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 Looks do matter: With any new information, the first step is accepting its validity. And in this case, it means absorbing an unpopular, but undeniable reality — looks matter and they impact relationships. As superficial as it may seem, it’s a truth most of us recognize instinctively, even if it’s one we hate to admit. So, while we like to believe, “it’s what is inside that counts,” clearly who we are and how we look matter to our partners.

Remember, for most of us, our first encounters with our mates involved physical attraction, from the initial exchange of smiles to that memorable first kiss. We become intoxicated by our mate’s scent, by the way they feel and the way they make us feel. Regardless of their “objective” physical appearance, they become beautiful to us. Our experience of our mate is most often based on a developing an interpersonal connection as well as an ongoing physical one. As the relationship evolves, the hope is that both will grow.

Our culture has come a long way in broadening the roles that partners play in each other’s lives. Women no longer simply attract a mate to stay at home and have babies. Men don’t just seek a mate to produce and protect a family. But physical attraction still matters in the success of relationships. And unless we find a healthy way to take that into account, we do a disservice to ourselves — and our partners.

Published on May 21, 2012 by Vivian Diller, Ph.D. in Face It