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I can’t date someone who is average looking

‘I am very concerned about this. I don’t want to be a shallow person.’

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. My biggest problem with dating is that I’m attracted to the “bad” options out there. I have met very nice, decent, financially stable people, and yet despite their qualities, I can’t bring myself to find them physically attractive.

I like the idea of being with someone who can match my current status. I have a nice townhouse to myself, I own my car, I make a decent living. I’m pretty comfortable in life, without any debt. But when I seek out people who match me, it doesn’t seem to pan out. Am I too shallow? I have tried my best to put looks to the side, but when it comes to getting intimate after months of dating, I can’t do it. The physical attraction just isn’t there. On the other side, the people I have been sexually attracted to tend to not be doing well in life. As a grown adult who has managed to reach success and stability, I know it is not beneficial to be involved with someone who is still struggling and/or not mentally mature enough to be a functioning adult.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. If it is any help, I am considered an attractive person. I was once told I’m a solid “7″ and when I put more effort into my looks I can bump up to a “9.″ I don’t believe in these silly scores, but I’ve been lucky enough that I do not have any trouble with people wanting to date me. Aside from my looks, I am a very nice and bubbly person. I like to be considerate to those around me. I have been raised to be well mannered and proper. Why can’t I just focus on people’s personalities?


I just don’t ever see myself being fully committed to the idea of being intimate with someone who is “average” looking, and when it comes to the nicer human beings, they all seem to be average.


I am very concerned about this. I don’t want to be a shallow person.


A. “I don’t believe in these silly scores.”

You don’t? It sounds like you have a similar scoring system for other people.

Maybe you’re not using numbers, but you’re checking boxes. You’ve eliminated a lot of possibilities for romance based on your list of requirements.

But that’s who you are right now — and I’m not sure there’s much you can do about it. Maybe you need to cycle through a bunch of the wrong people in order to get to the right ones. If so, this is all part of the process. Over time, different people might wind up looking more attractive.

One thing you might want to consider is that a lot of wonderful people — real adults — might not be at their best right this second. They might be going back to school. Maybe they’re living with a family member because of how complicated (and expensive) life got during 2020. Perhaps they’re making plans but haven’t achieved every goal just yet. There are a ton of incredible people out there (some of whom you might find very physically attractive) who don’t have your list of assets. That doesn’t mean they won’t have great, successful lives. You can evaluate someone based on their work ethic, hopes, and values, but don’t expect them to be finished products. Many fantastic grown-ups are still figuring it out.


You don’t have to force yourself to like people you don’t — or to kiss anyone you think is average. I only ask that you really listen. If you’re on a date with someone and think they’re cool and cute, pay attention to how they talk about their life and what they’re doing with it. They might be better potential partners than you think.



Wow. Meredith did you no favors with that headline.


It’s pretty common to only date those to whom you are attracted, so just accept that and spare us the humblebrag.


When you first meet someone, they might be a 5. But as you get to know them, you add a point or deduct a point (see the bowling scene in “She’s Out of My League”) accordingly. A 5 can turn into a solid 8 based on personality.


^Yes. Personality and confidence make all the difference. This poor letter writer doesn’t understand.


I get not being able to be intimate with people you don’t find attractive — no one can force attraction. But your entire letter is about status and appearance and whether or not someone is “doing well in life.” It comes across as judgmental.


There is a serious disconnect here. You state that looks are clearly important to you but then go on to say you “just want someone who is nice.” Wanting someone nice is OK, wanting someone attractive is OK, wanting someone who is nice and you find attractive is OK, just more challenging. Figure out what you want and go find it. Just keep in mind that the more “musts” you have, the smaller the dating pool, and the longer it may take to find it. My list of “musts” was longer than some people’s and as a result I didn’t meet my wife until I was 39. I’m very glad I waited to find what I wanted in a person, but it was a long wait!



Once you start scoring yourself, you are just oozing with insecurity. The most attractive quality a person can possess is confidence, and everyone is a 10 to someone. You prefer these men in less stable positions in life because you feel it gives you the upper hand. Work on your insecurities first, then find a mate.


Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

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