How important is attraction?


#1

Hi,

I have been with a wonderful guy for almost a year. My boyfriend is kind, patient, loving, hilarious, and I never get tired of hanging out with him. He's the first guy I've dated who will gladly go to church with me (or without me). He accepts me for who I am, quirks and all. We have very similar ideas on raising a family.

At the beginning of our relationship we went a little "further" than is okay. He knows I want to wait until marriage for intercourse, but things did go a little too far. I just didn't feel right about it and we scaled it back.

We've gotten very serious and have been discussing marriage. But now my main worry is that I don't feel temptation...at all. Like, it's been very easy to avoid doing anything. So I'm afraid that once we're married I won't enjoy it!! It concerns me because my boyfriend is fairly overweight, and so I don't know whether God is helping me avoid temptation, or if his weight is an issue for me....although it wasn't before.

This has been eating away at me for quite a while, because it's something I can't bring up with him--he is very self-conscious about his weight, and I do know there is a high possibility that I won't always be a size 4...so who am I to judge?

Can attraction develop?? I feel so guilty that I see other guys and find them more attractive than my boyfriend...but I've dated/tried to date many of those guys and--more often than not--they know* how attractive they are...and end up dumping me when they don't "get what they want." :dts:

Most people I know would tell me just to have sex with him and see how it is..but that's NOT an option for me!!! I really love my boyfriend, but I don't want to be the wife that always has a "headache." What do you think?*


#2

[quote="ambrosegirl84, post:1, topic:178828"]
Hi,

I have been with a wonderful guy for almost a year. My boyfriend is kind, patient, loving, hilarious, and I never get tired of hanging out with him. He's the first guy I've dated who will gladly go to church with me (or without me). He accepts me for who I am, quirks and all. We have very similar ideas on raising a family.

At the beginning of our relationship we went a little "further" than is okay. He knows I want to wait until marriage for intercourse, but things did go a little too far. I just didn't feel right about it and we scaled it back.

We've gotten very serious and have been discussing marriage. But now my main worry is that I don't feel temptation...at all. Like, it's been very easy to avoid doing anything. So I'm afraid that once we're married I won't enjoy it!! It concerns me because my boyfriend is fairly overweight, and so I don't know whether God is helping me avoid temptation, or if his weight is an issue for me....although it wasn't before.

This has been eating away at me for quite a while, because it's something I can't bring up with him--he is very self-conscious about his weight, and I do know there is a high possibility that I won't always be a size 4...so who am I to judge?

Can attraction develop?? I feel so guilty that I see other guys and find them more attractive than my boyfriend...but I've dated/tried to date many of those guys and--more often than not--they know** how attractive they are...and end up dumping me when they don't "get what they want." :dts:

Most people I know would tell me just to have sex with him and see how it is..but that's NOT an option for me!!! I really love my boyfriend, but I don't want to be the wife that always has a "headache." What do you think?

There are a lot of reasons why people do not feel sexual attraction to one another. My advice to you is to take your time. It doesn't sound like you are ready for marriage quite yet anyway. Certainly attraction can develop, but physical attraction is fairly far down the list when it comes to overall marital satisfaction. There are far more inportant things. Trust me!

When the time comes for you to settle down and you can find a good guy who comes from a stable family, those little annoyances lile a pot belly etc. really should take a back seat to the more important things like integrity, faithfulness, character, personality and committment to family, love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the ability to be a good provider.

A lot of the "buff" guys out there seem to have a much harder time growing up and staying faithful due to the large number of sexually aggressive young women out there. You might want to think about that. If you have a good guy, you might think twice about letting him get away.
;)

[/quote]


#3

So you were you attracted to him in the beging then lost interest after you feel you went too far?? Could it be guilt keeping the attraction away?


#4

So you were you attracted to him in the beging then lost interest after you feel you went too far?? Could it be guilt keeping the attraction away?

I think that may be the case...I really don't want things to get carried away. There was a time a little earlier in the relationship, too, where I wasn't sure about things, so didn't want the physical stuff to get in the way...that on top of the fact that it was a sin.

I dated a few guys that thought they could convince me to "give it up," then dumped me when I stood my ground, so I think that my hesitance in the beginning may have been my mistrust of "those kinds" of guys--not wanting to invest too much lest that happen!

I look at my parents, neither of whom look remotely close to the way they did when they got married at 21 and 26, and that they are still blissfully happy with each other. That reminds me of what's important. I just know marriage is a lifelong committment and I don't want to make a rash decision and then regret it later.

I'm 25, so it could be just the fact that I'm not a hormonal teenager anymore...I am looking more for settling down than excitement...but given today's society's skewed attitudes on sexuality, it's quite confusing, even for a woman who has passed the pressures of adolescence!


#5

I have a different perspective. I think physical attraction is VERY important. Whenever my husband and I are totally annoyed with each other, or are taking each other for granted, the attractions will bring us tog ether sometimes, like magnets, and things will be right again.


#6

[quote="ambrosegirl84, post:1, topic:178828"]

We've gotten very serious and have been discussing marriage. But now my main worry is that I don't feel temptation...at all. Like, it's been very easy to avoid doing anything. So I'm afraid that once we're married I won't enjoy it!! It concerns me because my boyfriend is fairly overweight, and so I don't know whether God is helping me avoid temptation, or if his weight is an issue for me....although it wasn't before.

[/quote]

Wouldn't it make life really easy if God turned off desire for unmarried people simply because they don't want to sin? I don't think it works that way.

If he is fairly overweight, it makes sense for you not to be physically attracted to him. In all my life I have never been attracted to an overweight man. Men are not meant to be overweight, it's unnatural, we're not made to be attracted to that.

Otherwise I don't know what to tell you, certainly there are plenty of women married to overweight men. Maybe you can ask them how the physical intimacy is for them and whether they desire their husbands.

IMO if you can't acquire desire for him now, you need to look for another man. You don't want to be in a marriage where you view your husband as a good platonic friend and are constantly finding other men attractive.

I don't think you need to have sex with him to be able to tell if you want him. Have you ever dated a man you wanted? Simply being close to such a man gives you butterflies, and staying chaste is very hard.

In the end it's up to you, would you rather be married to someone you view more as a platonic friend than a husband or take the risk of being single?


#7

[quote="flyingfish, post:6, topic:178828"]
Wouldn't it make life really easy if God turned off desire for unmarried people simply because they don't want to sin? I don't think it works that way.

If he is fairly overweight, it makes sense for you not to be physically attracted to him. In all my life I have never been attracted to an overweight man. Men are not meant to be overweight, it's unnatural, we're not made to be attracted to that.

Otherwise I don't know what to tell you, certainly there are plenty of women married to overweight men. Maybe you can ask them how the physical intimacy is for them and whether they desire their husbands.

IMO if you can't acquire desire for him now, you need to look for another man. You don't want to be in a marriage where you view your husband as a good platonic friend and are constantly finding other men attractive.

I don't think you need to have sex with him to be able to tell if you want him. Have you ever dated a man you wanted? Simply being close to such a man gives you butterflies, and staying chaste is very hard.

In the end it's up to you, would you rather be married to someone you view more as a platonic friend than a husband or take the risk of being single?

[/quote]

I've been attracted to over weight guys and I keep myself in good shape and am really active so the buff guys usually capture my attention first. I think human beings are too complicated to put in a box and say only this or that will attract them. I'm also drawn to outgoing guys with a good sense of humor...so personality is a big part of it too. Maybe the OP saw something in this guy initially that attracted her and as time went on for whatever reason she just lost interest. Maybe it's a combination of things but to be fair to the guy if you're not attracted to him let him go and find someone who is. I know it's hard to let a good guy go...there's so few of them around but would you want to be with someone who didn't desire you as much as you desired them in every way. :shrug:


#8

Your situation sounds a lot like mine, several years ago. I went ahead with the marriage without fully understanding the kind of work that ALL marriages need, then blamed my divorce on the dwindling attraction toward my husband. Now we are working to reconcile. If you’re up for a long read, you might take a peek at my thread My marriage: disillusioned from day one. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes and move forward in your relationship with your eyes wide open.

One thing that is true about my attraction toward my husband: I haven’t felt attracted to him everyday, but I can always look at him and appreciate him as an attractive man. He isn’t Brad Pitt, but he is handsome and the kindness and love he treats me with makes up for a few “flaws” in his appearance.

About your boyfriend’s weight–for both his physical and mental health, encourage him to try a team sport. I tried to convince my husband to take up hockey for years and last year he finally bought skates, took a few beginner hockey classes, and joined an adult hockey league. He’s lost weight, put on muscle, met new friends, and feels better about himself–especially when his team wins. :slight_smile:


#9

ambrosegirl84 - Do you feel “frisky” at all? Is your lack of attraction towards him or towards sex in general at this point? Where you attracted to him physically during the time when you got “carried away” in the beginning of your relationship? Could it be something about his personality that you have come to see and don’t think you could withstand for a lifetime, and you are manifesting it as physical un-attractiveness?

Like others have said, I wonder if your loss of attraction stems from a feeling of guilt over past errors. Have you read any Catholic teachings or philosophy regarding sexuality? Theology of the Body is one I would highly recommend.
To be honest, it sounds to me like you guys have a great relationship. If you are hesitant, be honest with him though, you aren’t obligated to do something half-heartedly. Tell him you need x months of going on dates with other guys to gain some perspective. You aren’t married to him, so you don’t owe him a lifetime of commitment yet, but you do owe him honesty if you are going to peruse other people.

So, to your question how important attraction is…
I have been married 2 1/2years and to me, my husband is the most handsome man in the world. I have lost all ability to look at him objectively. A few weeks ago, we were discussing the Twilight movies and another married lady who is in her 30’s was going on and on about the guys in that movie being so cute and she knew all about their personal lives, etc. I am actually closer in age to these actors, and have given nothing more than a passing glance. I thought that it must be a very desolate place to be emotionally; being so attracted to men who aren’t your spouse. Men who really care nothing about you or know you are alive. At the end of the day, those good looking men in a movie won’t love you, they don’t care about you, and your superficial relationship to them will do nothing to edify your soul. Yet more false promises of this world. Like love, attraction is a daily choice. I could get caught up in false ideals and start to pick apart my husband’s features and decide they aren’t perfect…or I can decide to be in awe of him every day. I often like to imagnie my husband the way God sees him…as one of his creations.

Attraction is such a complicated thing…but when our gut feeling is giving us hesitation, that is something to be listened to. Only you know what you are feeling and the motivation behind your feelings.


#10

[quote="Sierrah, post:7, topic:178828"]
I've been attracted to over weight guys

[/quote]

Out of curiosity, how overweight were they? Was it 20 pounds or 100 pounds? Have you ever been attracted to a seriously overweight man?


#11

ambrosegirl84 - Do you feel “frisky” at all?

Haha, not really. I guess I see attractive men and find them attractive, but never feel the desire to BE with them rather than my own guy… Actually, I was attracted to a couple guys back when I was single…guys I could/would/should have never dated at all, ended up kissing them, being utterly disgusted by it, and moving on. So I would almost say I’ve always been attracted to the “idea” of having this great experience, but have only kissed/etc. a couple guys where I felt a “connection”–and in the end they were jerks. So I guess I’ve started to take the attraction thing with a grain of salt.

But…weight and everything aside, I think I (and quite a few others) had set myself up for a fairytale…I had it in my mind that I’d find a well-built Christian cowboy who shared all my interests (and had a ranch, of course…) and we would while away the time together riding off into the sunset. In reality I actually had that chance and didn’t take it because it wasn’t right despite all the material things that were there.

Anyway! I have ended up falling in love with a guy who doesn’t “fit” many of the things listed above…but has so much else aside from that, things that are more important than riding off into the sunset. He supports all my interests, even though he doesn’t take part in them. He is amazed by my talents, and I’m amazed by his.

I shouldn’t be disappointed because he IS such a great guy. But it makes me feel materialistic that I AM feeling a bit disappointed about the possibility of giving up the “cowboy dream.” Silly? Just thought I’d throw that out there.**


#12

P.S. I didn’t mention this earlier, but I do love snuggling with him. So comparing to other guys whom I didn’t even want to hold hands with…not so bad.


#13

[quote="ambrosegirl84, post:11, topic:178828"]

I shouldn't be disappointed because he IS such a great guy. But it makes me feel materialistic that I AM feeling a bit disappointed about the possibility of giving up the "cowboy dream." Silly? Just thought I'd throw that out there.

[/quote]

It's not something you can help, it's the way you're wired. It's in our nature as women to be attracted to that type of man.

At the same time you have to be realistic, it's possible that if you decide to only marry that type of man who is in addition a faithful Catholic that you will never find him. Faithful Catholics are very rare as it is, if you add additional qualities it becomes even harder to find one.

Do you see yourself being excited every day for the rest of your life to be with this man?


#14

[quote="Sierrah, post:7, topic:178828"]
I've been attracted to over weight guys and I keep myself in good shape and am really active so the buff guys usually capture my attention first. I think human beings are too complicated to put in a box and say only this or that will attract them. I'm also drawn to outgoing guys with a good sense of humor...so personality is a big part of it too. Maybe the OP saw something in this guy initially that attracted her and as time went on for whatever reason she just lost interest. Maybe it's a combination of things but to be fair to the guy if you're not attracted to him let him go and find someone who is. I know it's hard to let a good guy go...there's so few of them around but would you want to be with someone who didn't desire you as much as you desired them in every way. :shrug:

[/quote]

Actually, it would be workable. It's hard to break down attraction to physical and other and physical attraction is hard to break down into the part based directly on the body and the other part (e.g. some people can be attracted rather physically e.g. to voice and manner of movement is an important factor in attraction too). Normally, I wouldn't expect the woman to find me the most physically attractive guy around and certainly not the one with the best body (which I am not, but it's not like I care). She could have other strong reasons for why I were the one for her - and if she didn't have any, well, then that'd be a problem because it's kinda hard to develop attraction out of a sense of duty.

[quote="MercyMia, post:9, topic:178828"]
Tell him you need x months of going on dates with other guys to gain some perspective.

[/quote]

Could be unfair on those other guys, especially if something romantic develops. We're only wired for one relationship and 2 or 3 are trouble.


#15

[quote="ambrosegirl84, post:12, topic:178828"]
P.S. I didn't mention this earlier, but I do love snuggling with him. So comparing to other guys whom I didn't even want to hold hands with...not so bad.

[/quote]

That is a good sign I think.

I also had a very easy time dating my boyfriend and not feeling tempted by sex. We're married now and things are pretty good.

I was and still am attracted to him. But it's not the entire body package. Ripped guys walking down the street...they don't really do it for me. It's not because I'm not into ripped men. It's because I don't know anything about them. I just don't feel that "infatuation at first sight" for anyone. No celebrity crushes....no nothing. I need the emotional bond first.

Admittedly I had been dating the guy for about 2 years before I felt I could have sex with him someday (not even that I wanted to have sex with him NOW...just that It'd be nice someday). It was the first time I felt that way for a guy. I'd always fantasize about children and the man I was interested in as a father. But oddly enough, sex just never entered into it. It was a bizarre feeling. I finally comprehended that desire even if it was on such a small scale. :blush:

But I agree that it's important to listen to your gut and try to know your own feelings. For years, it kinda weirded me out that I was slowly becoming the "last virgin standing" when I had never really felt that temptation myself. But it all came down to the fact that I'm just wired a little bit differently. Once I understood myself in the context of me as opposed to the context of everyone else, I became much more aware of my true feelings for myself and for my husband.


#16

[quote="Kit15, post:15, topic:178828"]
I was and still am attracted to him. But it's not the entire body package. Ripped guys walking down the street...they don't really do it for me. It's not because I'm not into ripped men. It's because I don't know anything about them. I just don't feel that "infatuation at first sight" for anyone. No celebrity crushes....no nothing. I need the emotional bond first.

[/quote]

Besides, what chance does one have, when looking at even a drop-dead stranger (newsflash: everyone looks good when a stylist or even the subject himself has spent enough time), that said person is available and compatible at the same time? Numer of people times share of the opposite gender times share in the right age times share of single and looking without impediments/perma-defects times share of whatever one's attracted to... it's a 0.xxxx times 0.xxxx times 0.xxxx until it becomes 0.000000... and so on. Last time I did the maths, it turned out I had at most around 2000 potential matches around the whole developed world. Less picky people probably have it easier, but anyway, how likely is that tasty cookie to be a practicing Catholic with the right mind and intent, canonically free to marry and really meaning the consent? On the other hand, last time I went to Mass next to where my father lives, I had to exercise a lot of self-control to keep my head from spinning around. :p

But anyway, sometimes a little conversation can kill all initial attraction (or convince you it's not a good idea to act on it) and sometimes a second glance is needed to see something that isn't oh so visible in the beginning (same like you zoom or clean a photo).


#17

I don’t know, my perspective is that while you are still unmarried, it is fine to casually date as many people as you would like. As long as you are not being physical with any of them and you have not made a move towards being exclusive with any one of them. I think that is a healthy approach, especially when the dater is having questions of what sustainable attraction is. Obviously this would be different than stepping out on a committed dating relationship, which is cruel and immoral. What is worse, telling the current boyfriend she needs a break to just date a few other people or marrying him always wondering if she made the right choice…that is not only cruel to herself but to the man involved because he deserves a woman who feels 100% secure in her choice.


#18

[quote="MercyMia, post:17, topic:178828"]
I don't know, my perspective is that while you are still unmarried, it is fine to casually date as many people as you would like. As long as you are not being physical with any of them and you have not made a move towards being exclusive with any one of them. I think that is a healthy approach, especially when the dater is having questions of what sustainable attraction is. Obviously this would be different than stepping out on a committed dating relationship, which is cruel and immoral. What is worse, telling the current boyfriend she needs a break to just date a few other people or marrying him always wondering if she made the right choice...that is not only cruel to herself but to the man involved because he deserves a woman who feels 100% secure in her choice.

[/quote]

This could erupt into a long discussion, but basically, I agree with you that seeing many people socially is a rather healthy thing and helps to keep perspective, but on the other hand I totally disagree with the culture of "non-exclusive dating" in the sitting-in-a-tree-kissing sense. "Dating" is an ambiguous term. If it means just a coffee over at a cafe, then heh, it's better to have company than not to, right? If it means a "dinner and movie", then we're approaching muddy waters, so we'd better be careful, but it's still fine (as long as there's no declaration of feelings, no kissing or holding hands or something, then it's pretty much no one's business as long as one hasn't made any promises). Sitting-in-a-tree-kissing affairs got to be exclusive, though. Having multiple concurrent romantic relationships is polygamy even when it's not sexual (polyamory might be a better term). This is why I react so strongly to any mention of "exclusive", "non-exclusive" etc.

BTW, someone dates those people who are just checking if the current boyfriend or girlfriend is good enough. Those people have feelings. They fall for the aforementioned and they get their hearts broken when it's time to return to Mr/Miss #1. It's like being the rebound girl/guy, except worse.


