October 29, 2010

The Weighty Issues of a Relationship: When Your Partner Becomes Less Attractive to You

I realize that by posting an Adorable Relationship Photo on this article, I'm implying that one of us is unhappy with another's appearance. I can ensure you that this is not true. I am very happy with Keene's physical appearance even if he occasionally shaves his head and I want to throw coffee in his face. And he is extremely happy with my appearance, because if he weren't, I would throw coffee in his face. (Really? I was being paid to give relationship advice?)

(Reposted from Ask Dan and Jennifer)

While your partner’s appearance is likely not the top (or even tenth) reason you love him or her, it is still of some importance. Physical attraction can ensure your sex life stays exciting and it can keep you feeling appreciative of one another. In an ideal world, we would look as fresh-faced and fit as we did at the beginning of a relationship, regardless of the passing years. Yet as time goes by, weight will be gained, hair will be lost, wrinkles will appear, breasts will sag (especially with the possible introduction of those little gremlins we call children). While you don’t consider yourself to be superficial, these things may still bother you.

To be fair, are these changes in your partner something that can reasonably be fixed? If surgery or expensive treatments are the only way to correct a problem, you are likely being unreasonable. However, if the problem is that your partner’s weight has begun to rise drastically or she is actively doing something which affects her appearance (such as excessively tanning, not showering, or dressing differently), you might possibly have some sway in making a positive change. Simple suggestions like, “Remember how you used to wear your hair curly? I really liked that” or “I think you would look just as good with pale skin as you do with orange, streaky skin” can be subtle, yet complimentary hints.

Weight issues can be trickier, especially with women. Many women will go from fine to hysterically and inconsolably crying at the mere suggestion of diet and exercise. Rather, take up hiking, bicycling or another physical hobby and ask if she would join you. Don’t pressure her, though, or she will see through your ploy. That being said, do not take up this hobby for the sole purpose of tricking her into slimming down. Do it for yourself, for your own health, and as a way to share something fun together.

As a last resort (and oh, how I emphasize that), gently point out that you have noticed a change in grooming or eating habits. Point out that you will love your partner no matter what, but you are starting to worry about what may be effecting these changes.

Nevertheless, the change that needs to take place may be your attitude. He may have decided that he wants to grow his hair long. She may feel the extra pounds accentuate her curves. People will change as they age. Love the person because of these changes, not in spite of them. Finally, cut your partner some slack; remember, you are no Dorian Gray yourself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You guys are so cute together!! But anyway, this is so true, unfortunately. I'm actually kind of afraid of this happening in my relationship (the one I have yet to find) - but then I remember that if I truly love him, I will love him anyway. And if he gains a hundred pounds, then we are definitely going to have a talk.