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Did You Marry When There Was No Physical Attraction? Why?

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Physical attraction

Did You Marry When There Was No Physical Attraction? Why?

Some people get married to someone for whom they feel no physical attraction. Here are the explanations of some.

One of the first things I do after evaluating a couple is to separate the partners and ask each the following questions: Are you physically attracted to your spouse? Were you ever physically attracted to your spouse? How’s your sex life? How was your sex life in the beginning of your courtship? Why did you marry your spouse? Here’s some of the responses:

“I never found him very physically attractive.”
“He was ‘good-enough’ looking. But I usually like taller guys with more hair.”
“She was okay for a brunette, but I always liked blondes better.”
“I didn’t really find him attractive, but I thought I could with time.”
“He really seemed to love me, and I fall easily for guys who pursue me.”
“I didn’t date much, and she was the first girl who showed interest in me.”
“I used to be attracted to her, but she stopped taking care of herself.”
“I was attracted to him, but his drinking eventually turned me off.”
“I was attracted to him, but since cheating on me, I get nauseous when he’s near.”
“Our sex life is nonexistent.”
“Our sex life is sporadic at best.”
“Our sex life was inconsistent in the beginning.”
“I never thought a good sex life was that important.”
“I knew he’d be a good provider, and I thought that was enough.”
“I never liked the way she kissed.”
“He never initiated sex. I always wondered whether he was really attracted to me.”
“She never initiated sex. And I prefer more sexually aggressive women.”
“I married him because my parents liked him.”
“I married him because my biological clock was ticking.”
“I married him because I thought he’d make a good father.”
“I married him because religion was just as important to him as it was to me.”
“I got married because I really liked his family.”
“I married her because I just can’t say no.”
“I married her because we went out for a long time and I just couldn’t break her heart.”
“I married him because I thought the reasons why I didn’t find him attractive were shallow and not enough to take seriously (e.g., crooked teeth, smoker, dressed weird).”

As a marital therapist, most of the responses make saving a relationship rather daunting to say the least. But what I find ironic is that most of these people were conscious of the fact that something was amiss before they even tied the knot, and yet they carried on. This simply won’t do. You will need to more carefully consider who you are going to marry and why you are marrying them. It must be understood: if there is something that is bothering you—even if it is your gut alone—you should take some time and contemplate what you are about to do.

Marriage is not a game. It is a serious commitment with potential serious consequences. And while there will always be some risk involved in such a complex commitment, many take it for granted. Like the wife who complained to me that her husband stared at other women when they first met. She thought after marriage he would focus on her alone. Well she was wrong…and things got worse.

More often than not, when a problem exists before marriage it usually gets worse after. Hence I cannot underestimate the value of laying a good relational foundation. Without such a base to launch from, too often the relationship turns out to be a veritable “house of cards,” easily blown over when a strong enough crisis occurs. Dylan’s lyrics in Forever Young are prophetic:

“May your hands always be busy.

May your feet always be swift.

May you have a strong foundation.

When the winds of change shift.”

[Stephen Betchen]

Dr. Stephen J. Betchen is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist, as well as a critically acclaimed author and regular contributor to the popular Ladies’ Home Journal column, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” He currently serves as Clinical Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University. For more than 25 years, Dr. Betchen has helped couples repair their relationships and reach new levels of happiness, whether they’re battling about in-laws, sex, parenting, infidelity, money, careers—or anything in between. (Case in point: He once treated folks who were at odds over the wife’s weight and the husband’s constant criticisms!) Dr. Betchen’s approach to couples therapy is refreshingly simple: He offers no gimmicks, slogans or quick fixes to nagging problems. Instead, Dr. Betchen believes that individuals change only when they discover what’s really driving their behavior—and that relationships change only when couples develop empathy for their partners and understand what really drew them together. (Turns out that physical attraction is just part of it.) Dr. Betchen provides in-depth analysis of couples’ attitudes and behavior, enabling them to see themselves and each other in a new light. And from there, he delivers real-world advice that teaches couples how to change themselves—and their relationship. Dr. Betchen is the author of numerous professional articles on relationships and makes frequent media appearances. His expert opinions often appear in national publications, including Family Circle and Men’s Health. In addition to Magnetic Partners, Dr. Betchen is the author of Intrusive Partners-Elusive Mates.

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