Simplicity Challenge #12: Looks in relationships

A woman looking into a hand mirror, holding a tube of lipstick
I believe the best type of relationship is one in which you can fully be yourself, and be loved for whom you truly are.


And I believe that most people really do want this. But, of course, there’s the initial obstacle of navigating so many external factors… like income and security… similar tastes and interests… good conversations… and of course, physical attraction.


Most people, regardless of gender, have a “type” they’re looking for when it comes to a mate. Many even go so far as to create exhaustive lists of physical features, acceptable jobs and income potential, education level, and more.


I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a list. But, I do think it may be more valuable to make that list focus on what makes two people compatible. That may vary from person to person, but for me it includes values and priorities in life, maturity, and expectations of a romantic relationship (or relationship “style”).


I find that, if those factors are compatible, a relationship can be pretty great! Everything else is just “small potatoes,” because we agree on the big things in life, and have similar goals for what we want our life to look like. So, we’re always working together in a partnership, rather than disagreeing on which direction to go.


I’m fortunate enough to be in such a relationship right now. And I can honestly say that, by focusing on those factors, it’s the easiest, most natural relationship I’ve ever been in. And, certainly the happiest, too.


But, I do remember what it was like to be single and looking for a relationship, as I spent many years of my life moving around the country (and the world), focused on my career and on travel. And I know that, when I was younger, physical appearance did factor into the equation a lot more than it did when I got older.


I guess that, by the time I reached my 30’s, I was tired of games and knew what was really important to me in terms of a partner that I’d be spending each and every day with. That’s when I finally refocused my priorities, and made it my goal to find a person that was compatible with me in terms of the factors I listed above.


I’ll mention an example in terms of women looking for a male partner, because that’s my personal life experience. But, the same principle certainly applies to all sorts of relationships, regardless of gender.


Of course, it’s notorious that men tend to look for a partner they’re physically attracted to. But, I believe that a lot of women do, too…


Nowadays, on social media, I see a ton of posts supporting positive body image for women. About the harmful effects of dieting too much, and about how basing your self-esteem on your looks can be a dangerous thing. And, I fully agree with them. I think there are a lot of unrealistic (and unhealthy) expectations in the media about what women’s bodies should look like.


However, that being said, we as women can’t be hypocritical about it. In other words, if you want to find a partner who loves you and thinks you’re beautiful even though you’d like to lose 20 pounds, or someone who thinks you’re perfect with no makeup and messy hair… then, we have to show the same courtesy toward men (or other romantic partners).


In other words, no declining respectful, responsible men because they’re balding, or have a bit of a belly. And, maybe be more open to a relationship with a man who is (*gasp*) shorter than us, too.


Because, when it comes right down to it, attraction tends to build over time. At least, that’s been my life experience. I guess I can only speak for myself — but, I have to say that the connection that comes from true compatibility is so much richer and more amazing than “good looks” are. Plus, let’s not forget that good looks fade over time.


I saw a great quote on Instagram the other day. It said, “Do you know what’s sexier than a bad boy? A grown ass man with his sh*t together!”


Quite frankly, I couldn’t agree more!


And maybe in this context, it would go something like this: “Do you know what’s sexier than a tall guy with thick hair and washboard abs? Someone who shares your values, helps with the house chores, and reminds you every day how much you mean to him!”


What do you think? Do you have a different approach, or some other factor that you value in choosing a partner? Let me know on my Facebook page