MIAMI, FLORIDA – She is 31, and he is 34. They met a few years ago, and two weeks after they met, she knew then she wanted to marry him. But recently, his body has changed. His face is larger, his waist is wider, and his stomach is bulging forward and outward. They planned to marry; they had been engaged for a few months. But she has cold feet. He has gained too much weight according to her, and she is not so sure she is attracted to him anymore. She wants to walk away, but the relationship is important to her, and she is not sure what she wants to do. So, she asked for advice. Thus, was the subject of a letter received by “Sugar Podcast” published in the New York Times on August 27, 2017.

She received three sets of advice from three different people. All of them great advice. But I have a different set of advice which leads me to write this article.. I am not an expert on love, nor do I claim to know what love really is, or how to define love- or explain other people’s feelings about their partners, husbands or wives. The only thing I know everyone is entitled to their opinions and to be with someone they are physically attracted to. However, what they are not entitled to is the expectation that what they believe to be “beauty” will continue to remain the same over the years. I know one thing for sure, and it comes only with experience.

We live in a culture that constantly barrages us with false notions of beauty. An entire industry is based and dedicated to this notion (to be attractive, you must be thin, have specifically defined features – in other words, you must look like a model – but what does that mean?). Businesses make tons of money every year creating this false notion of beauty that is unnatural as it is unhealthy. Unfortunately, most of us buy into that notion in determining who we love, marry, and procreate with. So, our culture has an issue.

Our standard of attraction is based on whether the object of our desires looks a certain way. The closer to the cultural notion of beauty the better. But human beings, in general, can never live up to that expectation of beauty. A relationship based on simply physical attraction will never last because as we age, we defy the cultural notion of beauty. Some of us gain weight, get wrinkles, get gray, and we carry evidence of a hard life on our skin and faces.

Intimate relations should be based on other factors, including physical attraction, but how are we to know that when we are constantly being told that a certain body size is unattractive therefore unworthy of love. Physical attraction is important in a marriage, but how we define what is “physically attractive” or what is attractive to us if often the result of what the culture tells us is attractive.

In her letter, she writes “I did some soul-searching and realized that the relationship was important to me” even though she had cold feet about the extra pounds he put on. “When I made that decision in my heart, my libido followed.” Apparently, it seems that whatever brought them together was deeper than a mere superficial wink.

Many of us struggle every day with this issue. What is attractive? What is beauty? How our wives or husbands, or partners should look in order to keep our interests. We struggle with these issues because we believe in the illusion that we can buy our way to eternal youth, to thinness, great looking abs, and well-defined body parts. The truth is, no matter how hard we try we cannot. The best we can do is to develop our sense of beauty, and our sense of understanding of physical attraction within the prism of what is important into us in an intimate relationship.
By: Jacqueline Courtier
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