Are looks really that important?

are-looks-important
When it comes to partners’ looks, we all know what we like and dislike. Dark, tall and handsome. Curly red-head or long-shiny-haired blonde. Slim, athletic or curvy. Big blue eyes and full lips. Cliche or not, it’s hard to ignore the power of a visual, and we rarely fall for someone whose appearance we don’t find appealing.

Looks reveal personality too. Sometimes they tell us whether the person takes care of themselves and their health, how much they care about hygiene and tidiness. How much they care about themselves in general. Their clothing, grooming and body shape reveal their habits and perception of themselves.

But what is the significance of looks when it comes to finding the right partner? Is the one we like visually necessarily the right one for us? And can we find a way to accept someone’s not-so-great looks if we really like their personality?

It’s not necessary (and probably not possible either) to completely disregard someone’s appearance, but it’s wise to consider if your criteria are too strict and modify them. If you’re too selective and picky, you could be searching for someone who ticks all of your boxes for a very long time. All the while ignoring the perfectly nice and suitable partners – who just happen to be missing a few, or have a few too many centimeters in certain places.

TALL DEMANDS

Take height for example. Women often complain about not being able to find tall enough men. We usually want a man who’s at least a bit taller than us, and that shouldn’t be such a problem, since men are on average taller than the average woman. It makes sense for extremely tall girls to feel a bit restricted, since clearly their choice of taller men is quite narrow, but sometimes I don’t quite get it why girls who are average or petite only want to date men much taller than themselves.

Maybe you want him to still be towering over you when you’re standing next to him in your 15 cm heels, but unless you wear those every day, to be perfectly honest – it’s a “tall” demand. A big difference in height can be even impractical – it’s much easier to hug someone when you can actually put your arms around their neck without standing on your toes, or gaze into their eyes without straining your neck. But even if you don’t care about comfort and less than 20 cm difference in height is still a deal-breaker, think about why you can’t let go of this demand. It will keep a lot of nice men unable to get a chance, and when it comes to looking good as a couple versus feeling good as a couple, which one do you really prefer?

SUPERMODEL (AND A ROCKET SCIENTIST)

Men of course often have unrealistic demands too. We all know the average woman is rarely supermodel-shaped. So if you are a guy who is just looking for that “perfect” body and face, you are restricting yourself to a very small selection. And if on top of that you want a woman to be the full package – someone who can be a true companion and au-pair with you intellectually – then you’re simply setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment. Ask yourself: are women only sexy and attractive if they look like they’ve just come off of a magazine cover? We all know how airbrushed those covers are any way, so who knows if those type of women even exist. So, instead of worrying about the perfect shape of her bottom, why not look for a girl whose heart is in perfect shape?

Maybe I’ve picked some extremes here – but I’m sure we could all do with a bit of rewriting and tweaking of our rules of attraction. You don’t need to start picking your partners blindfolded – physical attraction is after all, as its name says, based on the physical, and it’s not an obstacle in itself. But if you notice you often dismiss potential partners because you’re only looking for a certain “type” – maybe you should try to loosen up some of your rules, and – get a bit adventurous – give yourself a chance to get to know someone first before you dismiss them on the basis of their looks.

You might be surprised how often the importance of a certain look fades once you can see right through to their heart. And it’s not just a saying: real beauty of a person is very rarely only skin-deep.

LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS

Physically attractive partners: hard or easy to come by?
What’s more important to you – looks or personality?

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60 Responses

  1. david says:

    Hi Petra,
    Another great blog here. this is a hard question to answerm i hate to sound boring, but i guess it’s down to people’s view of what they want in a partner. if looks figure highly on their checklist, then this will be the first issue they will look for. If you don’t have the looks, they will not even consider other qualities a person has to offer. You have to respect someone’s view that if someone their seeking to settle down with for the rest of their lives together don’t have the looks or not attracted to them, they would only be giving you false hope. It does not mean to say that your ugly, it just means that they are not attracted to you visually & they would only be wasting your time as well as theirs if they were to start a relationship. You would have to appreciate their honesty by teling you this even if your upset or offended by it, because for someone to dump you 6 months down the line because they don’t find you attractive is playing with people’s emotions. So it’s best to tell you at the start than to waste 6 months of your life. I’ve been rejected by users on dating sites as well as i have rejected some people myself. Quite simply, you can’t be everybody’s type and on the same token, not everybody will be your type.

    Some people have a “type” of guy or girl their seeking. The word “type” is a loose term so what is meant when we say he or she’s not my type? Could it be you find them unattractive or their not millionaire’s so you won’t date a poor guy or could it be the way he dresses or his job? There’s so many issues associated with the word “type” including someone’s “attractiveness” but it all boils down to the age old question of what specifically are we looking in a person as it’s they who could be our future husband or wife. I’m sure we all have a “type” of person were looking for who meets our requirements and because were all individuals, therefore, it’s only fair to say were all looking for different things.

    • Thanks David, all you’re saying makes sense. We all have different “types” but sometimes it creates problems because we narrow our choices too much, and I believe there are things about those features we are looking for that can be reviewed and changed… if they are making us look too long. And also, sometimes we want things that just don’t come together… so it’s good to look at those to see how realistic we are. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dave says:

    Hi Petra

    I’ve had some lingering doubts recently about my partner, almost entirely based on her looks. We’ve been together for just over six months and the thought of being apart from her is horrible.

    I wasn’t interested in her at first (dismissing over looks…) but we clicked straight away, and after a while we got closer and ended up seeing each other and for several months I was really happy, and felt really attracted to her. I wanted to be around her, and just her, every waking moment and couldn’t get her out of my head.

    As the honeymoon period waned off my worries about looks began to come back, and niggling doubts started to creep in. We click really well, she gets me and I get her. The thought of not having her in my life scares me but I have talked to her about my worries, and she was supportive.

    I don’t want to be shallow and throw away something with so much potential over something like this. But I don’t know whether I can change, or whether down the line I’ll end up going back to how I was.

    Is there any advice you could give as to how to go about changing, and whether it is realistically possible?

    Thanks

    • Petra says:

      Hi Dave, thank you for your comment. Tough question! To be honest, I’d need to know more about the nature of your attraction to her to give you a precise answer, but in principle – I do think we can fall for someone even if they’re not our “type” in terms of looks. But we can’t force ourselves to do so. It either happens naturally – we like that person so much that over time we start liking their looks too, or it doesn’t. So my question to you is – did you get physically attracted to your girlfriend during your ‘honeymoon period’? Or you just disregarded her looks, as you say – meaning you ignored the lack of physical attraction in favour of other things? If you were attracted for a time – what happened, why did that attraction wane? If it was never there – then I guess you love her, but not like a girlfriend, more like a friend. If you’d like to discuss more, feel free to drop me a note on email!

  3. Ann Gisela says:

    Hi Petra. I have really enjoyed reading your post. Therefore I would like to share my experience I am recently making. I am female, extremely focussed on Looks and that is why I am Single. I have never given anyone a chance unless he was physically my type. And guess what? I ended up staying Single. Yes, I met many guys who were physically my type, but none of them was emotional available because their good looks made them be rather afraid of any commitment, as they wanted to be ” available” for all the girls , not just me.

    I realized that out there could be someone who would tick both boxes: someone I am physically attracted to AND someone who returns my feelings. But finding that someone can take along time or maybe I will never even meet that Person.

    Recently I went on a date, someone I was not attracted to as much. I am glad I went to meet him. Because I liked instantly his personality and remember talking to my mum on the phone . She said: ” you will not loose anything by meeting him again. Just wait before you make any decisions, give him and yourself a small chance”.
    So I did. We met about 7 times and each time I enjoyed talking to him, having his company feels light and easy, we somehow click and his personality I find most attractive. The way he talks to me and the things he says and the things he does for me to show me he likes me are very sweet.
    I am starting to like him as a Person and I really do not know where this is going but I am proud of myself that I managed to look beyond the physical and very happy to experience that I can feel attraction in other ways. I just look forward seeing him and when I think of him I feel in peace and happy. We do not know each other well enough but I can imagine falling for him. It is a very interesting experience and I can only give anyone who is looking for connection the advice to look beyond the physical and you might be experiencing then something magical.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Ann! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am so glad your new man has managed to get your attention even though he’s not your ‘type’ 🙂 Wish you all my best.

    • I like your story, Ann. I think I am in the same situation. I’ve been seeing this guy for a few weeks now, but I wouldn’t really say anything terribly romantic. I really like him as a person and I always enjoy the time we spend together, but I guess the physical chemistry is a bit lacking. Still, I think I’m really lucky because I kind of made it clear to him in the beginning that I am very ‘friends first’ and if something happens/develops, then cool…if not, then sorry. He seems to be of the same mind, so I’m glad.
      I just wanted to say, though, that while it’s great that you are being open-minded about people and seeing what can happen, I think I would urge to really search yourself too. Don’t ever go down that path of intimacy just because you think you ‘owe it to them.’ I truly believe that you have a good sense of yourself, you’ll know if you are truly physically, emotionally and intellectually attracted to someone. You wouldn’t have to convince yourself to like them. You’d just feel it. Trust your heart and know the difference of when you’re really just being unreasonable and when you’re truly attracted.

      I truly believe that My One is out there and he will be everything I want: Personality, Looks, Empathy — all in equal measure (to me).

  4. Shannon says:

    Hi Petra. I’ve been online trying to figure out if I’m settling too. This girl I am with is exactly what I need in so many ways. See to back up we first met about 2 years ago. Became friends, but nothing more was there for me. As in a group of friends, we all spent a lot of time together – church, weekend hangouts, vacation trips, ect… I began to see this girl and the attributes she beheld. How often do you find a girl 31, holding out for marriage, loves God with all her heart, we connected well in conversations and some interest, and she is cute. That is a key word “cute”. I can’t tell her she is beautiful because I don’t see or feel it. She has about everything I am looking for in a wife; however some of her outer appearance is not attractive to me. Not tearing her down, but giving examples so you’ll understand where I am coming from and maybe be able to give me direction. She really struggles with her weight. I am not one who cares it the girl looks like a supermodel, but do care about physical appearance. Shape is important to me. The girl doesn’t have to be skinny – I like skinny and medium build – its the shape that matters. She works out occasionally but nothing to talk much about. She has other physical appearances which stand out and bothered weigh on my mind to a degree.

    I like this girl and hard to know what it would be without her. She has great wife and mother qualities, smart with money, pleasant and fun to be with, we’ve had a few minor disagreements but never once been mad at this girl – nor her mad at me, so much to say.

