How Important Is Physical Attraction In A Relationship?

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When we think about the kind of partner we’re going to end up with – or who we want to end up with – we probably think about their looks first.

Their personality and lifestyle choices might be secondary to the intense physical attraction we want to experience with them. And we want that attraction right from the very beginning.

Truth is, if you want a healthy, long-term relationship, you need to consider how compatible you actually are with someone in all aspects.

After all, physical attraction is great, but it can build over time – someone’s personality is less likely to change!

So, the question is: how important is physical attraction in a relationship compared to all other forms of compatibility?

Do looks matter most? Should they? 

1. Attraction takes many forms.

Remember that physical attraction isn’t the only form of attraction! There are other ways to connect to your partner and be interested in them.

Fancying the person you’re with is important, but you can still form a great relationship with someone and the physical aspect can build over time.

You might not instantly fancy someone, but they can make you laugh hysterically and make you feel like the only other person in the room. That is a very attractive personality trait to have, right?

Think about how someone makes you feel and whether or not you’re attracted to that in itself.

So many of us are brainwashed into thinking we need to meet our ‘perfect type’ and basically put blinkers on when we start dating. We shut down anyone who doesn’t fit the mold we have created in our heads, and we don’t really give other forms of attraction a chance.

But we should because…

2. Long-term attraction is more important.

Some physical attraction is pretty short-term and can fizzle out, leaving you both feeling a bit confused about where the spark went.

If the only thing you like about your partner is how they look, we’ve got a feeling your relationship might not last very long…

While it’s great to be really attracted to the person you’re with, you need to think about how that will work out long-term.

Everyone says you should marry your best friend – what if they’re right?

Truly knowing someone and loving them goes way beyond looks – and that’s what healthy, sustainable relationships are built on.

3. Maybe you do need a spark.

Let’s be honest – most of us want to be really physically attracted to our partners. We want a spark, and we want to have great sex.

For some people, physical attraction is more important than taking a chance on someone they’re not attracted to.

Everyone is entitled to make their own decision about who they date, so, if you feel like you really do need that physical attraction, it’s okay to turn down people you don’t feel that with!

It’s good to stay open-minded because attraction genuinely can develop over time. But it’s your choice how much time and effort you want to invest in someone to allow that physical attraction to grow.

4. If sex is important, you need to find a way.

So, physical attraction probably isn’t the most important thing in a relationship – but it does affect your sex life.

If sex is important to you, you do need to fancy someone in order to have great sex, consistently.

If you spend some time getting to know someone and start to find them attractive in other ways, you might still be able to have a lot of fun together.

For some people, however, it starts to feel a bit forced…

Maybe you struggle to be affectionate or intimate with your partner because you’re just not attracted to how they look. It’s okay to admit this to yourself!

Some of us feel really guilty about letting someone down, but it’s better to be honest once you realize that the attraction just isn’t enough without something more physical.

That way, you’re not giving anyone false hope or leading them on. You’re just being honest about what you want and need from a relationship, and that’s the kindest and fairest way to deal with the situation.

5. Keep your expectations realistic.

Maybe you’re not thinking about someone in a physical way because you’re so set in your ways.

You might have a type that you always go for, or you might picture yourself with someone who ticks all the boxes – emotionally and physically.

While it’s great to have high standards, you might be holding yourself back from forming a genuine connection with someone who doesn’t quite fit the bill that you’re measuring them against.

Consider whether or not you’re being realistic in what you want from a partner – and weigh up what’s more important to you.

Do you go for someone who is 100% of the personality traits you love, but you’re only 50% attracted to them?

Or do you go for the person who’s 100% your type in terms of looks but only ticks 50% of the boxes that relate to personality, values, and lifestyle?

We can’t tell you what the answer is, or should be, but it’s worth considering what really matters to you.

After all, people can get a haircut and dress differently, but they won’t change their values overnight.

6. Attraction can grow over time.

Don’t forget that you can develop a physical attraction to someone as time goes by!

Social media tries to convince us that we need a hot partner, we need to dress a certain way, we need to livestream date night… it all gets a bit superficial and we forget that not every couple has an explosive first date!

The couples you see all over Instagram who look ‘perfect’ might have started off as just friends.

Your parents might not have fancied each other straight away, but they grew to love each other as they found out more.

Remember that genuine all-round attraction goes beyond liking how someone looks, and can develop over time.

You’ll get to a point where you look at someone and no longer think that their nose is too big or they’re not covered in tattoos – instead, you see how kind they are, how much they make you laugh, and how secure they make you feel.

7. Values and lifestyle are more important.

So, what matters in a relationship – other than looks?

Holding similar values, as we’ve touched on, is so important if you want your relationship to actually work.

Fancying someone is great, but do you both have the same beliefs? Are you a family person who sees your parents once a week – and, if so, will it matter to you if your partner finds that weird?

Maybe you’re a morning person and love waking up for a 6am Saturday yoga class – is that going to affect things if they want you to drink with them all of Friday night?

You might hate that they spend the evenings gaming with friends when you just want some quality time and a nice dinner together.

Things like this are what we often overlook in the rush to couple up with someone we’re really attracted to on a physical level.

While the excitement of being with someone you fancy is amazing, deeper attraction and compatibility are the foundations of strong, healthy relationships. 

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So, how important is physical attraction in a relationship?

Well, that’s for you to decide.

You need to think about what you genuinely value, what you want from a partner, and how you want to feel in your relationship.

If you think that physical attraction is the most important aspect of a relationship, you might be happy to let some other aspects of connection go. You might genuinely be happy with a partner you really fancy, and be willing to accept that you don’t have much of a deeper connection.

If that sounds like your worst nightmare, let physical attraction take a back seat for a little bit. It can still be important, but it doesn’t need to be the first or most critical thing you look for in a partner. 

Still not sure how important attraction is to you? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.