#19

[quote="chevalier, post:18, topic:178828"]

BTW, someone dates those people who are just checking if the current boyfriend or girlfriend is good enough. Those people have feelings. They fall for the aforementioned and they get their hearts broken when it's time to return to Mr/Miss #1. It's like being the rebound girl/guy, except worse.

[/quote]

I think the key in these situations is not to lead people on, and let them know that you're dating several people and don't know which, if any, will be chosen for an exclusive relationship.

If people unreasonably assume that because you're going to a dinner and a movie that you intend to be exclusive with them, it's not your fault.

In fact, people's reactions in these relationships will show you which ones are needy and dependent.

Most of us aren't lucky enough to meet the right person on the first try, we need to date multiple people to find out the kind of person we are compatible with.


#20

[quote="flyingfish, post:19, topic:178828"]
I think the key in these situations is not to lead people on, and let them know that you're dating several people and don't know which, if any, will be chosen for an exclusive relationship.

[/quote]

To be honest, I can't even accept the "exclusive/non-exclusive" division. Basically, it either is a romantic relationship or not. If it is one, it needs to be exclusive. When there are conflicting feelings, the proper course of action is to stay within the confines of friendship while dealing with the conflict. Spending a lot of time and asking deep questions or even admitting the conflict and asking for input is okay. Checking out who's the best kisser is not.

If people unreasonably assume that because you're going to a dinner and a movie that you intend to be exclusive with them, it's not your fault.

I agree. However, "dinner and movie" may or may not include sitting-in-the-tree-kissing. Sitting-in-the-tree-kissing is the determining factor here.

In fact, people's reactions in these relationships will show you which ones are needy and dependent.

Not necessarily. Assuming that there is no sitting-in-the-tree-kissing, but just watching, eating and talking, people are entitled to interpret body language, verbal and vocal content, some of which may be misleading (think mixed signals). There may also be some cultural factors involved, such as what certain gestures or words mean in certain cultures (e.g. some people hold hands with everybody, others only with lovers or closest family). Or you have people like yours truly who consider full-blow snuggling and kissing non-exclusive dating to be immoral - and my rejection of it wouldn't show me as needy or dependent, although you're free to consider me possessive.

Most of us aren't lucky enough to meet the right person on the first try, we need to date multiple people to find out the kind of person we are compatible with.

Something being expedient from our point of view is not enough of a justification of how we treat others. There must be a morality check on that end. For example, you will almost certainly agree with me that having several boyfriends or girlfriends at the same time without telling everybody involved would be profitable in terms of getting perspective and having more to choose from (without wasting time) without taking risks - but doing it would be wrong. So we agree that there is a limit somewhere. I believe the limit is always crossed when one person has two lovers or more (I don't necessarily mean lovers in the sexual sense, romantic is enough). I believe this follows from the natural law prohibition against polygamy. The absence of the pure act of intercoruse or other sexual stimulation or release does not make polygamy acceptable.

What is more, entering into n relationships at a time is entering into n-1 relationships which are doomed from start (we just don't know which one will remain if any), e.g.

John has 3 girlfriends (denominator doesn't matter). Given that girlfriends are not for sitting-in-the-tree-kissing but for marriage discernment (and with a concrete person at that, not just in general!), he shouldn't be dating someone he can't marry. He can marry only 1 girl (leaving the incidental chance of her dying and him remarrying). That means n-1, which is 3-1, which is 2 relationships that are known not to lead to marriage but to a break-up after a limited if not precisely determined period of time. Something's wrong here.

As long as he keeps the dates on a friendly level (no sitting-in-the-tree-kissing, no declarations of love (attraction is fine) etc.), I don't give a dime. In fact, that's how I would prefer to handle things. However, as I said, romantic actions are a no-no at that stage. I would say walking the part in the evening and/or buying flowers would be okay. Holding hands or kissing or reciting explicitly romantic poetry would not. Some other people could place the divide at some other point - they could be right as well.

If we are to continue this, we'll need a separate thread. Shall I?


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