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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The role of looks in personal relationships by A101

A starter point:
I have never understood some peoples strange and undying need to deny that physical attraction has an important role to play in a healthy relationship.

The way you look is a part of who you are, your body goes everywhere with you.

Everyone has 'bad days' and such, and no-one is expected to look perfect all the time, however a politically correct segment of the world has decided that any mention of needing physical attraction means there is something wrong with you, and feed out insult after insult, guilt trip after guilt trip.

Hence, many are unlikely to (at least openly) admit that physical attraction is important to them.

Some people claim it's 'only personality that counts' but if that was the be-all and end-all then we'd simply be married to all of our friends, after all we like their personalities.

But then the difference between friendship and a relationship is that you don't (generally) have sex with your friends, and you don't have sex with personalities or emotions, we have sex with our bodies. Sex is PHYSICAL.

We are naturally drawn to what we are attracted too, like a beautiful sunset, or a sunny beach, a nice house etc, yet others will say 'Well people aren't beaches are they', but then go off and tell others 'Looks don't matter, after all you can't judge a book by its cover'…….so are we books? No!

Is sex really that important?:
Sex is an important aspect of a healthy relationship, it is simply wrong to deny this. It is complete fact, sex is healthy and it is a perfectly natural human need.

Some people feel they can go without it or that its not important, which is fine if that's right for them, their views and their life, but forcing this onto other people's lives is ludicrous.

You cannot tell other people what things they can/can't or should/shouldn't look for in a relationship.And physical attraction is one of them.

Twisting commitments and vows:
It is a common occurrence to hear in relationships that when total commitment has been verified (or after marriage), vows or commitments get twisted to mean 'No matter what I do, you have to shut up and like it'.

But why does being in a full relationship then mean you don't have to try anymore?

Relationships need constant maintenance to keep them alive. Just like anything else, if it is not looked after, it stops working and falls apart.

Some spouses who have deliberately stopped caring, or 'let themselves go' hide behind their vows from marriage and twist their meanings.

The most popular vow to twist is 'For better or for worse', but they seem to drastically miss the point that when you love someone, you're actually supposed to try to keep yourself on the BETTER side of the equation.

Just like you say 'For richer or poorer', but that doesn't mean its fine to just be unemployed and never earn any money.

A person who loves someone would want to bring their best to the relationship, not say 'You have to love me no matter what I do and like it'.

Vows are there to say that you will both bring your best to a relationship and work through any problems together. They are not there to excuse poor behaviour.

The vows are not 'For better or for worse, whichever one I can be bothered with at the time'.

They are talking about situations that are out of peoples control, and then together, working through them. Not what people deliberately bring on themselves, and that the other person is just stuck with it.

There will always be consequences:
Here is a simple fact of life: All actions lead to consequences.

And in a relationship (or marriage) that changes nothing, this rule still holds true.
: If you're abusive to your spouse, there will be consequences
: If you gamble or throw money away, there will be consequences
: If you are unreliable or untrustworthy, there will be consequences

And yes, if you do something to yourself or your appearance there will be consequences.

Whether the consequences are good or bad, there WILL be consequences all the same.

And this is something that those who harness politically correct guilt trips need to understand.

If you choose to put food, laziness, television, gambling, alcohol or anything else, above looking after an aspect of your relationship, then there WILL be consequences to those actions.

Some people just seem to feel that they can eat, drink, gamble, be lazy etc all they want and no matter what, there will be no consequence for this.

Their partner has to just shut up and accept it, or 'be happy that their spouse is happy'.

Well sorry but this is real life, you're actions will lead to consequences, so it is definitely in your own best interest that you think your actions through.

Being in a committed relationship does not change this rule. You reap what you sow, and if you choose to put excessive food, laziness, alcohol etc ahead of looking after a part of your relationship, then there will be no-one else to blame when the consequences of your actions come knocking. Because whether you like it or not, they WILL be there! And they will not be good!

Is it fascism?:
A Fascist is someone who will force their views on others, and this accusation is a regular insult aimed towards those who encourage the idea of health and looking after oneself.

But how is asking your partner 'Could you please exercise and eat healthy for us both' such a 'fascist' thing to say? How?

If the partner asking also does nothing to look after themselves then yes maybe it could be, however if one is looking after themselves for their partner, wants their partner to find them attractive, wants to bring their best to the relationship then no, it could not be further from something 'fascist'.

If asking your partner to look after themselves to increase sexual attraction and their health is 'fascist', then is it also fascist if a parent says to their child 'Please could you study for your exams as i want you to have a successful life'? No of course not.

