Love Living, Quit Hating, Everyone Relating

I Don’t Like the Way You Look Anymore

In Attraction on September 17, 2010 at 8:00 am

written by Swag

A friend of mine battled with a weight problem, as a child, for a very long time. She was overweight for most of high school and was never comfortable with her self-image. Fed up with the idea of food being the vice-grip of death on her life, she took up the challenge of changing her diet and her lifestyle. I never met the old, overweight, version of her. I know the new, healthy, confident version.

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...

Uhhhh....I don't think this is going to work anymore

The other day, she came to me wondering whether she was being a bit shallow for no longer being attracted to an ex-boyfriend because he had gained a few pounds. This wasn’t the only reason that kept them apart and he had gained the weight after they broke up, but it was definitely a contributing factor.

Is she justified for no longer being attracted to him? Shouldn’t she be a bit more long-term oriented in her assessment of beauty? Everybody gets old and nobody stays graceful forever, right?

Since health and wellness is now important to her, I told her she could go one of three routes if she decides to re-engage her relationship with him:

1) She could try to get him to work out, hopefully sparking some motivation to get healthy and stay healthy.
2) She could return to him with a hidden resentment about his overweight status because either he wasn’t motivated to change or she never attempted to help him become motivated.
3) She could accept him for who he is, whether he was motivated to change or not.

Halle Berry

Image by bigdmia via Flickr

In the same token, I have another close friend who despises short hair. He’ll never like the Halle Berry get-up and isn’t really a fan of natural hair either. His girlfriend obviously has different plans because she is about to do both. She wants to grow her hair out natural and is planning on chopping off her mane (which is permed straight) in order to get the process started. He’s a bit livid and the fact that he can’t really explain why he doesn’t like those two particular hairstyles doesn’t help matters at all. He’s been planning on breaking their relationship off since she isn’t keen on his viewpoint and won’t back down.

Is he justified? Does he seem shallow to place so much emphasis on something that can grow back?

It’s not like she came home with a new hairdo without telling him. I can’t help but wonder what he is giving up because of a hairstyle. They aren’t married but what does he think commitment means? What makes her worth the effort? The time? The emotion? Is she just a pretty face to look at. There has to be something more significant than a hairstyle that brings and keeps two people together.

At least my female friend is aware of the possibility that she is being shallow. I know a few people, of both genders, experiencing the exact same dilemma. A person’s physical appearance is usually the first marker of attraction, so there isn’t anything wrong paying attention to it. But after you start a relationship, maybe you should ask more in-depth questions like:

Does this person love me for who I am?
Am I accepting of them for their flaws?
Will this person be a good parent?
Is this person able to communicate effectively?
Am I able to communicate effectively?
Am I able to appreciate who this person is without judging them?
What do I intend to gain from this relationship?
If weight is a deal breaker but I’m still willing to give it a chance, have I communicated my threshold?
Does this person know what I can not live without?
Does this person know what I can not tolerate?

I know I can be a bit judgmental at times, so when I was dating, I tried my hardest to communicate my intentions and expectations before the relationship moved into deeper stages. If I wasn’t planning on investing any emotions, I didn’t want the other person making the mistake of doing so. In fact, the reason why my girlfriend and I fit so well is because we were friends for a year before we entered our relationship. We had plenty of time to discuss every topic under the sun. We knew where the other person stood on pretty much everything. Few surprises, if any, existed. She knew I didn’t want to be with someone who wasn’t willing to invest in their own physical health. She also knew I could care less about her hairstyles because there was so much more to her than that.

Everybody has preferences. Nobody is going to like the way everything looks on every person. It’s ok to be concerned about physical appearance. At the very least, communicate your preferences to your partner in the beginning of your relationship. If that doesn’t work, make sure to take a step back before making any rash decisions. On the scale of love what’s more important, the person that stands before you or the dead skin cells on their head?

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  1. Swag, I rather you than me, brother!

    I smiled when reading this post because I fit the two parts of the profiles you laid out. I am fat (not overweight), short (5ft something little bit) and I have short hair… maybe that is why I cannot get a man … (LMFAO). Men should try to understand what women go through to look good for them (it is seldom for ourselves … be honest ladies).

    I would just deal with the hair for now. We women (most of us) are always changing our hairstyles like we change our clothes. I too had long hair all my life because I thought that was what men liked. I went through a challenge a few years ago and I could no longer maintain the length, plus it keep me hot (living in Barbados is an adventure), so I sat in my hairstylist’s chair and tell her to cut it OFF (like Angela Basset on Waiting to Exhale).

    I am happy with how my hair looks now and I’m not planning to let it grow long in the near future. I am a good and loyal woman and I would give my all to the man I love … if any man cannot see past my short, fat, short hair exterior, to bad for him, he just might be missing out the best thing that ever happened to him.

    • @Cherylanng
      Being happy with yourself should definitely come first. In fact, I would say that confidence can trump looks in most situations. So I commend you for being at peace with yourself. I lady I spoke of with the ex, who was gaining weight, had little issue with the weight and more an issue with the possible disconnect in what each person valued. She now placed a high priority on health, and didn’t know if they could reconcile that once they were together again.

      Thanks again for the readership.
      Swag

  2. My boyfriend is the opposite… I want to grow my hair out, but he likes it short. Not Halle Berry short, but Katie Holmes short. Luckily he’s right about it. I do look better with the shorter hair.

    I’m also a bit overweigt, but I do go to the gym and I have an active life. If I would stop enjoying a nice meal, and forcing him to cook fat-free, he would go crazy. If it was the other way around. I wouldn’t mind if he gained a few pounds, but I would mind if he completely let himself go, like stuffing himself with chips and watching tv for 6 hours a day. So it’s not purely about the looks, but its about the attitude that goes with it.

    • @Elanor
      Having an active life is definitely important. I am from Texas originally and down there, we are sitting down a majority of the time. We sit down in our cars, we sit down at work, we sit down at home, and we lay down in our beds. It also doesn’t help that our food portions are gigantic.

      I would also say, It’s pretty smart on your end to know the difference between letting yourself go and gaining a few pounds because, in the long run, you are placing value in who he is as a person rather than what he looks like. To me, that shows you are committed which is great.

      Thanks for the feedback.
      Swag

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