By Rachel Puryear
It’s no secret that women considered conventionally beautiful often draw the envy of people of all genders – particularly when it comes to matters of love and romance. But do they really have any better love lives than everyone else, ultimately?
I got a question from someone who is 24 years old, and identifies herself as an “ugly woman”. She’s never had a boyfriend, and said she’s never had anyone interested in her before – and she wants to know if there’s any hope of her finding love.
Here’s what I had to say to her:
First of all, she’s not alone. Lots of people her age and older have limited or no experience with romance. That includes people you would not expect, too.
Having worked previously for a divorce law firm, as well as coached many people with relationship questions; I’ll weigh in with observations about the role of (conventional) attractiveness in forming relationships – and in the quality of relationships, the latter of which usually gets overlooked.
Also; I’ll also discuss the point that while most people do have a preconceived idea of who they’re physically attracted to; for most people, that can be overridden – and I’ll tell you how in a bit.
In the family law practice I worked in for several years, I saw so many women who were stunningly beautiful (conventionally), and who no doubt easily turned a lot of heads out in public. You would have thought, to look at them, that they could easily have anyone they wanted.
But remember the setting in which I met them – they were coming into the office in crisis, because their marriages had gone terribly wrong.
Some of them had been abused, and were married to someone who didn’t view them as actual people. Some of them had alcoholic spouses, or spouses who insisted upon controlling the finances but then constantly spent all the money so that the family was always broke, no matter how hard anyone worked. Some had been living in their cars after being kicked out of the family home, while their husbands moved much younger mistresses into the house. And more.
“Pretty” women have an undeniable advantage in attracting the attention of a lot of men (and others), at least initially.
But that doesn’t mean they necessarily end up any happier in relationships over the long term than anyone else does. If they’re not aware of what genuine affection looks like, they can end up with people who only value their looks, rather than caring about them as a person. When this happens, they can get quickly discarded when their looks inevitably change with age. It’s not so great in the meantime, either.
Most people do have some kind of “type” they prefer, in terms of physical attraction. This type varies from person to person, but most models and celebrities are people who are widely found very attractive amongst the general population. However, cultural and social conditioning can play a strong role in what most people’s “type” tends to look like.
If relationships were all about looks, then only “beautiful” people would find mates. But if you look around you, though, all kinds of people are paired up; and in relationships of hugely varying quality.
Some of the people I know who are the happiest and most satisfied with their relationships – women, men, otherwise – are, at most, ordinary looking people.
So how do people get past the level of physical attraction, in order to form closer relationships?
As discussed previously, forming close relationships is adulthood is challenging. However, there are ways to do it. Such efforts, though, can help find good new romantic relationships, as well as new friendships.
When people are repeatedly placed in situations where they interact with others, have those interactions with the same people on regular occasions, and share in an open and vulnerable manner with others; this builds bonds. Once people build bonds with one another, this starts to override people’s preconceived ideas about what they want – in terms of physical attraction, and otherwise.
For the sake of meeting potential new partners, it’s important to find opportunities and situations to meet many people who could be potential new partners – including people who are available, and appropriate (in terms of age, having things in common, and so forth). The kinds of meeting-people situations people should pursue depend on their interests, values, and desired lifestyles.
For the young woman who wrote me the question – as well as others who might relate to her – don’t despair.
I don’t know what you actually look like, but it doesn’t really matter anyway. Your situation is probably due to a lack of situations where you’re regularly having a chance to bond with compatible partners, more than anything else.
Relationships formed when you’re a little older and more established in life tend to be more successful, anyway. Think about what you want, and how you want to live your life. This will give you the best insight in terms of how to go about meeting others, and putting yourself in situations with the potential to build bonds.
Also, just because you don’t think anyone’s ever liked you doesn’t mean that’s true. Maybe they didn’t want to make a move, or maybe you didn’t pick up cues because you strongly believe that you’re undesirable. This is an area of life where you can – perhaps with some practice – fake it until you make it. Telling yourself you are desirable, even if it’s hard to believe at first, can help more than you might think.
There are plenty of good potential partners out there for you, and people who would love to be with you. Now, it’s just on you to do the work of finding and meeting them.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to loving, and being loved, based on genuine connection. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo