I generally go for personality over appearance, but that’s not what your partner wants to hear when he asks you about his best qualities. My ex was no exception, and I might have stretched the truth when he asked if I thought he was good-looking…
It wasn’t always a lie. I’m not saying I was never attracted to my ex, but somewhere along the way, I admittedly lost that pull towards him. It happened gradually and unpredictably. I still had feelings for him but no longer found him sexually appealing. That sounds bad, but looks weren’t one of my top priorities when I sought out a partner. I valued humor and charm and intelligence far more than appearance, so I ignored my feelings about his looks.
When he asked, I deflected. I’d point out his admirable features or rant about how looks are meaningless. I said anything I could to prevent myself from admitting that I didn’t find him attractive anymore because what else are you supposed to say when your partner asks you flat-out whether you’re into him physically?
I figured it was an acceptable white lie. When someone asks if they look bad, our first instinct as compassionate human beings is to deny it and comfort them, so I continued the white lie whenever the topic came up. Admitting the truth felt like the wrong thing to do because it seemed cruel and naturally, I didn’t want to be an a-hole.
I’ll be honest: he let himself go. He stopped taking care of himself and his appearance reflected it. He got fewer haircuts, gained a lot of weight, wore ill-fitting clothes, and shaved less frequently. It’s not a look I was into, but I cared about him and didn’t press the issue.
He was deeply insecure. Insecurity was something he struggled with on a daily basis. I didn’t want to add to his lack of confidence by confirming his self-doubt. I felt it would only contribute to his self-loathing and negative body image, which I didn’t want to exacerbate. His insecurity was bad enough without me piling my thoughts on top of it.
He would’ve assumed I’d cheat on him. The relationship was already festering with mistrust—he always asked what I thought of other men and their bodies. If he knew I wasn’t attracted to him, he’d probably think I was on the lookout for hotter people.
I wanted to be supportive. I try my best to make people feel good about themselves regardless of what they look like. I want to build people up and encourage them to be the best versions of themselves they want to be. And I have a firm belief that confidence starts with changes in mindset rather than physical changes. Even though admitting my lack of attraction would’ve been honest, I didn’t think it would be constructive for his mindset.
He always complained but never took action. There were a lot of things he didn’t like about himself that could be changed with effort. The effort may cost time and energy, but so does constant complaining. I listened to these complaints every day and told him these things didn’t determine his worth, but if something about his physical appearance was causing him constant unhappiness, maybe he should have been encouraged to take action instead.
I tried to convince myself looks don’t matter. I thought I was being shallow when I thought about how I wished my partner would try harder to improve his looks. Aren’t we supposed to look past people’s exteriors and only care about their character? The truth is, it’s perfectly OK for us to want our partners to look good. Sure, looks shouldn’t matter too much, but they definitely play at least a minor role in relationships.
It backfired when I lost interest in sex. The sex was always consensual, but I didn’t enjoy it anymore. It felt like a chore used to soothe his insecurities at the expense of my feelings. That was a major mistake. What started out as minor lack of attraction soon turned to revulsion. By the end of the relationship, my skin crawled when he tried to initiate anything.
The state of our relationship definitely played a role. I’ll admit the relationship was tumultuous and unhealthy. I shouldn’t have been dating him in the first place, let alone ignoring my feelings about his looks. My lack of attraction might have been a reflection of my misery all along. I should have come to terms with my feelings and been honest from the beginning. At least now I know not to make this mistake again!
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