    No Name To Give

    I don’t need a man to think I’m the hottest thing he’s ever seen because I already know I’m not and that would seem disingenuous to me. Sure there are things I can do to be “more attractive” but they’re things most folks would do, like dress in a flattering outfit, put on some pretty but soft make up, and do the same with my hair. Even so, that won’t make me “hot”. I’m inclined to think of a man finds me “hot” it’s his hormones talking and he’s not really interested in me as a person. I have female friends that I think men would, at the very least, find them significantly better looking than me. I’m ok with that because I know who I am and I’m comfortable in my own skin. I can’t take ownership of someone’s tastes and preferences. If I don’t meet that, it’s not my problem.

  17. 17
    Sandra

    S. So Evan’s friend was trying to be inoffensive, even to Evan.  And he really means she’s ugly to him.  He can sleep with her but doesn’t want to look at her for the rest of his life.  He didn’t say that.  But you think he meant that? He’ll sleep with her and all the rest (Evan’s friend, not letter writer’s boyfriend but maybe him too), but he doesn’t want to look at her.

    I do not even know what you are talking about.  I specifically mentioned the LW/OP’s boyfriend was likely seeking a BBD. The word “attractive” is inoffensive because it does not mean anything.  He did not want to say ” I want someone who is hotter and brings me more status.”  Just saying “I’m not attracted” was seemingly more diplomatic.

    I have not idea about Evan’s friend. He has issues, I guess.

    1. 17.1
      S.

      @Sandra

      I do not know what a BDD is.

      Maybe it’s getting caught up in what the word attractive means.  You think he was just using a euphemism. Others think it means hotness. I thought it had to do with his ability to have sex with her, that he was really disgusted by her.  He didn’t want to take photos or their children to look like her.   That seemed less like a status thing to me but a disgust thing, but hey, that’s my opinion.

      I really took both men quite literally.  And I think both men have issues.  But I learned something about language today.  One word can mean different things to many people.  And that even in a relationship people don’t say what they really mean.

      1. 17.1.1
        Sandra

        I meant to type BBD, which means Bigger Better Deal.  Sorry for my typo.

        I assume he did not want to take photos with her because he did not want them posted all over social media, impeding his chances of finding his BBD.  Who knows.

  18. 18
    G

    This is something that women could learn – men are interested in sex with women that we don’t think are “hot” enough (in their eyes, at least) for a commitment, as long as they are not repulsive to us.

    As a man, I’ve struggled with it, and felt ashamed of myself and confused. That said, I’ve always made an effort to not lead anyone on, and although I don’t give exact reasons, I make it clear that a commitment won’t come of this, but that sex can continue.

    My reasons? I have a high sex drive, and women that I deem attractive enough (I feel like a jerk just writing that, ugh), aren’t always available to me, so I make do with what I can.

    But hey – I just turned 34 and have been single for over 7 years. Maybe this is my problem. It just seems so dishonest to seriously date a woman who thinks I’m really attracted to her, when I’m not. Like, I lose sleep at night.

    I’m sorry if that hurts anyone, but I really related to this guy in what he’s struggling with. That said – HE IS A JERK FOR LEADING HER ON FOR SO LONG. I would never do that.

    Best of luck to everyone.

    1. 18.1
      No Name To Give

      Better you should be honest than string anyone along. That having been said, that’s another reason why a wise woman waits.

    2. 18.2
      sylvana

      G

      I think you’re handling it perfectly. As long as you don’t lie about it, there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing. Quite the opposite.

      When it comes to sex, most women with high sex drives (and no need for emotional connection) really do not care about looks or attractive either. Willingness and ability to perform is all that matters.

      Would we ever date any of those guys or want to be intimate with them? Heck no…haha

      1. 18.2.1
        G

        Thanks for the reply, Sylvana! I knew some people could relate. I’ve seen it in real life many times with lots of people, so I was confused when others in the comments couldn’t understand. It’s not the nicest thing about being human, but it’s the truth. Sex is a need, and if we held out for only the hottest, we’d barely ever get it. That’s just realistic.

        I’ve looked over your other comments, and I see that you also have a 1-10 scale for attraction. Mine is calibrated a little differently, so I thought I’d share it with you.

        0-4 – Different degrees of repulsion. No go zone. These can be lovely people and great friends, but I don’t want to be sexual with them. I’d rather just go solo.

        5 – Neutral. I can have sex, but I’m not stoked on it.

        6 – A little bit attractive. I’m happy to enjoy their company and have casual sex, but as much as I’ve tried with some of the cooler women, I can’t commit. Other guys can though – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My 6 can be someone else’s 7+.

        7 – Attractive: I’m excited to have sex and will work for it, and combined with compatibility, I can commit and be satisfied. This is where my two long term relationships were, and I was happy. They ended due to being young and life transitions.

        8 – Hot: More attractive than necessary, but I’m not going to say no! This is where you can get the “blinders” though, and stay with someone who isn’t good for you. That said, combined with right personality, heck yes! Hard to find, and I’m not holding out for it.

        9 – Insanely, movie star hot. I’ve met literally one of these women in real life in my 34 years. She was a small time actress. We dated for a month, and she treated me terribly. I’m sure there are some great ones, but I haven’t met one.

        10 – A very personal thing. In the eye of the beholder. Usually an 8 or 9 with something about them that’s just your type.

        Whenever Evan suggests “a 7/10 chemistry with 10/10 compatibility”, I think he’s totally right. Those have been my best relationships.

        That said, a 6/10 chemistry just doesn’t cut it. I’ve tried, and I just feel like I’m living a lie.

        Not sure if people are interested, but that’s the scale my engineer brain has devised to guide me.

        Cheers to finding what you’re looking for.

        G

         

        1. sylvana

          G,

          I’m sure a few people here can relate to you. Sex and relationships are two very different needs. Therefore the requirements in a partner can be very different.

          There’s nothing really wrong about it, either. And it doesn’t just boil down to looks. Certain attitudes or traits can trigger a high sexual response, but rule out any relationship potential. So you’d definitely have sex with them, but would never consider dating them. I don’t think that’s somehow flawed human behavior, it’s just normal.

          The hard part is finding a person that can meet enough of both needs.

          “No-go zone”. Lol. Love the way you described your scale in general.

          That does seem to go somewhat along the lines of what Evan is referring to,  I think.

          To me, it’s a bit confusing, since it seems the scale truly starts at 5, not at zero. To me, repulsion would be zero attraction at best (if not in the negatives). But certainly not 3 or 4.

          I tend to think of it as scoring in general (I compete in sports a lot). If I don’t execute a move at all (equivalent of no attraction whatsoever), I certainly won’t get a 3 or 4or even 5 score for it. I’d get a zero. If I do get a 4, it’s still not all that, but I at least managed to get it about 40% right.

          Likewise, I think a 10 compatibility is about impossible to achieve. That would pretty much mean that I’d have to be 100% compatible with the other person. I don’t think I have met another person, in general, in my entire life who I was 100% compatible with – other than myself, of course. And even then, me, myself, and I tend to get into arguments from time to time 🙂

          To me, a 5 is mid-range attractive. So I’d be perfectly fine with a 5 chemistry/attraction, and 7 compatibility. That would mean my partner has about 50% of my ideal beauty/hotness standard, and we’re about 70% compatible.

          To you and Evan, it seems like anything below 5 is equal to my zero, since you guys have zero attraction to that person, or might even be repulsed by them. And what I think of as a 3 or 4 is your 5 and 6.

          I think that’s what’s causing some of the confusion. I’m thinking from 0-10, you guys are really thinking from 5-10, since anything under five equals zero attraction or even repulsion.

          Maybe it’s an American vs. European thing? American’s freeze at 32 degrees. We freeze at zero…lol

        2. S.

          @G

          This is actually helpful. I don’t usually like scales and numbers but in this case it was useful.   I thought that Evan’s friend and the LW’s boyfriend thought their girlfriends were in the 0-4 zone.  Which is what baffled the heck outta me.  But I think they think the girlfriends were probably 4-5s on your scale. Or even 6.  They can have sex, but can’t commit.  Fair enough.  Just threw me off when Evan’s friend said zero.  He didn’t actually mean zero. And hey, maybe she’s a 4.5 and he’s willing to stay with that for years.  That I get.

          Thank you.

        3. No Name To Give

          I think more people than you realize have such a scale. The biggest reason I gave up dating is, I have the self-awareness to know that I’m not nearly attractive enough to get whom I’m attracted to. Not necessarily looks, though yeah, that’s part of it. I’m carrying a torch right now for someone who’s above my league. Thing is, I don’t hate being alone enough to change it. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll catch some flak for saying this, but I’m not trying to date above my league or land a guy I’m not entitled to.

        4. Noone45

          Why would you get flack for saying that No Name? One of the biggest issues I find in communicating with others is they simply cannot see beyond their own lived experiences.  They can’t imagine it would be different for others. It’s why I get some much flack. I’m “negative”, etc when I’m just being honest about my life.

          My boat is is the same water as your own.  I don’t want the people that want me. I can’t fix my wandering eye,  I can’t get anymore done to my face to smooth it out, and I certainly won’t give up my son. So that’s it. Nothing to be done. I won’t settle when the people who want me are morbidly obese, uneducated,  stupid, ex cons, drug users,  etc. Its better to be alone. That’s my life. No one’s fault really and I’m not made. I deleted all the apps and stopped for a bit. Better than exercising futility 😂 if others can’t understand,  their problem, not mine.

        5. No Name To Give

          Noone45, we might be surprised where criticism for my comments come from. I should add that I’m not pursuing the man for whom I’m carrying a torch, nor will I. I will just have to wait it out until I forget about him. 

        6. Noone45

          I doubt I’ll be surprised.  I can guess, but I won’t.  The only thing that keeps me here is my kid honestly. I’m sure your life isn’t as hard as mine, but it doesn’t negate what you feel.

          It’s as if others are allowed to have all these negative thoughts about me, but how dare I think them about myself. Makes no sense. Oh well.

        7. No Name To Give

          We all have challenges and struggles and I’m certain that having a special needs child is right up there. Being a single parent is tough enough, but when you add those other challenges, that takes it to a whole new level. For what it’s worth, I commend you for making him your top priority. While I don’t argue that wanting a man in one’s life is a legitimate desire, I’ve seen and heard too many stories of women who weren’t careful who they allowed in and the children ended up paying the price. That having been said, there are also many wonderful men out there who have stepped up and taken on the fatherhood role and been a fantastic addition into those children’s lives. My sister married such a man. But I don’t think you go looking for that man; I think he finds you.

          I cannot judge you for your relationship choices. I expect you feel like you’re running on empty much of the time and maybe that’s how you refill your “tank” as it were. I think you would have little emotional energy to put into a long term relationship or marriage. I do hope you have a good support system in place, though.

          With regard to how we are about not wanting those who want us and wanting those who don’t want us, who knows what the future holds? Maybe we’ll change, maybe we won’t. What am sure of is, we have to learn to be content in our singleness because there are no guarantees that we will meet that special person. I don’t tend to believe in soul mates or star-crossed lovers, but I do think there’s something inside that comes alive when you meet a special person.

        8. Noone45

          I have good family and many friends. Dealing with my son isn’t that difficult,  it’s dealing with the people around me that often drains me. I want to thank you for your words. You’re a very understanding person. I’d pay you for advice 🙂

          It’s hard because honestly,  I’m 36 and it feels like my life is over. I don’t it’s emotional bandwidth that I lack, rather I’m simply tired of taking care of others. I have no choice but to take care of my son as he didn’t ask to be here. But everyone else, I’m so sick of it. Marriage seemed to be me minding an overgrown child. One that would leave beer bottles, dirty  clothes,  trash everywhere. One that refused to help at all yet still demanded everything from me. Toward the end he ran up debts behind my back and cheated whenever he could. I’ve had to sacrifice more than I care to recall. My family helps out too and I’d be screwed without them, but for once, I’d like to be the person who doesn’t have to give up something. I’ve given enough. Yet here I am at blog that is basically “This is your SMV value, accept your fate” lol.

        9. sylvana

          No Name To Give

          you won’t get an argument from me, either. I think being realistic and knowing yourself well are two of the most important things when it comes to dating.

          There’s no use in being in a relationship when you know for a fact that what you can get will not make you happy.

          It’s the same decision I made. Although mine didn’t have to do with looks or leagues, but rather the extremely high impossibility of finding the traits I want in a partner who would also want me.

      2. 18.2.2
        G

        Sylvana,

        I’m quite amused by this thread of ours, so I’m going to have one more go, haha. Thanks for indulging me in this.

        Yes – it would be appear we have our scales calibrated differently. This has been the cause of many engineering catastrophes in history. I’m glad we can hash this out.

        Also – I’m Canadian, and our water freezes at 0 too 🙂 An Italian came up with 32 F thing, haha.

        I like your sports analogy. I studied physics for years and am now an engineer, so I think of it more like a math exam.

        0-4: F – Yeah, you scored some points, but you still failed. Here, a 4 is as good as 2. Both are failing scores. I suppose a 4 is better than a 2, but they are both fails.

        5: Barely passed, but this is a “D”. Not good, but you pass.

        And then onwards the way I described before (6 = C, 7 = B, 8 = A-, 9=A+).

        Does that make sense? I suspect this is close to what Evan has in his head when he talks about chemistry on the 1-10 scale, but I’m not sure. I doubt he would ever spell it out the way we have in his blog posts as it may come off as un-classy, and he’s a classy dude from what I can tell.

        So yeah, when it comes to women I would consider dating, the scale is really 5-10, with at least 7 being the goal. That is a good catch.

