Does physical attraction have a staying power all its own?

I was very physically attracted to my wife when I met her. I remained physically attracted to her for 14 years until her passing, though not nearly as strongly as I was when we met. My parents were married 51 years, and they were initially very physically attracted to one another. Among my friends, I have noted there seems to be a correlation between how attracted they initially were to one another, and how happy they are now (stronger the attraction, stronger the marriage is even when looks fade).

Now, of course we all know that looks fade with age, but I've often wondered if physical attraction can leave an afterglow that lasts long after physical attraction fades. So, my question to y'all is does physical attraction have a staying power all its own?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Actually, there are tons of theories addressing your concern...
    Purely scientific, but research indicates that once a couple has had sex, and specifically produced children, there is some mechanism in the brain that redefines the couple as... well... relatives. Not saying it is an insurmountable problem, or even that it is proven. But i have heard situations where that might explain some issues...

    I've never been married, but i have done the romance dance a time or two. Longest serious relationship was four years, two of them actually. I stayed with both as long as i did because there was a physical chemistry between us, as in attraction. One ditched me to go on to college, the other i ditched because she was a chronic complainer. Either way, i never reached the procreation stage.

    Some couples keep the momentum going by introducing 'lifestyle' changes. I don't judge this, and in fact one man i talked to had taken one of these to a deep and mutual level that seemed to enhance their relationship. Keep in mind, this was online, so there's lot i was not able to know and especially witness.

    To answer your question overall... at 57 i've found that all of my interactions with women involve lifestage circumstances... aging parents, retirement, even change of residence. I can only transpose to say that, within marriage i'm thinking that ideally i would transition more into a state of mutual resolution of problems which might actually replace most of the physical. Supportive hugs, sure... going to sleep in each other's arms, probably. But in that latter case i can see it being a shared expression of nostalgia and contentment about all we had been through together over the years.

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    • That's very interesting about the child bearing thing. My wife and I had no children. Of course my mother and father did, and so do my friends. Could you find me a source for this information? I'd be very interested in reading it.

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    • Lifestyle changes... BDSM, Open Marriage, strict voyeurism where one partner watches the other making love (I've heard this more from the standpoint of the man watching his wife than vice versa), etc. The reason i wasn't more specific is that there are general impressions that these activities involve some kind of club membership or Halloweenish costuming, such as thigh high leather spike heels and corsets. These are all well and good, but in general such changes grow more rich with as much communcation and understanding as a couple can achieve.

    • Hi my homepage showed that there was commentary here associated with one of my posts, this being 7/28. But i see nothing new. If you wanted to chat something up feel free to post again and maybe this dinosaur of a site will get it right this time.

What Girls Said 1

  • I think so, when I think of a perfect looking man I think of my ex who I fell in love with. He was tall, toned body and broad shoulders, and blonde with an orange/blonde beard because he was Irish, maybe not every girls dream guy but he was perfect to me... looks were a big part of me falling for him. I think he would have gotten even more handsome with age, he took care of himself very well. The fact he was white, tall, blonde with a handsome face made me feel like I won the lottery, but since he was so cute I pushed him away thinking he could do better... we had a mutual friend that told me he really loved me and even said he wanted to marry me. I really don't want anyone else, I don't want anyone that is less than him. But being with him makes me feel so insecure at one point it wasn't that way, when I first met him he wasn't really my type, I didn't think I could get a guy like him.. It is interesting how my family worships beautiful Hollywood looking blondes, my grandpa looked like that, a CA surfer with bright german blonde hair, my dark haired/cute but not stunning grandma fell for him even though he treated her like crap and was a alcoholic, she had my mom who was a beautiful dark haired blonde but highlighted it and had my Italian dark hair short dad fall for her and she treated him pretty crappy but he put up with it because she's his CA blonde beach babe, and now I fell in the same trap... I honestly think I would put up with anything if I could have kids with him I wouldn't care if he left but it would be sad. My family is obsessed with beauty, I think we would have beautiful kids together. I still obsess about him everyday, I literally checked his Facebook every day to see his updates. I don't want anyone but him, I am just going to be a nomad and travel and never have kids. If we happen to meet up later in life then maybe we could start something up again, but at the moment I am not thinking about getting with others guys.

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    • Thanks for being the first female to weigh in on this. By the way, your being beautiful and him being handsome is not a guarantee your kids will be the same way. Many things happen to children in utero that can change that.

    • One more thing, anon. I don't wish to sound condescending, but you are young and perhaps might not realize this. The world is full of men, many of whom I think you'll find good looking. Many of them are going to like you back. I hope your mind isn't locked on to someone you cannot be with when that happens. I fear this nomadic road you are taking will lead to unhappiness.

