If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

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If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by reboundstudent on Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:22 pm

I've known since pretty much the first date that my boyfriend doesn't find me beautiful, and it pretty much hasn't changed. He finds me "cute", even adorable at times, but that's the extent of it. I'm pretty much the opposite of his type (not blonde, not tall, not "athletic"), and after numerous discussions he's made it clear that his main attraction is my personality; he says regarding physical attraction, all he needs is someone attractive enough for arousal to occur, and then he prioritizes personality.

I... dislike this, to be perfectly frank. An a Conventionally Unattractive person, who has had every single boyfriend say some variation of this ("Your personality makes up for your looks!" "Don't worry, I prefer cute girls over hot ones anyway", "I'm not shallow so I don't care that you've got a few extra pounds") it's a sore subject, especially since every single boyfriend has gone on to dump me for Conventionally Attractive ladies who also had great personalities.

But it hit especially hard today cause I was wandering around and found this: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskWomen/comments/29961a/ladies_how_do_you_deal_with_not_being_pretty/ciir198/

Long story short, it's a sentiment I've heard many times over: that when a guy falls in love, the woman becomes perfect and beautiful and he doesn't notice imperfections, and she becomes the most attractive person to him.

This has never happened for me. It's certainly not happening with my current boyfriend. He's very kind, and respectful, quick with hugs and kisses, initiates sex, does All the Good Boyfriend Things. But I'm not beautiful to him. I'm not perfect. I'm not even the most attractive woman in the freaking room most of the time, let alone the world.

So is he not in love? Am I in yet another relationship where the guy is having some low-key "fun for now" until Actual Beautiful Future Spouse pops up? Do I just have to concede that this whole magical Falling In Love process is not for me... cause that whole comment, that's been upvoted to oblivion and everyone agrees is touching and exactly how love feels... has never happened for me.

What do you guys think?
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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by Enail on Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:15 pm

This is a little hard to explain, but I wonder if, to some extent, the way your boyfriends describe their view of you is something you actually are asking them for, in a way. You value honesty and ask for a lot of honesty from others, not just in the sense of being truthful but into deeply, intensely interrogating and dissecting what they think and how and figuring out what supports that thinking. I think that would get you a different answer than if you were the sort of person who's going to be content with something schmoopy and not that precise - not because that answer couldn't be true, but it's the top of the box, not the smallest components picked apart and considered and laid clearly in a display.

And I think it might also get you dating a different person than the sort of person who's going to say their spouse is perfect and flowers and butterflies spring from their footsteps, too.
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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by reboundstudent on Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:47 pm

You're certainly not wrong, I certainly do ask for quite a bit of honesty and introspection! But I'm not quite following why that would lead to a different answer than the "when I'm in love a woman is gorgeous" response. If you're willing, could you explain your thoughts around that a bit more?
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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by Enail on Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:29 am

Well, it's sort of a feelings response. If you interrogate it, you take it out of the realm of feelings and try to pin it down to something less touchy-feely and more something concrete, which sounds to me basically like looking around the 'filter of love' the post you linked described to see what's behind it. You can't necessarily see through the filter and around it at the same time, so I think asking for the kind of deeply thought-out and articulated response you look for might result in getting answers based on them being in the mode where they're not looking through the filter.  

I'm not sure if that explains it any more or if I'm just repeating myself here. I'm having trouble fully getting a handle on what I'm saying outside of the metaphor.
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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by KMR on Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:04 pm

So I want to preface this by saying how much I personally hate the sentiment of "if they love you, they'll do/say/think x/y/z" (probably because it's been said to me a few too many times as an attempt at imposing someone else's ideas about what a relationship should look like onto mine or at making me question the quality of my relationship in a way that feels manipulative). There are just so many different ways that people experience and express feelings of love, that the idea that there could be some external factor that would function as a barometer for the far more complex emotions beneath the surface is, in my opinion, a flawed perspective. And I think the idea that there might be a universal way to experience love is kind of an illusion; our culture feeds everyone the same messages about what it means to be in love, so at least some of those people who express those same sentiments or emphatically upvote those same comments are just interpreting their own feelings within the lens of what is culturally considered "the right way" to feel/express those feelings. Those feelings may well feel real to them, and I'm not trying to invalidate that, but I do think there is some cultural conditioning going on. Which means that the people who experience love differently from the norm aren't somehow in the wrong or even necessarily in the minority, they're just maybe more aware of it.

With regard to the reddit post, I feel like there may be a bit of a disconnect between the take-away of that comment (both by the original poster and by you) and what is actually expressed in the main body of that post. The first two-thirds of the comment resonate with me as being a fairly accurate representation of what happens when your feelings for someone grow. You begin to notice a lot more details about that person's appearance--all the little microexpressions of their face or their body language--and develop an appreciation and fond memories of those details. These things make up the totality of that person for you, and because you have strong feelings of affection for that person, all the little things about their appearance give you a sort of warm and fuzzy feeling that reinforces your affection.

