Physical attraction and dating

It’s been a while!

Currently single (not yet ready to mingle) but as I’m enjoying my season of singleness I can’t help but have excitement for my future relationship while hanging out and remaining good friends with many Godly young women. For the past year or so however I’ve been scratching my head at how although some of these girls have great personalities I would not go out of my way and pursue them because I don’t find them physically attractive.

It has happened a few times in the past where I have gotten to know a girl really well intending to remain good friends but she would fall for me so because of this I try to keep a distance to prevent any broken hearts unless I want to pursue. However how frustrating is this, because I feel like if the physical meant nothing I would have dated them all!!!

I know how women are generally more personality oriented than men than looks but as a young Catholic (aspiring) gentleman, how can I reconcile my desire for a physically attractive girlfriend when I know that when (God willing) we grow old together, it doesn’t even matter?

When I am asked what I look for in a girl I sometimes shy away from saying “I have to find her physically attractive” among the obvious Godly/Marian characteristics. But if it is a requirement, is this shallow of me? When with secular’s I’m obviously more comfortable in saying that as I feel like it’s not as accepted among devoted Catholics.

The physical attraction I seek in a girl is definitely not unrealistic but I worry that I’m focusing too much on the physical.

What do you think? Do I sound like a shallow fool?

Share your insight!

A frustrated young Catholic

I think, when you are ready to date again, that you consider dating a woman like the ones you describe knowing. Depending on your normal context for interacting with them, you might be surprised how much getting dressed up for a date “changes” their appearance (or rather, highlights aspects of their appearance you may have skipped over before). Women tend to dress for the occasion, and that includes doing hair and makeup. We’re not all just slobs to go to the grocery store or do volunteer work, for example, but most of us are focusing a lot more on function when it comes to our everyday lives and less on appearance. Work attire may be more dressy, but it’s a different kind of dressy than “date dressy.” You may be missing a lot because right now simply because the context you are currently meeting them in doesn’t count as “date.”

(Here’s an example of pretty amazing “transformation:” Woman Demonstrates the Power of Makeup)

There are also people who, on top of that, become more attractive to us when we know them a bit better because we’ll notice something like an eye sparkle or a laugh that gets lost when there are lots of people around (and those types of things stick around as we get older, too, unlike other things.)

So I’d say give it a shot. Does physical attractiveness matter? Yes, but you might not be giving yourself a good enough chance to determine if you are actually attracted or not, and the woman a chance to show you her “good side.” She may not even know she’s getting sized up for this purpose. :shrug:

Thanks for the insight. Maybe I should do more of the sizing up on actual dates.

With the girls I see potential with, I can see how fragile their hearts are so I’d hate to say afterwards that I’d like to remain friends after showing interest by taking them out. But I guess it can depend on the way I deliver the question and explain my intention.

Nevertheless I’m still frustrated at how physical attraction is more important to me than I would like it to be. Maybe I’m just trying to love like the Lord by focusing on one’s heart and nothing else. Sounds pretty unattainable/unrealistic being a fallible human (sorry, just trying to psychoanalyze myself a little).

It is important to be attracted to someone who you enter a romantic relationship with. (Meaning the kind of attraction that you don’t feel for male friends.) However, this is separate from the woman actually being physically attractive. One can be attracted to someone who is, objectively, physically unattractive…does this make sense? The attraction I’m talking about is on a more personal level, like when you involuntarily feel a tinge of disappointment when you see her talking to another guy.

Is it possible that this non-physical attraction is lacking, because something in your personalities isn’t clicking? But you’re confused as to why you don’t want to date these women, and erroneously decide it’s because they aren’t physically attractive?

Going on just one date once shouldn’t break anyone’s heart if either party decides not to continue it. (Unfortunately, dating has become so incredibly high-pressure among Catholics that, even though that shouldn’t break anyone’s heart, I can imagine that sometimes it actually does.)

so…why is it that you don’t befriend any women that you DO find attractive? :blush: how is that you only find women that are not physically appealing to you?

Yeah it does, I understand what you mean. But that’s the thing… for some weird feeling I feel like wanting to pursue someone who is ‘objectively, physically attractive’ is seen as shallow for the devout. Or is it just me? If so, is it justifiably so?

