When beauty fades…

but im not attracted to her anymore

by Kenneth

~ “But Kenneth, I’m simply not attracted to her anymore

That is what a married man said to me at coffee a few weeks ago. Married for 20 years, two children….the guy was telling me how wonderful his wife is and how much he loves her….except; he’s no longer physically attracted to her.

Look Kenneth, I’m not saying I want a divorce but she’s put on a ton of weight from when I first met her and she doesn’t seem to have any desire to lose it…..so what should I do?” he asked

I didn’t give him an answer. Its not for me to tell some acquaintance I have only talked with a couple times what I actually think about such an intimate issue in their life…especially when it comes to the subject matter of their spouse. The one thing I did appreciate about what the guy was telling me is that he still really loves his wife and appreciates how much she does for him and their children.

Sadly, it seems like this issue is often only looked at from the guy’s perspective; men rarely seem to realize (or care) that they too have a tendency to ‘let themselves go’ but in different ways;

—) I know many men who loved to go out to coffee with their girlfriends and talk endlessly into the late hours of the night….but after the marriage these men now only grunt when they are hungry and don’t participate in deep conversations

—) I know many men who were voracious readers when they were younger and they used those books to stimulate long conversations with their girlfriends…but now after years of marriage these men spend countless hours zoned-out in front of the television

There are a plethora of examples we could consider when it comes to ‘how people let themselves go’ after marriage or after being in a long-term relationship…..but what are the men and women who are in these situations supposed to do?

A good Christian friend of mine often tells me that “looks aren’t everything“; “Inner beauty is where its at Kenneth and all these young people I see who are obsessed over looks are misplacing their energy and ideals” he says.

However, looks must matter to some degree because even in the bible we find an entire story about a woman named Esther who became queen merely based on her looks. So should we be physically attracted to the person we are with; and what happens if we still love the person we are with but they no longer look the way they did when we first met them.

Personally, it seems rather shallow to me that so many men are obsessed with looks. I realize the bible talks quite-a-bit about being attracted to your girlfriend/spouse (see Song of Solomon or book of Esther) but that was thousands of years ago when women were treated like property. Now that we are in the year 2013 shouldn’t we be placing a higher priority on intelligence than looks?

I often wonder if the men who are so obsessed with how their wife or girlfriend looks are merely succumbing to some kind of primitive cave-man attitude. However in a recent study it was found that Men With Attractive Wives Report Higher Levels Of Marital Satisfaction; Now isn’t that crazy? Does that merely point out that men are really shallow….or that men are easily satisfied?

I mean what does it say about all of us men that all it takes is for us to be with a pretty face; and we’ll report higher levels of marital satisfaction? I mean doesn’t this kinda suck? Is being married to a pretty faced…’dumb’ blonde all that men really want in life?

So as I sat there talking with the man at the café all of these various thoughts were running through my mind…what do you say to someone who tells you they are no longer physically attracted to their mate;

—) ‘quit whining and be a good husband?’

—) ‘stop your bellyaching and grow up?’

—) ‘get a subscription to Playboy and spend more time out in the garage?’

Of course I didn’t say any of those things…..but instead merely asked him, “So what do you think you should do?” to which he said, “I dunno man, I guess I need to stop being such a crybaby‘.

I’ve written about the subject of beauty periodically because I believe its an important issue to discuss. The Western World (and other cultures also) is overwhelmed with the topic of beauty, looks, and appearance. Turn on the television, drive down the street, go for a walk; and you’ll be inundated with advertisements connected to beauty and appearance.

Every culture has always had standards of beauty…but Western Culture has perhaps taken one of the greatest leaps in the way we try and force feed a particular standard upon everyone through the power of the media and advertisements;

—) women must be tall, thin, and have perfect skin like a goddess

—) men must be tall, tan, muscular, and handsome

But how many men and women really fit the Hollywood commercialized ideal of beauty? I suspect the number is very low……In fact, whenever I see pictures of models and celebrities without makeup they look surprisingly just like you and me.

Until we realize that the images we see in the movies and on television are simply make-believe; that they are nothing more than people covered with makeup……we are going to continue to have this troubling standard of unreachable beauty.

time for another coffee,





Categories: Culture & Society

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118 replies

  1. i think the guy doesn’t love his wife anymore, because if he does physical appearance won’t count anymore, as if he has not changed nor gained more weight after 20 years! but i might be missing his point. 🙂

    • Marly,

      I had thought something very similar when sitting with him..but because I barely know him I didn’t want to presume that…..you could very well be right 🙂

    • I suppose it could be that, but – assuming she is of an unhealthy weight – this could be his way of showing concern for her health.

      What I mean is, maybe he doesn’t know it. Maybe he’s interpreting his feelings as being caused by her weight gain, but really it’s her health. He loves her and she does so much, but the more she displays unhealthy behavior, the less likely it is she will be around as long as he wants her to be.

      Maybe I’m reaching here. I just know a lot people who say they feel one way, but misunderstand why. There’s a big difference between “You’re fat = I don’t like you.” and “you could make better choices that would keep you here longer. = Since you’re not, I feel like you no longer want to be with me because you’re not trying to stay.”

    • TK,

      You could be totally right….it’s so hard to know for sure….I’ll be honest, the conversation I had with him lasted the better part of two hours but I ha to leave a lot of details out in order to retain privacy….but even in talking at length with him, I felt like the only way I could truly know what was going on would be to sit down with both him and the wife…..

      “I just know a lot of people who say they feel one way, but misunderstand why”

      I think your onto something with that thought….when I worked at the rehab clinic I saw this all the time; and part of my job as a counselor was helping them to better understand why they were feeling a certain way

    • What if she is 400 lbs?

  2. Speaking of standards…our celebrities are beautiful, but you should see some of the Lebanese singers like Haifa and Nancy Ajram…but, they both have had several procedures in order to achieve those looks.

    If married men want their women to look perfect, and assuming the wife consents, they should be willing to plunk down some change at the plastic surgeon’s office. Men have no idea how hard it is to maintain body weight, etc, after having children…yet they expect their wives to bounce back after 8 weeks looking like a teenager. However, l think this would be an extreme act just to keep a man attracted to his wife. It could possibly cause emotional trauma because then the wife would have little room to believe that her husband loved her for more than just her outward appearance.

    Your coffee shop friend may want to consider that his wife may have put the weight on through emotional eating. If he is no longer satisfying her intellectually, maybe she turns to food to fill in the gap. Maybe he’s not the only one who is unhappy in the marriage…perhaps for all the reasons you cited in your post.

    • “Speaking of standards…our celebrities are beautiful, but you should see some of the Lebanese singers like Haifa and Nancy Ajram…but, they both have had several procedures in order to achieve those looks”

      so true. I’ve read stories about many American celebrities who have had plastic surgery; nose jobs, boob jobs, face lifts, fill-in-the-blank…….too often those celebrities are used as some kind of standard when it comes to beauty in America but the reality is that very few of these celebrities look ‘that way’ naturally; but rather as you pointed out.. many celebrities have
      “procedures in order to achieve those looks”

  3. Kenneth, Christians are called to Love their wives as Christ Loves the Church. At the end of the day marriage is not based on looks although ‘The World’ places a premium on it.

  4. A bit of time and attention towards their marriage and what results will surprise the both of them. He’ll possibly remember that he enjoys her company and she’ll feel motivated to take better care of herself for the basic interest of her own health.

    Just my opinion. I enjoy your posts.

    • “A bit of time and attention towards their marriage and what results will surprise the both of them”

      so true….if only more couples would realize that a good relationship involves more than ‘beauty and sex’…..but that’s the weird thing about the article I linked to; when it comes to “marital satisfaction and men” many men are so simple that all it takes is ‘looks’…I’m not sure if this is good or bad…..

    • Well honestly is because that’s how men are wired. No fault of their own mind you. For Men it will take more effort on the emotional side. So true work has to want to be done.

      For women, emotion comes easier usually and the “sex” duty takes more work. Women tend to need their mind’s feed sooner than their bodies. Women have to work on understanding how men are wired.

      I took a women’s bible study on this exact topic. There are two versions, For Women Only & For Men Only, I can get the author’s name if you would like. A great study on our differences and how we can relate it back to our roles as God intended.

      Of course, I apparently needed work on the emotional side so I had to read the men’s study. My poor husband. 🙂

    • I taught a long series on the differences between men and women when I was working at the rehab clinic….most of the men were receptive and acknowledged that they tended to focus too much on the physical…..

      What I appreciate about your comment is that you added the sentence “no fault of their own…” because I agree…I think that there is a natural/organic inclination in men toward focusing on the physical but that the key is for men to realize this and rise above it 🙂

    • Yeah, I find that most people who truly desire fixing the problem can acknowledge their short comings.

      Thank you. It’s amazing what we learn when we put effort into our lives and who we choose to live them with.

      I think it’s great that you have coffee and these great discussions with the people in your life. Nothing better than coffee and a good discussion. 🙂 I’m quiet sure you are changing lives. Well done.

    • I have to agree with this comment. It works both ways; both parties must make an effort with their spouses in order to make a good marriage work. Attraction is an important aspect of every relationship; without it most people never would have gotten together in the first place, but it is secondary to mutual respect, care and understanding. Perhaps if he showed more attention to his wife he would know the cause behind her overeating.

      Can you love someone without being attracted to them? Of course you can. But it’s like living with a friend, not a lover.

    • Yes, it truly is a team effort.

      We all want to live great tale, but not so much the one where they’re burping and scratching while watching the TV, and that goes for women as well. Those relationships we can save for big brothers, little sisters and college roomates.

  5. Often enough magazine pictures are also retouched. Surely we are blinded what has been shown to us.
    But what happened to talking to each other. Over weight, well we burn more calories having sex. so go for it.
    And we are so consumed by the pictures you see 18 year old men already on steroids and having a tanning session every day just to be more like our media image.
    And we men are shallow but don’t forget women as well.

    • “Often enough magazine pictures are also retouched”

      I was reading something last week (I can’t remember what article it was) that mentioned a new policy in the UK that prevents advertisements and commercials from ‘touching up’ the models in photos too much…..Its an interesting idea to say the least.

    • 100% of all magazine photos are retouched and have been for years. In fact, when my (now 35 year old) daughter was in high school she took a class on advertising which talked about how women were highly sexualized even then (1990’s) and how if you looked at smoke/mist/vapor and other backgrounds you’d see sexual imaging used to sell everything from cars to nuts.

