In the dark.
Ok, I'm going to do my level best to keep this from becoming a rant. This morning, I was reading the "Alternative Lifestyles" forum on OKC, and noticed a thread started by a woman that was seeking advice on how to handle her partner dating people that aren't up to her standards of physical beauty. That just fried my bacon! On so many levels, there's work to be done here.
I'll totally cop to having personal baggage on this issue. I was the kid back in high school that couldn't get a date. I was awkward, too tall, too curvy, too smart, too socially inept, and wore glasses, braces, and clothes that weren't trendy or expensive. I was in the band, and the Honor Society, and didn't have an ounce of athletic talent. In short, I was a late bloomer.
Later in life, I began working directly with a wide variety of people on a consistent basis, and here's what I found: The absence of adversity often equals the absence of character. Yep, all the prom queens, jocks, and just generally "pretty people" are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to being interesting, compassionate, having good communication skills, and being likable in general. In short, they often make bad partners because they've never had to work at it to get positive attention from others. The exceptions to this have been people who had other personal challenges in life that forced them to do some growing, and they are lovely people inside and out.
Back to our, self-described, superficial non-monogamous woman who says, regarding her partner's recent dating choices, "i didn't want to be intimate with him because of it. i felt nauseas went i got close to him". (insert cleansing breath here) She also says that she would like to find a more healthy way to deal with this feeling, so kudos there. What is a bit unclear is what that means to her. Does it mean that she wants to find a way to get over being superficial and controlling, or does it mean that she wants to find a way to manipulate her partner to do what she wants and only date people that meet her "standards"?
Here's the main thing I REALLY dislike about this thread: It isn't about who her partner is choosing to date, it's about how she feels being associated with them on any level. After all, he picked her, and he picked them, so what does that say about her? Is he in the habit of "settling"? He isn't asking her to be intimate with anyone, and in fact, has gone to the extreme of not introducing people to her, likely to avoid the possibility of snarky comments and bitching. It's not as though he's even asking her to hang out with people that she doesn't find attractive enough to be seen with in public. Call a spade a spade: This is about control. What if these other women, despite not being as attractive in a conventional sense than she thinks she is, are more attractive to her partner in some way? What if it points out the real truth? It doesn't matter how hot someone is if they don't have other qualities that allow a relationship to feel good to everyone involved. Things like compassion, wit, kindness, safe touch, positive communication, and not being bigoted.
What if her partner falls for someone who isn't as hot? What does she have left? Sex appeal? Guess what else I found out over the years of open dating? The hottest people generally are the most boring sex partners. "Do me" girls, who expect that just their sheer hotness should have people dropping in orgasmic bliss, and men with big cocks that think that's enough to evaporate panties, despite the lack of ability to put together a complete sentence or perform oral sex well.
We all have our preferences for physical beauty. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have my types as well. You'd be hard-pressed to figure them out by looking at the people I date though. They are tall, short, heavy, thin, good teeth, bad teeth, blond, brunette, curly haired, and no-haired. That's because physical looks are so far down on the partner selection list that it's barely a factor. If I like some one's intellect, humor, the way they touch, the way they communicate themselves, there is ALWAYS something that I can find attractive about them physically. If I like all those things, the way their teeth look, or if they have cellulite on their ass, or if they're scrawny, fall farther away from being important.
Here's what's important to me in my partner's dating choices: They treat each other well and find value in the connection. Above and beyond that, if my metamour and I happen to also get along well, fantastic! If they treat my partner like shit, I could give a rat's ass if they're a perfect 10 who stops traffic and gets us all into the hottest venues with VIP passes, and I wouldn't be interested in continuing a partnership with someone that was willing to put up with poor treatment to have arm candy.
The Ugly Duckling days are past for me, and more people would consider me attractive than not, but I don't forget where I came from, and what it felt like to not be publicly dated based purely on the size of my jeans, or the thickness of my glasses. What's important to me is that my partners like who I am in the dark.