Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Am I Being Superficial?

This guy has worked hard to stay young-looking and in good physical shape. Why can’t he find a match?

Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am a relatively nice-looking man, and I’ve been told I look 10 years younger than I am, which sets me up for the first problem I run into. Most women my age, and many who are younger, look much older than I do. Also, most of them outweigh me. To me, these are flaws. I do not look perfect, and I do not expect perfection, but how can I be attracted to ladies who do not care about the way they look, when I work hard to stay in halfway decent shape? I haven’t found anyone who is my type of person with my values.

I know it’s shallow to start with looks, but I have to be attracted to a woman first, and when they look so bad, I can’t get past it. How am I ever going to find love?
— Looking for a Love Who Isn’t Perfect

Dear Looking,
Of course, physical attraction is a major part of falling in love. It also jump-starts your delicious libido. But when the superficial outweighs the plumpest of women you complain about, it’s time to take notes.

A twice-married client came to me because he was having no luck with women he was meeting online. He bemoaned that each prospect always fell short of his “type.” I’ve been counseling people for years, and I have seen this “type” standard get in the way of too many potential love matches.

I suggested my client date outside the box by deliberately experimenting with different “types.” He preferred blondes, so I told him to have tea with a brunette. He preferred tall, leggy women, so I directed him to have a drink with someone shorter. I wanted him to open his mind to the PEOPLE he was meeting rather than to their physical appeal.

But I also introduced another condition of this exercise: Before he decided to meet any woman, he needed to lengthen his talk time with her online and on the phone. Also, when he finally did meet that person, he was not allowed to take their connection straight to bed. Ordinarily, I suggest that singles meet potential mates in person as soon as they can to avoid unfounded fantasies. But this guy’s visual orientation was getting in the way of his making wise choices, so we needed to keep the looks aspect off the table for a while.

Surprise, surprise! What this man found was that when he was getting to know someone, and he found that he liked her, her physical attributes played a less important role. He also voiced that somehow, he was no longer anxious to jump into bed upon his first meeting. He was actually savoring the journey of discovery. When he did become intimate with someone, the interaction was based on friendship and caring, and he described their lovemaking as “rocket-soaring”!

You SAY you’re looking for a love “that isn’t perfect.” But notice how you’ve set yourself up: each woman you want must be perfect according to your “type.” Hey, fella, where has your “type” gotten you up to this point? As my Gilda-Gram says, “When you always date as you’ve always done, you’ll always go where you’ve always gone.” And for you, Looking, where you’ve gone is NOWHERE!

I suggest you follow the exercise I created for my client. Give it a few months and see how it serves you. In addition, I believe it’s time for you to assess who you really are:

1. Are you prone to age-ism? Are you interested in a woman because of what age she is — and how much older or younger she looks compared with you?
2. Who are you really trying to impress? Do you want a woman who is break-neck attractive so you can have bragging rights with your buds?
3. What do you like to do on dates? Is having deep and interesting conversation as appealing as sporting arm candy for all to see?
4. What do you truly value? Is meeting a gym member you can work out with as important to you as having someone playing dress up when you’re out?

These questions will reveal why your current conditioning has resulted in your disappointment. But every roadblock can lead you to a new path — if you heed its warning. Let your personal love blocks change your course. The worst that can happen is that you’ll discover some wonderful ladies you may have overlooked!


Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle (Ph.D.) has a private international practice, is a keynote/motivational speaker, and is a professor of psychology, communications, and business at New York's Mercy College. Her best-selling books include "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity" and "How to Win When Your Mate Cheats." Visit for more information.


Anonymous said...

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Thank you, Anonymous! Wish you would sign your name so we can correspond!!

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