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Lack of Attraction

Lack of Attraction


Dear Rachel,

I am at a point in my life where I only want to date for the sake of marriage. I recently began seeing a man who really appears to have the qualities that I want in a husband. We have only met a few times but the problem is that I am really not very attracted to him. He is also just about my height and I always envisioned myself with a tall man. Should my lack of attraction be enough of a reason to stop seeing him?

Los Angeles

Dear S.C.,

The dating process can be a very confusing experience, and at the same time it can also be very self-defining. The very act of dating suggests a willingness to acquaint yourself with your essential “bottom line” and he, respectively, with his. Dating – finding your soul mate – is an experience full of sorting and sifting, prioritizing, standing firm and ultimately joyfully accepting.

When one dates with the intention of marriage, then the dating process demands that we closely examine ourselves and get right down to the essentials. Who am I? What kind of lifestyle do I need? What character traits are essential for my husband? What am I willing to sacrifice or compromise?

In terms of your doubt about his physical appearance, I can’t help but be reminded of a saying from the Ethics of our Fathers, “Don’t look at the vessel, but rather what is in it.” When we are looking for the other half of our soul, we are looking for their essence… the things that matter. Is he a good man?, Does he work to his potential? Is he kind? Is he passionate?

And yes, physical attraction is important to a certain degree. However, we often forget that the most precious gifts are often of a humble nature. Our Holy Temple was built not from gold and copper, but from simple stones. The Ten Commandments were given on Mount Sinai, the smallest and lowliest and most “humble” mountain. Our Torah is written on simple parchment paper. Things that are good and true are good and true regardless of their packaging. The inner makings of a man will spill to his outsides, and if he is “confident,” and “tall,” inside, you will surely see it on the outside.

Often times, as a relationship grows and matures, the things that we once perceived as imperfections actually become beautiful, meaningful and precious. The more time you spend with him, the more you will see how much of an issue the lack of attraction is, if it fades or if it remains. There may be other things about him that don’t appeal to you, or, you might find that with time you adore everything about him and because of that he may even become attractive in your eyes.

And one practical tip, when you do go out, I would suggest making an effort to wear low-heeled shoes, to help him feel comfortable, and to be sensitive in general about your height difference.

I want to leave you with a story I heard many years ago. There was a young woman, who was supposed to marry a young man. They had never met, as it was an arranged marriage. So, the day approached, and the young man came to the home of the young woman to meet with her before the wedding. To the bride’s astonishment she saw that her fiancé had a profoundly hunched back. She told her father to cancel the wedding; she could not marry this man. The father broke the news gently to the young man. And he accepted the news graciously, but he asked if he could meet with her just one more time. She agreed.

They met again, and he told her the story of his hunched back. “When our soul was separated into two halves in Heaven, G‑d decreed that you would have this hunched back, so I begged and pleaded that He would give it to me instead, that I would carry this burden, and not you.” The young woman heard the truth in his words and with a whole and grateful heart, agreed to marry him.

Perhaps, through dating this young man, you will find a kind lesson, custom made for you. And you will be, at the very least, one step closer to the other half of your soul. Blessings of much success and clarity to you.


“Dear Rachel” is a biweekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sarah Zadok.

Sarah Zadok is a childbirth educator, doula and freelance writer. She lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel, with her husband and four children.

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anninbar no location January 14, 2015

the origin of the story It was Moshe Mendelssohn in Germany that was a hunched back, and that was what he told his bride,so she agreed to marry him. Reply

Anonymous cincinnati March 9, 2014

disagree with the article I disagree with the article.
if there is no attraction then stop dating him and do not feel bad about it .
dating a man you feel no attraction for is like a CHORE.

Imagine kissing him ? If you feel repulsed stop right there and never see him again.
Attraction- chemistry is either there or not. Reply

Anonymous Jerusalem, Israel June 13, 2012

What's the deal with make-up in dating Height is something you can never disguise, but looks is.

I always wondered what the deal is with the lack of fairness in the dating game. A woman can wear a pile of make-up and high heels but after the wedding night when all that's gone, what's left?

I'm just wondering what role attraction is in Judaism if it can so easily change the other way in a few minutes. Does a woman have it easier because she can wear make-up? And is this really honest? Reply

Anonymous South florida, USA May 17, 2012

Attraction Attraction is more important to some ppl than others. My best friend started dating men she liked a lot where the attraction improved over time. So to each his own. Reply

Peace Brisbane, Qld/Australia December 10, 2011

Going thru something similiar I have been single for 2 and a half years now and for the last 2 years been on a few different dating sites. I am 41 years old and finding it really hard to find a man that ticks all the boxes! Good decent men are hard to find! A guy i know thru friends which i have met quite a few times and is truly a beautiful man with a beautiful soul has asked me on a date. I love the man he is, so many things about him are perfect and has a depth to him unlike any man i have met but I am not physically attracted to him. I feel shallow as I know any girl that gets him would be very lucky. Would i regret letting him pass by that is my worry? Am i being shallow? Reply

sharon bradford, uk December 6, 2011

scarificing your heels for a short man But why do I hv to scarifice my high heels just for a man, simply not comfortable with that Reply

Anonymous New York, NY June 30, 2011

I think that if it really continues to bother you that he is short, then it might be that you have other dislikes about the relationship but that it is easiest to pinpoint and focus on this one aspect than on things that are less tangible, whereas if you eventually begin to really feel that he is the right guy for you, then the height issue will begin to bother you much less or not at all. (For example, a friend while first dating the guy to whom she is now engaged would tell me a little about him, and then at one point later on said, oh he is though a little overweight, but she said it very casually because it seems that at that point she didn't really think that it was something to worry about, since she knew that she liked him). Reply