But then the commenter makes the claim that this means that person becomes perfect and beautiful to you, and that I think is more a matter of interpretation than any kind of universal statement. It depends on how you define beauty, for one. Whether you're talking purely about the physical elements or about the whole of someone's being, including their personality. Whether you're referring to features that conform to a specific type or conventional societal standards of appearance, or whether you mean it in a more subjective sense. If you have a specific type or preferences for certain physical traits and your partner doesn't have that, it doesn't mean you'll suddenly change your preferences because you fell in love with someone who doesn't fit them. Rather, the lack of those traits becomes irrelevant and the presence of others can be something that becomes more appreciated over time (not necessarily in a vacuum like "Oh, I love brown hair now" but something that is so intertwined with the idea of who your partner is that you associate those traits with the person as a whole and appreciate them on that level).

Also, a comment on the language of "cute" versus "beautiful." I may fit a little more than you to conventional standards of beauty because I'm skinny, but I'm also someone who is far more commonly referred to as "cute" rather than "hot" or "beautiful" (with the possible exception of when I get dressed up really fancy, which tends to draw out a few compliments for the latter just because I have a different look than I do in daily life). In part, I think it has to do with the build I have (petite) and just my overall look. I tend to think of "cute" as just a different type of attractiveness rather than some level that falls below those of "hot" or "beautiful" on some scale. Because when people look at me, that "cute" label really jumps out and it becomes harder to characterize me in other ways. But that's not a bad thing, because the person who thinks I'm really cute also thinks I'm attractive in that way.
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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by OneTrueGuest on Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:15 pm

reboundstudent wrote:You're certainly not wrong, I certainly do ask for quite a bit of honesty and introspection! But I'm not quite following why that would lead to a different answer than the "when I'm in love a woman is gorgeous" response. If you're willing, could you explain your thoughts around that a bit more?

I'm not Enail (obviously) but I agree with her (and the general sentiments expressed by everyone in this thread) and feel maybe I can help expand. I think what she's trying to say is that for most people who are not in relationships with gorgeous beautiful people (of either gender), they tend to feel as your boyfriend. They love the person, they find something attractive about them, and personality makes up for the rest. But they aren't SAYING that. Instead they are being, not dishonest, exactly, but imprecise. Because when you love someone despite and even sometimes because of their flaws, that can translate into "You are the most beautiful person in the world to me" in a romantic sense. Most people are happy with that. I think also most people understand pragmatically they are no Margot Robbie, but that their partner doesn't expect them to be and finds them attractive in their own way. But for you with your desire for precision and honesty, well when you break down the sentiment then of course the person will eventually admit the specifics, the whats and the whys.

To be honest, I've never believed for a second the sentiment that so and so is the most beautiful person in the world to me as far as aesthetics are concerned and have never sought it. But I understand that it's almost more of a symbol. Something you say because it's romantic and it represents the love the person has for you. "I love you and am sexually attracted to you despite you not being the most beautiful woman in the world" doesn't have the same ring Smile

I guess my point is . . . I really don't think you need to worry that your boyfriend isn't in love with you because "true love makes someone blind to facts" or whatever. I think what you should take away instead is that your boyfriend loves YOU. And that includes your need for complete honesty which is a much rarer trait to find. I think the guy you've found sounds like quite the winner. And perfect the perfect partner for you.

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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by Conreezy on Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:52 am

Guy here:

That reddit post is overly romanticized schmaltz.  Sure, emotional attachment and physical attraction aren't one in the same, but describing falling in love in real life wouldn't exactly be an excerpt from Nicolas Sparks

Am I in yet another relationship where the guy is having some low-key "fun for now" until Actual Beautiful Future Spouse pops up?

What does "Actual Beautiful" even mean?  Everybody gets accustomed to their partners, no matter how hot they are.

I'm not even the most attractive woman in the freaking room most of the time, let alone the world.

I understand the desire for being seen this way. I have my own thread here along similar lines. Still, I know that my lack of physical perfection alone doesn't mean my wife doesn't love me. Maybe chalk it up to being a guy, and therefore judged by very different standards, but my personality matters deeply when it comes to something like love.

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Re: If Boyfriend Doesn't Find Me Beautiful, then... is he not in love?

Post by Datelessman on Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:00 pm

Beauty, as is the cliche, is in the eye of the beholder. Ideally of course a boyfriend should find his current lover beautiful to him. "Objective" standards of beauty are fraught with problems, even if our media churns them all out (especially towards women). And since everyone's standards for beauty differ, it can sometimes breed confusion asking for specifics.

We all have our own standards for what makes a person beautiful to us. Sometimes there are distinctions between physical and other kinds of traits, and sometimes not. Thank to the media I mentioned, sometimes mentioning things like "personality" in this context can hint of a lack of physical appreciation, which can feel deflating to the other person.

Enail is right about sometimes wanting to examine something too closely can risk some of its emotional core is lost. For example, if you examine a beloved pet too much to the point of dissection, the pet will be lost. Sometimes when asked why we like something or find it beautiful, we can't come up with a "valid" reason or a reason that makes sense once we get it into words. Some people have difficulty about describing flavors, for example. Get too nitty gritty about why some ice cream is SO GOOD can sometimes sound robotic or incomplete.

I can understand, however, that a succession of men who seem to prefer your personality to physical looks can make you anxious. Ideally the most important thing is how they treat you.
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