What Guys Said 4

  • I believe that when I meet my mate, even if she is considered homely by the world, that there will be parts of her physically, that I will find attractive.

    I will find them attractive because I want to find them attractive.

    Fifty years from now, those features will still be there, but distorted by time. During that time, hopefully her heart will be the thing that endears me to her. My memories of her kindness, her willingness to be my mate, and yes, even to serve me. With feminine love, nurturing, and caring. My memories of her love for me, her kindness, and our growing bond, that is cemented when we come together physically.

    I will look at the wrinkles in her face, but know that she was the woman I married some time ago. I will see all of those same beautiful marks on her face, and be able to tell that she is still the same woman, if that makes sense.

    I am referring only to the confines marriage. I

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  • yes it can last. i remember a story i read were a couple got married and later when they were old. the man took out a picture of his wife when she was young and prettier and said to someone look my wife is BEAUTIFUL. or isn't she beautiful or something. this i when she was already an old woman and he was an old man. he still saw his wife just as beautiful as she was when she was a young woman even when her face was withered and old.

    he still saw her physical value. this is not shallowness. being attracted to looks isn't shallow. although a lot of jealous and ugly people on the outside AND INSIDE will try to convince everyone of that.

    i think just like that old man. i always have. i chose a woman first on her looks. not the clothes she wears. but her natural beauty. i want strong children. i want my children able to resist disease. able to resist the harshness of the stresses of life. once i see she has that i will look for a wholesome personality.

    nothing about attraction to me is shallow. many people will think im shallow because my standards for looks are so high. but my standards START where other peoples standards just finish. so they'l see me only focused on looks right up in the sky at the clouds but my standards start at the cloud lines and they can't see that personality starts at the clouds and goes up from there. attraction for me is much different than most ppl. im not attracted to "personality" what is personality? they fail to define it. I've defined it. i dont require entertainment that much. conversation skill, money, status are not important to me. i can get money EVERYWHERE its all around. status is something that i easily can create in an abnormally abundant way. conversational skills can be developed.

    a persons looks cannot be developed. looks even show innate personality. most people dont know this. people think there is a seperation between body and brain. that is absolutly wrong

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    • there is no seperation AT ALL. the body IS the brain. you AREyourbody and your brain is your body. the only thing i require is a healthy mate.

      a healthy mate is physically beautiful. has a qualities like the desire to grow as a human being, kindness, chastity, an independant mind.

      notice i never said anything about conversational skills, entertainment value, status (her job), or the amount of money she makes which is what most people are focused on. these things are all things i can get in abundance. i think this is why most marriages fail. they dont have the intelligence to realize that the ideas they want.. they are not looking for the right indicators.

      these are my requirements for PERSONALITY. and MOST women DONT have them.

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    • laughter is important to me too very much however other things come first personally.

    • Wrong about one thing doesn't necessarily equal stupid. Perhaps your haters, while wrong, are not necessarily stupid.

      I tend to think a person's looks is more in their hands than most people realize.

      If by brain you mean mind (sorry, I was just realized you used the term "brain") then I agree it is inseparable from the body. If by brain you mean mind (some use the term interchangeably), then yes, it is only your opinion that it's inseparable from the body.

  • Part of being physically attracted is the fittedness of your body, you've got to do cardio exercises like running and eating right etc. If you're doing this stuff, you've got more blood flow and your heart will continue to beat strong. It's this kind of vibrance where you wake up not feeling tired each morning.

    If you're nailing each need of your body and mind consistently, then yes, you will feel passionate and attracted till the day you die.

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    • Not sure I fully agree, but thanks for sharing.

    • Sure. I learned this stuff first hand, I'm not that young, but I used to abuse my health by missing on sleep, smoking 2 packs a day or smoking a full pack in a walk, drinking 90% of a 40ozer of Jack's. These kind of things would make me very lethargic and so on, but I'd notice, if I stop for a month, I don't feel like shit, but I'd go at it for about 6 months, doing exercises, meditation, stretching, reading, and I noticed, there was SOME improvement, but I've lost a lot of this energy I had as I was younger. So your body does communicate with you.

  • Yep, I'd still bang Jane Seymour. And she's 63.

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    • Well, Jane Seymour has an army of makeup artists waging war against her 63 years. Furthermore, not everyone is Jane Seymour (or whatever male counterpart you want to think of). I'm asking if strong physical attraction has staying power even if he or she DOESN'T look so good after many years. So what say you, Socal1?

    • I thought I'd answered that question pretty clearly. But yes it absolutely does.

    • Thanks for stopping by.

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