    Some other things which are concerns are: she is from a different state and is wanting me to move there so she can be closer to family, she doesn’t really care for me investing as I like to do even though she has know even before we started dating that I am a risk taker and love it, she has some concerns about how dedicated I am to the church we are attending, etc..

    I have thrown a lot at you so think I will cut it off there. With all of life’s hurdles, I am having the worst time of making the right decision. We have been dating over 8 months and still no clear direction on where this should go. So many good attributes, but yet I’m really not totally attracted to her outer beauty. What’s your opinion on this relationship and me if needed. I have thick skin, lol.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Shannon, thanks for your question. What I think is happening here is you’re not sure whether she’s the one, and that makes you analyse everything. Which is fine, we need to be aware of why we are with someone, but – if you have so many doubts, then ask yourself: is she the one you want to spend the rest of your life with? Are you in love with her? If it’s not a clear “yes”, then it’s a “no”. When it comes to love and attraction – “maybe” and “I’m not sure” is a “no”. I think your concern about her looks is only a symptom of other things that are not attractive to you in her, or some differences in your personalities that you see as a potential issue. If you were sure she is the one for you, you’d love her appearance too. Hope that helps. If you’d like a more concrete answer we’ll have to have a live chat – feel free to contact me here and schedule a consultation.

      • Shannon says:

        Thanks Petra for your insight. The girl and I had a talk Sunday after lunch and decided to call the relationship off. I do miss her, but at the same time do believe we made the right decision. Time will tell though. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to hear my story and defog my mind.

  5. Daniella says:

    Hi Petra,

    I totally agree with everything you’ve said. Although I posted most of this particular comment in response to another one of your articles, I figured it probably would be far more applicable here.

    Even though I’m happily married myself, I know a lot of single friends (both male and female) who have had difficulty in finding relationships. Often, they’re encouraged to try “dating outside their type”. However, I truly believe one should also be extremely careful about that too and be true to themselves.

    When I was younger, I kept getting these messages about dating in general and about myself specifically. It was very clear that everyone around me expected me to date the guys who were interested in me, not necessarily the guys I was interested in. They were always telling me to give some guy a chance, even after I expressed my disinterest. If I wasn’t physically or emotionally attracted to him, I was “selfish” and “shallow.” This taught me that I was wrong to want someone I was genuinely attracted to.

    Then, if I went on a date and felt nothing, I was being too hasty. What if he was The One? I certainly couldn’t know that he wasn’t after only one date. No one ever said what the proper amount of dates was to determine that you don’t really like the guy, so the majority of my relationships were with guys who I didn’t dislike any more the day I dumped them than the first time we went out. And the guys were confused because they wanted to know what went wrong. My friends wanted to constantly dissect the relationship and would encourage me to get back together with them. This taught me that, not only were my desires wrong, but I couldn’t even really be sure of what they were in the first place because I was just being “picky”. No matter how many chances I gave a guy, if it didn’t work out, I simply hadn’t given him enough chances.

    People also knew that I had a hard time even getting dates, much less dates with people I actually desired. They told me to settle. I ended up dating a guy who literally made my skin crawl every time he touched me during our year long relationship. Why? I’m not really sure.

    Maybe I thought that it was my penance for wanting physical attraction or emotional connection. Maybe I thought if I gave him the love that he wanted from me, I would earn the right to be loved. Maybe I was so damn lonely that even bad attention was better than no attention. Maybe I was just waiting for somebody to notice how miserable I was and tell me that I didn’t owe another person a relationship just because he wanted it. Maybe I wanted to show people the misery that their standards caused me.

    I wanted to throw it in their faces how stupid those standards were. The irony was that none of them cared if I was miserable and I only ended up hurting myself, in a typically overdramatic, immature way.

    I finally ended that relationship when a very wise female friend told me that it was better to be lonely and alone, than lonely and with someone. That’s all it took for me to get out of one of the worst points in my life, self-inflicted though it was.

    I was single for eight years until I met my husband. (I’m not even 30 yet. You do the math.) I finally accepted that it’s okay to not be attracted to someone, if you feel nothing for them physically or emotionally. People shouldn’t settle for less than what they truly want, which is the full package. I stopped “giving chances” to guys I really wasn’t interested in. I started off with a “one date to change my mind” rule until I stopped that too. I decided that I shouldn’t have to give anyone a single reason why I didn’t want to date them other than “because I don’t.”

    And I will decry the people who tell you to simply give some someone a chance because it’s not just about finding a “diamond in the rough”; it’s also about systematically denying yourself the right to your own feelings in seeking a relationship.

    There’s a huge difference between finding someone “not bad-looking” who may genuinely become more physically attractive to you over time the more you get to know them…and being completely grossed out by a person’s looks and the thought of being physically intimate with them.

    The sad reality for most of us is that if you find yourself physically repulsed by a guy or girl’s looks, the most you’ll probably ever be able to feel for them is platonic friendship, no matter how great a personality he/she may have.

    Likewise, I would also argue that looks (even though they get you in the door) are definitely not the most important thing, nor should they ever be. A physically attractive person may become extremely ugly in your eyes over time if they have a bad, hateful and abusive personality.

    People need to find a good balance between not having an unrealistic and superficial laundry list of what one is looking for in a partner…and not lowering one’s standards to the point where you feel you can simply “learn to love” someone you settled for over time. It’s not fair to the other person or to yourself.

    • Petra says:

      Thanks Daniella. As I said in response to your comment on the other post – it’s truly inspirational and thank you so much for sharing it here. All my best!

  6. Ms Jones says:

    I like Daniella’s comment. I have dated handsome men, not so handsome men, fat men, skinny men, older men, younger men, men of other races, men of other religions. I have come to the conclusion that my type is the one that Is my friend that I get along with great and that I have a very strong rapport and physical chemistry with. Sometimes this takes me by surprise and comes in a package that I previously would not have expected. And like Daniella I have been encouraged to date men that I know there is no way in the world I could be physically intimate with them. I do not think this is a healthy recipe for a relationship at all. As I have gotten older it seems the dating pool is shrinking for me. I have to say, however, that for serious relationships I have always made certain that my comfort was the most important thing, not how he looked or what my friends thought. Hope I find it again soon.

  7. Mr G says:

    Looks is everything for women. I tried everything i can to improved my looks( grooming, clothing) but because I’m naturally ugly nothing works. I guess I just need to accept the fact that love is not for me. Accepting it is the wise choice for it. By the way many have told me that i have a good personality.

    • Petra says:

      Looks are very subjective too. Who says you are ugly?

      • Mr G says:

        People that I encounter have told me that but that doesn’t matter anymore because I’m used to it. I believe that it’s not about what they think about you but it’s what you think about yourself but I can’t lie about it. I need to face the truth and like i said accept it.

        • Petra says:

          That still doesn’t mean your looks determine your success in love. There are people who are physically unattractive by many’s standards, but still manage to find love. Please don’t think your looks are the reason you can’t find love – if you do, that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your thoughts and emotions are very powerful and they will keep you single, not your looks.

          • Bret says:

            Petra, thank you. Your words are giving me some hope. But I believe that there are 2 things that build the love which is physical and emotional. Physical is the missing piece. Once again thank you on the respond and the advice.

  8. Hi, I guess a big problem for me is reconciling being attracted to a person physically and being open-minded enough to see if I can look past their physical features because I like them enough as a person. I’ve been with people who were ‘insanely good-looking’ (at least, in my eyes) and their personalities were totally awful. Then, I’ve met people who had really good hearts and personalities and I loved spending time with them, but I just wasn’t physically attracted to them. In one particular instance, I stayed with a man for a significant amount of time because I had a lot of fun hanging out with him. I feel like I could talk to him about anything. Though, when it came time to being intimate, I felt un-attracted to him. I didn’t want to be naked with him. I stuck with it though, because I thought I was being too picky and unfair. I told myself: “Looks are shallow.” I felt so terrible afterward and I think in the end, when I finally ended it with him, I hurt him. And that made me feel more guilty than anything. I guess what I’m trying to figure out is how long should I hold out if I’m not physically attracted to someone? I always have the feeling that if I stick around long enough, then my feelings may change. Is that bad?

    • Petra says:

      I don’t think you should date people you’re not attracted to. Things don’t have to be all black and white, there is always the middle – a guy who has a great personality, maybe not super-good looking but you are still attracted to him enough to give it a go. Then your attraction will grow as he shows more and more of his great personality. You shouldn’t torture yourself with this. If you’re not attracted, he’s not the one.

      Your feelings can change from being mildly to wildly attracted over time, as you get to know someone – but there (usually) has to be a basic attraction from the start. I must say I don’t like to generalise and everything is possible, even going from zero chemistry to super-charged chemistry, but those cases are very rare. Take care!

      • Thanks, Petra. I really appreciate your guidance. I guess sometimes I feel at a loss because a lot of dates I’ve set up recently have been via online and I feel with the advent of online dating, things go so much faster and I feel pressured to make some kind of decision before I’m really ready to. Do I like you? Do I want a relationship with you? It’s so hard, when I just met the person. Your blog has really been a great read for me!

  9. Michael says:

    I have never seen a homeless man or a school janitor lavished with women so I think the answer is very clear. Women want a successful great looking guy that smells great. As a man,, if you don’t make money and your an average/ugly guy, your women will leave. That’s a fact. Women want status and to feel secure with a guy. Yes looks are huge, yes raising your social status is huge, let’s stop kidding ourselves. If you don’t have him or her at ”HELLO”…it’s just not going to work. The sex won’t work, nothing will work. Alot of people are insulted when the wrong kind of people approach them and then they throw a temper tantrum by saying they want to be alone for the rest of their life. Your life is also better when your good looking because you have had people treating you well your whole life so you emit more positive emotion which attracts even more people to you. Good looking people have less stress because your in demand, you have options so your cortizol levels (stress hormones) are lower. Good looking people lead typically longer and happier lives. It’s evolution. Good looking people make more money. (I have statistical on this). Girls want a good looking athlete, guys want to be in bed with those girls with curves. Girls take off the condom with great looking guys and athletes.
    Listen, a personality only goes so far. Nice article, a little naive, however I think we all have the answer already.

    • Petra says:

      Thanks for commenting. It’s always good to hear different opinions. I agree that looking attractive gets you more attention and dates. Will it get you more happiness in love? – doubt it. That part is not so skin-deep. It doesn’t matter how attractive or athletic you are, or how much money you have – if you have nothing else to offer you will struggle to find and keep the right girl. The one who will actually love you, just as you are – and not just your bling.

    • Ms Jones says:

      Hi Michael –

      I there is a far cry from a homeless man and a rich, handsome athlete.

      And have you watched the news and seen how some if these rich handsome athletes treat trier wives and girlfriends? Yuck!

