Episode 15 - Attraction
“Yeah, she is cute enough!”
Hey everybody, welcome to episode 15 of BWBL! Today I really wanted us to talk about the topic of attraction. And I will tell you guys why it has been on my mind a little bit more these days, it is kind of funny!
I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but when I do, I get sucked into some shows. I’m probably like the rest of you. The one of the shows that I get sucked into is the reality show Married at First Sight. I haven’t watched all the seasons, maybe like half of them I have watched. I just find it hilarious and kind of fascinating, human behavior, and that kind of thing. And since I have been married, I get Jake sucked into it as well. So, we have been watching the most recent season, and yeah, it never ceases to amaze me the importance that individuals put on physical attraction. Especially knowing you are going on a show and getting married to someone before you meet them at the altar.
It is kind of interesting, and I am sure, that some of that is just for good TV. But I also see it with clients a lot, and I can remember that with my own dating experiences that what this felt like, and negative experiences myself. I thought I would talk about that.
So, fortunately, Jake and I were pretty lucky in the sense that we both had similar views on attraction. I can’t remember if I told you guys this or not, Jake and I met on eHarmony. And we will both say that we were not blown away by each other's profile, it was more so, is this someone I would like to meet up with and just check him out, see what he’s like. “Sure”. And I think he felt the same about me, “Yeah she is cute enough, and looks ok.” LOL By looks “ok” I mean the rest of my profile.
So, not that we weren’t attracted to each other, it just wasn’t this mind blowing experience of “Oh, he’s so hot, or she’s so hot” or whatever, but certainly after dating and now being married, our attraction continues to grow for each other, physical attraction for each other continues to grow. Which is actually consistent with what research says anyway? I am really lucky there, and I will also mention that I have negative experiences in the past. Ya know, I definitely have had negative experiences. I dated someone who told me that they were not attracted to me physically. Almost at the time, I was kind of amused by it, like “Ok, why is this person saying that.” And the majorly subtle ways and of course eventually that relationship DID NOT work out.
But, by the time I dated a bit more I became more selective and pickier with what I was looking for in an individual in terms of how they viewed different things. I wanted someone who was first of all that they did find me physically attractive but wasn’t using societal standards for that. You know, if you have been in that position where you have been told something ugly or negative by your partner, or previous partner. I am so sorry! I have been there, and I know exactly what that feels like. And I want to tell you that I don’t really care what you look like, it is not about you sister! It is all about them and what they are struggling with. Especially when they have said something negative to you.
In my own practice, I don’t really notice this too much in a lot of my married clients. Perhaps their partners have made negative comments or implications to them or it is not like a direct statement. It could be that they are looking at someone at a restaurant and say, I could never be with someone who looks like that. And of course, we can kind of internalize that and say, “Oh, gosh, I can’t really look that way, or I can’t let X, Y and Z happen.” Heaven forbid we age and get wrinkles and grey hair! Actually, I can’t talk about grey hairs because I dye my hair HAHA. I digress. Maybe talking more about things weight and shape.
But where I do see it most is with a lot of my clients who are still dating. This is sometimes a primary topic when they come in and talk during therapy. They are usually in their 20’s- early 30’s and man I feel for them! Physical attraction is still highly prioritized in the dating scene in a negative way. “This person needs to look like this, or that.” I had a couple friends a couple years ago and they still had a “List” of qualities that they were looking for in a partner. One of my friends even had a certain eye color and certain height requirement. You know, some of these things I am going “Oh my gosh” we need to look at this!
It is totally fine to have preferences, but whenever we allow physical attraction to be something that hinders our ability to even consider getting to know somebody who potentially has the internal qualities that we really look for in a partner; that is when it becomes problematic.
I have also seen it maybe in the opposite way in a sense. We can attribute a lot of unrealistic things to people who are physically attractive according to societal standards. So, the beauty ideal kind of shifts over the years, so I just mean the current beauty ideal now is. A lot of people must think, of those people must have a really amazing sex life and are successful and are really happy, and I guarantee that that is not the case! I work with a lot of individuals who struggle with body image and eating disorders and through some of that, they may have a physically attractive appearance, again, based on our current societal standards. I know so many of those ladies, I will be honest, they are not happy and definitely do not have a satisfying sex life. So, it is something to think about there.
Research says, “ROCK THE MOM BOD!”
What does research say? Research is very interesting; in many ways we have not progressed as much as we think we have like from caveman days. Subconsciously, women tend to, I am going to talk in terms of heterosexual attractions, but for research, we tend to be more physically attracted to men who look like they can physically protect us. So, usually that is going to be broader shoulders, might be height, some version of muscularity, something like that.
Men, subconsciously, are more attracted to women who look like they may be fertile. So, usually this is going to be a woman with a certain waist to hip ratio, a little curvier, obviously has enough body fat on her to potentially have a child or at least look like she does, did or could, you know. So, man, we need to rock those mom bods!
So that is a little bit about research. The other thing research says about physical attractions is having symmetrical features, particularly of the face. This research is done more so with babies and who babies are particularly more drawn to when there isn’t an attachment already formed; it is usually to individuals with more symmetrical facial features.
The cherry on top.
Apart from that, those are things that we usually notice when we first meet someone, our physical attraction really grows when we really get to know the person better, in terms of their personality and character. I would say this is really what happened with Jake and me, the more we really got to know each other, the more we really became more physically attracted to each other.
Maybe you have experienced the opposite as well. Where you initially met someone and thought that they are really cute, or hot or so beautiful and then you got to know them, and they didn’t really have a lot of personality traits or character that you find attractive. Thus, you became less physically attracted to them. So those are the kinds of things that research talks about.
So, one thing to remember is that attraction is subjective and that we really need to focus on more internal qualities that we will appreciate in our partners or are looking for in our future partners. It is also really fine if you find your partner really attractive! I would say that that is just a bonus and that is the cherry on top. But I will say that it is our responsibility to cultivate that and to seek it out where it is not the responsibility of our partners or future partners to alter their appearance for us.
That is something I am kind of noticing on this show Married at First Sight, that individuals are complaining behind the scenes about what their partners look like and kind of putting it on their partners. When in reality it needs to be more about their insight or self-awareness that is what they should be emphasizing in connection with their partner.
Internally attractive qualities
So, if this is something that kind of resonates with you one way or another, maybe make a list of internally attractive qualities about your partner that you really appreciate. Maybe go back to when you first started dating, or how they interact with your children or something like that. Something that is a positive association. Or, if you are one of my listeners who is single, maybe write out a list of things you desire in your partner in terms of internally attractive qualities. And as you meet individuals on the dating scene or just in general, just kind of notice those qualities or what comes up for you when noticing physical attractions.
Alright, thanks for listening! You can always reach us at our website, www.harmonytherapygroup.com/betterwifebetterlife and if you have any interest in staying up with the behind the scenes things, you can scroll to the bottom of that page and sign up for our email list. I will keep you guys updated; we have an e-course that is diving deeper into these topics. You can also follow us on social media, Facebook and Instagram @HarmonyTherapyGroup and on Twitter @ HTGTherapists.
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