Oh wow that’s actually a really good question :confused:

Might have to discern these reasons on my own…
Could be a pride issue or as mentioned above I’m not in the dating scene right now (but that’s a stupid reason). Might be a confidence issue (intimidated) or assumptions (‘that attractive girl must be pursued by plenty of guys, I have a slim chance’, but I guess it’s still not a valid reason to not befriend them). Let me go all out self psychoanalysis here and say it might be that I can feel more comfortable around girls I don’t like and thus find befriending them much easier than if I were to meet a girl who is subjectively/objectively physically attractive, I won’t be as comfortable because I would care more about how she would think of me whilst we are doing things together (especially if I could see myself pursuing her?). And if this is the case, then its probably a self confidence/don’t like being judged issue. Yet this thread is about doing that to the fairer sex (ironically?). This can go really deep so I’ll stop there before I hurt my/your brain any further.

But thank you really because no one has actually asked me that. Very profound to me!

You’re welcome! That will be 5 cents please. :wink:

When you are ready to date, take a chance and befriend a girl you consider attractive. Throw any fears aside. Either she will be your friend and it might work out, or you will learn something from the experience.

Exactly. Could possibly be because Catholics/young people or generally in our society, people date less than ever before. And therefore, dates are seen as being a lot more special than they used to be.

Heck everyone uses the term differently - having two people agree on one definition or the purpose of dating in my experience, is very rare!

Thank you! Know that you have helped someone more than you might think here i.e. very confused and frustrated young Catholic aka me (and I’m sure you have been of great assistance to many people before in these forums).

God bless you x

It does seem that young people today are always looking for a label in their interactions. We are friends. We just hang out. We are just friends.

I blame it on Facebook relationship status. :rolleyes: everyone feels pressure to fit in to something. How about this? Just don’t state it at all?

One date does not a relationship make. If people are getting attached that easily that their hearts are broken when there is no second date, they have some issues.

It does seem shallow to me. But how do you know that you’re only capable for falling for women who meet a certain physical standard? Is it because you have a track record of only falling for women with a certain kind of appearance? Or is it because you are just imagining that you’re like this.

It does seem shallow, but consider the possibility that you don’t know yourself as well as you think you do. You can grow in self-knowledge by observing how you actually reacted in real circumstances in the past and comparing that to your own self-conception. For example, if you start socializing with beautiful women more often, you might actually discover that they are not as interesting to talk to as you thought they would be, and realize that you don’t actually have a special attraction to these objectively beautiful women.

(BTW, I am not saying that all attractive women will automatically be bad companions – some will be very good companions. But true attraction comes from knowing someone as an individual, and you cannot get that perspective if you don’t befriend all sorts of women.)

Actually I do have a question that’s not entirely off topic (but correct me if I’m wrong to do so and I’ll start another thread).

Can guys and girls really just be friends/best friends?

For me it seems like the more I open myself up to and spend more time with a friend off the opposite sex, a pattern emerges where if she is single and we get to know each others future plans/passions etc. she begins to like me. I got the vibes again recently so I’ve decided to take a step back and hope it’s not too late! - And here I was sure nothing would happen with this particular friend but I guess prevention is better than treatment (not the right word but you know what I mean).

Could it be that I just get too close (by getting personal unnecessarily) or spend too much time with them (but I really don’t) or is it my personality? Can I not treat these sisters in Christ like how a brother in Christ should? How can I protect a girls heart but still remain close friends? Maybe for some men it is actually not possible?

Either way it seems like I’ll just have to avoid 1 on 1 time with sisters in the future.

Thanks Ack. Insightful points. Irishmom suggested something like that also so I’ll definitely be taking that advice!

My best friend is a women. Her personality is completely not aligned to dating and marriage, and this was obvious shortly after we met. Although it would be safe to say that she’s physically beautiful in an objective sense, there are absolutely no romantic feelings on either side.

The personalities of women that I’m attracted to are completely different from hers.

I have also had female friends where the age difference was great enough that romance was obviously not going to happen.

In other situations…spending one-on-one time with a woman sort of sounds like dating.

Pianistclare, very well stated! :thumbsup:

Right but if a female friend falls for you, is there something gentlemanly you can do or say to not hurt her? Apart from hurting her self esteem or implying that she’s not good enough - must be difficult for women to reject men (unless they’re heartless).

I once did nothing at all (pretending I didn’t know) and you could say it backfired.

So that’s why I asked the question of if males and females can remain good friends. The general consensus is yes but surely there is a factor in the friendship which ensures that the furthest two can ever see each other is as friends.


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