How Important is Beauty?

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sex and the city
Sex and the Psychological City; A Relationship Blog on Commitment, Friendship and Love

Many times, people will express tremendous sadness about not being in a relationship. However, once you delve further into their social lives, it turns out that they have had multiple opportunities to date potential partners who simply do not meet their physical standards.

I like to break it down for my clients in terms of "Candy Bars" and "Apples". Years ago, a former client whom I'll call Mary introduced me to the concept of considering one's dating and relationship choices in terms of candy bars and apples, and she was generous enough to allow me to share this metaphor with others.

Candy Bars symbolize unhealthy partners, and Apples symbolize healthy ones. As Mary put it:

My friends tell me I date too many candy bars when I need an apple. I always go for the super cute, James Dean types. You know, looks great, but you know you will regret it and it will make you feel sick, but you just can't help yourself and you just have to have it. Just like a candy bar. My friends say I need to start choosing apples. By apples I mean, healthy, wholesome choices. Good for you, sure, but I just don't crave apples with the same longing.

My advice?  Ask yourself honestly if you choose Candy Bars or Apples. Do you go for style or substance? If you choose your partners primarily based on superficial reasons, be prepared that your partner may also be motivated to make similar, style-conscious relationship choices. If a relationship is based mainly on beauty, style, and all things fabulously superficial, brace yourself for the possibility that your partner may not always value your strengths as a good, smart, kind, interesting and substantive person. If you usually choose candy bars and you are feeling unlucky in love, maybe it is time to start incorporating apples into your diet!

Consider Mr. Big's thoughts on modelizing. Early in the episode, Carrie is out researching the question of the importance of beauty, and she runs into Big arm and arm with a gorgeous model. Later, Big tracks Carrie down to discuss and defend his modelizing. He enthusiastically explains the temptations posed by the many gorgeous women roaming the New York City streets. Then, he pauses and tries to redeem himself by explaining: "after a while, you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh."

Log in next week to ponder SATC episode three: "Is There a Cold War Between Marrieds and Singles?" 

Follow Elisabeth on twitter @elisjoy and check out her book, "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce."

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elisabeth LaMotte

Counselor/Therapist

Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
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