Can Dating Someone You’re Not Physically Attracted To Work?

Think back to the first time you met one of your exes for the first time. The chemistry was palpable and immediate. You knew right away that you wanted to rip their clothes off and you’re pretty sure they’re the hottest person you’ve ever seen. That level of attraction is heady and exciting, but what if it doesn’t happen? Can you date someone you’re not physically attracted to, and can that ac

How important is physical attraction in a relationship?

While healthy, happy long-term relationships are successful because they include intimacy on multiple levels, physical attraction is a large part of that. After all, having a sexual connection with another person is the main thing that makes the relationship not just a friendship but a romantic partnership. Having the urge to be physically close to someone is the cornerstone of this type of relationship, so without it, things can become pretty much platonic.

That being said, being physically attracted to someone you’re dating isn’t the be-all and end-all. If you’ve ever dated someone who you had blazing hot sex with but no real connection, you probably remember how quickly things fizzled. You can have all the sexual chemistry in the world, but if that’s all there is, it’s not going to last.

Reasons to give dating someone you’re not physically attracted to a try

  1. You might have amazing chemistry. There are many different types of chemistry — sexual, intellectual, emotional, etc. So, just because the physical isn’t there right away doesn’t mean there’s nothing there. You might be surprised at how much you connect on lots of different levels if you give it a chance. “Chemistry is a really fundamental aspect of romantic compatibility. It’s definitely not something to downplay or ignore,” relationship coach Adam Maynard tells Refinery 29. “But if you don’t feel a spark right away, that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t any potential with that person
  2. Looks fade; what’s inside is what lasts. You already know this is true deep down, even if it does sound a bit corny. You can find the hottest person in the world and they’re still going to be old and wrinkly one day, if they’re lucky. Physical beauty is a bonus, but it’s fleeting at best. However, the type of person you are will never change even as you grow and evolve as a human being. That’s comforting — and it’s what really matters.
  3. There’s no reason not to, really. If you based all of your decisions in life on a single factor, you might miss out on something amazing. It’s not like you’re agreeing to marry the other person. You’re just going on a date with them for a fun night out. There’s minimal commitment involved, other than you showing up. In fact, it’s a good excuse for getting off the couch, leaving the house, and getting to know someone new for once. You don’t have anything to lose.


  1. You’ll learn more about yourself and what you want out of love. Maybe you’ve never even considered dating anyone you weren’t intensely physically attracted to because you thought that was what mattered most. So, switch things up a bit. Going out with someone you’re not feeling in that way might blow your mind. You could discover some unconscious biases. Or, it may be that you realize you really can’t do without that part of a relationship. Either way, it’s a learning experience.
  2. Attraction might develop as you get to know them. Sometimes, the more you get to know someone, the more you realize just how wonderful they are. It’s possible that the more you delve into what makes them who they are, the more attractive they become to you. Attraction is a very nuanced, complex thing. It works in many different ways.
  3. You’ll know you genuinely like them rather than just lusting after them. This is actually a really good thing. If you fall for them, you’ll know that it’s because you really care about them as a person rather than just their appearance. It takes all the superficiality out of the relationship and automatically grounds it in something much more meaningful.
  4. Your typical “type” hasn’t really been working, has it? Let’s be real here. You wouldn’t even be on the dating scene if all of that physical attraction you shared with previous partners resulted in anything long-lasting. When something’s broken, you should fix it. That means switching things up and trying something new. You might be pleasantly surprised.

How long should you give it before breaking things off?

Ultimately, dating someone you’re not physically attracted to is a learning experience that could completely change your view of love. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can rest assured that the lessons you take with you will serve you well in future relationships. That being said, you don’t want to drag things out with someone you know it just isn’t working with. So, how long should you keep things going with this person before ending things?

Give it at least a couple of dates. A single date with someone you’re not into physically isn’t enough to really help you figure out if there’s anything worth exploring further. However, going out two or three times together should give you a solid idea as to whether or not you could be into them.

How to end things with the person you’ve been dating but aren’t physically attracted to

  1. Don’t drag it out. While you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, you also don’t want to waste their time. If it’s clear things just aren’t working for you, the best thing you can do for both of you is to end things now. This not only shows respect and consideration, but it also allows both of you to move on to other, potentially better dating opportunities.
  2. Be honest but avoid giving full details. Thank them for taking the time to get to know you and let them know that you’re grateful for having the same opportunity. Then, tell them that you don’t think you’re quite right for each other and that you don’t want to continue seeing them romantically. However, don’t mention that you don’t find them physically attractive and that’s the reason for your decision. If they ask, you can mention that you don’t feel physical chemistry, but stop short of insulting their appearance.
Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia