I recently heard on the radio about a guy who is nearly 40 and has not yet had a proper relationship with a woman, even though he desperately wants one.
His strategy for finding a suitable partner is flicking through pictures on a phone app provided by a dating service. He said he rejects most just on the picture and the few he has shown interest in have not responded to him, or rather to his picture!
This sad story is a reflection on our modern preoccupation with physical appearances. If ‘good looks’ were everything in getting together, we would now
have a race of beautiful people.
However it would be a small race!
Those of us who are not well graced in appearance would have become extinct.
While our media and popular culture give high priority to appearances, there are a lot of happy and satisfactory relationships between people who you would have difficulty in describing as ‘good looking’.
So what are the factors that cause couples to get together in intimate relationships?
In my view it is firstly their ability ‘to communicate’. This is not just being able to talk, most people can do that. It is the ability to understand each other.
It is often expressed as a similar sense of humour. However, it goes beyond humour to an ability to ‘get’ quickly what the other person means or is talking about. From that comes some basic agreement about how the world is or should be.
There is a third ingredient which comes as a consequence. That could be described as Affinity or a willingness to be close together. As that grows into a need to be together, then that is what we describe as ‘love’.
So how do we go about getting together if we are not obsessed by the looks of the other person?
I believe the answer is Communication. In olden times many relationships were established and developed by writing letters. Maybe the couple had not even met physically but nonetheless the magic could happen. Today the modern equivalent would be communicating by email, text or message on the latest Social Media App.
It seems that when a couple establish communication first, physical appearance becomes much less important.
You may observe that I have not mentioned the activity of ‘sex’.
It may be unfashionable to say this, my view is that ‘good sex’ is a consequence of building a close relationship and not an ingredient in doing so.
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