What separates a relationship from a friendship or companionship is sex, plain and simple. In a friendship or companionship you connect on the same levels, you enjoy each others company, you care about each other etc. In a relationship you do all that plus have sex, you are intimate with someone, that's why they are called PHYSICAL relationships. That is why sex is known as 'showing your love PHYSICALLY'. So if you're doing something physically, is it really that difficult to understand why physical attraction would come into play?

You can't connect with someone on an intellectual level if you find them to be as 'thick as a plank'. So how do some people think you can connect with them on a physical level if you're not physically attracted?

There's more to a relationship then looks:
This is a true statement, there is more to a relationship then just looks. However to some people this translates too: Looks don't matter, and there's something wrong with you if you think (or openly say) they do.

There is more to a relationship then looks, but why does this mean they shouldn't still play a part?Let's drop physical attraction for the moment and concentrate on some other aspects.

If you loved a sense of humour and your partner had a great one.......then became as boring as watching paint dry, it would bother you. So then is there something wrong with you? More to a relationship then a sense of humour right?

What if you love intelligence and your partner had plenty, then you're partner couldn't be bothered stimulating their mind anymore or caring about that stuff, and so became as 'thick as a plank', it would bother you. So then is there something wrong with you? More to a relationship then intelligence right?

If you loved a partner who was active but then they became a coach potato and never went out, and you hated it, is it because you are in the wrong? More to life then going out right?

What if they lost or quit their job and didn't bother getting a new one, they were 'happy being unemployed and you should be too', ah well never mind, more to life then money right?

Physical attraction is one of the many aspects that make up a healthy relationship and all aspects play a role, and all aspects need to be looked after, and sex is what differentiates a relationship from a friendship or a companionship.

If looks aren't important to YOU in a relationship then fine, but you can't force this onto other people, or put them down for what they need.

You concentrate too much on the physical:
A very common argument from those who try to deny physical attraction matters. However it is usually aimed at anyone who even mentions physical attraction, or those who say they want their partner to look after their physical appearance, when their partner does little to nothing to keep the spark and attraction in their relationship.

How is this 'concentrating too much on the physical'?

They are simply asking their partner to look after one of the aspects of their relationship. It is not all they care about, but it is a part of what they care about, and why shouldn't they?

Why is looking after the physical aspect any less important then looking after any other?

Why should it be expected that everyone deny themselves the basic human need of physical attraction and physical relationships, or at least one they enjoy and look forward to participating in.

An obvious fact that politically correct arguers miss is this:A women who is not turned on by a partner who has deliberately not looked after his physical side will not enjoy sex. A man who is not turned on by a woman who has deliberately not looked after her physical side (if you understand male anatomy) can't have sex.

Instead they believe that not wanting sex is due to 'shallowness' and 'selfishness', not reality, human desires, needs and biology.It's considered very politically incorrect to say that you need physical attraction, but political correctness has no relation to reality or common sense. It's a moral high horse, and completely unrealistic.

The 'love them for who they are' statement:
'You should love them for who they are' is a constantly uttered guilt trip used whenever a person mentions their feelings towards their partners lack of caring about their appearance and staying attractive for their partner.

But how can you 'love someone for who they are' if you don't love what they have become? If someone was once nice but is now abusive can you just 'love them for who they are'?

You can't expect people to just feel attraction for you no matter what it is you do, or do to yourself. I'm sure these people saying 'love them for who they are' and 'looks don't matter' would be singing a very different tune if their partner then came home with a tattoo on their face.

Looking after yourself shows your partner that you value and respect yourself and them. It's amazing how many people will look after their television and their possessions but not their bodies.

Looking after their bodies is stupid but god forbid anyone spills something in the car.

If you value and respect something then you look after it, not wreck it, and that includes your body and your relationship.

Looking after yourself says to your partner 'I want you to have a good sex life, I want you to enjoy my body, I want to turn you on, I want to be fit and healthy for all the years to come'.

When you love you're partner you look after them and their needs. You look after them emotionally and are kind to them, they shouldn't have to ask you for that. It's something you want to give.

When you love you're partner you look after them financially. You want to put food on the table for them, to give them a great life, they shouldn't have to ask you for help to pay the bills. You love them, you want to help them.

So why is looking after the physical such a politically incorrect thing to need? If you love someone you would want them to have a good sex life, and feel attraction to you. So why do some feel that no effort needs to be given in this aspect of the relationship?

Another common argument is that 'a person shouldn't have to look after themselves, but if they do, it should be only for themselves'……….so should a person only spend money on themselves? Buy food for themselves? Does your partner not matter?

Loss of attraction and loss of love are two different things:
Some people seem to confuse that saying a loss of physical attraction means you never loved them, that looks are all you ever cared about, and that you are sad and shallow.