Yeke Yeke June 19, 2011

Hi Johannesburg Why torture yourself any further ? Give it a rest and you would be less tormented altogether. As a man I can tell you I would not be able to be with a woman I find unattractive. But I also believe it is different for a woman as she has the ability to conceal and overcome her dislike of the man(physical & mental disposition) she chooses to marry for financial or social standing or other reasons?. An ambitious young woman would easily work it in her head to marry a 60ish rich man & fool the world around her. Not everyone marries out of love nor does everyone care about attraction. Bear in mind not everyone marries for money & social standing also. There is no judgment here. A non abusive relationship that ends is not easy. Guess there is something even greater than logic at work in love matters. Reply

Johannesburg Johannesburg, South Africa June 8, 2011

Same dilemma I am currenntly in a relationship with a very loving, kind and generous young man. He is everything I would want in a husband, except I am not physically attracted to him. Like you, I am faced with having to risk leaving him and never finding anyone who even comes close to being the man that he is or sticking with him and watching him have to handle the rejection he faces from me everytime he tries to get physical. Mind you, we are only in our twenties. Reply

Yeke Yeke September 20, 2010

Attraction matters From a man's perspective a woman has to be attractive to his eyes. A woman can be good, kind, compassionate etc but it means nothing if there is no attraction ! I cannot marry a woman whom I have no attraction for.
Physical beauty can help attraction for sure but lack of inner beauty can make a candidate loathsome though outward beauty wins hand-down when a woman is beautiful inside as well.
I guess women are aficionados of attractive males too but face tough competition from inner beauty and money as well.
Marry the one you love the most for it would keep your marriage steady. So if you don't feel attracted to the guy on the physical side just be honest and leave him to someone else who would appreciate him for something else even it means just being a security or a big pay check.
Anyone deserves to be loved but attractiveness to one's eyes and needs separates the "one" from "anyone". It is often a very cruel and discriminating exercise but remember to add water to your wine. Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles, CA June 11, 2009

Lack of Attraction Seems to me you are contradicting yourself. I fully understand that you are in the phase of your life where you are essentially sorting through for the right resume. I dont judge you for this nor do I think UR any less likely to find wedded bliss this way. I say I chose my husband based on 80% right guy & 20% right time. That is my story and I am sticking with it. HOWEVER U then complain about his height, which to me leans more toward wanting someone that makes your heart beat faster. I do not think there is anything wrong with casting this man aside for any reason you choose just decide if you are deluding yourself that you dont care about the physical. Everyone will tell U when the heat dies (and it will) UR left with the person, and every one of those people will also tell you that attraction matters. In the end I think you have to make a choice, one you can count on, the other you never know but more than anything, whatever you choose will be ok, since it is your decision Reply

Anonymous Tucson, AZ September 6, 2008

humbling I really truly liked your answer regarding attraction. Everything takes time, even attraction I've learned in my old age (52). Reply

Stef Seattle, WA March 12, 2008

Give it time but then be honest I just broke up with my fiance - we dated for two years. He had so many great qualites (still does) and we are best friends. Though, i was not initally physcially attracted to him-i wanted to give him a chance. I asked the very questions to my relatives (should i keep dating him?) We are soul mates in the sense that we are great mates. But when it came down to it- two years in..i still was not attracted to him. And now there is tremendous guilt about "letting it go this far". I wish i had been more honest with myself earlier. Being attracted to the person IS IMPORTANT. So..maybe give it a few dates and see how it goes. However, if you go along and keep saying "i just don't want him". Then please listen to this signal. Reply

Shoshana Jerusalem, Israel June 7, 2007

Attraction isn't just looks, BUT! If you're considering marrying this man, consider this: can you see yourself waking up with this person? If you're just happy to see that person, if you're comfortable with each other, but also... if seeing that face will make you happy. Doesn't have to be good looking. Just has to feel good when he's looking at you.

If he really truly is UNattractive to you, and not just "I'm not attracted," this picture is going to bother you. If it doesn't... think about it. This could be something to work with. Reply

Lisa Providence, RI March 13, 2007

Lack of Attraction S.C., you can't judge a book by it's cover. In real life, we don't always get what we want. REAL beauty comes from your personality, NOT your looks!

When my mother was still alive, she told me not to date handsome men, because they're more deceptive, and ugly men try harder to win over women they're considering marrying. That's why many "ugly" people have no trouble finding spouses.

If this man truly has everything you want as husband and father material, why not give him a chance?

Karan October 23, 2006

I agree with Tamar I think I agree with Tamar. I know a lot of people who got married to "ugly" men. If you like him and are REALLY intrested in him, you will feel attracted to him. If there is something wrong (it could be something you dont know about) then he wont be attracting.

Tamar brooklyn, ny August 23, 2006

I disagree with this response. There is a difference between not thinking someone is attractive, and not being attracted to them. I dated an incredibley handsome man for about 2 years who had wonderful qualities, but I was not attracted to him. It just wasn't right. I then met my now husband who also has wonderful qualities, but I am attracted to him - and he is not your typical "handsome" man, he's a little bit overweight (more to love!) and has a speech ipediment. Good on paper isn't good enough - I believe you will be attracted to someone if they are right for you, and being attracted has nothing to do w/ physical appearance, believe it or not. Reply

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