How important is it in a relationship that one is attractive? I’d say VERY important. But, what does it really mean – beyond the dictionary definition – to be attractive?
My observations have convinced me (I am not aware of any scientific research) — and it is summed up in a saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” — that beauty is really the individual interpretation of reality. Just look at the couples you know and the ones walking down the street. Don’t you often wonder how these people are together, how ANYONE can be with this “ugly and revolting” person who you would not touch with a ten-foot-pole.
Yes, it is personal, but not all of it is in the eye of the beholder. And, a personal vision can change. To my eye, Catherine Zeta-Jones is one of the most attractive women I know of. I am sure she was attractive enough to Michael Douglas at the time they got married. What happened? They are going through a very ugly divorce and attractiveness has disappeared and been replaced by repulsiveness. How did eyes stop seeing beauty and see the opposite instead. Does beauty that we get attracted to actually exist “out there?” Obviously, or not so obviously, NOT. The eye of the beholder is a critical component. But, is it only the eye, or is there more to it? Well, you guessed it: all senses are ultimately involved in choosing a partner: touch, smell, words said, even taste.
But, that’s not all. What about the well-known but not easily describable sixth sense, intuition? What is it? In our case of attractiveness it’s often called “inner beauty.”
This inner beauty seems to be a decisive factor, but what is it? Can we put our finger on it? It is not easy to define, but it seems to be much more attractive, consistent and long-lasting than the fleeting beauty of the proverbial eye. After being with the person you love for a long period of time, looks become less and less important. And luckily so, because we get older and looks are very difficult to maintain, despite all the advancements of plastic surgery, hair transplants, potions, crèmes and the millions of products and procedures of the beauty industry. A youth-glamorizing culture completely ignores inner beauty because it cannot be sold.
In a strong relationship “outer beauty” is not nearly as important as the media would have us think. Good relationships are strong because partners recognize and appreciate the inner beauty in each other.
Although outer beauty is important for an initial attraction, inner beauty is what keeps relationships strong. Males and females have a somewhat different take on outer or external beauty. Men are attracted mostly to beauty perceived by the senses while women often want more than that. Women often look for a man’s ability to support her. That’s why men, regardless of their looks but with a fancy car, money, a powerful position, intelligence and confidence, are often more attractive than a good-looking man without those qualities. This is one of the reasons that men think of women as “complicated,” and women know how to attract men just by their looks because men are “simple.”
Back to inner beauty. As with external beauty, the internal one varies from person to person. Here we talk about compatibility. The inner quality of a person is one of those indefinable and highly personal categories. The elusiveness of how to define “quality” is beautifully demonstrated in a famous book, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
Here is the link to one of the websites listing personal qualities, good and bad:
It is important to understand that there is no such thing as “good” qualities and “bad” qualities when it comes to personal attraction. The choice depends on the “personality of the chooser” as in the eye of the beholder. And even more than that, the choice depends on the interpretation of, or the meaning given to particular quality, which may depend on the context of the situation (culture, particular circumstances, personal background, etc.).
As you can see, there isn’t such a thing as perfect beauty, a perfect relationship, or perfect anything. And at the same time (also depending on how you want to interpret it), reality or “what is,” is always perfect, because who are we to challenge and question reality and the perfection of creation of which we are only a tiny part?
In summary, a person is not his/her qualities. A person has qualities. Acceptance of your partner (as well as everyone and everything else) exactly the way they are and exactly what they are not is what is called love. If there are some qualities of the person that you cannot live with or accept, so be it, but it does not mean that you have to abandon love.
Love equals happiness, and abandoning it to your interpretation of the qualities that a person has instead of appreciating who a person is, will rob you of your happiness whether you are in a strong relationship, or if your relationship is not working out.
What are YOU attracted to?