AM I BEING SUPERFICIAL?
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: 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 physical type who also shares my values.
I know it’s shallow to start with looks, but I have to be attracted to a woman first. 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
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” issue get in the way of too many potentially successful 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 ladies, 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 dismissing them solely because of their physical attributes.
But I also added another caveat: Before meeting any woman in person, he needed to lengthen his conversations with her online and on the phone. Also, when he finally did meet each woman, he was not allowed to proceed directly to the boudoir. Ordinarily, I suggest that singles meet potential mates in person as soon as they can to avoid developing unfounded fantasies. But this guy’s visual orientation was getting in the way of his ability to make wise dating choices, so we needed to keep the looks aspect off the table for a while.
Surprise, surprise: This same man learned that if he liked a woman once he got to know her better, her physical attributes became less important in establishing their connection. After trying this approach, he also found that he was no longer so anxious to jump into bed on first dates. He learned to savor the journey of discovery. When he finally did become intimate with someone, it came from a place of shared friendship and mutual respect. The quality of his lovemaking also improved significantly!
You SAY you’re looking for a love “that isn’t perfect.” But notice how you’ve set your standards: Each woman you date must be perfect according to your “type.” Where have these rigid standards gotten you so far in finding love? As my Gilda-Gram says, “When you always date as you’ve always done, you’ll end up going 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:
•. Are you prone to age-ism? Are you interested in a woman who only falls within a certain age range — and how much older or younger she looks compared to you?
•. Who are you really trying to impress? Do you want a woman who is exceptionally attractive so you can grab bragging rights with your buds?
•. What do you like to do on dates? Is it more crucial to be able to have a deep and interesting conversation with someone, or are you simply looking for arm candy you can show off?
•. What do you value most? Would you rather meet a woman who will work out at the gym with you, or someone who dresses nicely for your dates?
These questions will reveal why your current mindset has left you frustrated in your search for love. The path you have taken so far took you only to a lonely dead end. Heed my warning and let your personal roadblocks change your course of action now. The worst thing that can happen is that you might discover some wonderful ladies you previously overlooked!
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is the internationally known Relationship Expert to the Stars. She is Match.com’s “ASK DR. GILDA” advice columnist. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, with her “Country Cures.” She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. DR. GILDA is the Love Doc advisor for the off-Broadway show, “Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage!” She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit www.DrGilda.com and get her Instant Advice!