      Being a bit of a dilettante, I learned to do graphic arts in the 1990’s and what even the old graphic arts programs could do to pictures was astonishing. Virtually nothing we see these days has any relationship to reality – especially as regards the nipping and tucking done digitally with women’s bodies. But even men are nipped and tucked and wrinkles are removed. I’m not sure why we want to do this and then present it as reality.

      At least when I do photo modification on my photo blog I say I used this, that, or the other program and sometimes I even take the photo through various stages.

      The most attractive thing a man can offer me is an active, inquisitive mind. Hard to find these days. Being a polymath who was married to another polymath I find that is almost impossible to replicate. My late husband weighed about 400 pounds when I met him – it was his mind that cinched the deal for me. 🙂

    • “The most attractive thing a man can offer me is an active, inquisitive mind. Hard to find these days. Being a polymath who was married to another polymath I find that is almost impossible to replicate. My late husband weighed about 400 pounds when I met him – it was his mind that cinched the deal for me”

      a friend of mine says that women are better at looking beyond the physical appearance of others and seeing their mind (heart) and men are terrible at this….I wonder if there is truth in what he said.

    • Actually, we seem to be hardwired differently. More and more we find brain studies that indicate the male and female brains process important things differently.

      Not all women look beyond the physical. Plenty of women are about as crass and venal as it is possible to get. (sigh) But for me, I need someone with a brain or else I’m happier with the dog. I KNOW the dog cares about me and I speak dog quite well. 😉

  6. Has it occurred to him that SHE may no longer find him physically attractive? Is he the Adonis he once was in her eyes? How shallow to not realise that over the passage of time NO-ONE stays as they were when young.
    There is a little mantra he should think about: ‘As you are now, so I once was – as I am now so you will be’.
    You can spend a fortune on cosmetic surgery etc, and it may tighten and firm for a while, but in the end you age and death awaits us all. Live life in every age and stage and give thanks for it.

    What is this man’s underlying thought? he (though presumably not in the first flush of youth and vigour himself) wants a ‘sexual’ partner who is young and firm fleshed. Will it bring back his own youth? No it will only give him a temporary satisfaction.
    Most younger women want to fall in love with a partner who is sexually attractive and can give them offspring, if that person has a good bank balance well its a bonus.
    There is a ilttle verse you could share with this man:

    He was seventy-two and she
    Was twenty-two or twenty three.
    She gave him ten more years to live,
    The only thing she meant to give.

    • “Will it bring back his own youth? No it will only give him a temporary satisfaction.”

      this is a great point. I’ve talked with a number of older gentlemen who did the whole ‘date the younger woman’ thing and initially they enjoyed it…but in the long run they ended up with women closer to their own age……however I suspect that sometimes it might work…

      I’d never heard that poem before; did you write it?

  7. I would love to respond to this, but for the sake of time, and not doing it justice, I will wait. Inasmuch as I am pressed for time, I did want to say this. Thank you, for posting this….

  8. Both must make effort to stay attractive and attracted 😉

  9. Your posts are mental caffeine for me. Thanks for bringing up such wonderful topics each day, as like so many, I look forward to seeing each new post. 🙂 We’d like to overcome our base instincts, but in general, it’s like asking a Golden Retriever to ignore a tennis ball every day of his life. Beautify is related to health and biology. Scientific studies show that even babies are more attracted to (respond to) people with symmetrical faces. The more symmetrical we are, the more attractive people find us. As for the couple in your story, why doesn’t he invite her to do more active things? Walks, bike rides, geocaching…whatever. I’m betting she’s a little unhappy and would love to do more than taking care of everyone else.

    • “it’s like asking a golden retriever to ignore a tennis ball every day of his life”

      Ha ha great analogy.

      Thanks for the kind words….I must admit though the topics have far less to do with me and more to do with the interesting things people bring up to me as I’m sitting around drinking my coffee…….

  10. Love, love, love this!

  11. I think women have a little more attention on “being attractive” than men…too many years of advertisements for make-up products. As you get older, these just turn become “ageless” products. When I first started dating my husband, I was surprised when he said he preferred me without make-up and it actually took a little time to get used to the make-up free me. Now, many years later…I love it and feel that it really it allows others to see my “inner beauty” almost instantly.

    One of my clients is a plastic surgeon and his wife has lived the “barbie doll”…”nip/tuck” life. (And honestly to be fair, I have seen her before and after pics…she looks much better with her current body.) Anyway, she has offered free services on multiple occasions and I finally told her that I really like the natural look. I like my wrinkles and gray hair. Sure… a boob job would improve my appearance…but I can think of a lot better ways to spend 10K…that would improve my quality of life in a more meaningful way.

    As a couple ages together, you start becoming aware of the physical changes that occur. When those changes start creating health problems, it’s time to do something about it. This should be encouraged and doing something together makes it easier, more interesting and shows your support. Hubby and I have both put on a few pounds, though I have no physical problems, the extra wait really hurts his knees. So we take daily walks together. I am all about helping him to be healthy. Outside of an actual medical condition, I don’t think either one of us would allow ourselves to get way overweight.

    Maybe his wife has some issues which she hasn’t resolved…maybe the fact that she has become overweight is really a symptom and not the real issue at hand.

    • Great thoughts Mrs. P…..

      I always feel like I’m walking a tightrope when I discuss this subject because on the one hand I don’t want to judge anyone who would do something like get plastic surgery, but on the other hand I don’t want to say that everyone should do it….

      beauty and our standard of what beauty is changes from one person to the next and from one culture to the next; so in many ways the topic of beauty is subjective and I don’t want to be guilty of forcing my personal opinions onto others……but I do feel like there are some good principles that we can all agree on….some of which you mentioned in your comments.

    • Hi Mrs. P. That’s great that you are comfortable with the natural look. My wife is too– she very rarely wears makeup (even though she’s got great talent with it, especially in theatrical applications). Maybe it helps that so many think we’re ten years younger than we really are, even thinking she’s the younger one (I’m 39, she’s 44).

      I hear you about the weight issue– we have both put on more than a few. Quite a bit of my gain, though, was due to health problems– not weight creating health problems. There isn’t too much room for me to think on vanity. As my back and nerve damage problems are crippling some days, I’d be pretty lost if I didn’t have my dear wife to help me.

  12. I appreciated this post. Thank you. I have just been thinking about this very topic, as I approach my mid 40s, 6 children and a busy life that have taken most of it over. I enjoy exercise, I really do, but I am a mom that puts others before myself, and that leaves little for me.
    The other day on my facebook page one of the parishioners from our church was snooping through my pics, which are visible, no problem, and he came to one from about 5 years ago that had my now 5 year old on top of my shoulders pulling my hair and my quizzical look captured at the perfect time. I was also a lot thinner–as I had been “man-hunting”—hate that thought totally, but truth nonetheless. And that parishioner regurgitated that photo which has now taken off on my page, with relatives, other parishioners, etc. commenting and liking.
    I told my 21 year old daughter, who is also outwardly attractive, that, “it’s a shame that what I felt like inside didn’t show on my outside back then, because I would have looked ugly in that photo and now look gorgeous on the outside instead because I’m so much happier.” Ugh, that value on looks. I hate it–and it’s not right, so not right.
    I have a husband that does not respond to me in a physical sense differently, no matter what I weigh. And we talk about it too. I am so paranoid that he will turn his value of me into the physical appearance, as so many have before–and I still can’t believe that he doesn’t.

    This is just my vent–but it’s hard for us women to get away from the self-loathing sometimes—-and when our spouse is one who participates in it, it feels like the utmost betrayal—-but just take a look at most TV commercials—-silliness totally—gorgeous “momish” age woman–and balding plumping man—I’m not judging, I see my husband beneath his appearance, and he’s the most handsome man alive to me–but that makes me laugh while making me sad.

    I’m ready for my second cup of coffee today, join me? –Northshore–my favorite!

    • dana,

      okay, that’s a lot of good points you make! I think this topic can be really difficult it approach; even more so from a Christian point of view because we see Esther being chosen because of her incredible beauty, and we see the beauty of the woman in song of Solomon being a major focus of the book…….so while there’s nothing wrong with us focusing on beauty per se……there seems to be a line that can be crossed where we can take it too far…..

      I really like your comment to your daughter about wishing people could of seen how you felt on the inside…..I think therein lies a much more important issue; that in our natural inclination to only notice people as they look on the outside; there are so many people who are hurting on the inside that entirely get ignored…it really breaks my heart.

  13. Love never dies , but it is a fact that men is more likely to get fade up as compare to women. But that does not mean that all men are same. I have seen many couples who are living happily in their 50 years relationship , in their 60’s 70’s but still living like romeo Juliet, and i also get a chance to meet such couples who are irritating each other in their early years, when they are still young and energetic.

    What i understand about this relationship is , that only CARE AND RESPECT can make it stable and alive. LOOKS , BEAUTY , ENERGY matters but it cannot remain exactly the same as it was in youth ( for both man and women). It is nature , it is life. We must accept this fact.

    If the man/ women cares and respect his/her spouse , then physical beauty is a secondary matter.

    And if the husband feels that women is not able to fulfill his desire at all, due to her physical problem , illness or disease, it is not possible for her to make him happy and the situation become unbearable then in ISLAM man can take permission from her wife to get a second marriage , but with a promise and agreement that he will keep her as a first wife and will take all her responsibilities regarding all matters of life.This permission from wife can be taken in such situation so that man can be save from a SIN ( extra martial affair). The man must inform the second lady that he is already married and have kids (if he has) , so that later on their lives will not be disturbed.

    • afsheenanjum,

      wow great comments. Its interesting to read the Islamic perspective on the subject because it parallels the way many people in the Jewish faith (and early Christian sect as well) believed; because many of the Jews in the torah took multiple wives (and in the early church some Christians had multiple wives as well)…

      now that we are in the 21st century though it seems that having multiple wives would somehow denigrate women to be less than men….no?

      I mean; if we are going to allow men to marry multiple women….in the quest for social equality shouldn’t women be allowed to marry multiple men then?

    • I’m sure you’re familiar with instances of polyandry, Kenneth– and that it has been traditionally practiced (mostly Nepal, I believe) to keep land holdings in a family. I’m not aware of many modern examples– any that I can think of (I knew at least one personally) were in the U.S. where polygamy (not to be synonomously confused with polygyny) is forbidden. These were considered polyamorous relationships, and I’m not sure if they were regarded the same as full marriage by those that held them.

    • Yea I’ve read about that….for the record; I’m neither approving nor am I condemning such things, I have a rather non-committal attitude regarding such things and believe its up to each person (or persons) to work out their own way in the world regarding such choices…….

  14. you have not considered any aspect of science in this diatribe. ok, men should just stop being jerks…you are kidding right….human dynamics do not come and go on command–unless you are entirely and only attached to your own ego…this is not a well thought out essay….
    you may have well have been telling nature she did it wrong for how little this essay has substance—consider who is shallow here.

  15. As a divorced woman who lost a lot of weight after we parted, I can set him straight. All too often men and woman can feel that everything the do is for someone else. It’s an endless chore list and some folks only have food as “their” thing. So they pamper themselves with food. I think her weight gain is symptomatic of more that’s wrong between them. Just my 2 cents. I wish them well!

    • “It’s an endless chore list and some folks only have food as “their” thing. So they pamper themselves with food. I think her weight gain is symptomatic of more that’s wrong between them”

      you may very well be right..

  16. Biology tells a man to pick a woman with huge wide hips and pelvis to birth babies. You get real.

    • My wife bore our eldest daughter on pitocin and no anesthesia– having seen pretty much every detail of the delivery, I understood pretty quickly what “broad where a broad should be broad” meant.

    • Her pretty face did not look so pretty pushing out that babe either, did it. Men are just conditioned by Hugh Hefner and his ilk to “want” what other men “want”. Brain washing not Biology.

    • Sexist men that try to pull the Biology card listen good, the design of the females that lived through child birth at the dawn of mankind was NOT the emaciated porn stars with silicon breasts. Your argument is Biologically shot down, and you are a slave to Madison Ave.

    • True. But I was amazed at how well she handled things, impressed even.

      I acknowledge the media’s influence. As my wife and I happen to be of bisexual orientation, it seems there are times we have double the distractions– but granted, more on the side of women.

      But that doesn’t make me love her any less. Our son was born cesarean, and I was there for all of that, too. I love her dearly for bearing me beautiful, healthy children, and I hope you will believe me when I say I *am* sincere about that. Not all men are piggish.

  17. animals are beautiful . . . they have soft fur and wonderful eyes . . .

    fish are beautiful . . . they are wrapped in glorious color . . .

    birds are beautiful, especially those from the rain forest . . .

    even insects are beautiful . . . moths and butterflies

    humans? uhhh not so much . . . line up a hundred strangers and tell them to disrobe, you might find one or two, but on the whole we humans, especially older men are on the beauty scale somewhere between a pot bellied pig and an ape with mange.

    It takes a huge imagination to see oneself so pretty he can knock on his wife for getting old . . . Ha! I’m just happy my wife doesn’t laugh at me when I walk in the door.

  18. Endless beauty lies in our soul!

  19. Part of the problem is that men, as a group, are often very shallow. I say this being one. Ask a guy what he looks for in a woman, what his ‘type’ is, and you will get a list of body parts and adjectives. Ask a woman the same question, and you will get a list of emotional or personality traits: good listener, kind, funny…And haven’t you ever seen a mediocre-to-below-looking guy with a very attractive woman and wondered, ‘what does she see in him?’, or thought, ‘man, she could do better’.

    Do men cheat more often than women? And when caught, how often do the men say, ‘it didn’t mean anything’? The implication here is that a man can wholly compartmentalize his sexual behaviour from his emotional attachments.

    I don’t have any real conclusions to draw from this. They are observations of generalized behaviour. But somehow they seem relevant. Other than, I think men are a bit less emotionally engaged, or developed, than women, for whatever reason. The urge to leave his progeny behind no doubt has something to do with it. That helps explain the tendency for men to leave their wives at middle age in order to take up with someone half his (and his wife’s) age.

    • “Part of the problem is that men, as a group, are often very shallow. I say this being one. Ask a guy what he looks for in a woman, what his ‘type’ is, and you will get a list of body parts and adjectives. Ask a woman the same question, and you will get a list of emotional or personality traits: good listener, kind, funny”

      dude well said. I recently talked with a guy who is very active on the dating scene and when I asked him what he was looking for in a woman it all had to do with looks…and then as if he realized that he came off sounding shallow he added, “well she needs to have a good personality too”


    • I couldn’t compartmentalize my sexual behavior from my emotional attachments.

      Maybe I’m unusual. I think to a relationship I had years ago, before I got married– the sex was very hot, but I just could not stand her, stoner pot-loving antics and all. She thought she hit the jackpot, and I hated myself, because I felt like I was slowly settling for less.

      I figured it out later, and have been married for 15 years in 12 days from now.

    • Perhaps some people (men) are more easily satisfied in a relationship an they don’t need a deeply emotional connection….while other men are looking for both

    • While some men can compartmentalize, I honestly believe they’d be lying if they said they felt no emotional attachment. I really haven’t seen evidence suggesting such.

  20. Maybe its time he became celibate for a while, but has not realized what the issue is about.

  21. I think that men and woman in western culture have too much time one their hands and allow themselves to be manipulated by the media.

  22. I love this post. I always pity people who get attached to their partners because of their physical beauty. The girl might have gained a few pounds, and with some mutual agreement she could agree to shed some of it. Question is, what if it was something permanent? Say, she was involved in an accident-God forbid- and she lost a limb? Something none of them could change. Would he leave her because she’s not the way she was when they first met? in my opinion, anyone who describes beauty based on physical appearance is just myopic.

    • “Say, she was involved in an accident-God forbid- and she lost a limb?”

      great question…..I know of someone whose wife developed a disease and she was unable to have sex with him anymore….after 30 years of marriage he divorced her because of it…..very sad story 😦

  23. Isn’t physical attraction a part of natural selection? If a woman looks old, fat or whatever, it’s nature’s way of telling guys not to have sex with her cause she might not be the best candidate for reproduction.

    • Mr Johnson,

      I’m no so sure about that because in past history it was women who weighed more that men found to me more desirable because it meant the women had a greater chance of producing offspring; its only been in more recent years that women being stick thin has become an object or standard of beauty….

    • I guess fat is subjective but even in that time there must have been such thing as too fat where a guy would be turned off. I don’t know if there was ever a time where one could be turned on if they had to push away fat to find someone’s genitals.

    • Lol Mr. Johnson…..why are you putting that picture in my head?

    • I needed to make a point..hahaha.

    • Uggg! I got the point and now I can’t get it out of my head! lol 😉

    • In some cultures women are still deliberately fattened to the point their health is endangered (they’re force fed) so they can be massively obese and therefore desirable. I find that weird, but at one point there was probably a reason for it. God only knows what. Scarcity, perhaps.

      And fat is subjective – look at the Old Master’s – the women were Rubenesque.

    • Ya, I suppose if food was hard to come by for most people, being fat would be a sign of wealth and prosperity.

      Maybe only thick paint brushes were available when those paintings were created? Hahaha

    • Precisely, Kenneth. Consider the Venus (Woman) of Willendorf statue– a woman of such proportions today would be considered morbidly obese, but in the prehistoric time period it was created, it may have been considered an image of fertility.

  24. If I could give that man advice, I’d tell him to do a few things that might seem counterintuitive. First, he should spend a lot more time romancing and making love to his wife (preferably after consulting a few guidebooks on female pleasure– NOT porn films please). He may feel more desire simply by trying something new. And if she feels desirable, and if there is a new spark in the relationship, she will automatically pay more attention to her appearance. Second, he should make sure that HE is in shape, exercising, and eating a healthy diet, and he should invite her to join him in these new interests, without making a big deal about her weight.

  25. Kenneth:

    Again, sir, your words have rung as truth to my eyes. At the moment, I am experiencing something much like this, and I will tell anyone reading this right now that it hurts to believe that all I have ever been is something to wear on a man’s arm. You know, like a bracelet.

    A lot of people want to believe that it is up to the woman to keep her looks, and I have worked hard to maintain what I could of how I look for years now. The thing is, it is NOT only the woman in the relationship. To pin all of the bullshit on us is wrong and assumes that men can do no wrong. Men have, many of them, that is, no idea the depth of hurt we suffer just alone from the birthing of children. While I did not lose my figure, the thing that I did lose was the idea that this person would love only me, that this person would never dare dream to hurt me more than already he has.

    A message to the men reading this, when you go shopping for another woman, even if only to be friends with any of them, know now that you are not hiding anything from us, namely not the flaws that you seem to see there that at one time, were no big deal.

    No one knows the depth of hurt that words bring. No one knows the hurt and the damage brought by the words “you are not doing enough to satisfy me.” Yet, I do.

    Perhaps it is the idea that men, in their primitive leanings, still tend to see us as expendable…

    That is, until they get a little runny nose…then it is home to mama they come a runnin’

    I challenge any man to tell me of a woman who did this same thing PRIOR to the damage…I am sure that many exist, but for the most part, no woman , no matter what, namely if they have been good to everyone they know, deserves to go through the pain of thinking that she is not enough.

    I know this feeling. It is not fun. It is damaging

    Thank you, Kenneth, for your words. They have strengthened me


  26. Yes, men do ogle and stare at the ‘trim, taunt & terrific’, but do they stop to think that maybe their wife no longer finds them attractive with their big beer paunch and their being tied to the TV or their garage?

    When I got off the plane after spending a couple of years in the UK in 1978/9, the first thing I noticed was the long hair, beer paunch and thongs (flip flops). Australian men were so unkept, after the smoothly groomed Europeans that I saw at the time. (of course now most of us are overweight).

    It works both ways. I think both men & women have to work at keeping their love alive and those that do, are rewarded with a depth of understanding, sharing & caring that transcends looks and physical appearance.

    I’m single and solitary and have to admit that I like my own company. When in my twenties I was ‘in lust’ many times, but I don’t think I was ever in love.

    Maybe the secret to a modern marriage is to be best friends first (and lovers second). After all, when the kids grow up and move out of home, best friends are more likely to pass the test of time and stay together.

  27. Two years ago I got divorced after a 28-year marriage. About a year later I began online dating. After talking to quite a few women, one fact became evident – which was that women dating online (and off) choose physical attraction first above all else. They all agreed that for a non-sexual relationship to flourish, it needs to be superseded by a physical attraction.

    One woman told me that she would never consider getting to know a man intellectually or intimately, if there was not a physical chemistry right from the beginning. Quite a few more agreed with her when I posed the question.

    Whether or not that is shallow (as you say) may not matter. Physical needs and desires, more often then not, come first. For most people, that is a basic, god-given instinct.

    My father once said to me, “Be careful son, because all men have two heads, and when they have to compete, the same one always wins!”

    Which one do you think that is? 😳

    • “One woman told me that she would never consider getting to know a man intellectually or intimately, if there was not a physical chemistry right from the beginning. Quite a few more agreed with her when I posed the question.”

      Yikes! I’d rather get to know a man intellectually first. But I don’t believe in the romantic love promulgated during the Renaissance. If I can find intellectual and other compatibilities with individual I will develop love over time. In other words, if I find a man intellectually attractive I am unlikely to care that much about what he looks like (within reason). I do tend to be physically active (gym rat, walking, hiking, etc.) so that’s another issue.

      Then again, at my age I’m looking for something different than when I was in my 20’s. That’s been a long time ago.

    • “Then again, at my age I’m looking for something different than when I was in my 20′s. That’s been a long time ago.”

      perhaps the ‘folly of youth’ and the ‘wisdom of the aged’?

    • Maybe. I think it is just that there are different life phases as the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mitchell postulated. One joining for sex and fun. One for creating a family. One during a consolidation period. One during old age. As we move from phase to phase our needs and wants change.

      I remember wondering why “old people” talked about their liver (or whatever). Now that I’m older and have a variety of health issues (from falling down a flight of stairs and getting severely injured to general wear and tear as we age) I’m understanding why my elders used to talk about health issues.

      We are figuratively and perhaps literally different people at 18 than at 35 and at 65. Just a thought…

  28. Maybe she doesn’t want him so she has gained weight to avoid him

    • Very good possibility. I have a female friend who years ago had a knockout body. I hadn’t seen her for a while, and when I did I was shocked to see how much weight she had gained. When I asked her about it, she told me that she had gained weight purposely to try to get her husband to leave her. It worked. Two-years later they got divorced and in court she played a secret recording of how he had told her “What a fat bastard you became and that’s why I went out and had an affair.” The judge was not very pleased with that recording and ordered him to pay her alimony.

      Now, you can say that she got what she was looking for, but it did prove that many people will leave their spouses or become unfaithful over physical appearances. I personally feel that people make the mistake of not noticing (or searching for) the signs that are usually there from the get-go of a flawed character trait in potential soulmates.

      Did my wife have an affair and leave me after a 28-year marriage because I got fat? Hell no, I still workout and keep myself in good shape and was even back then. She left me to be on the back of a long-haired, biker bum’s Harley – which was a fantasy of hers for years. Now she can’t stop telling my kid’s “How good your father looks.”

      Trying to explain human nature is an impossible fantasy…hopefully forums like these help to guide people. That’s the best we can hope for.

  29. I think he should spend less time talking to other people about this (tho it made for a good post). He should take his wife on a hike, a walk, to play racquetball, to feed the ducks… whatever. If they both get up, get active, and do it together, they may both see a change.

  30. I don’t really see the point in needing to have children or in following an organised religion. So on that basis I think that life should be about who you want to spend time with and not on feeling compelled to struggle on with relationships you don’t want.
    I value great friendships, but spending every day with someone is a lot to ask if you’re unhappy. Life’s too short, and if you are going on the lifelong, through thick and thin, no matter what, marriage and kids route, then bear in mind that one day you’ll probably be rolling over in bed to find that you’re sleeping with someone that looks like one of your grandparents. Hopefully you’ll have bonded so much that you feel that the sex aspect isn’t so important anymore or he/she is still able to push the right buttons. Although it’s easy to see why people may have affairs or visit brothels, when you consider that their partners might fulfill a companion function in their lives but don’t spark the magic tingles that they felt when they first got together.

  31. I feel some of your other commenters hit on it well but I’ll just quickly add that I agree that it sounds like both have probably “let themselves go” in some fashion or another but that it’s really about having let go of the relationship. If they take care of themselves, they will take care of the relationship and so it’ll take care of itself. I do get tired of how it’s always the woman’s fault and how she let herself go so the relationship went to hell… um weight gain alone doesn’t do that. Maybe she quit caring because you quit caring?

  32. I would like to point out that is wasn’t only Esther’s looks that had won over the king. It was her willingness to seek what he likes in a woman, and her obedience to Yahweh, Which means her willingness to obey her husband. Vashti disobeyed her husband and then was rejected. She made a fool of the king by acting this way, and this is why she was replaced.

  33. Hi Culturemonk. I live happily alone so hve no problems about a partner wanting me or not. Thank you for liking relaxing. Best Wishes, The Foureyed Poet.

  34. A blind man can see beauty better than a sighted man, because the blind man’s eyes cannot interfere with the view. – ME

    If you think you can do better than what you have, don’t be surprised when what you had is not waiting on you when you find out you were wrong. – also ME

    Some of the ugliest people I have ever met would be what most would consider model perfect. The outer shell has absolutely nothing to do with the beauty of a person unless you are very shallow. If you base a relationship on how someone looks, a few years down the road you are not going to be happy.

  35. So sad that is what some think love is – being attractive doesn’t make one more lovable. Beauty is skin deep and comes from the heart and soul. Thank you for this insightful blog and for the like on mine.

  36. Culturemonk, This is one of the most interesting reads I have had in a long time. So many have lined up one side or the another, or yet another. It does work both ways, both have to be involved, both have to find ways to share, and this that or the other. But the sad truth is sometimes folks just fall out of love, but stay married because of the convenience. You wrote a great post, but the comments it got made it a far greater post. Take care, Bill

  37. Thanks for your post ‘when beauty fades’ Kenneth. It is so good to see a man discussing this issue so thoughtfully and deeply. I saw a film last night which discussed what you are talking about in insightful ways. It is a very chilling film but I thought it was very good and well made. It is called ‘Elles’ (women)and stars Juliette Binoche. It is in English but with French actors and set in France but is equally relevant to the UK, U.S. and many other countries. It asks why so many young female students are now selling themselves for sex to older men but it also ends up connecting with the very topic you start off with which is why so many married, successful men with stable family lives pay for these girls and what effect that has on women young and old. I would be interested to know what you think of the points the film makes if you see it.

  38. Thanks for liking my blog. Your point of view regarding this husband is very interesting. Hopefully, the husband will somehow read your blog. Good insight!

  39. Really love this post, such a refreshing perspective 🙂 keep up the awesome work culturemonk!

  40. The most beautiful thing about a person is when they smile. This man should try to make his wife smile. They’d both get a lift.

  41. Physical beauty is important, but it isn’t the only aspect behind the person you are spending your life with. When you encounter someone for the first time, you know absolutely nothing about them until a conversation develops., and time transpires.

    What set things in motion were physical…what continues the process should be far more. But I’ve always found it intriguing when someone says the physical holds no weight, yet their actions never match the wording. Physical is and will always play a factor, but the key is to NEVER make it the only factor. If it weren’t important, would it be okay if your husband hasn’t said “you’re beautiful” in 10 years?

    I do find this world as a whole,places great emphasis on a so-called “ideal beauty,” However, I try not to pay much attention because those passing this theme never fit it themselves. Take a look at the most famous fashion designers and those at the head of fashion magazines. Your post was a great read…kudos

  42. I really liked your perspective on this. I was a nurse, a wife (sadly more than once), and thankfully a mother. It’s been a wonderful life with times of struggle and achievement and hope. I became ill at intervals and kept changing the type of nursing I did, seeking to fit into my career. My relationships paid the prioce for the physical struggles (or maybe it was the scapegoat). It shakes one’s confidence to feel off, that feeling something is wrong and no one can give you a diagnosis -only pills and pills for the effects of those pills. Ugh. I had gained weight , lost weight, regained weight. I had been left when I looked “fine” ,the way our culture seems to think. I had been cheated on then and I had been told by my partner that he just wasn’t young anymore . Eventually he said he didn’t want to hurt my feelings but he lost his desire for me. This is hurtful- more so hurtful was he said he didn’t want someone else (this time) but just was too tired and old (50ish) to want to do anything different. and that he’d never leave me. Now on the surface very reassuring. But if we were in each other’s shoes, I’d like to think I would do what it takes to try to satisfy him in this way. He doesn’t feel that- just doesn’t care and doesn’t want to discuss it. Wants to come home from work, drink beer, pet our dogs, take them on a walk, watch tv. I am not writing this to ask you for wisdom- course I never turn down wisdom knowingly. What I am saying is you really hit the nail on the head about the different ways people let themselves go in life. Our culture is too plugged in and too gullible as to what beauty is. As a nurse I have seen people with terrible skin conditions, with part of their face missing who were beautiful and inspiring. I have seen people whose speech came with great difficulty whose words I valued more than many of those who always know something about whatever the topic is. I have been with people with half their bodies, people who had awful mental conditions and honestly I can say that there is beauty in people who are not the poster of beauty. I see beauty in those wrinkles and toothless smiles. I see beauty in the face of young people who are searching so hard to be part of life. SOrry for babbling- part of my condition…I get off topic and ramble so forgive me-I try to reign it in. I try to improve and people are funny. They look at me and say keep fighting it- never give up- like you can shake this off. And everyone knows someone who has taken something that was their miracle. My miracle has been to work as long as I did. My miracle was to love and be loved by good people. My liracle is in my children having grown into good people, good adults who contribute in positive ways to the lives of others. I have been blessed. If my wrestling with my body, needing to use equiptment to get around, having to work harder at what I used to do without a thought, if my thoughts jumble or my processing takes longer as the words pile up but can’t seem to find their way out, then so be it. But I will love this life and find the beauty. It isn’t by our rules that we are blessed, that gifts are given, that struggles are the challenges faced. Thank you for your time and thank you for such a beautiful article.

  43. Dear Mr. Justice. Love the genuine “voice” of your writing. Nice treatment of the very complicated and sometimes provocative issue of the cultural treatment of physical beauty. I expecially liked the fact that you did not demonize the man while also questioning his perspective. Well done.

  44. Thank you for the recent like of “Shamrock Angel in the House – Thank You Ann”, I am finding your posts to be quite interesting.

  45. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later.
    Many thanks

  46. “If he is no longer satisfying her intellectually, maybe she turns to food to fill in the gap. Maybe he’s not the only one who is unhappy in the marriage…perhaps for all the reasons you cited in your post.”

    This is a valid point. Perhaps the most important thing they can do for each other is to sit down and discuss the marriage openly. It could be that she is gaining weight to avoid having to be intimate with him.

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