Physical Attraction In Relationships
Is it important to maintain physical attraction in a relationship in order to keep the passion going? What is passion based on?
There are always jokes and cynical statements made about the success rates of marriage and long-term relationships when it comes to subject of partners "letting themselves go"...and we've all seen the talk shows addressing this issue. Usually you'll have a woman on stage crying, feeling desperate and depressed because her husband or boyfriend calls her demeaning names, refuses to have sex with her, keeps on staring at other women making comparisons between body types and/or nags her about needing to lose weight and get back to an earlier size.
I am not sure what I think about this but I for damn sure know that the above is never about weight. It's about control and emotional abuse. If said woman in that scenario got to a certain size or changed her appearance in some way to suit her partner's supposed standards, I do not believe that the partner would suddenly become stable, supportive and loving. The abuse would continue in order to exert control.
So outside of abusive relationships, I am not sure how I feel. I do think that physical attraction is important as a part of sexual chemistry; however, it's a starter more than anything. How one looks conveys a lot of things; how well they take care of themselves, their fitness levels, their sense of style and so forth. All of that lures in and attracts. It sends off an energy which fuels sexual and romantic chemistry. It's what attracted another person in the first place, so there's an expectation of not seeing a dramatic change.
I do believe that physical attraction becomes the focus at first in most situations, but as you get to know someone and develop a stronger attraction to other aspects of a person, you start to see him/her very three-dimensionally. The attraction becomes rich and layered.
So if someone (in most cases) is utterly and completely not attracted to their partner anymore physically and argues they are they leaving as a result... or they admit to feeling pangs for another connection, then I'd wonder if there was also a lack of connection period...
I think when people are out of love and passion is lacking, then it causes them to look at their partner in an objective and scientific perspective. In this context, if anything changes about physical appearance, then attraction becomes a big deal because that's what the connection is mostly based on. As we love someone more and more, the properties of attraction and passion don't remain controlled mostly by physical appearance. It remains as an underlying component, but it doesn't take center stage.
I also think that this gets more intricate when we talk about accidents that wind up disfiguring someone. It's not easy to say, but of course looks change consequently and physical attraction is affected to a large extent. It will be hard for the other partner to adjust although they'll still love their partner and want to support them in a lot of cases. Not everyone is cut out to handle that kind of change. They never depended on, expected and wanted, so if something unfortunate like that occurs, then the relationship comes into question in a grave manner. How much love exists in that relationship? What is the relationship based on overall? Is it OK for someone to admit that can't handle this kind of change and want to leave? Are they shallow for this?
Another question that comes into play is: Should we look someone who matches our physical ideal as much as possible so that there won't be much of an issue with subtle changes in physical appearance? Some people feel that if they already had to make compromises in looks with a new partner, then it will become more of an issue if there are further changes in this department. I still think the value here is too linear.
I wonder if sexual drive influences how central a role looks play in a partnership over time? Maybe people with extremely high sex drives demand much higher and constant levels of visual stimulation?
BUT the question still remains, should we make efforts to keep up appearances on some level for our partners? Does this matter?