      I’m a reasonably attractive and mature woman. I surely could have married a millionaire. I found most of those men pompous, materialistic and superficial. I would never let them touch my body no matter how rich or handsome they were.

      And conversely, many men of that type are only interested in rich beautiful women, who they see as their equals.

      This type of man or woman is interested in someone in their “league”. Good for them.

      I am am not in their league and am not interested in it either. Those that make such superficial judgments do not have what I am looking for. If the person cannot see anything beneath the surface, the surface is probably all they’ve got.

      I met a guy last weekend who was bragging about his job, his Ivy League education, showing off his Rolex watch. He expected me to be so impressed. I found him dull and insulting. I halfway expected him to offer me money for sex, his attitude was so superior and superficial.

      Men and women like that deserve one another.

  10. kiriakos says:

    Hello Petra,

    I believe there is always a middle. The most important thing is to love yourself and have peace. Then no rejection can hurt you. I am 32 i was ugly until my 26 and had always rejection and bullying. Even though i am a very kind and nice person. Ihad many good people around me i struggled with girls. I took the decision to change my looks via surgery. Everyone said i was looking great but the shadows of my past dont letme to love myself, to find peace. For that fear i cannot show to girls who i am. I am unsecure afraid to approach and feel that becoming older and not loving me my life will be miserable. Sorry for long post but how someone manage at this age to love himself and accept him?

    • Shannon says:

      I believe looks are somewhat important; however, confidence is the calling card that draws the women to you. Insecurity is the red flag that makes the female gender run for the hills. Men often think that having lots of money is the only security that women desire. That can be partially true, but having the boldness of knowing who you are and what you want solidifies the woman feelings towards you and her future with you. CONFIDENCE – BOLDNESS – VISION – LOVE – GENTLENESS – STRENGTH – FINANCIAL SECURITY – WISDOM – TRUST. In my opinion, these are strong key points that draw the ladies in. Looks are somewhat important, but only a fool would think that they are everything! 😮

    • Petra says:

      If you are not confident about who you are, no amount of plastic surgery will help. I am sure you can find love but you will need to work on dealing with your insecurities to increase your chance to find someone. And no, it is not too late. It’s never too late!

      • kiriakos says:

        Thanks Petra and Shannon. I agree and i am working on that. My past and people didnt help to trust myself. You are right that i didnt notice my insight injuries. Thanks again

  11. kiriakos says:

    Hello Petra.

    Please write an article about techiques to improve selfconfidence

    Thanks

    • Petra says:

      Hi there, I do have some articles that help with confidence – here is the category link: Self-love. But I think just reading articles may not be enough… I’d recommend you to start with books and courses if you want to make real improvements. My course “7 Steps To Love: Write Your Own Love Story” is designed to help you get confidence and feel good about yourself so you can find love with another too. You can check it out here. In the course materials I also have quite a few books’ recommendations that are great for building confidence and learning to love yourself the right way.

  12. Shannon says:

    Hi Petra, I know that many people have different ideas concerning how to build confidences. I would like to share my personal experience with you all. My name is Shannon Grogan. Most people think of the female gender when the name is heard; however there is a percentage of guys named that too. Yes, so I am in the minority. Not only am I a guy with a more known girl name, but was smaller than most of my classmates. To add insult to the combination, I also took karate classes at a young age. How was adding karate to the mix a bad thing. Well, it gave more reason for other brats to try or tease me. My parents let me take karate as a sport, but I was not allowed to fight outside of the ring. So being a easy target for bullying, I took more than my fair share. Because of the fact, my self-esteem was rock bottom low. I didn’t know how to interact with others except through playing sports. I remember in junior high some of my friends passing me in the hall and I didn’t even realize they were there. They made comment about it later saying that I was looking down at the floor when I walked by. That was a norm for me though.
    As the years passed, I found myself in my early 20’s still struggling with confidences. Things were better than junior high, but still my insecurities plagued new relationships. One day after church, several of us went out to eat at a restaurant. The crowd mainly consisted of people my parents age; however there was this one girl that I got so nervous around. I didn’t like her as more than a friend, but still I guess her confidences within herself intimidated me. Someone at the table said something that triggered a funny memory that I had to share. As I started talking, I noticed everyone’s attention focused on me. I got so nervous and began to stutter. I then lost my train of thought, turned bright red, and wanted to shut up. However; I pushed through the story and butchered in so that no one even knew what my point was. Then just kind of looked at me oddly and carried on in conversations. After lunch, I went home emotionally crushed. I just opened up my heart to God and asked Him what in the heck is wrong with me? Why am I so different that I can’t even tell a story? God, what do I need to do to change? And people this is what He dropped within my spirit:

    I HAVE BOLDNESS, CONFIDENCE, AND SELF-ESTEEM; TO BE MYSELF, WHO I AM, AND WHAT GOD HAS CALLED ME TO BE!

    I was to repeat that over and over during my down time or whenever the thought came to mind. Within a year one of my good friends and I were talking. He came out of the blue and said bro you have changed so much. I told him what I had experienced and when it all started. He was so amazed and agreed that was about the time he first started noticing the difference. God revolutionized my world by building confidences from within. You may ask, “Do I still struggle with insecurities?” Yes, occasionally they arise trying to make a fool out of me. Usually most noticeable when I’m mentally and physically drained. I will say this though. The guy that couldn’t talk to a group of fellow church members is excelling in college. Yes, I still feel the jitters giving those powers point presentations; however have never got anything below a 90% presenting them. So I continually give thanks to Him for loving and directing me on what I needed to do. My prayer and faith in God was the answer for me. Maybe it will be just the answer you are looking for too.

  13. Scott Jennings says:

    If I’m being completely honest with myself, I wasn’t overly sure whether I was physically attracted enough to my most recent ex-girlfriend. She was a person that I had never expected to fall in love with; I had never before viewed her in a romantic or sexual way before. Falling for her took me completely by surprise and being careless enough to lose her was even more of a shock to the system. When we first dated I did have some second thoughts about her outward appearance but I took a chance and I discovered a beauty (inside and out) that I had never actually noticed or seen before. My experience with her definitely caused me to rethink my previous perceptions of attractiveness and femininity in the opposite sex and it was one of the most significant lessons of my life; one that I doubt I’ll easily forget. There can be more to a person than what you see on the outside or what you experience of their character; hidden treasures can be found within an individual for those who are willing to discover them.

  14. Graeme McClelland says:

    Hi Petra just found your chat forum and must say i found all the comment’s very interesting after being blocked on dating sites recently i found out they had viewed my FB page and didn’t feel the picture they saw portrait my true identity ?? i am a Very confident outgoing successful guy yet do find that the more mature 50yr old ladies are looking for much better looking guy’s than probably they were married too i find this quite sad but sometimes i just shrug my shoulders and move on .. i am not ugly by no mean’s but am not the tall dark handsome type either sometimes ladies need to remember guy’s that are nice do make great boyfriends regardless of looks …………….

    • Petra says:

      Hello, what kind of picture was that to get you thrown out of dating sites…? 🙂 I know it’s sometimes a mismatch with expectations about looks but I am sure your personality can compensate, especially with ladies that age, they are into much more than looks. Good luck with your search!

      • Graeme McClelland says:

        Not anything rude or explicit i don’t have much hair and the photo on the dating site i was wearing a hat that’s all but i do disagree that women my age are VERY chosey on what they are looking for i must have messaged over 100 women on POF with probably 5 reply’s my profile is honest and correct though i do find i probably don’t fit into the most desirable categories

  15. Raj Thomas says:

    Hi Petra,
    Thanks for a nice article. I am a man & would like to share some views here.
    I think 99% people (or may be the 99% I’ve met) are extremely picky for looks
    department. Seems that people can compromise on anything, but not on looks & body type. The first criteria is the physical attraction, at least from my experience. I agree that it’s very important, but a person should not be nullified by the visual appearance first! People who have won the genetic lottery, are always the luckiest to find love. No matter which qualities do you have, if you are ugly, nobody is gonna care you. For men, it’s almost impossible to find a girl if you are not physically appealing (even if you are ugly, physique is very important). Confidence, moral value, passion, etc. simply don’t work when you are eliminated by first impression.
    My question is that, if it’s a look-business, then why the hell people say that
    they don’t care about anything else? People who say that, actually they are the
    pickiest. Another ridiculous fact I’ve seen among people, they say that they
    want their partner to be sexually a bit experienced. My point is, then marry
    a porn-star! I can never understand these weird facts.
    May be I am sounding a little bit harsh, but this is what I’ve experienced from
    my life.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Raj, I know looks cannot be ignored. But – there is always other factors at play when it comes to attraction. I don’t agree with you that only good looking people find partners. Or that they find love more easily – those are two different things. Just look around you and notice how many not so good looking people have partners. Nothing can be generalised so easily. When it comes to your own experience, it can be skewed – if you feel you’re not good looking, and you think it’s very important to look good – your confidence diminishes. And being insecure is never attractive. Looking good can help, but being confident and happy in your own skin is a much bigger factor in attracting partners.

  16. Frank S says:

    Hi Petra, I agree what you have said in this article. However, I would like to share some of my viewpoints…

    I strongly believe that looks are not the only criteria to find true love, but doesn’t it help for ‘screening’ some people? This happens for the case when you are meeting someone for a short time (like in the bar, club, social event, shopping mall, stores, etc). If you don’t pass by the looking criteria, you are ruled out of the game, you lose your window, no matter how confident & humorous you are. But when you are interacting someone for a long time (like studying in the same class, working in same office, etc), you are interacting with each other due to the nature of your work, there are chances that you might develop chemistry with someone which can be beyond looks. Even if someone rules you out on the very first day, he/she might develop attraction later after knowing you well. I think that’s the sweetest part of love & ca be really true love.

    At this point, I would argue that ‘love at first sight’ is mostly lust. How can you fall in love with someone without knowing him/her?!?

    The saddest truth is that, many people get eliminated in the first round of looks. People don’t want to know about the personality of the person when he/she is ignored by looks. Surprisingly, I’ve seen many people to say “this guy/girl has nice personality”. They say this without even talking to that person! That means, personality is judged by looks?!

    Shouldn’t we be more logical & try to get to know a person? If they don’t attract us after knowing, then we can always eliminate them. People go through relation after relation, breakups after breakups, divorce after divorce… still they don’t give chance to the people who are ‘below average’. I think people should be mature enough in relationships… Many people are around us who are ‘below average’, introvert, quiet, not a pick-up-artist, & posses a gold heart.

    • Petra says:

      Hello Frank. An interesting perspective – and I do agree with you, when we get to know the person, we don’t put so much emphasis on their looks. Most people have enough chance to find a partner, statistics say that 91% of all people in US marry at least once, so I wouldn’t say ‘below average’ looking ones don’t have a chance to find love. Yes, the great looking ones get more opportunities, but that doesn’t mean they get more chance to find true love, or even a long lasting relationship – those two depend on many more factors. Some people are very superficial when looking for a partner and choose primarily by looks – but that is not a great way to pick your life partner. In general, someone’s great looks are not enough to make a relationship work – that is very well seen in relationships of stunningly beautiful celebrities, who change their partners faster than most, even though they date other stunning people. I think we can all work on our looks, to look more pleasing/attractive – but if we work on our inner beauty, I guarantee you that’s a much stronger pull. Most people who can’t find a partner are not ugly by no means, but they have great insecurities and issues with self-worth. Of course if you are just normal looking, you won’t turn heads everywhere you go, and you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – but you don’t need to be that, you need one person, not hundreds to be loved by. There is no reason to be bothered if you attract less attention, but if you attract zero attention for years and you can’t find anyone – then you need to look why that’s happening. And the reason is almost always inside, not outside. Thanks for commenting!

  17. Sherrel says:

    I met a guy online and the picture online was nice. The conversation was so nice when we would speak on the phone. He has not been in a relationship in 6 years. When I met him I was not attracted to him but still I thought he was very nice and had good conversation. He had some razor bumps on the back of his head that I noticed on our second date because he had on a cap when I met him initially. He is 6’3″‘ sort of thin but has a big tummy. I keep thinking this is a good guy but can we fix these things? He keeps talking about wanting to spend time with me and I know what that means and I keep avoiding it. I am torn.

    • Petra says:

      If you’re not attracted, you’re not attracted. I don’t think you can persuade yourself into it. And if you think you’ll get attracted to him if only he changes a few things about his appearance… well, that’s a long shot. People only change if they want to.

      • sherrell says:

        Thanks Petra, I know that he will be a wonderful mate for someone but I don’t think it will be me.

  18. Monica Giri says:

    hi petra.. I have questions regarding looks as well.. There is this guy I met on Facebook through mutual frns.. We started talking he started liking me and the attention I got from him It made me feel really nice and I started liking him too.
    He is not very handsome in his looks usually I find cute guys attractive and though he is not very good in looks I like talking to him and we together also talk abt future together. Though we haven’t met yet as he stays in a different state and we have been talking to each other since 6 months. I m just confused that when we meet what if I dnt like his looks and I dnt want to lose him because of such silly reason. Pls help me clearing my doubts 🙂

    • Petra says:

      You will have to meet him to know if real chemistry is there. There is no way of knowing if you just communicate online. That goes for cute guys too – unless you meet and spend time together, you can never be sure if it will work. But once you meet, if you still like him enough, you will probably be attracted to him regardless of his looks. When we like someone’s personality very much and enjoy their company, we tend to disregard their looks, and they somehow become more attractive to us. So don’t worry about it in advance, go meet the guy and see what happens. Even if you end up being just friends – and that’s not bad either. But at least you’ll know for sure.

      • Monica Giri says:

        Thankyou so much petra for ur reply. Yes I am looking forward to meet him and know him more 🙂 thanks xoxoxo

  19. joshua says:

    I just came out of a not-a-relationship with my colleague, and its my first any-kind-of-relationship. But that’s just the background.

    She isn’t the type that I am normally attracted to. When we first met, we didn’t really notice each other. But within the first two weeks, I developed feelings for her. And after two months told her about it. There’s some messy detaILS that aren’t relevant, but she did develop some feelings for me. But then she asked me if I found her pretty.

    Now, I know that there’s a ‘right’ answer to such a question. It was complicated by my being very lousy at lying, and me knowing that she had been hurt before and wanted me to never lie to her. And, unfortunately, I don’t find her pretty. I love to look at her, I love her expressions, but objectively she isn’t pretty. I think I might be a little hung up on definitions, and I hated it, but I told her the truth and tried to explain, but she said that although she understood, she wasn’t sure what she felt about it. I know it bothered her all the way.

    She told me that when you love someone, you will find the person attractive, even good-looking. I think she may have felt, emotionally, that I didn’t love her. Maybe she was insecure. I don’t know. I mean, people age and become less physically attractive. I find her lovely, and I love her smile, (and I believe I truly loved her), just not exactly pretty. She accused me of playing with words.

    Additionally, I am average in height but she’s 7cm taller. I know it bothers her, tho I didn’t care. She said that women became less superficial as they aged, because they came to understand what was truly important, but I sensed that she was trying to convince herself unconsciously. Near the end, she seemed to talk a lot about height being attractive, though she didn’t know why. She isn’t very self-aware, honestly. (I, too, have my faults, of course)

    I guess what I wanted to ask was, IF I ever had another relationship, I really do not know how to answer such questions. Conventional wisdom says to lie through your teeth and tell women whatever they want to hear, but I cant lie convincingly, and I don’t feel good about lying even though I know most women want those lies. 20 years ago in highschool, I knew I would face this problem, and I really did.

    Do you have any advice? Should I have just lied? Should I lie in future? Or does my not finding someone pretty mean that I don’t love her? I really cannot connect with that idea, I can’t see the link.

    • Petra says:

      She was insecure. She thinks looks are a big deal. They are, but not when love is there. Same goes for height difference. So whatever you told this girl – it wouldn’t be enough. Even if you thought she was attractive and sincerely loved the way she looks, you would never be able to convince her because she doesn’t believe it. It doesn’t matter what you think – it matters what she thinks and feels. So don’t lie. Lies are bad. Period. If you don’t love her, leave her. Once you truly fall in love you will love everything about her including her looks, and you won’t have to lie.

      • Joshua says:

        but is it really true that when you truly fall in love, you will find someone pretty. i’ve spoken to other guys about it. they love their wives, but if they were brutally honest (in the absence of women) they admitted that their wives weren’t pretty.

        perhaps there is a general gender difference here? whereby men simply love looking at their wives, but they know their wives aren’t pretty, and they aren’t bothered about it. they just know the answer that women expect from them, or at least find out the hard way. i’ve read articles by women that said that women knew they weren’t actually pretty, they just wanted their partners to tell them that it was so.

        i was reading up on the difference between pretty and beautiful, and i think i found my answer. when you love someone, you start finding her beautiful (not pretty). i loved to look at her, and as time passed, i did find her beautiful. i know its really just words and definitions and all, and i’m being unnecessarily anal about it. i’ll have to work on that.

        • Petra says:

          When we love someone, we love the way they look – and it doesn’t matter what they look like in terms of ‘general beauty standards’. We are in love with their whole being, not just their looks. True love is not skin deep. Any ‘love’ that is based solely on looks is not love. It’s just physical attraction. Women want to be told they are beautiful, but only because we as a society put way too much emphasis on looks, and we’re not taught that we can be loved just the way we are. So we think we need to look a certain way to be loved. When a woman is confident and loves herself – her self esteem doesn’t depend on how much a man compliments her looks, she pays much more attention to how he treats her – with love, respect and kindness – or not. That is the true measure of love, and it works the same for both partners.

  20. anonimous says:

    Hi Petra,

    My comment/question is not necessarily about the looks, but it seemed like the closest blog theme to post to. My boyfriend and I have been together for 1.5 years. The first year was great in everything. However, we’ve had ongoing issues of different types over the past 5 months. They brought us closer on the emotional level, we both feel like, despite all the bad feelings and issues, our love became so much deeper and connection got much stronger. However, in terms of affection, this has brought us further apart. The more the bad feelings grew bigger, the less sexual desire we felt. So now we don’t feel about that how we used to feel. However, both of us love and care each other, and we are willing to work on it. 5 months of bad feelings and depression slowed down our sexual desire. We are getting better now slowly, and willing to work on it. Do you think it is possible for the sexual desire to come back to two people who love each other? Do you think this happened due to bad feelings? Do you think that is possible for it to come back as we get better and to feel how we used to?

    Thank you!

    • Petra says:

      I don’t think I can answer those questions without a bit more info. What bad feelings are there? Sexual desire can come back but it really depends on the context.

  21. Chris says:

    Petra, I have a real question. Actually I am very curious & want to know about your opinion. Do you think that there are substantial amount of people who believe in the way you have explained nicely? I am asking because in my life the people I have encountered, they have shown their look based preference in choosing partner. I see people to appreciate me for my qualities, sense of humour & intelligence. Even I have been told that I am an exceptional guy by some women due to my creativity & emotional side. However, every time I have been deprived of choosing as a potential partner just because I am not visually attractive (I am not ugly, but for sure below average). People say “going for looks is shallow”, “inner beauty lasts in the long run”, etc. just not to show that they are mean. The fact is that, they filter out potential persons by looks. So if you don’t satisfy a certain level, you don’t have any chance – personality won’t work if your look score is below threshold. And they say that, “why should I compromise, I am beautiful!”
    Unfortunately I am starting to believe that there is nobody in the world who really wants the person & look is really not that important to that person. Seems that although I have many powerful qualities (I am pretty confident on myself & I am sure that I am smart enough & can be a great partner), my looks are putting me down all the time. I am no good just because I haven’t won the genetic lottery? I wonder, where do genuine people live, & why I have never encountered any one of those people in my life?

    Very nice article btw, I seriously appreciate.

    • Petra says:

      It’s not important what other people think about your looks versus your personality – as long as you know your value. But if you’re not sure that your qualities as a person are more important than your looks, other people will judge you that way too. So – to change your success with women, you have to start believing you have much more to offer than the surface, and you must be sure that there are women who will look past it. I know there is a lot of shallow people, but you are not looking for those, you are looking for girls with substance who want a guy with substance.

  22. Binky says:

    Hi Petra, Firstly thankyou for your blog, it has really given me some insight. If your still around I’d like to ask a question too.
    I am a 27 independent attractive woman, and have just met a 38 year old man, who is far from my usual type. He seems like a genuinely lovely guy who is actually interested in me not just my looks.
    But here’s the problem…I am worried if I start dating this guy that ‘my head might be turned’ by another guy more my ‘type’. I can’t decide if I am just settling or whether I should keep looking for my ideal man (which I don’t believe exists)
    I have lots of male friends that are attractive but there’s always problem why it doesn’t work out with them.
    What if I date this older man and get tempted to be with someone else ?? Should I even be dating him ?? Am i running out of time to settle down ??

    Thankyou

  23. Graeme says:

    Hi may i please leave a comment for Binky i am a 49 year old man who is loving kind and thoughtful i feel that cause i’m not gorgeous i’m not worth pursuing if this gent makes you happy go for it as you say you will never find the one that doesn’t exist we are here for a good time not a long time follow your heart be happy …