Here is a following example: 'If your partner cares about looks/weight they never loved you anyway, it's their problem'. Since when do people in relationships say 'It's their problem'? It's no different then saying 'Oh my partner hates my gambling, never mind it's their problem'.

They forget there are two sides to every coin. The other is 'If your partner cares about you, why would they not look after themselves to keep the spark alive, to keep up an important part of the relationship, to keep themselves healthy so they won't end up dead way before their time'.

Also having a problem with your spouse not looking after the physical side of themselves or their relationship doesn't at all mean you don't love them. There is a big difference between love and attraction, you can love someone but not feel attracted. But relationships are physical relationships, and if there is no attraction, an important part of the relationship will suffer.

You can't expect your partner to want sex if you don't look after yourself. And you can't expect them to keep their mouths shut. Physical attraction is human nature, yet political correctness makes out that needing it is a sign of immorality.

When you love someone you say 'I want you to have my best'. Not looking after yourself is saying 'You'll have whatever I choose to give you and like it'.

Both partners need to work together to maintain their relationship and to make their relationship work. They need to look after themselves, for themselves and for each other.

The looks fade argument:
'Looks don't matter because looks fade' is simply not a valid argument, because lifestyle also comes into play. If one person lives a healthy lifestyle and another lives on curries, chips and junk, will they both look the same at 50?

People who say looks fade make it sound like as you get older you become almost grotesque and deformed.

Another way of putting this is 'Looks shouldn't matter because looks fade but personality/character etc stay the same'.

This isn't true either. People can go through many changes during life. Some people can be together for 15/20/25+ years but feelings and emotions change and they decide they don't love each other anymore. Some people are friends for years but then decide they don't like each other anymore, other people dislike each other then can become friends.

If personalities/character/beliefs/opinions etc all stayed the same these things would never happen. Lots of changes happen in life. Some people even change or find religion.

What will you do when you get old/ what if your partner is burnt in a fire or in an accident?:
These types of events have nothing in common with not looking after physical appearance. There's a huge difference between being burnt in a fire and deliberately letting yourself go.

But in reality questions like this aren't fair, who wants to think of their partner being burnt alive? These questions are purely designed to guilt you. It's like someone asking you in-front of your parents 'If i had both your parents here with a gun to their heads and you had to choose which one lived and died, who would you pick?'.

And yes we all get old, but that doesn't mean that you can't look after yourself as best you can. No-one can stay exactly as they once were when they are old as to when they were young, but it's about putting in the effort to look after yourself. To always bring the best you can to your relationship. Old doesn't just equal out of shape.

If looks don't matter then does gender not matter?:
Some people are just so adamant in telling others that the are wrong for what they feel, yet with no rational argument. In their place are endless insults and guilt trips.

So another idea in response to this would be 'if looks don't matter, then why does gender?'

Here's a scenario: A woman is unhappy with her husband who has stopped looking after himself, and she no longer feels sexual attraction to him, yet her husband just constantly puts down her feelings with the line 'Looks shouldn't matter at all'.

So then if looks don't matter, could this man then have a physical relationship with someone of the same sex? If i took all of the personality traits, characteristics, opinions, intelligence etc that he is attracted too and then put them into a mans body, would he be prepared to have a relationship with that person?

Their personality is perfect for him. After all he said looks don't matter so the fact that the other person has a male body shouldn't bother him.

That's on the outside, it's what's inside only that counts like he said. Therefore by the 'looks don't matter' logic, this man is shallow because he won't date another man.

It is because of human nature he finds women attractive, but it is also human nature to need physical attraction. Why is it okay for him to follow his human nature to be with a woman yet at the same time tell her to deny another aspect of human nature which is physical attraction?

If you care about physical attraction in your relationship you are NOT shallow. Not in the slightest. Physical attraction is one of the many aspects that make up the package.

A person cannot be expected to be happy if their partner deliberately lets this aspect slide anymore then if their spouse let another aspect go (like kindness and instead was rude all the time).

Political correctness is a bullying movement where rationality and realism is replaced with endless guilt trips to make a person feel they are in the wrong for many things, including perfectly normal human needs.And one of these needs is physical attraction.

If you choose to not look after your physical side, then that is your life choice and your right as a person to choose that lifestyle. However you cannot expect, force or guilt someone to feel the same way for you because of that life choice. They have choices too.

The people who try to put you down for any perfectly normal, human feelings you have regarding your relationships, and looking after physical attraction should simply be ignored.

Other people don't have to walk in your shoes or live with your concerns, your spouse, your needs, your relationship or your life, but YOU DO! Its up to each person to decide for themselves what they need in relationships, and whether they need physical attraction in theirs or not, or how much. Not other people.

There is no sexism in this, males and females both need physical attraction, and should not be expected to deny themselves this.

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