        Nothing wrong with your scale. Mine (and I suspect Evan’s) is just a little different.

        Thanks again,

        G

         

         

        1. sylvana

          G,

          apparently, it’s also the cause of a lot of “understanding relationship advice” catastrophes…lol

          Maybe Evan (classy as he is) should post a general idea of the relationship scale and his interpretation thereof, and also define what constitutes “hot” or “beautiful” as he refers to it. That would likely save him a LOT of headaches haha.

          And you’re making me feel old. My brain is actually steaming, trying to remember how our math exams (or any exam) were scored. I don’t think we got scores in Germany. Just the marks/letters (A, B, C, D, etc.) – in the same order as you listed. That’s why I don’t associate numbers with grades.

          But your logic makes sense 🙂 Even if I wouldn’t apply that kind of scale until I’m rating the actual sex.

          And Canadian, huh? Guess my freezing analogy is out (and what were the Italians thinking?). Oh well. If I went by those standards, I’d have to readjust my scale anyway. I’ve lived in South Florida for over 22 years. I start crying if the temperature drops below 65. So 6.5 would be my new zero.

          Still determined to brave it one of these years, though. Top thing on my bucket list is to watch a Hockey game in Canada.

  19. 19
    Roxanne

    I really feel for the OP. Finding out a boyfriend who has shown all kinds of actions that led you to believe that you got something special and substantial think that your unattractive effing sucks and to give the amount of time to a man only to find this out is scary to say the least. I mean what a blow to the ego and does nothing for the self esteem. And let’s face it even if you don’t think or know that your not the most beautiful woman in the world. Most women want to be seen as beautiful in her men’s eyes and I would think men want to feel attractive in their women’s eyes. So finding out that’s not the case Is very hurtful. Now fact is men will sleep with women they don’t find attractive. Hell I have chosen to have sex with a guy multiple times that I did not find attractive at all (face or body) but man we had lots of fun together, he could cook like nobodies business, funny, sweet, doted on me, and he gave the best oral out of all the men I have ever dated. I also went on multiple dates with a guy who I did not find attractive but this guy made me laugh, showed me a good time, and honestly he seemed way more compatible than any other guy I dated. And I felt absolutely horrible about not finding him attractive because he was so great in other areas. Sometimes I still feel guilty and tempted to not give in to being “shallow”. Because the most attractive men in my life turned out so toxic. So sometime people have a hard time trying devalue looks but find that ultimately maybe it’s a bit more important than they would like for it to be. Some people dont think it’s important at all. Some people people can’t do without it. So to play devils advocate I can understand why a man would continue to be with a girlfriend and really enjoy her and feel actually closely bonded to the girl but genuinely don’t find her attractive. He may feel some sort of love towards her because of the bonding! Some people are willing to not let looks be the determining factor of leaving their partner if they are fantastic in other areas especially in comparison to who they have dated in the past. And it seems like this guy did wrestle with this issue. He is bonded may even feel love for her but struggle with not being attracted. At the end of the day if I was the op I would let him go just on the mere fact that i would feel insecure all the time because I know in the back of my mind he finds me unattractive. It’s important to me that my man thinks I’m attractive. Some people don’t need that to be with someone and that doesnt make them wrong. Some people can accept that they don’t think they are attractive and don’t need their spouses to think so either. It’s only wrong if the person needs that. If it’s making you insecure all the time I say not worth it.

  20. 20
    Marika

    Thanks for answering, Sparkling. That is a beautiful story. Appreciate your honesty and openness.

    I was treading lightly in my questioning… given your history with your baby daddy I would’ve imagined you’d be less worried about your partner finding you beautiful and more worried about him wanting you for you and beyond looks and chemistry. But now I can see you have both! Mr Emerald sounds lovely. You must feel very lucky and blessed to have each other 🙂

    …also good for those people hung up on age and height to know that you don’t have to be 29 and 6 foot to find love 😉

    1. 20.1
      SparklingEmerald

      You’re welcome Marika

      I was treading lightly in my questioning… given your history with your baby daddy I would’ve imagined you’d be less worried about your partner finding you beautiful and more worried about him wanting you for you and beyond looks and chemistry.

      Actually, there was a little bit of both !  I did have a fear in the back (ok, maybe not in the back, maybe in the foreground 🙂 ) that the relationship would just fizzle and die.  But I would never know unless I gave it a shot, so I did.

      I will tell you though that “the M word” scared me.  I avoided the subject at first.  He would drop hints and I would change the subject. Or play dumb.  Until one night, I didn’t change the subject or play dumb . . .

       

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