Whenever he thought about it, he felt terrible. And so, at last, he came to a fateful decision. He decided not to think about it. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #78650 posted on 08/11/2014 3:06 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Suppose you are an overweight girl and the first non-skinny, non-blonde girl someone’s ever dated. Alternatively suppose that you only have one curve instead of two and whoever you're dating prefers the other. While it’s true that whoever you marry will love you for your personality and think you’re attractive regardless, there is definitely the possibility that their preferences will be for what you’re lacking. Even if they love you and find you attractive they would have been happier if you were a) better endowed b) more bootylicious c)skinny. (I know I’m illogically tossing out “happier” but maybe just go with the general feeling of the question). How am I suppose to feel good enough if I might marry someone who likes most what I am not/lack/don’t have enough of? Sure they love you, but they never would have described someone like you when asked what they find attractive.

Thank you,
Sure, they won’t think “gosh I wish she were [whatever]” but at the same time...


Dear you

Other writers are addressing the bulk of your question, but I wanted to comment on your last sentence. Specifically, you mention what they "would have described...when asked what they find attractive." We can easily write up or think up a list of characteristics (physical or otherwise) that we approve of and then decide that people who have a sufficient number of these qualities are our "type." The problem is that we often don't know what we like, need, or even want until we are face-to-face with it. 

Many people would tell you that they've ended up in relationships with people who had some traits significantly different from those they consider to make up their "type." Basically, we often don't even know what we like.  We recognize that we like certain familiar traits, so we decide that's our type. However, upon being exposed to something different, we might find that we quite like that too. It doesn't mean that our original "type" was wrong, it just means that our "type" may be much broader than we realize. So, don't worry just because you're a departure from his "type." We're mostly still figuring out what that even means.

Finally, let's not forget to differentiate between happiness (temporary pleasure, a state of being that comes and goes) with joy (deep and lasting peace and positivity centered on truth.) We want to find someone who makes us happy, which can be enhanced by traits or abilities or talents that we particularly appreciate, but the people we truly love should be the ones who help us find joy. That's deeper than our desires for our partner to be more or less [whatever]. 

~Anne, Certainly


Dear friend,

So, I've mentioned this before, but I used to have a pretty definite "type": tall, skinny, blond, blue-eyed. I am now engaged to a short, muscular, dark-haired man. Coincidentally, prior to dating me, my fiance had almost exclusively pursued short, tiny, brunettes. I am a tall, curvacious blond. Neither of us is each other's "type". At the start of our relationship, both of us were worried that we weren't going to be attracted enough to the other person. But as we've gotten to know each other, our preferences have changed. Even though I never would have been initially attracted to someone with Brontosnoreus' build, I can no longer imagine cuddling with someone who didn't have that broad of shoulders. And even though the girls he used to like were twig-skinny, you can bet he'd miss my curves if they suddenly disappeared. I know we're not representative of every couple out there. The point I'm trying to make is that when you grow to love someone, you don't just tolerate their appearance despite the fact that they don't fit your preferences. In a lot of cases, your preferences themselves change to include the person you love. 


-Stego Lily


Dear Ten,

Just to add to what the others are saying:

Having a type can be convenient. You generally know what you're looking for in a guy, and roommates setting you up with people have something to go off of. However, the problems come when you restrict yourself to people only with those characteristics. I recently met a guy that fits almost none of my physical trait types, and yet he's one of the most attractive guys I've encountered.

When you fall in love with someone, it's more likely that the other person will become exactly your type—since you'll only be thinking about them.

-Tally M.


Dear you,

So are you saying that unless both spouses are the most attractive people in the world each spouse will always have regrets that he didn't marry someone more attractive?

For any person that you date, you can always find someone more attractive (as in, they fit your "wishlist" of qualities better). Always. And for anybody who dates you, they could always find someone more attractive than you. So basically, the act of marrying someone is either the act of (1) compromise and admitting you won't find better, or (2) recognizing that this person fulfills all your hopes and dreams and is someone you want to be with forever—they are "enough" to complete you. You might realize that (1) and (2) are exactly the same thing, just phrased differently. That's because it all depends on attitude. The Plan, the Atonement... they exist to make "pretty alright" into perfect, and it applies to relationships too. 

In the end I think it's about loving the person even though you know they are not the perfect fulfillment of your every wish. I've seen ugly couples who are happy and beautiful couples who are happy. You can accept that he loves you the same way that you accept loving him: even though he's not perfect, you know you care about him. It's illogical... but that's love.